Friday, September 14, 2018

True North

Title page of the 1816 edition of the Columbian Orator
In a few weeks, Roger Guenveur Smith will be bringing his solo show called "Frederick Douglass Now" to the Hopkins Center for two nights. In preparation for attendance, the 8th-graders from Crossroads Academy in Lyme, NH, will visit Rauner Library to explore copies of the Columbian Orator, an early nineteenth-century collection of political essays, poems, and other writings. Douglass, in his autobiography, notes how he found a copy of the Orator as a twelve-year-old and the impact that it had on his life. The editor of the Orator was a man named Caleb Bingham, who was a member of Dartmouth's Class of 1782.

Title page of The North Star, edited by John Greenleaf WhittierIn addition to looking at the Columbian Orator, the students will have a chance to look at a small volume of collected poetry called The North Star that was edited by John Greenleaf Whittier, an American Quaker poet and fervent abolitionist. The slim volume holds numerous poems from famous Americans, including John Quincy Adams, Whittier himself, and an anonymous poem by Williams Wells Brown, the first published African-American author. The name of the book is an acknowledgement of the North Star's symbolic representation of freedom for enslaved people who used it to find their way north through the wilderness.

To see one of our sixteen editions of the Columbian Orator, come to Rauner and ask for Alumni B513co. To see The North Star, ask for Rare PS595.S7 W5.

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