Friday, October 29, 2021

Delightfully Dreadful

To start our Halloween weekend off right, we're taking a look at Varney the Vampyre; or, The Feast of Blood, an early example of European vampire literature in a deliciously pulpy format. Variously attributed to James Malcolm Rymer or Thomas Peckett Prest, Varney was published as a series of cheaply printed pamphlets from 1845 to 1847. This "penny dreadful" style of printing was inexpensive, popular, and typically followed sensational stories of mystery, romance, and horror.

Sir Francis Varney, our titular vampire, comes about 40 years after Polidori's Lord Ruthven and about 50 years before Bram Stoker's Count Dracula. The tropes of vampire stories were far from established as this point, and so Varney starts quite a few of his own. Fangs, superhuman strength, and hypnotism are all introduced to the literature here. Beyond his supernatural skillset, he's also considered the first "sympathetic" vampire, a trait that more modern authors like Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris, and Stephanie Meyer would later take and run with. He finds himself morally tortured to the point that by the story's end (spoiler alert), he throws himself into Mount Vesuvius. That said, Varney's conflicted nature doesn't stop him from murdering his way through nearly 900 pages of lurid prose.

To see this landmark work of horror fiction, skulk over to Special Collections and ask for Rainone Penny Dreadfuls PR3991.A1 V27 1845.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Gandhi's Wheel of Fortune

cover of Gandhi's 1921 publication "The Wheel of Fortune."Tomorrow marks what would have been Mohandas Karamchad Gandhi's 152nd birthday. In India, October 2nd is called "Gandhi Jayanti" and is one of the country's three national holidays. In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly established the date as the International Day of Non-Violence. For most of the world, Gandhi's name has become synonymous with a philosophy of non-violent resistance and, in most popular images of him, he is inevitably clad in nothing but a humble loincloth, shawl, and eyeglasses.

However, for those of us who were born decades after his assassination in 1948, it may come as a surprise to know that Gandhi did not openly adopt this iconic wardrobe until he was 52 years of age. He also had lived half of his life abroad in both England and South Africa before returning to his homeland at the age of 45. He had gained a reputation among his countryman as a nationalist and community organizer because of his advocacy for South Africa's Indian population. Soon after his return, Gandhi assumed leadership of the Indian National Congress and immediately began to challenge British rule.

Gandhi adopted the loincloth and shawl as a means of connecting with Indians living in poverty; the clothing was woven from yarn made on a traditional Indian spinning wheel, called a charkha. The spinning wheel became central to Gandhi's struggle for national emancipation as a symbol of self-sufficiency as well as a practical method by which to boycott British goods and create a sense of national identity. He published a book titled "The Wheel of Fortune" in 1922 that outlined this philosophy by encouraging Indian people to spin their own clothing as a means of protest. Fittingly, the book is bound in Khadi, the cloth produced by traditional Indian spinning and weaving.

To see a rare first edition of this book, come to Rauner and ask to see Rare Book HC435 .G3.

Friday, September 17, 2021

New Exhibit at Rauner: "Illustrating 'Once Upon A Time'"

We are delighted to announce the first installation of an exhibit in the Class of 1965 Galleries at Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall in over a year. As of this past Monday, “Illustrating ‘Once Upon A Time’," an exhibit curated by Scout Noffke, will be on display through December 3rd. Unfortunately, because of current college COVID policy regarding building access, the on-site exhibit is accessible only to current Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff. However, the exhibit also has an engaging digital version that anyone can access online via this link

Dartmouth Library’s Special Collections hold many illustrated books that highlight the artistic lineage of fairy tales. Three hundred years of illustration demonstrate not just the way artists represented the printed word, but the development of certain thematic trends within the stories. Like folk and fairy tales themselves, published works of art are pieces in conversation with each other. Artists know and draw inspiration from one another, and by looking at multiple iterations of the same or similar stories, one begins to see what scholar Elizabeth Newton describes as “networks of thought.”

This exhibit traces those networks in five well-known European fairy tales from Rauner Library’s collections. Over time, the illustrations for each story reveal through-lines of thought that either transform as they move from one artist to the next or repeat a visual theme again and again, adding to an artistic legacy by way of repetition and response.Both the on-site and online versions of this exhibit were curated by Scout Noffke, Rauner Special Collections Library’s Reference and Administrative Specialist. The on-site exhibit was installed by Deborah Howe and Lizzie Curran.

*Please note that the on-site exhibit is accessible only to current Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff.*

Friday, September 10, 2021

A Decade Undercover as a Communist

Carol Foster's subpoena to the Committee on Un-American Activities
At a Cub Scout meeting in 1945, suburban New Hampshire housewife Carol Foster asked another parent, an FBI agent, “Don’t you have a job in the FBI for someone like me?” So began her thirteen-year career as a counterspy for the FBI, undercover in the Communist Party in New Hampshire, which only ended in 1958 when the House Un-American Activities Committee called her to testify about what she had learned. Foster kept a large scrapbook with mostly clippings of newspapers mentioning her, which include transcripts of the hearing where she appeared.

Front page story about Foster in the Nashua TelegraphReading through these news articles, it’s easy to understand how normalized the “Red Scare” mindset was at the time. Even Foster was asked whether she had any “sympathy with the Communist ideology,” and when she had finished testifying, Congressman Bernard Kearney advised her to ignore the insults of people he dismissed as “Fifth Amendment Americans”—referring to the fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination, which suspected communists relied on in these hearings. This attitude did not bother Foster, though; she believed the FBI had been “sticking to constitutional methods,” and she had no problem with encouraging civilians to call the FBI to report “anything which might seem subversive.” While she felt guilty about revealing people’s personal information herself, she also felt that it was “bigger than [her].”

Part of a newspaper clipping with a transcript of Foster's hearing
It is also apparent in Foster’s scrapbook how much her gender influenced news coverage of the events. Although Foster was celebrated as a hero, headlines pigeonholed her as a “mother,” a “housewife,” and even “pretty” before anything else. When the papers did mention her life outside her FBI career and family, they revealed that she had a home photography studio, and that she enjoyed skiing, hunting, fishing, and flying. Somehow, Foster still found the time to carry out what she felt was her patriotic duty, as a secret from everyone but her husband, for over a decade.

To see Foster’s scrapbook (or her impressive collection of communist publications), come to Rauner and ask for MS-1441.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Cloudy Understanding

Full text of "Cloud Shimmerings"One of the most exciting aspects of our collections is the way that Dartmouth students interpret primary sources to create new ideas within the context of the classroom. On Tuesdays this summer, we will publish posts that were originally written by students in Michael Chaney's Literary History survey course during the Winter 2021 term. Each student essay comparatively examines two poems, one from the Dartmouth student newspaper and the other by a canonical American or British author.

Today's post examines the poems “Cloud Shimmerings,” from Volume One of The Dartmouth, and Percy Shelley’s “The Cloud” and argues that these poems qualify the impact that nature can have upon humanity since the truth of humanity is its mortality, which is a state to which nature can never relate.

The second stanza of “Cloud Shimmerings” identifies within nature “A truthful beauty” which is encapsulated so fully within each natural entity that “e’en the mists earth’s bosom gives to air,/… May give to stooping thoughts a loftier flight/... To glean the choicest gems that truth’s high throne bedight.” (J. 10, 12, 16, 18). The human speaker thus claims that the natural beauty embedded within a cloud, when witnessed by a human, allows the cloud to elevate the otherwise subservient human introspections to the extent that the human might be allowed to witness real truth (“stooping, v.1”). The idealistic pastoral tone of the poem insinuates that such an evolution in knowledge “Tis joy” to experience, as it is a separation from “the din of human toil and strife” to the extent that understanding natural truth serves to sever the speaker from the limitations of human existence (J. 1, 2).

The truth that the human is granted understanding of can be contemplated through the application of “The Cloud.” The semi-omniscient speaker of the cloud grants readers first-hand access to the truths inherent in nature which appear to be two-fold. Until the closing stanza, the poem emphasizes the myriad symbiotic relationships connecting the cloud to all other elements of nature. It is not until the last stanza that the speaker seems to allude to any interaction it might have with humanity. The cloud defines itself in the last stanza, emphasizing its state of immortality through lines 74 and 80 : “I change, but I cannot die/… I silently laugh at my own cenotaph”(Shelley). The cloud’s laughter at the cenotaph, intended to serve as a physical memorial to the dead, emphasizes the futility of human monuments attempting to be compared to the truth of natural immortality (“cenotaph, n.”).

This truth may be viewed as a characteristic transitively shared by all the elements in nature but noticeably absent in humanity, as is insinuated through the lack of connection to humanity within the poem itself. As such, “The Cloud” posits that the truths of natural beauty are natural immorality, and in turn, human mortality. The divine sensation of illumination that the speaker in “Cloud Shimmerings” claims to experience is thus qualified by the essence of the truths they come to bear witness to; as while the human is enabled to comprehend that they are mortal and nature is not, this cognizance does not truly separate them from the rest of humanity, as both they and their attempted literary memorializations are laughable in the eyes of nature.

Written by Zoe Marzi '22

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Agency of Death

Text of "Epitaph on a Sailor"One of the most exciting aspects of our collections is the way that Dartmouth students interpret primary sources to create new ideas within the context of the classroom. On Tuesdays this summer, we are publishing posts that were originally written by students in Michael Chaney's Literary History survey course during the Winter 2021 term. Each student essay comparatively examines two poems, one from the Dartmouth student newspaper and the other by a canonical American or British author. Today's poems are "Lycidas" by John Milton and "Epitaph on a Sailor" published in the Dartmouth, the student newspaper, in the 1840s.

An analysis of “Epitaph on a Sailor” through the lens of natural immortality introduced by Milton’s “Lycidas” offers a new reading of the poem. While both works speak of death as a physical phenomenon, “Epitaph” conveys it as a final destination. The farmer is reduced to dust, and all who are dead reduce to sediment “beneath the land and sea” (Anonymous). “Epitaph” conveys multiple dualities – between land and sea, between “remain” and “contain,” between immortality and death. The “urn” represents a duality between earth and aquatics, as it can refer to a vessel “ used by various peoples…to preserve the ashes of the dead” (urn 1) while it can also mean “ an oviform pitcher or vessel for holding water” (urn 4.a). These binaries illuminate the distinctions between life and death as separate entities, suggesting immortality as an impossibility.

In contrast to the stationary description of deaths of the mariner and farmer in “Epitaph,” such as the depiction of dust in an urn or at the bottom of the ocean, Lycidas lives on as an individual through nature. “Lycidas is not dead” Milton says -- he elementally reappears as “in the forehead of the morning sky” and in “groves and other streams” (Milton). He lives on through the lamenting of nature. Milton’s lens of natural immortality provides a reading of “Epitaph” that places it in conversation with “Lycidas,” -- a means to express life beyond death.

Applying the immortal qualities of “Lycidas” illuminates the importance of the order of words in “Epitaph.” The last line, which reads “alike, beneath the land and sea,” suggests potential for the dead to live through earthly phenomena. This line also reverses the order of “mariner first, farmer second,” (the order in which they appear in the poem). Placing the land before the sea suggests concrete life after death. It favors the stable land of the farmer over ethereal vastness of the ocean. Milton’s lens also calls to attention the pattern of verbiage associated with each person. The mariner “remains,” while the farmer is “contained” -- the former being passive and the latter more active. “Remains” means “to continue to belong to a person” (remains 1.a), while “contains,” means “to restrain… to hinder (from an action) (contain 1a). The shift from passive to active verb suggests the Miltonic theme of death taking on more agency in “Epitaph.” There is more life to death, as suggested in “Lycidas,” when the hero collects not just as dust, but as sediment “sunk though he be beneath the wat'ry floor” (Milton). “Lycidas” provides a lens through which “Epitaph” can be read to have more of an immortal view as opposed to a reading which conveys death as absolute.

Written by Julia Robitaille '23

"Epitaph on a Sailor"

HERE rest in death a mariner’s remains—
That other urn a farmer’s dust contains:Thus Pluto’s dark dominions be Alike
beneath the land and sea.
(Published in the Dartmouth, Volume 2, 1840-1841)

"Lycidas", lines 165 – 177, or 10th stanza

Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more,
For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the wat'ry floor;
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed, And yet anon repairs his drooping head, And tricks his beams, and with new spangled ore Flames in the forehead of the morning sky:
So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high
Through the dear might of him that walk'd the waves;
Where, other groves and other streams along,
With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves,
And hears the unexpressive nuptial song,
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love.
(Written by John Milton in 1637)

Friday, August 6, 2021

Repairing the (Ivory) Tower

Masthead of "Steepejack"
Progressive politics were in the air at Dartmouth in 1933. The new student run magazine Steeplejack declared its intentions with a logo showing a "steeplejack" repairing the recently erected Baker Tower next to a bold statement of purpose:

Steeplejack declares for a New Deal at Dartmouth College: a birth of opinion and literary creativity, a comprehension of the purposes of the college, an integration of undergraduate life with the activities and culture of the outside world.

We declare definite war upon pseudo-intellectualism, upon insincere writing and speech-making, upon undirected emotion and cinematic leadership.

Nice! They have aligned themselves with Roosevelt, they are taking on the theater of education, trying to engage outside the Dartmouth bubble, and giving it away for free to "do our part." Curiously, though, they seem to see nothing wrong with using the Baker weather vane...

Take a look at Dartmouth's version of progressive politics in 1933 by asking for DC History LH1 .D3S8.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Bookplates in the Atmosphere

Image of Amelia Earhart's bookplateHere at Rauner, we have an interesting collection of various famous people's bookplates, which they would paste into the inside covers of their books to indicate that any particular volume belonged to them. The focus of the collection is primarily American and British personalities.⁠

Recently, we discovered this very plain but very cool bookplate that belonged to Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. This exciting find seemed particularly relevant given the recent trip into space by another aviation pioneer, Wally Funk.⁠

To explore the Bookplates collection, explore the finding aid for Iconography 1733 and then come to Rauner and ask to see whichever fascinating paste-in of a famous person that you'd like.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Very Person of Death

the complete text of "Apostrophe to Death"One of the most exciting aspects of our collections is the way that Dartmouth students interpret primary sources to create new ideas within the context of the classroom. On Tuesdays this summer, we will publish posts that were originally written by students in Michael Chaney's Literary History survey course during the Winter 2021 term. Each student essay comparatively examines two poems, one from the Dartmouth student newspaper and the other by a canonical American or British author. Today's post compares "The Masque of the Red Death," by Edgar Allen Poe, with "Apostrophe To Death, On His Removal of an Intimate Friend," published in the student newspaper The Dartmouth.

In Poe’s story “The Masque of the Red Death” and the poem “Apostrophe To Death,” we see personified depictions of death. Both demonstrate our difficulties discussing death as anything but a tangible being on which we can place blame.

In Poe’s story, thousands of people who believe they are free of a deadly pestilence, the red death, come together for a party hosted by Price Prostero. Their surprise at the Red Death’s physical arrival as a party guest accompanies feelings of terror and ultimately, a massacre of all attendants. On the other hand, “Apostrophe to Death” tells the story of just one loss, not a thousand-person catastrophe. The speaker describes death as a personified being which comes to take human life, an act described as “thy dreadful work.”

Poe’s story demonstrates the difficulty humans have with comprehending death in the abstract form. Poe characterizes the Red Death as a guest who enters the party towards the middle of the story. However, the line “and now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death,” appears in the culminating paragraph. In order to rationalize how death came unexpectedly, it is compared to “a thief in the night”; while thieves are elusive, they still are beings, easier to blame than the unseen wind.

When the Red Death overtakes the party and kills all the guests in the end, “the flames of the tripods expired.” At the time, ‘tripod’ could mean a three legged vessel, but it could also represent the “tripod of life,” as in “The heart, lungs, and brain constitute … the tripod of life.” The heart, lungs, and brain are all very scientific aspects of life. Death merely occurs when one or more of these pillars stops working. Still, Poe decides to animate death as a tangible human rather than as a termination of a heartbeat etc.
In the poem, the personified being of death is also unexpected yet tangible. One line addresses death directly by saying “But thou didst enter.” Even if death was unexpected, it physically entered the dying person’s body, like a thief entering a building. While there is no explicit mention of theft in the poem, one line describes the dead loved one as someone “whose voice is hush’d in death,” as if their voice was stolen. Again, it is important to note that something perceivable such as voice was stolen rather than a heartbeat.

While death in Poe’s story functions to express how thousands of people can all die in an instant, in a massacre, death acts as an outlet for anger in the poem. Both demonstrate our instinctual desire to place blame on some being in order to project our emotions of terror and pain.

Written by Sabrina Eager '23

Passage A:
And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.
(Edgar Allen Poe, “The Masque of the Red Death”)

Passage B:
For the pale cheek assur’d thy task begun,
And friends, soft slumb’ring, could not gather there,
Before, alas, thy dreadful work is done,
And that lov’d one, whose voice is hush’d in death,
Was doom’d all lonely to resign her breath.
(“Apostrophe to Death, On his Removal of an Intimate Friend,” The Dartmouth Vol. 1)

Friday, July 23, 2021

Americans on Everest

college-era headshot of John BreitenbachDartmouth College has long had a reputation for outdoor sports and recreation. The foundation of the Dartmouth Outing Club by Fred Harris '11 was embraced by many students and became a strong draw for young men who wanted a more active college experience. John Breitenbach '57 was one of those men who were attracted by Dartmouth's emphasis on the outdoors. After he graduated, he opened a skiing and mountaineering equipment shop in Jackson, Wyoming.⁠

In 1963, Breitenbach was a member of the first American expedition to summit Mount Everest, along with two other Dartmouth alums, Barry Corbet '58 and Barry Bishop '53. Tragically, Breitenbach died on Khumbu Glacier at the foot of the mountain when a serac, or massive block of ice, unexpectedly collapsed on top of him.⁠ The leader of the team, Norman Dyhrenfurth, called a meeting of the rest of the members to discuss the loss of Breitenbach, let everyone speak in response to the tragedy, and see if people wanted to continue. The team ultimately decided to continue, resulting in a successful summiting by numerous members of the party. In addition, Willi Unsoeld and Tom Hornbein completed the first traverse of Everest by ascending via the West Ridge instead of the South Col route (which had been used by the 1953 British expedition).

To learn more about John Breitenbach, member of the class of 1957, come to Rauner and ask to see his Alumni File.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Frankenstein and False Flowers

"Falsity" poem from the Dartmouth student newspaperOne of the most exciting aspects of our collections is the way that Dartmouth students engage with them to create new ideas within the context of the classroom. On Tuesdays this summer, we will publish posts that were originally written by students in Michael Chaney's Literary History survey course during the Winter 2021 term. Each student essay comparatively examines two poems, one from the Dartmouth student newspaper and the other by a canonical American or British author.

Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and the poem “Falsity,” from The Dartmouth’s archives, do not seem to be linked at first glance. Further analysis reveals many thematic similarities between the two texts. I was drawn immediately to the line from the poem: “’Twas an emblem of youth in its earliest hour.” Initially a veneration of youth, the poem turns into a darkly cautionary tale about youth’s betrayal. A young flower is quickly killed by a blighted leaf, just as a young Frankenstein meets his end at the hand of his own blighted creation. The young Frankenstein creates his monster, a pursuit that was fueled by youthful pride and ultimately ends in betrayal.

In the poem, as in the novel, the question of who is doing the betraying is a rather murky one. Does the “sweet blushing” flower deserve the blighted leaf for its pride, or is the leaf itself merely an arbitrary traitor? By the end of Shelley’s novel, the reader certainly feels that Frankenstein deserves punishment for his sinful pride. Throughout much of the novel, Frankenstein feels betrayed by both himself and his creation. The doubling of Frankenstein and the monster mirrors that of the flower and the blighted leaf in the poem: proud beauty marred by something dark and ugly. The flower, which the poet deemed “too pure and too holy to die,” also reminded me of Elizabeth. Frankenstein’s oft-patronizing way of referring to Elizabeth made her seem at times like an inanimate object, with all the agency of a flower. Like the blighted leaf betrays the flower, Frankenstein betrays Elizabeth—over and over again—by lying to her and ultimately leading her to her death.

By denying Elizabeth agency of her own, Shelley created a character whose most relevant act is a passive one—being betrayed by Frankenstein and killed by Frankenstein’s monster. The poem, just like “Frankenstein,” can be viewed as a love story, just as it can be viewed as a doubling. The leaf—“beautiful” at first, but quickly stricken with blight—performs the same function as both Frankenstein’s monster and Elizabeth in the novel. The monster, so miraculous and beautiful at first, quickly becomes a “dæmon”. Elizabeth, lovely and fresh in the beginning of the novel, is aged by the tragedy Frankenstein inflicts upon her. Both serve as doubles— as mirrors—for Frankenstein. “Blight came at last like the hand of the slayer/’Till it sickened untimely and perished with grief,” indeed.

Written by Nicole Sellew '21

Friday, July 2, 2021

The Art of Field Journaling

A drawing by Stefansson of the arm and hand tattoos of an Inuit personNext week we will host our first on-site class at Rauner Special Collections Library since March of 2020. As you can imagine, we are so excited to have students back in our space exploring our collections in an up close and personal sort of way. The class is on Social Ecological Systems and is taught by Flora Krivak-Tetley from the Environmental Studies Program. Why are they coming to Rauner, you might be wondering? Well, the students will be designing and creating their own specialized field journals next week and we happen to have a wide variety of scientific journals, diaries, albums, log books, and other ways of recording data. We hope that, as the students examine these documents, they'll find inspiration and insight when it comes time to shape their own particular means of recording observations and discoveries.

One of the journals that we will show the students is a diary created by Vilhjalmur Stefansson. Stefansson was a Canadian explorer born to Icelandic immigrants in 1879. After numerous Arctic expeditions, he became a renowned lecturer and advocate for the Arctic. Stefansson was a lecturer at Dartmouth from 1947 until his death in 1962. This volume is one of his field journals from the Stefansson-Anderson Expedition (1908-1912), which includes his anthropological observations of Inuit people (which he and others called the “Kogmallick” during this period of exploration). Of particular interest are Stefansson’s drawings of Inuit tattoos and his attempts to interpret their meaning.

To see Stefansson's diary, come to Rauner and ask for MSS-98, Box 3.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

“Stanzas for Music” and “The Student’s Portfolio”

The text of The Student's Portfolio from the Dartmouth student newspaperOne of the most exciting aspects of our collections is the way that Dartmouth students engage with them to create new ideas within the context of the classroom. On Tuesdays this summer, we will publish posts that were originally written by students in Michael Chaney's Literary History survey course during the Winter 2021 term. Each student essay comparatively examines two poems, one from the Dartmouth student newspaper and the other by a canonical American or British author:

Lord Byron’s "Stanzas for Music" (reproduced below) is a sensually emotive account of an experience of a piece of music that capitalizes on natural imagery to convey the bodily effects a work of art induces. This particular poem is most closely related to a state of dreaming– Byron’s stream of consciousness produces an artful depiction of one’s experience of a piece of work that was clearly meant to exist in the dream space from which it was originally birthed.

This analysis will be comparing Byron’s poem with an original work originally published in The Dartmouth in 1839-1840, titled "The Student’s Portfolio". "Portfolio" weaves through the intertwining nature of a student's collection of written work, with detail paid towards the emotional ups and downs of a creation. In this way, the two poems relate to each other: they find common ground within the visceral nature of artful creation. In "Stanzas", the musical piece that is being described as "whose breast is gently heaving, the swell of Summer’s ocean" is done an injustice by the author attempting to breathe it into existence as poetic prose. As such, the existence of creative art has value beyond an articulation of poetic prose, such as in an illusory dream state.

Through this train of thought, I will analyze "The Student’s Portfolio" through the concept of a "dream". The OED defines a dream as "a series of images, thoughts, and emotions, often with a story-like quality; Something imagined or invented; a false idea or belief; an illusion, a delusion". The entirety of "Stanzas for Music" feels like a dream: the poem creates an illusion of an abstract world where the "waves lie still and gleaming" and the "midnight moon is weaving" (Byron). Within this world, The dream-state works to value the artistic work beyond the page and simultaneously engage the body within an illusion of experience that is produced by the creative work.

"The Student’s Portfolio" tries to fight the dream state by pulling highly emotive experiences down from their existence in the author's consciousness down onto the paper, while "Stanzas" falls into its bodily response easily, expanding upon natural imagery originally existing within a dream state. "Portfolio" chronicles an author’s thought process through its description of a portfolio, engrossed in both despair and hope within the writing experience. The poem moves from a looser dream state into a grounded release of written work from the author's mind to the page: "Loose thoughts, long pent in sluggish brain... The muse had waked, t'inspire the theme" (O.P.Q). These lines are representations of unstructured thought, until the "thoughts break out in vengeful rage / and frenzy dashes o’er the page, / Till calmed, the passions sink to rest" (O.P.Q). This chronicling of the writing process capitalizes on the illusory and story-like quality of creative writing, however "Portfolio" utilizes the contributions of the muse and sends her away, unlike "Stanzas", which releases itself into the dream state of the muse herself.

Written by Susannah Laster, class of 2022

"Stanzas for Music" by George Gordon, Lord Byron

There be none of Beauty's daughters
With a magic like thee;
And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me:
When, as if its sound were causing
The charmed ocean's pausing,
The waves lie still and gleaming,
And the lull'd winds seem dreaming:
And the midnight moon is weaving
Her bright chain o'er the deep;
Whose breast is gently heaving,
As an infant's asleep:
So the spirit bows before thee,
To listen and adore thee;
With a full but soft emotion,
Like the swell of Summer's ocean.

Friday, June 25, 2021

The Pope's Celebrity Chef

An image from Scappi's cookbook of a rotisserie deviceAs we head into summer, we are beginning to dream about hot dogs, corn on the cob, and other seasonal favorites. Although we personally are satisfied with our own backyard cooking arrangements, this 16th-century cooking contraption might potentially breed serious grill envy among some outdoor barbecue enthusiasts.⁠

This mechanical marvel is one of many kitchen gadgets pictured in the 1596 edition of Bartolomeo Scappi's Opera dell'Arte del Cucinare. Scappi was the first true international celebrity chef, a la Julia Childs or Anthony Bourdain. He cooked for several popes and numerous bishops, but he truly rose to fame in 1570 when his cookbook with over a thousand Renaissance recipes was published to great acclaim. One of his pronouncements that was likely very well received by his local audience was that Parmesan is the greatest of all cheeses.

We recently acquired this volume for use in the classroom at the request of two of our Italian Department faculty members; we're so excited at the prospect of having students back on site, hopefully sooner rather than later!⁠ To take a look at some of the other great images in this book, come to Rauner and ask for Rare TX711 .S283 1596.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

"The Voice of Nature" and "Thanatopsis"

The Voice of Nature from an 1840 issue of the Dartmouth student newspaper
One of the most exciting aspects of our collections is the way that Dartmouth students engage with them to create new ideas within the context of the classroom. On Tuesdays this summer, we will publish posts that were originally written by students in Michael Chaney's Literary History survey course during the Winter 2021 term. Each student essay comparatively examines two poems, one from the Dartmouth student newspaper and the other by a canonical American or British author.

This post compares "The Voice of Nature," a poem printed in an 1840 issue of the Dartmouth student newspaper (The Dartmouth), with an excerpt from "Thanatopsis" written by William Cullen Bryant in 1817:

Both “The Voice of Nature” and William Cullen Bryant’s “Thanatopsis” present models for understanding the inescapability of death – that every man will enter “the great tomb of man” (Bryant) “in which man must be laid” (The Dartmouth). But the poems differ in their response to the inevitable – where “The Voice of Nature” responds to death with the hope of the resurrection: “man once renewed never – never shall fade,” “Thanatopsis” restates that man will always remain dead in “thine eternal resting-place,” “in their last sleep,” and “each shall take / His chamber in the silent halls of death.” By implication, “The Voice of Nature” invokes a more Judeo-Christian model of death’s impermanence and the promise of renewal, whereas “Thanatopsis” responds with a more stoic approach to death’s permanence: “So live… by an unfaltering trust” and “approach thy grave.”

The effectiveness of “The Voice of Nature” comes through the parallelism of seasonal change in nature with the Christian message: autumnal decay (man’s life as a sinner), winter’s death (man’s death), and spring’s rebirth (man’s renewal); for the sadness of autumn and winter mirror man’s death, if not for the promise of spring. The “sighs,” “the sad dirge” the questions of “where…? Where…? Where…?” and “the sad voice” answering “All gone” setup the “The Voice of Nature’s” “lesson”; for the sadness of winter indeed “points to the tomb” but that one day “the last spring must appear” and the seasons of life will be no more. On the other hand, the effectiveness of “Thanatopsis” comes through its application and subsequent pacification of autophobic fears of being forgotten: “what if… no friend take note of thy departure” and “The gay will laugh when thou art gone”; and to pacify those fears, the poem equalizes all mankind: “kings, The powerful of the earth - the wise, the good…All in one mighty sepulchre,” “matron and maid, the speechless babe, and the gray-headed man - Shall one by one be gathered to thy side.”

By effect, both “The Voice of Nature” and “Thanatopsis” build the emotional stake within the poem in order to respond to a more realized feeling: the build – “all that's lovely and beautiful dies” (The Dartmouth) and “So shalt thou rest… all that breath will share thy destiny” (Bryant); and the response – “man once renewed never – never shall fade” (The Dartmouth) and “So live” (Bryant). Even though “Thanatopsis” and “The Voice of Nature” were published within twenty-three years of each other and focus on similar themes, each presents a unique response to death’s authority and by their distinctions could illustrate fashionable divisions and conceptions of the afterlife in the early nineteenth-century.

Written by a member of the class of 2021

Excerpt from "Thanatopsis" by William Cullen Bryant

Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish   
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down   
With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings,   
The powerful of the earth—the wise, the good,   
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,   
All in one mighty sepulchre.   The hills   
Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,—the vales   
Stretching in pensive quietness between;   
The venerable woods—rivers that move   
In majesty, and the complaining brooks   
That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,   
Old Ocean’s gray and melancholy waste,—   
Are but the solemn decorations all   
Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,   
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,   
Are shining on the sad abodes of death,   
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread   
The globe are but a handful to the tribes   
That slumber in its bosom.—Take the wings   
Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,   
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods   
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound,   
Save his own dashings—yet the dead are there:   
And millions in those solitudes, since first   
The flight of years began, have laid them down   
In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone.
So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw   
In silence from the living, and no friend   
Take note of thy departure? All that breathe   
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care   
Plod on, and each one as before will chase   
His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave   
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come
And make their bed with thee. As the long train   
Of ages glide away, the sons of men,   
The youth in life’s green spring, and he who goes   
In the full strength of years, matron and maid,   
The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man—   
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side,   
By those, who in their turn shall follow them.  
So live, that when thy summons comes to join   
The innumerable caravan, which moves   
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take   
His chamber in the silent halls of death,   
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,   
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed   
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,   
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch   
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

Friday, June 18, 2021

The Origins of the Caldecott Medal

Cover illustration by Caldecott of The Diverting History of John GilpinYou've likely heard of the Caldecott Medal, an honor that is awarded annually to the illustrator of the most distinguished American picture book for children. You've probably even seen an image of the bronze medal on the covers of some of your favorite children's books.⁠ Every year, the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, selects the winner of the Caldecott as well as anywhere from one to five runners-up that are awarded the distinction of being Caldecott Honor Books.

The award was first imagined in 1937 by Frederic Melcher, an influential bookseller and publisher who was also the creator of the Newbury Medal. The Caldecott is named for Randolph Caldecott, a 19th-century British illustrator, and the first recipient was Dorothy P. Lathrop in 1938. The iconic image of a rider and horse on the front of the medal is based on Caldecott's cover illustration for The Diverting History of John Gilpin, published in 1878.⁠ The back is based on an image from Caldecott's illustration of the children's rhyme "Sing a Song of Sixpence." 

To take a look at some of our Caldecott books, come to Rauner and ask for Illus C127c or Sine Illus C35rcaf.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

‘Childhood and Age’ by Dranoel, and ‘Ozymandias’ by Shelley

One of the most exciting aspects of our collections is the way that Dartmouth students engage with them to create new ideas within the context of the classroom. For the next seven Tuesdays, we will publish posts that were originally written by students in Michael Chaney's Literary History survey course during the Winter 2021 term. Each student essay comparatively examines two poems, one from the Dartmouth student newspaper and the other by a canonical American or British author. Matthew Nolan, class of 2021, is today's author.

Childhood and Ageis a poem included in The Dartmouth: Vol. II, a publication that focuses heavily on epitaphic poetry. In the volume, Dartmouth students commemorate and remember friends they’ve lost a long with famous writers and locations, and places important to them now lost or in the past. Childhood and Age is an epitaph to youth, the speaker being the poet, but the subject being the old man, watching on as the sun sets on his life. The author writes, “Past is the storm that swept his early day; / And sinking in the distance, on its rear, / His sun, just setting, bids the bow appear.” On both the literal and metaphorical levels of the poem, the old man is looking back on the twilight of his life; in the calm water he sees the storm henceforth passed. The poem continues, “Mnemonic and assuring-so the gay / Warm light of youth points the far-future way, / While his own weary path must end in silence here.” We can infer that the man is reflecting on his past life while facing the consequences of time’s passing. For the speaker, the rote pattern of life and death is one to take comfort in, however somber it may be for the subject – or the reader.

In Ozymandias, Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley reminds us that despite the greatest efforts of kings among men, nothing lasts forever. Often all that remains long after is a vague reminder of the vanity of great men who thought they could live forever in stone or ink:

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

This quote from the poem, taken originally from the supposed real inscription of Rameses II (now lost), is meant to mock the king, highlighting his arrogance at purporting that he would long remain after desert had reclaimed the world. To Shelley, the monumental stele is a crude reminder of the impermanence of power and empire. However, as modern readers, we must consider the implications of Egyptian burial practices of the Ramesside period of Dynasty XIX, which would indicate that Rameses’ tomb beneath would hold hiska, a placeholder for his eternal spirit which watches over his tomb.”

In light of Childhood and Age, Shelley’s quote represents the vastly different ways men seem to conquer or suffer through the twilight of their lives. The great King Rameses – Ozymandias – is reduced to Dranoel’s old man, looking back at the storm of time that swept his desert empire away. As the visitor to Rameses’ tomb, Shelley occupies both the subject and the speaker in the poem, observing the same notions of Dranoel’s old man, but instead choosing to seek comfort in the seeming impermanence of the structures of power which bind his own world. Viewing the passing of time as a rote pattern is central to both poems, but how their speakers choose to understand and represent this concept differs. Both poems touch greatly on the futility of human will against time and against any attempts to control our own narratives after death. Even now as we read these poems in the 21st century, we abrupt and perhaps enhance any hopes of legacy and continuing narrative set in motion by these poets centuries ago.

Written by Matthew Nolan, class of 2021

Friday, June 11, 2021

Anne Frank and the Pennyroyal Press

A print by Joseph Goldyne of Anne Frank looking out a windowAnne Frank was 13 years old when she began keeping a journal about her experience as a Jewish girl hiding from the Nazis during World War II. She had been given an autograph book with a lock on it for her birthday on June 11th, 1942, and decided to turn it into a diary. For over two years, Frank chronicled her life in seclusion as a teenager who was going through the usual sorts of experiences and challenges associated with that phase of life. Three months after her fifteenth birthday, Anne and the other nine residents of the secret annex were discovered and arrested by the Nazis. She was sent to Auschwitz with her family and then later on to Bergen-Belsen with her sister Margot, where both died from typhus. Of the Frank family, only their father Otto survived the war. However, thanks to Otto's secretary, Miep Gies, Anne's diary also survived, was published in 1947, and soon became one of the world's best-known books.

Here at Rauner, we have a beautiful letter press edition of Anne's diary that was printed by the Pennyroyal Press in 1985 as a collaboration with Jewish Heritage Publishing. Our copy is number twenty-six of a limited run of three hundred and fifty. The text was set by the Stinehour Press in Lunenburg, Vermont, a company that was started by Rocky Stinehour '51. The gorgeous aquatints in the book were created by Joseph Goldyne and evoke a sense of enclosure, isolation, and loneliness. To see our copy, come to Rauner and ask for Presses P372fran.

Friday, June 4, 2021

June 4, 1989

Black and white photograph of protestors reading a document over a megaphoneOn June 4th, 1989, the government of the People's Republic of China declared martial law and sent armed soldiers and tanks to disperse a student-led demonstration that had begun on April 15th of that same year in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. The protestors, who at one point numbered close to a million, had been calling for significant governmental and social reforms, among them democracy, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech. Their movement became publicized to such an extent that sympathetic protests began to spring up all over the country. Sensing a threat to Communist Party hegemony, the Chinese government mobilized over 300,000 troops and sent them into central Beijing with the express purpose of forcibly crushing any resistance. Hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of protesters and bystanders were killed, and thousands were wounded.

Here at Rauner, we have a small collection of photographs that were taken by a participant in the protest activity. It contains 65 color and black and white photographs of the 1989 protests at Tiananmen Square, Beijing and Hefei in Anhui province in China. The photographs depict protest marches, groups of protesters, banners, tanks, political posters and political cartoons. To look through them, come to Rauner and ask to see Iconography 1743.

Friday, May 28, 2021

A Cherokee Address to the Whites

Title page of Boudinot's printed addressOn May 26th, 1826, Elias Boudinot stepped to the pulpit of the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia to deliver a speech titled, "An Address to the Whites." Boudinot was a young man of twenty-six, and was a writer and newspaper editor from Georgia. He was also a leader of the Cherokee Nation whose birth name was Gallegina Uwati [ᎦᎴᎩᎾ ᎤᏩᏘ]. He was the first editor of the first Native newspaper, The Cherokee Phoenix, which was ostensibly created to inform Europeans about the advanced nature of Cherokee culture as well as to unify Cherokee people who lived in the Southeastern United States of America (i.e., their rightful land).

Boudinot was a member of a political faction within the Cherokee Nation that believed that integration of their culture into Euro culture was inevitable if their people hoped to survive. He was also initially a strong voice against the proposal to remove Native people from their lands, a position which was strongly supported by President Andrew Jackson and the Georgia legislature. In his address from the Philadelphia church pulpit, Boudinot emphasized the similarities between Natives and Europeans and the ways in which Native cultures were adopting aspects of white culture. Boudinot's goal was to raise funding for a Cherokee seminary and for printing equipment for the newspaper, which likely included a set of Cherokee typeface. With that in mind, he had his address printed soon after its delivery as a means of circulating his message to potential donors while raising awareness about his people.

Although Boudinot's efforts to raise money were successful, Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act, signed on this very day in 1830, dashed any hopes of cultural integration or peaceable separateness for the Cherokee Nation. Soon after, the US Army began violently displacing many Native tribes from their homelands and forced them to travel over five hundred miles on foot to what is now Oklahoma. Approximately a third of the population of some of these displaced Nations died along the way or soon afterwards from disease, exposure, and starvation. The motivation for this racist eviction was the discovery of gold on Cherokee land in Georgia as well as white farmers' desire to grow cotton on the twenty-five million acres of land that belonged to the Cherokee and other Native people, including the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole.

To read Boudinot's address from 1826, come to Rauner and ask to see Rare E99 .C5 B65.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Fiasco at Fredericksburg

First page of Sargent's letter to Maria, 17 Dec 1862This week we had the opportunity to visit a local 5th-grade classroom via Zoom to talk with them about the American Civil War. The students looked at and analyzed an image from Gardner's Sketch Book of the Civil War, read a military map that provided information about Corinth, Mississippi, and interpreted a personal letter written by a Union soldier, Ransom F. Sargent, to his wife Maria.

Sargent was a Fife Major of the 11th New Hampshire regiment, Company F, and was in his mid-twenties when he joined the army. His letters home to Maria are a wonderful firsthand account of several important battles that Sargent witnessed, including the disastrous Battle of Fredricksburg, the Siege of Vicksburg, and the Siege of Petersburg. Despite the seriousness of his situation, Sargent also discussed smaller and more personal issues in his letter, including news about other New Hampshire men that he knew and comments about what was going on back in New London, New Hampshire, where Maria awaited his return.

For the 5th-grade class, we both transcribed and provided color scans of a letter he wrote outside Fredericksburg, Virginia, on December 17, 1862. In the letter, Sargent reflects on the recent loss by the Union, saying to Maria: "I long to know what the papers say about this battle. Believe me if they call it anything but a terrible slaughter and defeat into the bargain they very much misrepresent the matter. If ever the works behind Fredricksburg are taken it must be done by some strategy. It never can be taken by storm as last Saturday’s battle proves which cost New Hampshire the lives of more brave and true men than the whole of theaccursed South is worth in my opinion."

Soon after the loss at Fredricksburg, Burnside was relieved of his command by President Abraham Lincoln and replaced by Joseph Hooker. Despite the embarrassment of this demotion, Burnside went on to have a successful political career; was elected to the governorship of Rhode Island after the war and concluded as well as serving as the first president of the National Rifle Association in 1871.

To read more letters by Ransom Sargent to his wife Maria, come to Rauner and ask to see MS-38.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Many Paths for Persistent Protest

What is the legacy of student mobilizing and protests on Dartmouth’s campus? How have the historic student demonstrations for black liberation and equity informed our current campus climate and administrative demands? Dartmouth has a vivid history of student protests. From the disruptive protest of William Shockley’s black inferiority psychometrics speech and the Parkhurst student occupation—both occurring in 1969—to the Dartmouth Review protests of the 1980’s and Occupy Wall Street protests of the 2000’s, Dartmouth’s students have continued to be vocal and consistent in challenging administrative oversight and advocating for the wants and needs of the student body, specifically those that are structurally unprotected and oppressed.

A standout moment in Dartmouth’s history of accountability was the publishing and dissemination of The Redding Report in 1974. Previously reported on in a blogpost by Alexis Reaves ‘20, this report —written by Eileen Cave, Monica Hargrove and Judi Redding—was structurally inspired by and stood as an analysis of the McLane Report, created by administration in 1969 as the first notable administrative push to address and combat racial inequality on Dartmouth’s campus. It was this 1969 report that established the committee on equal opportunity at the end of the civil rights movement; this committee was charged with researching and strategically executing provisions to increase black, native and local low-income student admission rates, increase faculty diversity and address the specific cultural needs of minority students on Dartmouth’s campus.

The notable publication of The Redding Report by three black, female students in 1974—a mere two years after women were allowed admission into Dartmouth College—served as a distinctive and divergent form of student protest that placed the student voice in direct conversation with administrative decision-making. Co-opting the committee report structure to exemplify the black student’s voice subverted the exclusion and secrecy of administrative action and set a precedent for student protest mobilizing. The Redding Report was reproduced and disseminated by the Afro-American Society, along with other allied organizations like the Interracial Student Group, to reach and inform the members of the student body and administration; this literature distribution protested notions of exclusion and put the experiences and voices of black and native students at the forefront for the student body to consume and reckon with internally. The Redding Report signified an instrumental point in Dartmouth’s legacy where the standard for accountability extended beyond self-imposed regulation and promises to the equipment of media and published discourse in influencing systemic change.

A visual indicator of this report generating shifting notions of protesting strategy are seen in the two differing styles of The Redding Report. The first and original formatting, in the typical report fashion, utilized a typewritten, 21-page essay form that from its beginning to end, detailed the shortcomings of McLane Report’s implementation, common campus-wide discrimination practices and proposed solutions to combatting institutional inequity; this is the style found in the President’s Records (Call Number DP-13) as means of emulating and communicating within in the conventional format of the administrative office in pushing for accountabilty.

The second format of the Redding Report was the style used in information dissemination by allied student groups; this form which is found in the Dean’s records (Call Number DA-8) takes on a more informal and accessible design, being dispersed more like a newspaper than the traditionally dense report to aid in its ease of consumption by student and community members. In a novel student protesting methodology, immense consideration was taken into the duality of information diffusion for the two differing yet intended readers of this exposition. The first being the administration, wielding the power and resources to conduct change and the second being the student body, the guiding force to advocate for and realize needed institutional transformation as the direct benefactors of administrative policy. Taking it upon themselves, the student authors of The Redding Report and the groups tasked with uplifting and dispersing documentation of the non-white student experience at Dartmouth, uniquely protested against Dartmouth administration’s stagnancy while highlighting the broken promises and standardized strategies used to push aside and neglect anti-racist policy implementation.

Posted for Kiara Cannon '22, recipient of Historical Accountability Student Research Fellowshipfor the 2021 Spring term. The Historical Accountability Student Research Program provides funding for Dartmouth students to conduct research with primary sources on a topic related to issues of inclusivity and diversity in the college's past. For more information, visit the program's website.

Friday, May 14, 2021

In Celebration of Nonsense

This past Wednesday was Edward Lear's birthday! Although the 19th-century English author is probably best known nowadays for his nonsense song "The Owl and the Pussycat," he was also an artist, illustrator, and musician(!). We have a wonderful selection of Lear's numerous books of nonsense rhymes and verses here at Rauner, including The Pelican Chorus, which was illustrated by L. Leslie Brooke.⁠

To explore Lear's works from our collection, start by searching the library catalog online to find the ones that interest you most. Then, come to Rauner and ask to see such wonderfully nonsensical titles like The Pelican Chorus (Sine Illus B764pel) or the work that started it all for Lear, A Book of Nonsense (Illus L477b).

Friday, May 7, 2021

A Case Against Fraternity Desegregation

Page one of White's letter
On November 9, 1950, Dartmouth alumnus W. Lee White wrote a letter expressing his displeasure with a proposal enacted by Dartmouth's undergraduate council. The effect of the proposal was grand: initiating action to eliminate the discriminatory membership clauses in a number of the college's fraternities. He addressed the letter to his undergraduate brothers of Dartmouth's Kappa Sigma fraternity chapter. White himself was a member of Kappa Sigma as an undergraduate, graduating from Dartmouth in 1912. Though the letter was primarily sent to Kappa Sigma, White CCed John Sloane Dickey, the president of Dartmouth at the time, and his words were clearly intended for the ears of Dickey and Dartmouth's administration. White wrote the letter after receiving correspondence from Kappa Sigma on October 28, informing him of a proposal to be adopted by the undergraduate council as the result of a student referendum on the issue of fraternity discrimination. This referendum was held on March 1, 1950, and received votes from 90% of the student population. The majority vote led the undergraduate council to enact the following proposal: "The Interfraternity Council would withdraw recognition of any fraternity at the end of a given year if they had not made every possible effort short of disaffiliation from their national organization to eliminate discriminatory clauses."

The referendum was staged due to the desire of students to eliminate discriminatory clauses held in the constitutions of some of Dartmouth’s fraternities at the time. These clauses were established by the fraternities to prevent membership from men belonging to various groups of "race, religion, and national origin," and were most often found in chapters with national affiliation. These national fraternities were widely prejudiced, generally restricting membership to "white, Christian born males."

In his letter, White voices his opinions on the matter of racial and religious discrimination, referring to both the fraternity system and the greater United States. He utilizes his perspective and personal anecdotes in an attempt to argue that the enactment of the proposal by the undergraduate council would be unwise for the college and its students. One of his points of disapproval in the adoption of the proposal was his belief that Dartmouth's administration, through direct or indirect means, was forcing the fraternities to conform to the college's wishes and remove their discriminatory clauses. White's argument, however, was based on a misconception of the true driving force behind the fraternity desegregation movement. 

Page Two of White's letter
Though Dartmouth’s administration acknowledged the issue of fraternity discrimination on campus as early as 1945, the acknowledgment was internal. Formal action on Dartmouth’s campus to desegregate its fraternity system was initiated entirely by students. Following the 1950 referendum, the investigations into each fraternity - to assess their progress towards the elimination of their discriminatory clauses - were led by a Discrimination Council composed of undergraduates appointed by the Interfraternity Council and the Undergraduate Council. The fraternity desegregation movement remained student-led, with approval from some faculty and administrative members, until May 6, 1954. The college enacted no official policy on fraternity discrimination until this date, and the policy resulted from a second student referendum and recommendation given to the Board of Trustees by the undergraduate council. You can find further information on the second referendum in the "Going Local: Desegregating Dartmouth's Fraternities" article here on Rauner's blog site. 

Dickey's presidential records have significantly aided my research during the Historical Accountability Student Research Program Fellowship, in which I am researching diversity and inclusion in Dartmouth's fraternities throughout the 20th century. As President of Dartmouth throughout the fraternity desegregation movement, Dickey's records contain an abundance of correspondence with college officers, students, alumni, and national fraternity representatives over the matter. W. Lee White’s letter is held in Dickey's files. Furthermore, Dickey played a major role in eliminating discriminatory clauses from fraternity chapters after the second referendum. He personally presented the results of the second student referendum to the Board of Trustees, spearheading the Board's decision to make the referendum's recommendation official college policy. 

While Dickey received many letters from alumni in support of fraternities disaffiliating from their national chapters and removing their discriminatory clauses, W. Lee White's words parallel those of many national fraternity representatives and other alumni who wrote Dickey with disdain for the movement to eliminate the discriminatory clauses. Pro-discrimination letters like W. Lee White's provide evidence of the strong opposition Dickey and the college received during the fraternity desegregation period, and they document the severe divide in attitude over the issue by members of the Dartmouth community—all of which the college was able to overcome after more than a decade of conflict. 

I invite anyone further interested in fraternity desegregation to consult Rauner’s extensive collection of records.

Posted for Christian Dawkins '22, recipient of a Historical Accountability Student Research Fellowship for the 2021 Spring term. The Historical Accountability Student Research Program provides funding for Dartmouth students to conduct research with primary sources on a topic related to issues of inclusivity and diversity in the college's past. For more information, visit the program's website.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Tempestuous Beauty

A woodland scene with numerous fairies by Rackham from The TempestArthur Rackham is widely known as one of the most important illustrators from the "Golden Age" of British book illustration, which spanned from 1890 until almost 1920. Rackham's work often appeared in children's books, especially his images of fantastical fairies. He usually began his illustrations with a pen or India ink drawing, followed by layers of watercolors that created a subtle and pleasing melding of colors.

A scene from Rackham's The TempestHis popularity began to decline in Great Britain roughly around the same time as the close of the aforementioned Golden Age, and Rackham decided to capitalize on his growing fame in the United States. To that end, he created a gorgeous series of both line drawings and ink-and-watercolor images for a special limited edition of what is generally accepted to be Shakespeare's play, The Tempest. Although ostensibly for an adult audience and made to represent the work of a Western literary icon, Rackham's unique style is so quickly identifiable that it's hard to think about the Shakespearean characters he represents; instead, we find ourselves envisioning his previous illustrations and not Prospero or Caliban.

There were only 520 copies of this book made for sale: numbers 1-260 were sold in England and the rest in the US. Rauner Library is fortunate to have number 299. To see our copy, ask for Illus R115sh.

Friday, April 16, 2021

"Whan that Aprille..."

Think fast! What language is this story written in? If you guessed, "English," you're right. If you guessed, "Middle English," then we're really impressed! Middle English was a form of the English language that was spoken from the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066 until the late 1400s. It eventually morphed into Early Modern English, which is what Shakespeare and his ilk spoke.⁠

The arrival of a Norman ruling class in England in 1066 meant that Old Norman, a dialect of Old French, quickly became the preferred language of the island's elite. It wasn't until the late 1300s, when Geoffrey Chaucer began writing in Middle English instead of Old French or Anglo-Norman, that the English language regained some measure of respectability as a vehicle for intellectual and artistic expression⁠

Tomorrow is National Chaucer Day, which celebrates the anniversary of the first time that Geoffrey Chaucer read his Canterbury Tales aloud to the Court of King Richard II in 1371. To celebrate we're sharing an image of a page from the first printed edition of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The book was printed in London in the 1470s by William Caxton, who is reputed to be the first person to introduce the printing press to England. ⁠

To see our single leaf of this landmark work of book history, ask for Hickmott 201.

Friday, April 9, 2021

All Snow and No Skiing

photo of Malcolm McLane in military uniformHave you all ever heard of Malcolm McLane? He was a New Hampshire boy, a member of Dartmouth's class of 1946, and a skiing enthusiast. He was also an aviator during World War II who was shot down over Europe and spent months in a German POW camp until he and others were liberated by the Russian Army in 1945. Today, for National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day, we honor his memory and those of many other Dartmouth alums who served their country faithfully and endured bleak conditions as captives in a strange land.

Born in 1924 in Manchester, New Hampshire, McLane attended high school at St. Paul's School in Concord before coming to Hanover for his college education. While at Dartmouth, he was captain of the Dartmouth College Ski Team and continued his dedication to the sport for the rest of his life; in 1960, he served as an international alpine ski official at the Olympic Games in Squaw Valley, California, and was eventually inducted into the Ski Hall of Fame in Ishpeming, Michigan.

Despite this lifelong pursuit of skiing, McLane's access to the pastime was disrupted in the fall of 1942, when he was sworn into the United States Air Force as an aviation cadet. After flying 73 combat missions in P-47 fighter planes over France and Germany, his plane was shot down on December 23rd, 1944, near Trier, Germany, during the Battle of the Bulge. He was freed on the evening of April 30th after over four months of confinement in Stalag Luft I, a German prisoner-of-war camp near Barth, Germany.

McLane sent several postcards to his mother in Manchester during his imprisonment, most of them only a sentence or two in length. In those messages, he chose not to describe the harsh conditions of the camp
(probably to alleviate his mother's worry) and instead sighed over the fact that, despite the preponderance of snow in January, he wasn't able to go skiing in it. This observation was likely equal parts truth and a desire to protect those he loved.

Even if you haven't ever heard of Malcolm McLane before, you've probably heard of his daughter, who is an ardent advocate for the rights of US war veterans, both nationally and in her home state: Ann McLane Kuster, a member of Dartmouth's class of 1978, currently serves as the U.S. Representative for New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district (and has since 2013).

To explore Malcolm McLane's papers at Dartmouth College, come to Rauner and ask for MS-1051.

Friday, April 2, 2021

The Clingy Duckling?

Title page for A Christmas GreetingToday is Hans Christian Andersen's birthday! The famous Danish author-poet-playwright was born in Odense, Denmark, in 1805 and is probably best remembered in the US for his fairy tales, such as "The Little Mermaid" or "The Ugly Duckling." When he published his first children's stories in the late 1830s, critics took issue with Andersen's tone because they felt that he wasn't preachy enough. Children's lit was meant for instruction and edification, not for wild flights of fancy.

Despite Danish scholarly criticism, Andersen's stories were very successful across the Channel. The first English translation of his fairy tales was published in 1846 and, in the summer of 1847, Andersen made his first trip to England. He slayed socially; the Countess of Blessington, Marguerite Gardiner, helped him make connections with the intellectual and cultural elite of England. Among the who's who was an author who had name recognition beyond the British Isles: Charles Dickens.

Unbeknownst to Dickens at the time, Andersen was what in today's parlance might be called a Dickens "fanboi." The two men took a stroll together on Blessington's veranda and chatted briefly about their mutual respect for each other's work, and that was that. For Dickens, it was another random encounter; for Andersen, it was a mountaintop experience with his literary hero. Several months later, he published a new gathering of stories, titled A Christmas Greeting. The book contains a letter of dedication to Charles Dickens, in which Andersen mentions their meeting and says that the English author has "taken root forever in [his] heart."

That one moment in the summer of 1847 started nearly a decade's worth of correspondence between the two men, with a reluctant Dickens struggling to keep Andersen at arm's length. Their "relationship" culminated in a visit by Andersen to Dickens's home in 1857, where he extended a short stay into a five-week encampment. He fawned over Dickens while acting entitled and imperious at every social gathering he attended with his host. By the end of Andersen's visit, Dickens and his entire family had concluded that they had experienced a lifetime's worth of Andersen. After the Danish author finally left, Dickens began tapering off his correspondence and relationship with Andersen until he had squeezed him out of his life.

To see a copy of A Christmas Greeting, ask for 1926 Collection A51c.