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.


Friday, March 26, 2021

Birthday Brevity

Robert Frost sitting at his house in Ripton petting Gillie the dog.Today is Robert Frost's birthday and the arguably most well-known of Dartmouth College's alumni (to the 20th century, at least) would have been 147 years old. Although Frost was only here briefly as a member of the class of 1896, his legacy at Dartmouth lives on in many ways, including the largest collection in the world of papers related to the poet and numerous busts and statues around campus. Given that it is his birthday today, and that next month is National Poetry Month, it seemed only right to celebrate his work.

However, we also learned today that April is not only National Poetry Month; it is also National Canine Fitness Month. With that in mind, we quickly settled upon a proper subject for today's blog: Robert Frost and his dog Gillie. Frost welcomed Gillie into his life in the spring of 1940, only a few years after the death of his wife Elinor. The poet had just turned 66 years of age but had already outlived three of his children. A fourth child, and his last living son, Carol died only months after Gillie had arrived. We can only imagine the grief that Frost must have experienced and the comfort that his dog must have been to him during those difficult times.

Many years after Gillie had passed, Frost published a poem titled "One More Brevity" in a book of poetry titled In The Clearing (1962). In that poem, he mentions a brief encounter with a strange dog who stays only a night in his home before leaving the house the following morning, never to return. Reflecting on the experience, Frost says, "I was to taste in little the grief / That comes of dogs' lives being so brief." We can't help but think that Gillie was on his mind and heart while penning those lines that would appear in the poet's last poetry publication before his death in early 1963.

To see our photograph of Robert Frost with Gillie, ask for MS-1178, Box 28, Folder 19.

Friday, March 19, 2021

A Better Chance at Dartmouth and beyond

In 1963, 23 headmasters of prestigious preparatory schools met with the intention of expanding their student bodies to underrepresented and disadvantaged students, which eventually led to the creation of the Independent Schools Talent Search Program (ISTSP). That same year, faculty and staff at Dartmouth proposed that the College begin a summer academic program targeting deprived teenagers.

In a joint effort between the ISTSP and Dartmouth, the ABC (A Better Chance) Program was formed with the goal of giving students from underprivileged backgrounds the skills needed succeed in competitive preparatory schools, and eventually attend college and pursue leadership roles in society. Dartmouth took the lead in providing students with an intensive summer program to help bridge the gap between their prior educational institutions and their future boarding schools, while the preparatory schools were expected to prepare admitted students from the program for college.

In the summer of 1964, 55 boys came to Dartmouth as ABC students, and the number of talented and qualified students steadily grew, as well as the number of colleges and universities. By 1969, over 1,400 students had been placed in private preparatory schools through the program. However, the growing numbers of qualified students quickly outpaced the space and resources of the participating private schools, making clear that the program needed to expand. The public school ABC Program was formed to meet the increased need, and involved housing 10 to 14 ABC students in a predominantly white community with a strong public school system that could still give students skills to excel in college.

The public school leg of the program kicked off at Hanover High School, and was modeled after the boarding school experience. Students lived with a high school teacher, their family, and two Dartmouth undergraduates. The program was an immense success. By 1970, 15 communities had developed their own ABC residences, serving 196 public school ABC students. Interestingly, the Hanover High School program was also the first to admit female students, showing the opportunity for the program to successfully implement co-education.

Posted from an online exhibit curated by Anneliese Thomas '19, recipient of a Historical Accountability Student Research Fellowship during the 2019 Winter 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, March 12, 2021

The Love of Irish

As a part of celebrating Irish-American Heritage Month during March, we're taking this opportunity to highlight one of Dartmouth's most beloved sons of Éire. Sidney Joseph "Irish" Flanigan (seen here on the right next to classmate Lou Lewinsohn) was a member of the class of 1923, a social butterfly, and an inveterate jokester. While a student, he was a member of Phi Delta Theta, Green Key, Casque and Gauntlet, the debating team, the Dartmouth Players, and served as manager of the hockey team. His senior year on campus, he was chosen as the unofficial mayor of Hanover by the student body in a mock election, likely in part because of his campaign's pro-alcohol stance that good-naturedly thumbed its nose at Prohibition.

After graduation, Irish was nearly as active in Dartmouth matters as he had been during his undergraduate days. He served as his Class President, Assistant Class Agent, and Newsletter Editor for almost fifty years. He was also the President of the Alumni Council and the Dartmouth Alumnni Association of Westchester County and even did a stint as Secretary for the New York City Association. In 1953, he co-founded Aquinas House and later took a leave of absence from his career in insurance to fund-raise nationally for a building for the Catholic student center. Nearly a decade later, he was inducted into the Sovereign and Papal Order of the Knights of Malta, one of the highest awards that the Catholic Church can bestow upon its laity. He also received the Dartmouth Alumni Award around that time, the citation for which read, "Dartmouth is written on the heart of Irish Flanigan, just as he is close to the hearts of thousands of Dartmouth men."

A photograph of an older Flanigan sitting in a chair looking bemusedOne of the reasons for Flanigan's stature among his fellow alumni was his self-sacrificial philosophy of life. He once said to his classmates, "Regardless of one's station, it is given to all to be generous. But the word self must be shoved far into the background so that the heart will have room to enjoy the real happiness and pleasure that comes only in doing for others -- without thought of praise, favor, or reward." Irish Flanigan passed away in his sleep on September 22nd, 1973. In a move that his classmate Charles Zimmerman characterized as "typical" for Flanigan, he had spent a good part of that very day "extending kindness and good cheer" towards two friends who were laid up in the hospital.

Zimmerman went on to pay tribute to Flanigan in his obituary in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine's Class Notes, saying "1923 and Dartmouth have lost an irreplaceable son, one who brought good cheer, good faith, good spirit, and goodness to everything and to every one he touched. All of us are better because of him."

To learn more about Sidney Joseph "Irish" Flanigan's amazing life, come to Rauner and ask for his alumni file.

Friday, March 5, 2021

A Creative Voice for Women

Photograph of Hazel MacKayeThis month is Women's History Month and we are celebrating on our Instagram account, @raunerlibrary, by posting images of amazing women who have made Dartmouth College what it is today. We also want to take a moment here to celebrate one of the phenomenal females from our collections who don't necessarily have a Dartmouth affiliation. Hazel MacKaye was the daughter of Steele MacKaye and a member of a family whose creative and cultural output ran impressively down through four generations. We have the family's papers here at Rauner, including numerous boxes dedicated solely to Hazel.

Although we've posted about Hazel before within the context of the women's suffrage movement, which is arguably how she is best known by the general public, she was a successful theater professional in her own right outside of her activity as a suffragist. As an actor, she toured with Winthrop Ames's Castle Square theater company and appeared in several plays written by her brother, Percy MacKaye.

a page from one of MacKaye's notebooks
Hazel's primary vehicle for artistic expression was the pageant play, which she employed to support the suffrage movement. She also wrote pageants for the YWCA (and served as their Director of Pageantry and Drama), had a pageant published by the Department of the Interior, and taught drama at Brookwood Labor College for several years.

Sadly, like so many creative visionaries, Hazel struggled with severe depression for most of her life. Eventually, at the age of 48, she had a major depressive episode and entered a care facility in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. She would spend the rest of her life there and later at a similar facility in Greens Farms, Connecticut, before passing away in 1944 at the age of 63.

To explore Hazel's legacy, including her numerous notebooks containing observations and information about pageantry and theater, come to Rauner and ask to see relevant boxes from the MacKaye Family Papers (ML-5).

Friday, February 26, 2021

The Crime of Loving Liberty

Senior photo of Luis Torroella '55A few weeks ago, we facilitated an event at the invitation of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding. The Rauner session was one of many events and activities planned by the Center for its 'Round the Girdled Earth program that will run through August of this year. For the months of January and February, the program made a virtual stop in Latin America and the Caribbean, and so we shared some of our materials from the archives and rare book collections that were relevant to that region.

Among the items we shared was the alumni file of Luis Torroella, a member of the class of 1955 and a Cuban national. After graduation, Torroella joined the Cuban underground in an attempt to overthrow the corrupt Batista regime in his homeland. Reports vary as to whether he was an employee of Batista's regime while fighting against it, but it is generally acknowledged that after the revolution he became the Assistant Minister of Finance in the new government. However, his love for Cuba ultimately proved to be his undoing. When Castro and the revolutionary government embraced Communism, Torroella openly opposed the change and eventually resumed underground resistance.

Luis Torroella was arrested by the Cuban government on June 7th, 1961, on charges of working for the Batista regime, fleeing the island in 1960 to promote uprisings, and being the leader of a group of twelve men who were planning to assassinate Fidel Castro. After being moved from La Cabaña prison in Havana to Puerto Boniato prison, Torroella was shot to death by representatives of the Cuban government on October 31st, 1962.

After the news of Torroella's execution reached the US, the Washington Daily News published an uprecedented editorial titled "A Friend Dies." In their brief but moving address to their readership, the newspaper editors asserted that "Luis' crime was that he loved liberty, and all of us who enjoy freedom can never repay and must never forget our debt to those who, like him, die for it." Eleven years later, his daughter, Cynthia Torroella, followed her father's footsteps into Hanover as a member of the class of 1977.

To learn more about Luis Torroella '51, ask to see his alumni file.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Dartmouth Dining Association staff and the "Dartmouth Experience"

“One would not expect that the woman who scans students’ I.D.s at Food Court and the man who sprinkles sand on the icy sidewalks would have a voice on Dartmouth campus” – Erin Loback ’99, News Editor, The Dartmouth

Dartmouth is a large and ever-changing entity. While the “Dartmouth Community'' is something that is often talked about around campus, there is not much consensus on who this “community” encompasses. During my term of residence at Rauner, I continue to wonder whether the staff of Dartmouth College are widely considered to be part of this community. Quotations like the one above lead me to believe that they are not.

For example, Local Union 560 has been present on Dartmouth’s campus since 1966 and is composed of the service workers at the college, such as those who work in Dining Services, FO&M, and other service departments. Those who make up these departments are often from areas outside of the Upper Valley and come from working class backgrounds, sometimes hailing from a familial line of Dartmouth staff. Over the course of 55 years the union that represents these workers has achieved fair pay and benefits for those who keep the campus running, but not without trial or tribulation. Despite these advancements, those who are in the union are some of the lowest paid staff at Dartmouth and yet they are often the first to receive the blows from an economic crisis.

Following the 2008 market crash, Dartmouth announced a $100 million budget cut and, as a result, would be laying off staff in the near future. The proposed layoffs fueled a debate on campus about what exactly was the “Dartmouth Experience”. President Kim emphasized “preserving the most important aspects of ‘The Dartmouth Experience’” whilst conducting cuts and layoffs. Students Stand with Staff, an unrecognized student organization that stood in solidarity with the service union, launched a poster campaign in response to both the layoffs and the capital campaign. The posters displayed a picture of a Dartmouth student with a staff member with the phrase “This is __ and they are a part of my Dartmouth experience.” While this campaign was met with mixed response, it called into question a lot of the issues that I have identified in my research this winter. Dartmouth, in its most recent iterations, does not seem to think that the people who labor to keep the college alive are integral to the Dartmouth experience.

Dartmouth Students for Staff "This is __" campaign poster
As a fellow, I have focused on those who work in Dining Services because, of all the service staff, they often have more time to build meaningful relationships with students. Dartmouth Dining has evolved greatly over the last two centuries and, through my research, I have noticed a shift toward commercialization and automation that coincides with similar trends in the American economy. Despite these changes, Dartmouth Dining employees still pride themselves on catering to students' needs and playing a role in their wellbeing. For example, in 1994, Union President Earl Sweet told The Dartmouth that the union decided against a sick-out because “we [the union] work for the students. We don’t want to do work stoppages or do anything to hurt the students.” It is clear through this interview and others that many Dartmouth staff members deeply care about the student population that they are serving and often form meaningful long lasting relationships. If Dartmouth service workers are not only providing the services outlined in their job descriptions, but also emotional support to students, why are they not seen as integral to the Dartmouth experience?

To examine the Dartmouth Students Stand with Staff records, ask for MS-1239.

Posted for Londyn Crenshaw '22, recipient of a Historical Accountability Student Research Fellowship for the 2021 Winter 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, February 12, 2021

Et Tu, Dartmouth Women’s Clubs?

Cover of the Favorite Dartmouth Recipes cookbookThe epigraph from the Boston Dartmouth Women’s Club'sFavorite Dartmouth Recipes, published sometime in the 1960s, reads:

"Upon what meat doth this our Caesar
feed that he has grown so great"
–Shakespeare

Neatly bound in Dartmouth green with a rustic illustration of the lone pine on the cover, the cookbook appears to be a benign, domestic gesture of support on the part of Dartmouth wives and mothers to the college. Mary Carslile, wife of Samuel R. Carlisle class of 1930, is the author of the forward and begins with: "The members of the Boston Dartmouth Women's Club have long felt, modestly, among themselves, that much of the excellence that is Dartmouth is largely due to the fact that the wives and mothers of Dartmouth men are superb cooks." It seems that Carslile chose this quote to suggest women in domestic roles have a strong influence over creating powerful Dartmouth men. Carlisle even cites astronaut Alan Shepard as having a mother who was a club officer and therefore "helped to prepare him for his success.

Foreword to the Favorite Dartmouth Recipes cookbook, written by Mary CarlisleThe Boston women produced and sold this cookbook to bolster the club’s scholarship fund, which may have been an important, albeit indirect, way for them to help shape the future of Dartmouth’s community. However, Carlisle makes it clear that these current club women are not traditional “good girls.” She writes that the original club name, The Dartmouth Matron’s Club, was “soon seemed too staid for the gay doings of the club” and that to raise money the women use all kinds of methods, “most of them legal.” She refers to the club as “Dartmouth Alumnae group,” and puts the word “alumnae” in bold as if to emphasize that these women graduated from the college themselves. Yet, Carlisle tempers her bold statements by writing that the club’s name change and the fundraising strategies were all to promote the scholarship fund, the club’s ostensible purpose, rather than reflect anything about the women in the club.

Carlisle’s diction continues to reveal the tension these women felt between realizing their ambitions and divulging their true personalities and maintaining a veil of passive, proper domesticity:

"We expect that every mother of a Dartmouth boy will own one, that every Dartmouth man will present one with the engagement ring to the girl of his choice; that it will have a place next to the Bible and the Constitution in every Dartmouth home; that it will be placed in every library and every creative kitchen in the United States."

A cookbook is inherently a domestic object, and motherhood and marriage fall into the domestic, feminine sphere. However the Bible and the Constitution are arguably the two most important texts in American history. In comparing the cookbook to those texts, Carlisle elevates the book’s status beyond the domestic sphere and suggests something about the book and it’s creators set out important moral and social values. Perhaps the women thought that this domestic veil was the best way for them to subtly assert their own power in their husbands’ and sons’ lives.

But Carlisle may have encoded a more radical message in her forward. She notably attributes her epigraph to Shakespeare generally rather than reveal that the line is spoken by the shrewd traitor Cassius in the play Julius Caesar. Cassius conspires to kill Caesar to prevent him from becoming a tyrant. Perhaps this epigraph is Carslile’s subtle message that the women of the Boston Dartmouth Women’s Club are not complacent in their seemingly ancillary role that they must play to achieve influence over the College and, by extension, their husbands and sons.

Whether or not Mary Carslile was channeling Cassius in 1966, it is true that the women’s clubs affiliated with Dartmouth didn’t just produce cookbooks. In fact, there was a time when women used these fundraising clubs as a way to escape their domestic duties. Equally important as what went on in the clubs is why there was a need for them in the first place. Dartmouth women have long fought to be included on campus and still struggle to find spaces where they are entirely free to be ambitious. From long before co-education, women-only organizations like the Boston Dartmouth Women's Club served as important early venues for the more elite Dartmouth women to convene and indirectly influence the college.

To see the cookbook, ask for DC History TX715 .D37.

Posted for Cecelia King '23, recipient of a Historical Accountability Student Research Fellowship for the 2021 Winter 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, February 5, 2021

Seeking Truth as a Rule

Photograph of Fela Sowande at a pianoWhile preparing for a class this last week on the History of Africa from 1800 to the present day, we explored a small collection that immediately drew us in. The collection consists of the papers of Fela Sowande MBE, a Nigerian musician and composer, who was born in Nigeria in 1905. After receiving an initial education in Lagos, Nigeria, he traveled to London in 1934 to study European classical and popular music.

Over the next several decades, Sowande would accumulate an impressive resume of musical performance and accomplishment: In 1936, Sowande was solo pianist in a performance of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." He also played as duo-pianist with Fats Waller, and was theatre organist for the BBC, as well as organist and Choirmaster at Kingsway Hall, London. Later, he studied organ privately under Edmund Rubbra, George Oldroyd, and George Cunningham and became a fellow of the Royal College of Organists in 1943.

Sowande also won several prizes, obtained a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of London, and became a fellow of Trinity College of Music. During World War II, he worked as musical advisor for the Colonial Film Unit of the Ministry of Information, providing background music for educational films. From 1945-1952, Sowande was an organist and choirmaster at the West London Mission of the Methodist Church. Sowande's orchestral works include "Six Sketches for Full Orchestra," "A Folk Symphony," and "African Suite for string orchestra"; these all display clear characteristics of African rhythms and harmonies.

The single photocopied sheet of "Standard Rules for the Student."Later in life, Sowande moved to the United States, where he taught in the Department of Pan-American Studies at Kent State University. One of my favorite documents from the collection is his "Standard Rules for the Student," which he presumably distributed at the start of his college courses. He first drew it up at Howard College in 1969 and then eventually "restructured" it during a visit to Dartmouth College in the summer of 1975. One of his rules seems especially relevant to our current climate: "Seek TRUTH and pursue it, to the extent of remaking your own mind no matter the cost, should it become necessary." To explore the Fela Sowande Papers, ask to see MS-78.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Fake News from 1775

Single image of the broadsideSo, we have an account of the Battle of Bunker Hill that you don't hear told too often here in the United States. This broadside, printed in Boston on June 26th, 1775, casts aspersions on the "Rebels" that dared to raise a battery on the heights of the Charlestown Peninsula. Luckily for the citizens of Boston, the brave and valorous King's Troops rushed forward to defend the town. According to this version of events, clearly written and distributed by a loyalist, the British forces easily overran the barricades and sent the rebels packing after inflicting significant casualties on their forces. As this report, hot off the presses, concludes,"This Action has shown the Bravery of the King's Troops, who under every Disadvantage, gained a complete Victory over Three Times their Number, strongly posted, and covered by Breastworks, But they fought for their King, their Laws and Constitution."

However, this report doesn't really line up with the known historical facts of the conflict. For example, there were two attempted assaults on the hill before the colonists retreated only because they had run out of ammunition. Although the British technically won, the implications of the altercation were sobering. A rag-tag group of local militia had withstood several assaults by British infantry and had inflicted more casualties on the King's troops than would be experienced at any other point in the Revolutionary War; over a thousand soldiers were wounded or killed. In contrast, the colonists suffered less than five hundred casualties, although the losses of General Joseph Warren and Major Andrew McClary were admittedly a tough blow.

To see this very rare Boston-printed and unashamedly British broadside, ask for Broadside 775940.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Watching January Unfold


Photograph of the four volumes in the wooden slipcase
We've blogged before about one of our artists' books that was printed by the Janus Press. In fact, the artist and the founder of the press are the same person, Claire Van Vliet. Although she found the Janus Press in 1955 in San Diego, in 1966, Van Vliet moved the press to the tiny town of Newark, Vermont, where it still resides and continues to produce stunning collaborations by gifted book artists, writers, papermakers, and printmakers. Since she relocated to Newark, Van Vliet has won a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, often colloquially called a "genius grant" because it is awarded to creative individuals of significant ability without any strings attached.

Van Vliet's artistic prowess and creative intellect is evident in the many innovations in book design that the Press has generated over the last sixty-five years. We've found another little work of beauty by Van Vliet that we want to share with you today called Four Months / Four Seasons. Printed in 2010, the multi-volume work is the first of a series on the seasons by various artists. The four small books, titled January, April, October, and May, are contained with a simple but masterfully made wooden slipcase.The accompanying brochure states that "each of these four books is printed from seven carved linoleum blocks onto multiple sheets of paper. The sheets subsequently are attached to each other and folded to created seven accordion openings that together form a panorama".

The image below is from the January volume and, although it's hard to convey the true experience of unfolding this wintry panorama in person, we hope that you'll enjoy them all the same. If you'd like to see all four panoramas in person, come to Rauner when we're open and ask to see Presses J268fifo.

Image of the January volume partially unfolded


Friday, January 15, 2021

Many Times Removed

Frontispiece of the Fourth Folio with an engraving of Shakespeare and the "To the Reader" poem by Ben JonsonAs just about everyone here at Dartmouth knows, we have a copy of Shakespeare's First Folio, published in 1623 by friends and fellow troupe members of the playwright and poet. It's probably our most requested item, just after our first edition of the Book of Mormon. And, as we've blogged about before, we also have two Second Folios (1632), three Third Folios (1662), and two Fourth Folios (1685). Some of these folios are what we sometimes call "Frankenstein Folios," in that they've been pieced together from the remnants of multiple partially-destroyed originals. Others have had specific pages removed or severely damaged, to the extent that pen and ink facsimiles have been pasted in to fill the gap. They're all technically still originals, sorta, but maybe not in the eyes of bibliographic purists. In addition to those "complete" Folios, we also have a decent number of fragments from all four Folios, including a complete Timon of Athens from the First Folio and King Lear from the Second Folio. There's even a cleverly bound book titled The English Historical Plays of William Shakespeare, which is really just the "Histories" chunk of the Fourth Folio.

Title page of Timon of Athens from the First FolioTitle Page of King Lear from the Second Folio

To get a list of all of the Folios in all their various conditions so that you can come in and look at them, follow this link to a search query in the library catalog. There's a 20th-century spoiler in that list, but otherwise (I think!) the rest of the Folios are there.