Friday, July 28, 2017


This summer has been really rainy and dreary, but we are about to celebrate Sophomore Summer Family Weekend and the forecast is perfect. Today at 3:00, we will be having a tour showing off some of the highlights of the collection. In honor of the fabulous weather, we are working on the theme of "light." So, we will have illumination, spiritual enlightenment, "light" reading, a particularly bright spot from Dartmouth's history, and, of course, the Enlightenment.

What better way to show the process of printing than with a stick of type and Diderot's Encyclopedia! Both spread enlightenment and they will brighten up our tour.

Detail from Diderot showing how type works in the reverse to print.
They will be out for today's tour, but you can see these anytime by asking for AE25.E53 1770 Vol. 7.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Beecham's Pills advertisement described in textWe couldn't let this go by without comment. Last week we worked with a group of health care professionals looking at the history of medications and the establishment of medical authority. Among the materials were several patent medicine advertisements from the early 1900s. This one for Beecham's Pills just gave us all the creeps.

First of all, the quote "The Best Wife I Ever Had!" Okay, does that mean he has had many wives and this is the best ever? Also, is it supposed to imply some kind of ownership? He seems a bit possessive in his stance. Then there is the look on his face. "Look" is too nice a word, let's say leer in his eye. She is a little worrisome as well with her sly grin and holding the little bottle of pills to make the OK sign.

Just what were Beecham's to cause such a wondrous transformation? According to Wikipedia, they were a laxative made up primarily of aloe, ginger and soap. At least they seem pretty harmless unlike some of the other medicines that were advertised. Their message, though, was more disturbing.

Cover to Pearson's Magazine showing Woman in with a boa
To see it ask for the December 1907 issue of Pearson's, Sine Serials PA4.P35 V. 24 1907:Dec.