Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Commonwealth and Confederation

Front cover of Ronaghan's brochure, displaying the proposed Canadian flag
What could be more iconic than the Canadian national flag? With its bright stripes and large red maple leaf, the emblem of our neighbor to the north stands out in a field of national banners. It's hard to imagine the country having a different standard. Still, the Canadian flag as we know it is a relatively recent development. The flag was adopted in 1965 after a great amount of debate and deliberation. It's almost entirely based upon the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada and is only one of several official flags for the country; others include the Canadian Red Ensign flag and the Royal Union flag.

While looking through the Stefansson Correspondence collection, we discovered an earlier proposal
First page of Ronaghan's letter to Stefansson
for an official Canadian flag. In a letter written in January 8th, 1946, to Vilhjalmur Stefansson, an Allen Ronaghan of Islay, Alberta, suggests a different design to solve the "vital problem" of the lack of a distinctive national flag. Instead of using the Red Ensign flag, which he claims is racist because its coat of arms excludes numerous people groups, Ronaghan recommends instead a flag, presumably of his own design. Ronaghan's flag represents the theme of "Commonwealth and Confederation" and so stands in opposition to other flags which raise objectionable points, in his mind. His flag retains the Union Jack symbol in the upper left corner because, as he puts it, "A flag that ignored the Union Jack simply would not be acceptable to the entire Canadian people, regardless of what some ultra-nationalists may say on occasions when emotions run away with them."

Interior of brochure that explains the symbolism of the flag designHowever, instead of using a coat of arms, Ronaghan recommends the image of Ursa Major on a blue field. The Big Dipper is relevant and appropriate for many reasons, he says, because it's ubiquitous in Canadian skies at night. Also, it bears a "marked resemblance to Canadian confederation," with each star in the constellation representing a different province or territory. Finally, in a tactical move that was doubtless meant to appeal to Stefansson's interests, Ronaghan notes that the Big Dipper "points north" and that Canada must do the same if she is to become "truly great," ostensibly by developing its great stretches of northern wilderness. Stefansson, a world-famous Canadian arctic explorer, appears to be sympathetic to this argument; he has highlighted this portion of Ronaghan's letter.

To see Ronaghan's letter and the enclosed pamphlet that outlines the details of his flag design, come to Special Collections and ask to see MSS-196, Box 65, Folder 14, "Ronaghan."

Friday, June 21, 2019

Experiencing Black Theater in America

Experiencing Black Theater in America exhibit poster
This past spring, Associate Professor of Theater Monica Ndounou taught a class made possible through an experiential learning seed grant from the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning. Titled “The Making of 21st Century Exhibits: Curating a National Black Theater Museum/Institution,” the course was cross-listed with the Theater Department and African and African-American Studies Program. This class provided seventeen students an opportunity to learn about black theater history, scholarship and practice in the U.S. and abroad. In the process, students helped develop ideas and curated exhibits that represented a range of formats and platforms. As social media and academe become interdependent in the 21st-century digital era, the course enabled participants to imagine and implement exhibits for the museum as a digital and onsite space where national and international contributions to developing black theater can be shared with the larger public.

The current student-curated exhibit in Special Collections, “Experiencing Black Theater in America,” is one facet of the experiential learning component of the class, which also included a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., the opportunity to work with the local community’s regional black theatre, JAG Productions, and a chance to attend events featuring choreographer Camille A. Brown during her spring 2019 Dartmouth residency.

The majority of the documents in this exhibit come from the papers of Theater Professor Errol Hill, the first African-American educator to receive tenure at Dartmouth College. A Trinidadian native, Hill joined the faculty of Dartmouth’s Drama Department in 1968 and worked tirelessly here for twenty-one years before retiring in 1989. Hill was a wellspring of productivity, whether as a scholar, a playwright, or a director: over the span of his career, he wrote eleven plays, authored or edited fifteen major books and periodicals, and wrote twenty-five major articles on drama and theater history. While at Dartmouth, he taught a portfolio of thirteen different courses on acting, directing, playwriting, and theater history, directed thirty-three full-length productions, and wrote numerous influential works including Shakespeare in Sable: A History of Black Shakespearean Actors (1986) and, with Professor James Hatch, A History of African American Theatre (2003). Professor Hill passed away in 2003 but his legacy endures.

The exhibit will be on display in Rauner Library's Class of 1965 Galleries in Webster Hall until September 6th. You can download a list of materials and read the exhibit text at the following website: https://www.dartmouth.edu/~library/rauner/exhibits/experiencing-black-theater-in-america.html.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Abraham Lincoln and His Generals

letter by James R. Doolittle with added approval by Lincoln
A while back we posted about a sheet of Abraham Lincoln's signatures on a piece of White House stationery that were authenticated by his personal secretary John Hay. Although it's hard to top that exciting find, we have another Lincoln-related item from the Codex collection that we think is also pretty amazing. In a book that has been beautifully bound in blue morocco leather with gold tooling, we have another treasure trove of autographs from the Civil War, including not only Lincoln's signature but numerous other important figures from the Union Army during that time.

The cover of the book reads, "Abraham Lincoln and His Generals | A Collection of Autographs | 1861-1865," and the contents do not disappoint. All told, there are twenty-seven pieces of correspondence or
Engraving of William T. Sherman
other paper that bear the signed names of many of the sixteenth president's generals during the war, along with engraved portraits of most of them. Most of the letters are fairly pedestrian and deal with day-to-day business or social courtesies; moreover, a lot of them were written decades after the conclusion of the war. Still, it's thrilling to see so many different hands by so many different Civil War military leaders in one place. My personal favorites are the letter signed by Lincoln, saying only "I so advise" in response to a subordinate's request for his approval (bringing our total number of Lincoln signatures up to twenty!); the pardon issued by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872 for Jacob C. Clark, who apparently was arrested for selling liquor without a permit but didn't realize he was breaking the law, and the intimidating engraving of General William T. Sherman, who would go on to serve as the Commanding General of the Army (and briefly the Secretary of War) under President Grant.

To have a look through this Union gallery, come to Special Collections and ask for Codex 002120.

Friday, June 14, 2019

SpeakOut with Pride

Students laying on Green spelling out PRIDEIt's Pride Month, and to get in the spirit we have been pouring over SpeakOut interviews that are now available online. In collaboration with DGALA, Dartmouth’s LGBTQIA+ Alumni Association, SpeakOut is an oral history project dedicated to documenting the history of Dartmouth’s LGBTQIA+ community. There are many incredible stories. Check out Leandra Barrett's:

Leandra BarrettGrowing up in Alice, Texas, a small predominantly Mexican-American rural town on the border of Mexico, Leandra Barrett ’15 describes her hometown as being “what people picture when they imagine Texas.” The daughter of a middle-class Mexican-American mother and a working-class Anglo-Cajun father, she describes how her intersecting identities influenced her sense of self as a child and later how they shaped her time at Dartmouth.

Barrett explains that she was “so sure of [her] identity” when she arrived at Dartmouth. For Barrett, her coming out at Dartmouth “wasn’t like a tortured process.” Unlike her experience in high school, Barrett felt as though she could express her queer identity more freely and openly at Dartmouth. In high school she remembers “the very material risk of being thrown out of my house or being—you know, sent to conversion therapy…” Barrett describes living a double life between home and Dartmouth which was shattered when someone outed her to her parents. Barrett graciously shares how her relationship with her parents has evolved since that life altering moment her freshman year.

Rainbow arcing over Webster Hall
Barrett shares how she felt her Mexican-American identity was challenged as a student at Dartmouth. She struggled to have her Mexican-American identity feel validated not only because she was ethnically ambiguous and did not speak Spanish, but also because she inhabited an environment that was so “white” and where “so many Latinx students came from immigrant backgrounds.” Barrett explains how “a certain subjectivity was presumed when the university was constructed and that was not a queer Chicana girl from south Texas.”  Barrett goes on to say that “I don’t regret going to Dartmouth. I actually, really like it. [Chuckles.] I think my critiques come from a deep place of love, right? I wouldn’t have worked as an admissions officer if didn’t think it was a transformational educational space.”

We are thrilled that members of Dartmouth’s community continue to reach out to participate in SpeakOut. If you have a story you would like to add to the SpeakOut collection, please sign up here.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Eagle has Landed

Photo of astronaut on MoonOn May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy called on the nation to “commit itself to… landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.” Only a month earlier the USSR had succeeded to put the first human into space and Kennedy needed to trump that feat during the height of the Cold War.  On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard, Jr.  became the first American in space when his Mercury capsule “Freedom 7” went suborbital.  Over the next three years, six more Mercury missions went up, followed by the Gemini program. Both Mercury and Gemini programs were designed to test and explore every step that would be needed to make Kennedy’s pledge possible. There were of course missteps some minor, some major and one, the tragedy of Apollo 1, fatal.

Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, with a crew of three, Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin. The crew had detailed objectives for this mission which included obtaining a variety of data on experiments including solar wind composition and seismic activity, collecting lunar samples and deploying a television camera to transmit signals to Earth. On July 20th, after 102 hours and 45 minutes of flight, the “Eagle” landed in the Sea of Tranquility.

Photo of astronaut on Moon with flag
Neil Armstrong was the first to descent the ladder to the moon surface because he was the commander and senior member of the crew and because his seat was closer to the “door.” Buzz Aldrin was next and for the next 2 hours and 31 minutes both men performed the required tasks before heading back to the “Eagle” for some rest and rendezvous with the Columbia in lunar orbit.

Columbia splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969, and the crew was recovered by the USS Hornet. After a vigorous scrub down of each astronaut and his equipment, the crew was placed into a 21-day quarantine to prevent contamination from possible extra-terrestrial pathogens.

Apollo 11 was an all-around success and opened the door for 7 more missions to the Moon, with 6 of them successful. NASA was able to learn from the crew’s experiences and concerns and adept future missions accordingly. During the crew’s scientific debriefing on August 12, Armstrong had one regret:
In retrospect, the one thing that I felt was a real shortcoming of our planning was the fact we were unable, when we saw something of interest, to collect it at the time; we had to remember where that was and hope that we had time later to come back. I would recommend that in our future work, we not make that mistake and that we improve our ability to pick up samples of interest and record them at the time we see them.
Apollo 11 flight objectivesApollo 11 Flight Profile

Mission reports and photographs of the Apollo, Gemini and Mercury missions can be found in MS-1024, the papers of Richard Allenby, DC 1944 who was the director of the Manned Space Science Program at NASA.

Friday, June 7, 2019

"Women Cannot Band Together"

Cover of Gilder pamphlet
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which legalized the inherent right of women to vote. We've blogged in the past about the suffragist movement and women's ongoing and infuriating struggle to be recognized as equals. Today, we thought we'd share more of the treasure trove of suffrage items in an attempt to present what we like to call a "usable past." Ideally, people's exposure to controversial documents from our collective past will encourage them to make better future decisions for society.

In this particular instance, we want to talk about the vigorous pamphlet war that cropped up during the suffragist movement in the early-20th century. Exhibit A is the reprint of an article published in Harper's Bazaar in 1894 and written by Jeannette L. Gilder, "founder of The Critic," a New York-based magazine of literary criticism. In the article, Gilder (a self-described "working-woman") says that "we cannot worship God and Mammon; neither can we be politicians and women. It is against nature, against reason." She concludes by stating that voting cannot help women, but it can hurt them, just a like a bomb that could "go off in her own hands, and work a mischief that she little dreams of."

cover of Sedgwick pamphletOther anti-suffragists quickly joined the fray. One William T. Sedgwick, "noted biologist" and M.I.T. Professor of Biology and Public Health, emphatically states that women are biologically different from men and therefore constitutionally incapable of the same sorts of intellectual and physical work of men. Essentially, Sedgwick claims the menstrual cycle is an insurmountable "handicap" that means women shouldn't vote. He believes that "the particular insane restlessness which is now affecting certain classes of women in America and England seems to be due to the comparative idleness from which they suffer through the gradual removal of the old domestic industries." So, in other words, technological innovations in the domestic sphere have resulted in women's boredom and so they are now "shrieking for 'liberty'".

Cover of Abbott and Breckenridge pamphlet
Thankfully, there are suffragist voices in print during this period as well. In response to an anti-suffrage pamphlet written in 1913 by Minnie Bronson, "formerly Special Agent, Bureau of Labor," two suffragettes published a devastating reply. Edith Abbott, Ph.D. in Economics and Law, and Sophonisba Breckenridge, Assistant Professor of Social Economy, both of the University of Chicago, dismantle Bronson's arguments in a brutal step-by-step fashion. Before they even begin, however, they undermine Bronson's claim to any authoritative position by revealing that her tenure as an employee of the Labor Department was fleeting; instead, her primary occupation was a high school math teacher and then a paid representative of anti-suffragists. This revelation is preceded by a blunt statement that, in arguing that suffrage will not lead to better treatment of women in industry, "Miss Minnie Bronson stands practically alone, opposed to the women who, as a result of long years of experience, are qualified to speak as to the conditions under which women work."

Other suffragists turn to humor and sarcasm instead of rhetorical rebuttals. Our personal favorite is a tongue-in-cheek rant by Marie Jenney Howe. Titled "An Anti-Suffrage Monologue," the pamphlet deftly skewers the hypocrisy and illogical positions of the anti-suffragist movement. Some choice excerpts:

"Many men call me an angel and I have a strong instinct which tells me it is true; that is why I am an anti, because 'I want to be an angel and with the angels stand.' And if you don't like that argument take this one. Women are depraved. They would introduce into politics a vicious element which would ruin our national life."

Cover of Howe pamphlet
"Women cannot band together. They are incapable of organization. No two women can even be friends. Women are cats. On the other hand, if women were enfranchised, we would have all the women banded together on one side, and all the men banded together on the other side, and there would follow a sex war which might end in bloody revolution."


These fascinating and occasionally amusing pamphlets (whether intentionally or not) are from the papers of Jesse Belle Hardy Stubbs MacKaye within the larger MacKaye Family Papers (ML-5). She was the president of the Milwaukee Women's Peace Society. To see this amazing collection of pamphlets, come to Special Collections and ask for Box 227 from the MacKaye Family Papers (ML-5).

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

A Coin Worth Impeachment

Letter from Teddy Roosevelt to Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 31 May 1901 We've alluded in the past to the artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens' commission from President Theodore Roosevelt to design a twenty-dollar gold coin. However, the actual letters between the two distinguished men deserve further comment. The context, too, is worth knowing. In the decade preceding the design of the coin, Saint-Gaudens had experienced several frustrating interactions with the United States Mint, including the rejection of his design for the official medal of the Chicago World's Fair in 1892. Instead, the directors went with a design submitted by the Mint's Chief Engraver, Charles Barber. Saint-Gaudens and Barber had both been on a silver coinage selection committee for the Mint in the previous year; after the committee failed to find a suitable artist, Barber had put himself forward as the only qualified candidate for the position (in his estimation). Saint-Gaudens disagreed and publicly criticized Barber's final product, saying that the work was inept and looked like the work of a sixteen-year-old beginner.

After these two experiences, Saint-Gaudens swore off working with the Mint in any capacity. True to his word, he rejected any and all commissions that might have any connection to the organization, no
Letter from Teddy Roosevelt to Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 6 November 1905
matter how tenuous. By 1904, President Teddy Roosevelt evidently felt the same way about the state of the nation's coinage. He reached out to Saint-Gaudens, with whom he had become friends, to see if the sculptor might be willing to help design some gold coins. Roosevelt, of course, had strong opinions about the appearance of the coinage. In a letter to Saint-Gaudens, written on November 6th, 1905, he says, "I was looking at some gold coins of Alexander the Great to-day, and I was struck by their high relief. Would it not be well to have our coins in high relief, and also to have the rims raised?"

Saint-Gaudens complied with the president's "suggestions" and ultimately produced model coins that delighted Roosevelt. In a letter to Saint-Gaudens dated December 20th, 1906, Roosevelt says, "These models are simply immense - if such a slang way of talking is permissible in reference to giving a modern nation one coinage at least which shall be as good as that of the ancient Greeks." He goes on to say that he has ordered the Mint to begin production immediately and hypothesizes that  he "shall be impeached for it in Congress" but that he "shall regard that as a very cheap payment!" Saint-Gaudens would never really see his final design reach fruition, however. He died of cancer in August of 1907, just a few months before production finally began on the coins.

Letter from Teddy Roosevelt to Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 20 December 1906Later this month, nearly a hundred and twelve years after his death, the Trustees of the Saint-Gaudens Memorial will award the Saint-Gaudens Medal to Dartmouth College Library in recognition of its care and preservation of the sculptor's papers. The Medal is being given to the library for its exemplary care and conservation of the collection of papers and artifacts relating to Augustus Saint-Gaudens, other artists of the Cornish Colony, and the Saint-Gaudens Memorial. Established in 1988, the Saint-Gaudens Medal is awarded, from time to time, by the Saint-Gaudens Memorial to such persons who, by their talents and beneficence, have made a distinguished contribution to the arts in America in the high tradition of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The Saint-Gaudens Medal was designed in 1992 by sculptor Robert W. White (1921-2002), a long-time Trustee of the Memorial.

To read more about Dartmouth College Library's receipt of the medal, read the press release. To read the correspondence between Saint-Gaudens and Roosevelt, come to Special Collections and ask for the Saint-Gaudens Papers (ML-4), Box 16.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Happy Birthday Walt!

Cover to As  a Strong Bird on Pinions FreeToday is Walt Whitman's 200th birthday. When his spirit is not checking out the produce aisle in the supermarket with Allen Ginsberg, he sometimes pays us a visit. You see, in 1872, he was brought to Dartmouth by the United Literary Societies to deliver a poem on Class Day, and wherever Whitman visited a little of his body electric remains.

The poem he read was a new one, written especially for the day: “As a Strong Bird on Pinions Free.” It fit the mood of commencement: it starts by imploring America to move forward and discover its true art and science, building on the past, but uniquely American in its future:
As a strong bird on pinion free,
Joyous, the amplest spaces heavenward cleaving,
Such be the thought I’d think to-day of thee America,
Such be the recitative I’d bring to-day for thee
Then it goes on:
Thee in thy future;
Thee in thy only permanent life, career—thy own unloosen’d mind—thy soaring future.
Thee as another equally needed sun, America—radiant, swift-moving, fructifying all.
First page of As a Strong Bird on Pinons Free
All of that expansive hope and progressive freedom! Whitman’s words would have been such a departure from what had been pounded into the students’ heads the previous four years. When they had entered Dartmouth in 1868, they were faced with a set curriculum with no electives. Freshmen year, they studied Latin, Greek, Mathematics, History; as sophomores, those were joined by a class in modern languages focused on French grammar, Civil Engineering, Rhetoric, and Natural History; Junior year introduced Philosophy and Physics; while seniors enjoyed a class in Anatomy and Physiology and a class in German. American culture was ignored, and God forbid any modern literature would be included from any country. Walt must be amazed when he walks across the Green today.

Note at bottom of poem that it was read at Dartmouth Commencement, 1872
If you want to hear more about his visit, check out our Hindsight is 20/19 podcast episode "Poet 17.50." To see the poem, ask for Rare PS3207.A1 1872.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Mr. Abel Chapman in Spitzbergen

Watercolor of ship in ice and fog
In the Summer of 1880, a relatively luxurious craft set off to convey a party of avid "sportsmen" to Spitzbergen on an arctic game hunting expedition. This trip was not for discovery or science, but to bag a polar bear, musk ox, or reindeer. One of the passengers, Abel Chapman, was a biologist intent not just on the hunt, but also on documenting the fauna of the arctic.

Watercolor of topographical map of Spitzbergen
Watercolor os two seals on ice

During the trip he assembled a scrapbook of his adventures done in stunning watercolor studies. They show the ships, ice, wildlife, and hunting scenes. The resulting album is a beautiful, if mildly disturbing, portrait of the journey thought the eyes of a naturalist and skilled painter.

Watercolor of hunters and prey Watercolor of small whaling boat being cut through the ice


Come in and take a look by asking for Rare QH11 .C43 1880z.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Best... Script Ever

First page of the Reel 5 transcript for the Las Vegas Superman meeting
In the summer of 1975, four men met in a room in Las Vegas to hash out the details of how to bring their version of Superman to the big screen. Mario Puzo, the Oscar-winning author of both the novel and screenplay The Godfather, had been hired by movie producer Ilya Salkind and his partner Pierre Spengler, who were in the room. The fourth member of the think tank was Carmine Infantino, who had illustrated and edited numerous titles for DC Comics and was the company's publisher at the time. Ultimately, the story would undergo numerous revisions and rewrites until it was released to commercial and critical acclaim in 1978. However, the initial vision for the movie, as conceived by Salkind, was that it would be a movie rooted firmly in a camp sensibility, akin to the very successful 1966 Batman movie. The plan was also for the script to span two movies: Superman and Superman II.

Fourth page of the Reel 5 transcript for the Las Vegas Superman meetingHere at Special Collections in the Puzo Papers, we have a transcript of that Las Vegas meeting. The emphasis on camp is evident from the very first page, as the men debate how to switch the focus from a detonated atom bomb to the Pope, and what to do about the relationship between Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman. Then one of the men mentions the need to have an "underwater thing," because, by the time the movie will be made, "Jaws will be played out" and so they "can have some sharks." There is also a great discussion about how long the movie can be, with the general consensus being that it can't be longer than two hours and fifteen minutes if they're going to hold the interest of seven-year-olds and eight-year-olds. At one point, someone jubilantly exclaims, "I feel terrific, I think we got the best fuckin' script, I mean really the best fuckin' script ever written of this kind of film ever."

To read more of the discussion, come to Rauner Library and ask for MS-1371, Box 20.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Edwin Drood through the Spirit-Pen

Six original parts of Teh Mystery of Edwin DroodCharles Dickens was in the midst of writing The Mystery of Edwin Drood when he died suddenly on June 9th, 1870. The first three installments had already been published, the fourth and fifth were complete, and the sixth was partially finished. The problem was that it was to be a novel in 12 parts, so the book was only half finished... and it was a mystery!

Of course Dickens was writing the novel as he went and he didn't even leave notes behind for the rest of the story. The publishers decided to just cut it off and call it a fragment, leaving a public wondering "who done it?" Luckily for the world, Brattleboro, Vermont, publisher T. P. James heard a voice from beyond. About a year after his death, Dickens began to dictate the conclusion to The Mystery of Edwin Drood to James. Why Dickens chose a small publisher in Brattleboro is anyone's guess, but James followed Dickens's instructions and published The Mystery of Edwin Drood Complete in 1873. The completed novel advertised itself as:
Part Second of the Mystery of Edwin Drood by the spirit-pen of Charles Dickens, through a medium. Embracing, also, that part of the Work which was published prior to the termination of the Author's Earth-Life.
Attribution page for Edwin Drood Complete
There is a preface by the medium (none other than the publisher) with a strong defense of the second half of the work as well as an author's preface by Dickens. Both the author and the medium chide critics who doubted the veracity of authorship. Dickens also provides a glimpse of the afterlife, assuring the public that Hell does not exist and that the spirits of those we have lost are still among us, just occupying a different plane of existence. But, far more important than solving the mystery of the afterlife, The Mystery of Edwin Drood is also solved. We won't give that away--to find out come in and ask for Val 826 D55 T411. You can also see the original six parts by asking for Val 826 D55 T413.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Race for the Pole!

Box cover for The Race for the Pole
Throughout the 19th century and into the 20th, the North Pole was a place of imagination and fantasy. Who knew what would be there? An open polar sea? A huge magnetic mountain? An endless wasteland? A place of banishment (remember Frankenstein)? Lots of people wanted to find out, and the race was on. Even when it was "discovered" in 1909, nothing was really settled. The ensuing arguments between Frederick Cook and Robert Peary went on for decades.

Game board
We recently purchased a huge collection of Arctic ephemera that shows the incredible popularity of the North. Among the playbills, advertising trade cards, sheet music, photographs, and puzzles, there was a simple game called The Race for the Pole from 1905. Three colored balls had to weave up an obstacle laden hill to reach the North Pole--each ball represented a different country. Which would win? Little nails representing ice pack blocked the way, but eventually, with enough tilting and twirling, an intrepid explorer might make it.

Rules for game
To see it, ask for the Arctic Ephemera collection, MSS-288, Box 8.


Friday, May 10, 2019

APB: Who Needs a Photograph?

Full Procalmation from State of New HampshireWe just picked up a new bit of ephemera from the 1891 Christie Warden murder case. Since we have blogged the case before, we won't recount it again. The item we just bought is a proclamation from the state declaring a $4,000 reward for the convict's capture. It is one of the most bizarrely thorough descriptions of a convict we have ever seen. It starts out normal enough, listing the suspect's age, weight, and height, complexion and eye color, but then it gets a bit weird:
...brown hair, but not shading on the red, thin on top, high forehead, hair growing down to point in centre, usually wore coarse stubby mustache; sometimes uses black cosmetic to make mustache and eye-brows match hair; often speaks of his classical nose.
Cosmetics? Speaks of his classical nose?  It goes on...
Fine set teeth, even and white; slight crow-foot marks about eyes. Large hands and wrists thickly covered with hair from which extends over his arms and body. Hands stubby in shape and course, though he takes excellent care of them. Has scar on left fore-arm made with corn cutter, which runs diagonally across. Small scar on right fore-arm made, he says, by bullet passing through.
 The little "he says" set off in commas is telling. In the next paragraph they doubt his bravado again: "Had, when he left Hanover, a russet leather valise of good size, nickeled trimmings with top end fastenings for which he claimed to have given fifteen dollars."

Detail of "Description of the Murder"
Then they give a description of his clothes down to the underwear, the serial number of his watch, and warn that he also carries a "44 revolver, perhaps two." It would have been good to know that at the start.

Then there is his past:
Said he was born in Maine and had attended school near Portland; claimed to have lived in the South and frequently spoke of himself as a Southerner; said he worked on a milk route in and about Lynn, at time of big fire there; but was very reticent concerning earlier years. Has spoken, in confidential way, admitting that his past life had been very wicked and dissipated, though not known to have drank liquor while in this state. Well educated and writes readily and well.
Okay, if I get in a conversation with this guy, I'll know who he is--if his classical nose, cosmetics, hairy arms, valise and watch, and tales of the South don't give him away, the two revolvers might.

We will get this cataloged soon and give you call number to request it.





Tuesday, May 7, 2019

"Recreation (Compulsory)"

Photograph of the entire Dartmouth newspaper card catalog in Rauner Library's reading room.
Every year, Rauner Special Collections Library's reference staff receive over a thousand research questions via e-mail or phone from scholars, amateur genealogists, and curious individuals. We love helping people find answers to their inquiries, and we always learn a little bit more about our own collections in the process. Although the core staff consists of one full-time employee, one part-time employee, and a student worker, the entire library participates in the fun by fielding questions related to their own areas of expertise or interest. For example, one of our processing specialists has become our de facto expert on the Dartmouth Cemetery and even leads annual walking tours there. One librarian is known for his interest in answering questions related to our 20th-century printing and typography collections. Everyone here at Special Collections understands the value and thrill that can come from helping people, which is why the library is such a great place to work.

First index card of the "Recreation (Compulsory)" topic from the D Card Catalog.Believe it or not, one of our best tools for answering the many questions we receive every week about Dartmouth life is a card catalog. We have an index of the Dartmouth student newspaper that goes all the way back to the early 1800s and was initially begun as a Works Progress Administration project during the Great Depression. Dartmouth students workers are continually updating an electronic index of the newspaper that begins in the 1980s and continues to the current day, but there is no other way to access pre-1980s D articles except the old fashioned way. Recently, we were trying to figure out the origins of the notorious Dartmouth swim test, which has been a tribulation for the student body for at least almost a century. In hunting through the card catalog, we stumbled upon our new favorite subject heading: "Recreation (Compulsory)." Beginning in the 1919-1920 academic year, freshmen at Dartmouth were required to participate in at least one form of athletic activity for no credit. As per a D article from September 29, 1919, "the system will eventually put the entire college undergraduate body on a schedule of three hours per week compulsory recreation."

To read more about this topic or other Dartmouth-related compulsions, come to Special Collections and thumb through an index that has itself become a living artifact of sorts. Anyone at the desk can help you get started.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Printer's Delight

Page opening showing an engraved page opposite a page of typeWe generally try to stay away from the obsessive intricacies of the rare book world in this blog--preferring to regale you with charming vignettes or shock you with sordid tales from our collections. But today, while looking at the silliest of books, we fell into a bibliographic curiosity that we will now bore you with. Wait, how can a post about book with the title Recreation for Ingenious Head-peeces, Or, a Pleasant Grove for the Wits to Walk in be boring?! This is a book filled with shape poems, witty epigrams, and "numerous Fantasticks!"

It was those shape poems that aroused our curiosity; not so much their shapes, but how they were printed. Each one is an engraving that has been printed using an intaglio process, a completely different process from the accompanying text, which was printed in relief with raised metal type. This means that the printer could not have printed the images at the same time as the text. That is not a big deal--it happens all of the time in the 17th century. Usually the engraved pages are special plates printed out of sequence with the text block signatures and then bound in separately. We are starting to bore you, aren't we?

Page opening showing an engraved page next to a page of type with woodcuts
Not to worry, here is where it gets exciting! All of the engraved pages appear in the same signature (Q) between signatures P and R. Most of the pages in the signature are type, but four pages are engraved. Not only that, but the entire book is an octavo in 8s except for this signature which is an octavo in 12s. "Wow!" you say, "this is exciting!" You're right. That signature, with its 12 leaves, has four engraved pages. In each case, they are on the same leaf with text on the other side. So, it looks like the printer took a half sheet, printed one side using using an intaglio process and the other side with a relief process. At least that's what we think--it is really hard to tell for sure without disbinding the thing. Also, he seems to have folded it incorrectly so the pages are out of order. It is a mess, bibliographically. This took some planning by a printer who wanted to make his "Fantasticks" fantastic. He was smart enough to place all of the fancy work in this one signature so he could print the rest more easily, but why he didn't go with plates is anyone's guess.

To try to puzzle it out, ask for Rare PR2308 .W58 1654.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Killing Quakers

Broadside detailing the arrest and execution of Quakers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1660.
This week we're on a colonial America kick. On Tuesday, we posted about the wild life of Captain John Smith before his Virginia days. Today, we're obsessing about a broadside that we found in the collections. Printed in London in 1660, the poster caught our eye immediately because it calls Quakers "pernicious." As if that weren't enough to rouse one's interest, the proclamation goes on to state that the government in Boston, Massachusetts, had actually executed some of them. "Why are Puritans in Massachusetts hanging Quakers?!?" we wondered to ourselves. And, with that question, we began our dive into the murky world of New England colonial politics, the insidious intertwining of church and state in the "New World," and the eventual dissolution of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's charter by King Charles II. What follows are the briefest of talking points about this strange time in the history of colonial North America and the Quaker faith.

At the risk of oversimplifying everything to do with English conflicts over belief systems, the English Civil War in the 1600s gave rise to the Puritans but also saw the emergence of numerous other dissenting Christian groups including the Quakers. In brief, the Quakers were seen as a problem theologically and politically. They refused to swear fealty to the Crown because of religious beliefs and they also threatened to undermine the power of the clergy through their insistence that God spoke directly to all people and not just through ministers and appointed ecclesiastical officials. Not surprisingly, persecution towards Quakers spiked in England in the 1650s and many of them fled the country for other lands. Some even came to Boston, Massachusetts, and began proselytizing, which promptly resulted in banishment from the Colony.

However, the number of Quakers in the colonies continued to grow. In 1659, a group that came to be known as the Boston Martyrs returned to Massachusetts in defiance of the law of banishment that promised death as punishment. You can see where this is headed. All three martyrs were quickly arrested, and two of them, Marmaduke Stephenson and William Robinson, were hanged the same year in Boston. Mary Dyer, the third, was spared at the last minute and deported, but eventually returned and was also hanged a year later, in 1660. A fourth Quaker from Barbados, William Leddra, was hanged in 1661. By then, however, Charles II had regained the throne and was eager to establish a policy of religious tolerance. He forbade the Massachusetts Bay Colony to continue killing Quakers. They grudgingly agreed, but still found other ways to make Quakers miserable until 1684, when the king revoked their charter and installed a royally-appointed governor to administrate the territory.

To see this broadside, which provides a fascinating window into Puritan intolerance and Quaker martyrdom in colonial New England, come to Rauner and ask to see Broadside 660940.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Gunning for Glory

John Smith jousting with a Turkish knightMost Americans have heard the quasi-mythical story of Pocahontas, the daughter of a Powahatan chief, and how she saved the life of English colonist and soldier John Smith. John Smith himself was, and still is, a central figure in the story of the English colonization of North America, including the founding of Jamestown in Virginia. Always a controversial figure, Smith nevertheless contributed significantly to European knowledge of the American continent through his explorations and mapping of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, as well as of a coastal region that he named "New England."

Given his importance to early settlers, popular knowledge of John Smith understandably begins with his adventures in North America. However, most people aren't aware of the life that Smith lived before he arrived in Virginia, despite his having written a book about his early years titled The True Travels, Adventures, and Observations of Captain John Smith, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, from Anno Domini 1593 to 1629. This publication was printed in 1630, six years after his well-known General History of Virginia hit the streets of London. With it, Smith attempted to capitalize on the success of his previous work by recounting his youthful adventures, perhaps in a prescient retelling of his life before his death in London the following year.

What is most fascinating about Smith's pre-Virginian life, at least for me, is how full a life the
John Smith shooting a Turkish knight with a pistol while both are on horsebacktwenty-seven-year-old had led by the time that he made landfall in North America. As a teenager, he had abandoned his late father's desire to apprentice him to a merchant and instead joined a group of British soldiers who were helping the Dutch in their war of independence from Spain. After that, he bounced around the Mediterranean, dabbling in piracy before joining the Austrian army in their battles against the Ottoman Empire. He was promoted to captain, sent to Transylvania, and reportedly killed three Turkish knights in single combat. It's worth noting that, in at least one of these bouts, Smith used a pistol on horseback to dispatch his opponent after their lances had both shattered.

John Smith being sold into slavery
In a later skirmish during the same campaign, Smith was captured and sold into slavery to a Turkish woman of Greek descent. He soon escaped and returned to Transylvania, where he was knighted by the prince of that country for his derring-do. All of this, we are told by scholars and critics, is to be taken with a grain of salt, given what is known about John Smith the man. However other scholars have argued that, while Smith may have embellished the details of his life, the larger scope of his life journey was very likely true.

To see John Smith bring a gun to a lance fight, and to read more strange and wonderful tales from his only-partially-but-maybe-mostly-true autobiography, come to Special Collections and ask for Hickmott 480.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Botanic Garden

Plate 7: Aster Amellus and Amaraanthus Hpochondroacus
It finally warmed up last Saturday and melted off the rest of the snow in Hanover. Today it might hit 70, the grass is starting to green up, and the forsythia in front of South Fayerweather is blooming. We still have some heavy frosts in store, but the smell of moist earth after the long winter has us dreaming of the garden. To tide us over for another few weeks of brown landscape, here are some hand-colored plates from Sydenham Edwards's New Botanic Garden (London: John Stockdale, 1812).

Title page with floral frontispiece
Plate 22: Dodecatatheon MeadiaPlate 19: Dahlia Pinnata and Dahlia Crocata

To see the plates in person, ask for Rare QK98.E32.


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Rauner Exhibit: "Let's Get Lunch"

"Let's Get Lunch" exhibit poster
This term we are proud to promote an exhibit by our current Edward Connery Lathem '51 Special Collections Fellow, Jaime Eeg '18, titled "Let's Get Lunch: An Exhibit for the Discerning Palate." The exhibit will be on display in the Class of 1965 Galleries from April 5th through June 7th, 2019.

We all need food. Without it, we cannot survive. Yet the human relationship with food is intricate, complex, and varies widely across individuals and cultures. Our relationship with food can be at once deeply personal and private while also serving as a bridge to connect with others, sometimes meaningfully and sometimes just superficially. We've all heard the old platitude, "let's get lunch sometime," a statement upon which potential connections can either flourish or wither. Given the opportunity, food has the power to draw us in and connect us with each other, just as cookbooks can connect us to the people and cultures who created them.

Food can also help us build communities. Shared experience helps create strong foundations between individuals and larger groups of people, and shared meals are a common avenue for those experiences. Just as food helps us build meaningful connections across groups, an understanding of the food from another culture or time helps foster deeper, meaningful understanding of those cultures and times. Cookbooks can offer a valuable way to access that potential for understanding.

And food can simply be fun! Cooking and cookbooks can be artistic or experimental, and cooking or eating together complements and strengthens existing relationships. Meals are an excellent excuse to spend quality time with people we care about. After all, we all need food.

If you're hungry for more about food and Dartmouth, come  take a look at the cookbooks at Special Collections. Also, stay connected on social media for updates about opportunities to sample some actual treats made from the recipes in the exhibit. If you can't make it to the exhibit in person, you can read more about it online here.