Friday, October 28, 2016

Dartmouth Night Greetings

Dartmouth Night Telegram: From NewarkIt is the Friday of Homecoming weekend, known locally as Dartmouth Night. There are plenty of alumni around (in fact members of the Class of 1957 are assembled in one of our classrooms as I write hearing a presentation by the College Archivist), and the bonfire will be set ablaze in a few hours. Before the Dartmouth diaspora could follow the events on social media, those unable to come to campus would often send telegrams to be read out to the crowd.

Dartmouth Night Telegram: From Oklahoma CityWe have a batch of over one hundred telegrams from 1955-1959. The Dartmouth Club of New Jersey sounded like cold warriors by congratulating Dartmouth for its "exemplary leadership among liberal arts colleges in a free world." While in western Oklahoma the focus was on beating Harvard the next day. In Omaha, the mood was far more serious:

Dartmouth Night Telegram: From Omaha, Nebraska"We join with Dartmouth men everywhere to reaffirm our common faiths and beliefs in the principles that have mad Dartmouth the greatest of all liberal arts colleges. All Dartmouth men are entrusted with many heritages and traditions, as well as responsibilities and privileges. We are counting on you to learn well, and apply yourself diligently, that you may add to, perpetuate, and honor the glory that is Dartmouth's. God be with you tonight, tomorrow, and always."

A handful of students who happened to be in Leningrad that evening on a university exchange program chose a simple, "Vodka toast to team for victorious year."

Dartmouth Night Telegram: From Leningrad
You can see the whole batch by asking for MS 9559490.3

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Old Pine

Image of Old Pine with Bartlett Tower under construction
The Old Pine with Bartlett Tower
For homecoming this week we brought out one of the most ungainly objects in the collection: our sizable fragment of the "Old Pine." If you check out our Instagram, you can see the it in the reading room alongside the staff members who moved it (though they are only inches taller). We also have smaller artifacts carved from other bits of the Old Pine, but this one really stands out.

There is a handwritten label on the chunk 'o pine that gives a little history of the tree: it was struck by lightning in 1887 and split so only a portion was left standing. The remaining half was done in a few years later, in 1892, by a "tornado." The Dartmouth called the storm "a heavy gale," so there may be a bit of hyperbole in the tag.
Tag on fragment of Old Pine
We expected to see some angst in The Dartmouth over the tree's demise, especially considering the trouble people took to keep fragments of it, but the report was not only unsentimental, it was downright disrespectful to Dartmouth's old trees:
The heavy gale of June 14, which destroyed and damaged many of the shade trees here, called attention to the fact that there are a number of large trees about our campus, venerable with age; but owning to repeated disaster, no longer ornamental. These trees, we think, should be removed at an early date, and new trees set out in their places. The usefulness of the old is past, and the new should be immediately given a chance to develop itself into fit companionship of the other noble trees about the green.
I wonder what they thought of some of the older faculty and the seniors about to graduate!

You can see the Old Pine in the reading room for another week, then we will lug it back upstairs.