Friday, July 5, 2019


Faculty notes on Treadwell hearingOn June 23, 1828, John Treadwell of the Class of 1830 set off fireworks near Dartmouth Hall. That doesn't sound like that big of a deal but, in this circumstance, it was. On June 24th, a special meeting of the faculty was called to discuss his case and, on June 26th, the faculty meted out a ten-week suspension from Dartmouth.

We have a small clutch of hastily written notes from that week. It appears Treadwell had exhibited a pattern of bad behavior during his time at Dartmouth. The fireworks were merely the latest disturbance. It appears the faculty had had enough, and they interrogated Treadwell. During the meeting, he "stated several manifest falsehoods," as documented in notes and dispositions.

Letter from Rev. PerryHe was banished to the "care and instructing of the Rev. Joseph Perry in Thetford, Vt." In October, Perry wrote a not-very-enthusiastic report to the faculty about young Treadwell's progress. While he had not "been altogether as industrious as would have been desirable and perhaps upon the strict principle might fall under the charge of some indiscretions," the good Reverend believes that Treadwell's former bad habits were likely the result of "unhappy connections."

Hmmm--we are still not sure what all he did, but either the faculty opted not to readmit or he decided not to return: he never completed his degree.

To try to puzzle it out yourself, ask for MS 828374.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Money Talks

First page of "Satan Absolved"
One of our lesser-known book collections in Special Collections is the Wilfrid Scawen Blunt collection. It was given to the college in 1940 by legendary Dartmouth professor Herbert West, a member of the class of 1922. The Blunt collection contains seventy-seven volumes of first-edition works by the author, including presentation copies and other rare issuances of his work.

Born in Sussex, England, in 1840, Blunt was publicly known for his anti-imperialistic stance towards European global dominance. His scathing condemnation of European self-righteous expansion frequently emerges in his writing. In his work Satan Absolved, Blunt refers to the phrase, "White Man's Burden," which was a term coined by Rudyard Kipling in an 1899 poem published about the Philippine-American War. The phrase was seized upon by expansionists and imperialists as a justification for the often violent subjugation and subsequent financial exploitation of other nations and peoples, under the pretense of bringing to them the "gift"
Page of "Satan Absolved" that discusses White Man's Burden
of civilization. Blunt places this concept in the mouth of his character, The Lord God, in Satan Absolved, who says:

This Anglo-Saxon man hath a fair name with some.
He stands in brave repute, a priest of Christendom,
First in civility, so say the Angel host
Who speak of him with awe as one that merits most.

In response, Blunt's character Satan rails against this thinly-veiled notion of white supremacy: "Their poets... write big of the 'White Burden.' Trash! The White Man's Burden, Lord, is the burden of his cash."

Page of "Satan Absolved" that shows the "horse" correction to the proofIn addition to his anti-imperialism, Blunt also dallied with the Islamic faith, and wrote a book titled The Future of Islam. He and his wife, Lady Anne Noel Blunt, lived for a long time just outside of Cairo, where they established an Arabian horse-breeding farm that was partially responsible for saving the Arabian breed from extinction. Blunt's love of horses is evident in Satan Absolved. Here in Special Collections, we have a proof copy of the poem containing numerous manuscript corrections. In one of Satan's responses to The Lord God, he originally speaks of "Large hearted elephants, the wolf, the wolverine." However, in our version, Blunt has crossed out the wolf and the wolverine and instead substituted "the horse how near divine."

To examine his other corrections and emendations of his poem, or to read Satan's withering critique of imperialism in full, come to Rauner and ask to see Blunt 31, copy 2.