Friday, September 23, 2016

Raiding the Nugget

front of a promotional flyer for Lionel Barrymore's "The Copperhead" at the Nugget Theater
As was mentioned in a previous blog post, the Nugget Theater in Hanover turned one hundred on September 13, 2016. We at Rauner feel a special kinship with the institution, given that it also has been a long-time bastion of culture here at Dartmouth, especially early on in its life when opportunities for civilized entertainment were few and far between. However, Dartmouth students didn't always go to the Nugget to see interesting documentaries or watch quality films. Often, the young men in attendance grew quite rowdy during screenings, to the point that snacks as projectiles were commonplace and the theater even began to encourage audience participation as an attempt to mollify the crowds.

Promotional and screening information for Lionel Barrymore's "The Copperhead" at the Nugget TheaterStill, at some point, Dartmouth students' antics grew dangerous despite the theater's attempts to contain the violence. At some point previous to 1937, a tradition had arisen in which the freshmen were goaded by the upperclassmen into conducting an evening raid on the Nugget as a part of bonfire festivities. College administration had previously turned a blind eye to this tradition, partially because Palaeopitus, a secret society, had dedicated itself to protecting the Nugget against the freshman mob that habitually assaulted the theater every year. Still, this dubious administrative approach was soon to change. On the evening of October 21st, 1937,  freshmen in the class of '41 rushed the doors of the Nugget, only to be met by a wall of Palaeopitus members and Nugget employees wielding tear gas guns. In the midst of the chaos that ensued, Bobby Reeve '38, a defender of the theater, was injured when a tear gas canister exploded in his face. The Nugget defenders were able to repel the freshmen, but the student newspaper termed it a "Pyrric victory" because all the patrons were dispersed by the overpowering clouds of tear gas that filled the theater.

Dartmouth Student Newspaper article from October 21, 1937, titled "Rally Develops into Brawl as Raiders Succumb to Fumes."A week later, the administration clamped down, effectively squelching the tradition. Several deans of the college issued official proclamations, stating that "what started as an undergraduate prank has lost its humor and becomes simple destructiveness." Dean Neidlinger asked Palaeopitus to stand down and the Nugget employees to rid themselves of their tear gas and any other "sporting challenges to raiders." In return, he promised swift and severe reprisals for any organizers of or participants in future. Palaeopitus complied, stating that they disapproved of the "mob violence," and the tradition failed to continue.

To learn more about the fascinating and lengthy history of the Nugget Theater, come to Rauner and ask to see its vertical file and photo file. To read the newspaper articles related to the tear gas incident and following disciplinary actions, pull an old copy of the Dartmouth student newspaper off the shelves in the reading room and flip through the October 21st and October 28th issues from 1937.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


The D, 11/21/1941
This weekend Dartmouth will co-host the North American Orienteering Championship 2016. Orienteering, for those not in the know, is a competition where contestants hike/race from point to point using a map and a compass. It is like competitive Geocaching without the technology. Dartmouth is a fitting sponsor of the event because 75 years ago the first Orienteering competition in the United States pitted Dartmouth fraternities against each other in what they called a "Tiedust."

The event occurred just two weeks before Pearl Harbor, and Dartmouth students were arguing in the pages of The Dartmouth whether the U.S. should enter the war. The campus atmosphere was beginning to change as students contemplated the prospect of future military service and war.

Finnish Army Lieutenant Piltti Heiskanen, who was on campus teaching military skiing, organized the event. Both members of the winning team entered the military after Pearl Harbor. Paul Hanlon '43 became a lieutenant on a landing craft in the Pacific and Dick Whiting '44 served in the Army infantry. Orienteering, though it seemed like a game at the time, was preparing them for an all-too-"real life" that was coming far sooner than they realized.

Friday, September 16, 2016

To Boldly Go

Star Trek - What Are Little Girls Made Of? - Script Title PageEven though we missed the actual anniversary by a week, we still feel the need to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of the TV show and global phenomenon that is Star Trek. At Rauner we have several collections of members of the TV and movie industry. Among them are the papers of film and television director James Goldstone (1931-1999). In 1966 Goldstone directed an episode of Star Trek entitled What are little Girls Made Of? It was his second time in the director's chair for Star Trek.

His first had been on the second pilot episode where he had won the approval of many of the production staff. However, according to IMDB, things did not go so smoothly his second time out. Plagued by script problems, the episode went two days over schedule and Goldstone was never asked to direct another episode.

Written by Robert Bloch for Desilu Productions, What Are Little Girls Made Of? focuses on Nurse Chapel, played by Majel Barrett, Gene Roddenbery's wife, who is reunited with her fiancé only to learn that he has gone mad, leading him to make an android duplicate of Captain Kirk.
Are you all right?

(eyes Korby; then to Christine, nods) 
As far as I know.

(to Christine) 
And now…meet an Android.

Korby signals over his shoulder; the table slowly rotates until Kirk is out of sight…then a second Captain Kirk rotates into sight, the turntable stopping. It’s the Android, perfect in every detail. The eyelids flutter…slowly the eyes open. Then a look around, fastening on Christine. A smile of recognition.
Star Trek - What Are Little Girls Made Of? - Call SheetStar Trek - What Are Little Girls Made Of? - NotesStar Trek - What Are Little Girls Made Of? - Shooting Schedule

Star Trek - What Are Little Girls Made Of? - script - page crossed outThe shooting script we have makes the aforementioned script problems quite obvious as there is nary a page where large parts of dialogue are not crossed out. In addition there are call sheets, shooting schedules and handwritten notes by Goldstone.

To read the entire script, ask for MS-1073, the papers of James Goldstone.

"Live long and prosper"

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Safe Waters

Last week, after over 160 years of searching, the Terror was located at the bottom of the Arctic Sea. The Terror was one of two ships lost by John Franklin in the most disastrous of the 19th-century attempts to find a Northwest passage. We also blogged about Franklin when his other ship, Erebus was found two years ago. The Terror, it turns out, has remained amazingly well preserved, safely submerged in icy water.

To celebrate, we thought it might be nice to remember the Terror's glory days when it successfully navigated arctic waters, provided shelter for its crew, and returned triumphant. In 1836, Captain George Back led a two-year expedition of discovery into the Arctic commanding the Terror. The ship had been specially fitted with a heating system and the hull reinforced to withstand the ice's pressure. The Terror was home to the crew during the long polar winter when they were trapped in the ice.

Back, who was later knighted for leading the expedition, wrote a stirring account. The illustrations show the ship in peril, but always as a refuge from the real terror, the weather. The Terror brought Back and his crew home safely on this journey, Franklin was not so lucky.

To see the images, ask for Back's Narrative of the Expedition in H.M.S Terror, Stef G650 1836 .B12.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Occom's Archive

Rauner MS 771424, Occom to WheelockToday we are borrowing a slightly edited blog post from the Dartmouth Digital Library Program's brand-spankin'-new blog. We hope you like it!

This weekend, Dartmouth College will co-host with the Society of Early Americanists a symposium on Indigenous Archives in the Digital Age. The event celebrates The Occom Circle, a digital edition of the papers of Samson Occom (1723-1792), a Mohegan Indian who was instrumental in Dartmouth’s founding. The Occom Circle is one of the Dartmouth Digital Library Program’s largest projects to date, involving librarians, archivists, technologists, scholars, students, and members of the Mohegan tribe.

For an exhibit at Rauner Library in conjunction with the conference, we wanted to explore Occom’s role in a series of events related to the founding of Dartmouth College. In 1765, Eleazar Wheelock, wanting to raise funds for his project of converting Native Americans to Christianity at his school in Connecticut, sent Occom, who was already an ordained minister, to Great Britain. There, Occom became a celebrity, preaching to numerous congregations, meeting religious leaders like George Whitefield (one of the founders of Methodism) and political figures like William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth (for whom Wheelock would eventually name his fledgling institution). Occom’s return to the colonies, however, precipitated his break with Wheelock. He discovered that his family had been neglected, and that his mentor planned to move the school to the New Hampshire frontier.

Some years later, Occom wrote a scathing letter berating Wheelock for abandoning his intention to teach Indian youth in favor of creating a College. He felt like Wheelock’s “Gazing Stock, Yea Ever a Laughing Stock, in Strange Countries, to Promote your Cause.” Other mentors, such as Whitefield, Occom noted, had warned him that he was nothing but a tool that would be used and set aside. Even in the heat of passion, Occom did not forget his schooling. He threw the learning Wheelock had given him back in his face. He wrote:
I am very Jealous that instead of your Semenary Becoming alma Mater, She will be too alba mater to Suckle the Tawnees, for She is already a Dorn’d up too much like the Popish Virgin Mary She’ll be Naturally ashame’d to Suckle the Tawnees for She is already equal in Power, Honor, and Authority to and any College in Europe.
With alba mater (in Latin, “white mother”), Occom puns on alma mater (“foster mother”), a traditional metaphor for a college.

This was an extraordinary moment in the story of Dartmouth’s founding. Occom recognized the failure of the institutions and people who nurtured him to uphold the values which he had been taught. Archives have always contained marginalized voices; digital archives amplify those voices to help fill the silences of history, and to remind us of our communities’ ideals. During the celebration of its 250th anniversary, Dartmouth will certainly reflect on its struggle to embrace the original commitment to Native education for which Occom worked so hard, and which we can see evidence of in the documents of The Occom Circle.

The Occom Circle includes digital editions both of Occom’s journal of his trip to Great Britain and of his final letter to Wheelock. The journal and the letter themselves, along with many other related documents, are in the exhibit “Power, Honor, and Authority: Samson Occom and the Founding of Dartmouth College.” The exhibit was curated by Laura Braunstein and Peter Carini, and will be on view in Rauner Library’s Class of ‘65 Galleries until October 28, 2016.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Crackpots and Cranks

Crank Letter - Joshua's TrumpetAnyone who has ever read the comments under articles, YouTube videos or other postings on the endless stream of the Internet can attest that there are many strange and crazy opinions out there in the ether. (And let's not forget the incredibly nasty world of mean tweets.) However, the Internet did not create these methods of expression, it just made them instantaneous.

Crank Letter - Kenneth Roberts Back in the day of pen and paper those articulations were transmitted by form of a crank letter*, with the recipients being mostly people in the public eye. Several of our manuscript collections are fertile grounds for this form of expression, in particular the papers of writer Kenneth Roberts and the politician Charles W. Tobey.

Crank Letter - Newspaper clippings Crank letters range from the nonsensical to the conspiratorial to the "what the hell are these people thinking." However, there are certain commonalities that are present across most of these compositions. For one, the writers seem to have an inflated sense of their own importance and intelligence. They feel that they are the only ones with the answer to whatever they feel is the problem. They are intolerant, blind to reason and argumentative without substance to back up their arguments.

Crank Letter - Robert FrostIn 2014, Miss Manners of the Washington Post, in a response to a question regarding the issue of conspiracy letters wrote, "Conspiracy theorists are not known for their sense of humor, and inflaming them would only waste your time….What you need is not a response, but a crank file," which is exactly what the recipients in this case did..

To see some of the files look for them in ML-3 and ML-25. In addition, there is a small collection of them on display in the Rauner Reading Room.

*  a hostile or fanatical letter often sent anonymously

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Nugget at Webster Hall

Nugget ad from the D, September 25, 1916
Hanover's movie theater, The Nugget, will celebrate its centennial later this month. It opened up during the first week of classes in 1916. Not only could you see a movie, but you could also catch baseball scores on the "World Series Wire." We often joke that the demise of student scrapbooking that happened just a few years later is related to the Nugget's appearance. With a theater in town, students had something new to do. Add radio and the Model T to the movies, and who would want to spend all their time assembling their "Memorabilia of College Days"?

Most people don't know about the Special Collections link to the Nugget's history. In 1944, the Nugget burned down. It was considered so essential to the town and the College that Dartmouth offered up Webster Hall as an alternative venue until a new theater could be built.
Lining up for the Nugget in Webster Hall, May 1951
For the next seven years, when people went to "The Nugget" they actually came to Webster Hall, now home to Rauner Special Collections Library. We still have alumni come in and tell us about how they used come here for the latest Hollywood releases.

To learn more about the Nugget's history, come in and ask for "The Nugget" Vertical File. You can also see some great photos of the old building by searching "Nugget" in our Photo Files.