Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Anatomy of a Dance Card

Less than one hundred years ago, dances were regimented affairs with a set list of songs. But how were you supposed to remember who you'd promised the third waltz to? Luckily, hosts would print up tiny booklets known as dance cards, listing the order of the dances and providing a little line to write down your partner's name.
Commencement Ball 1902 dance cardThe first time I saw a dance card, I didn't know what it was. We were looking through the membook Howard "Rainy" Burchard Lines (Class of 1912) in preparation for our sophomore summer parents' weekend tour (we've blogged about Lines and his connection to the Titantic before). Flipping through the pages, I noticed that he pasted in a series of little books with pencils attached. Most of them carried fraternity insignia, so I assumed they were address books. But when I opened one, I realized it was actually a memento from a college dance. Lines didn't seem to like to dance the two-step, as it was always crossed out.

Dartmouth Hotel Ball 1884 dance cardMost dance cards contain the title of the event, the date, the location, a list of patronesses (or chaperones, usually married women or professors' wives!), the names of the planning committee, and of course, the list of dances with space to write down names. Some dance cards were probably planned before the evening began, as they were written in pen!

Senior Ball 1914 dance cardMy favorite dance card, from the 1914 Dartmouth Senior Ball, contains a little mirror, perfect for checking your teeth before the the last polka.While some dance cards are elaborately decorated with gilded crests and encased in leather, others consist of a single sheet of paper.

Our collection likely contains hundreds of dance cards, scattered through students' scrapbooks (known as "Mem[ory] Books"), the records of fraternities and other student organizations, and files concerning annual events, such as Winter Carnival, Junior Prom or Commencement. The cards in this post came from the "Dances, Balls and Cotillions" Vertical File and are mementos of: Commencement Ball (June 1902), the Dartmouth Hotel Ball (February 1884) and the Senior Ball (June 1914). Come to Rauner to see this file or the Mem Book for Howard Lines '12.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

John Hale Chipman '19 Papers, 1917-1919

John Chipman's field artillery group photograph Many American college students crossed the Atlantic to volunteer in the war effort before the US had boots on the ground in France. From among these men, a group of Dartmouth students joined the American Field Service (AFS). Traditionally, these soldiers drove ambulances for the AFS, but some volunteered for a different path. Due to a shortage of munitions truck drivers at the front, the French Army requested American volunteers to join the French Army and drive these trucks. John Hale Chipman '19 and other Dartmouth students rose to this challenge and served the French Army for a six-month tour from June to November of 1917.

Chipman conducting repairs on his transport vehicleChipman recorded this experience in a diary, which he sent home to his friends and family. He later compiled a scrapbook of his entire service, which included a tour in Italy driving ambulances for the American Red Cross and then his training as an artillery officer in the French Foreign Legion. His final days of service were spent in active duty as an officer of France in Belgium. Chipman represents a unique story of Dartmouth. His well-documented diary and photos give a detailed glimpse into one Dartmouth man’s war experience.

Chipman playing a musical instrumentThe diary, in which he wrote almost every day of his first six-month tour, details his complete routine. Included in his notes are morning calls that turned into 14-hour shifts of driving to combat zones, but also lazy days spent at the local YMCA performing music with French and American comrades. Chipman endeavored to provide a complete picture of his war experience, a difficult task given the circumstances, but one he completed with style. His scrapbook, which he compiled later, allows the reader to look into the places and people of war-torn France and Italy through the eye of a young American. Included are: pictures of massive German artillery pieces, photos of POW's, a dashing picture of Chipman in his French officer's uniform with fellow Dartmouth grads, and some very touristy photos of famous Italian sites taken on leave. Chipman's complete records certainly provide an experience in itself for any reader, well worth the time it takes to read every word and look at every photo.

To see John Chipman's diary and photo album, ask for MS-1229 at Rauner. To read a selection of his diary online, visit Dartmouth College Library's Library Muse blog.

Posted for Jake (Lewis) Lee '16, HIST 62 class.

Friday, August 21, 2015

John Buell's Last Will and Testament

image of John Buell's Last Will and TestamentThis past week we acquired two related manuscripts that speak volumes: the Last Will and Testament of John Buell of the Mohegan tribe, dated July 12, 1745, and the execution of his estate from July 11, 1746. In July of 1745 Buell had just become a part of Captain Adonijah Fitch's company in King George's War. He was among the many members of the Mohegan tribe to join the English in the French and Indian wars. These documents are a witness to the uncertainty of his fate as he headed from Connecticut to Cape Breton.

There are a lot of ways to look at Buell's Will. It shows the influence of European colonial law on tribal culture, especially for a "Christianized" Indian. It also documents one Mohegan's worldly possessions and debts as well as his thoughts on their distribution upon his death. He splits his estate between his "squaw Luce Johnson" and his daughter Lydia, while asking for their protection in a troubled time.

image of the execution of John Buell's Last Will and TestamentBut there is a curious addition. The wages he is about to earn as a member of Fitch's unit are to go toward his debts to Jonathan Trumble, and it is Trumble who signed off on the final disposition of the estate. This calls into question the motivation for joining the war and writing his Will. Was he forced into the military to help pay his debts? Or, was the Will written at the self-interested insistence of Jonathan Trumble who wanted to ensure any money Buell earned would go first to pay his debts? Or, should we take it on face value? He says his Will is written "knowing my own Mortality & The Danger into which I am Going."

The documents are now here in Rauner and open for research use. We would love to know more about John, Luce, and Lydia Buell and Jonathan Trumble.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Rare Edition of Austen’s Emma

TitleTwo hundred years ago, Jane Austen’s novel Emma was first published in London in December 1815 (with the date 1816 appearing on the title page). Next year, in 1816, the prominent Philadelphia publisher Mathew Carey decided to issue a reprinted, cheaper edition for the American market.

Only six copies are known to remain of this first Austen novel to be published in America—and one is here at Dartmouth! Although this copy has been at Rauner since it was donated in 1972 as part of a 601-item collection, its existence has been unknown to Austen scholars until now. Inside front flyleaf of Jeremiah Smith's copy of Emma, with a note about meeting her in person

This Emma was owned by Jeremiah Smith (1759-1842), who served as chief justice of New Hampshire and, briefly, as governor of the state. Smith's copy of Emma conveys that he was both a careful and a curious reader. He kept track of when he bought the volumes, from whom, and what he paid.  He also wrote in notes, gleaned from periodicals and encyclopedias, about Austen, her life, and her works. (Emma, like all of Austen's novels published in her lifetime, did not identify her by name as its author.) Most delightfully, Smith evidently read Emma with pen in hand, correcting the printers' errors—which were many. That Smith's interest in and appreciation of Austen continued is clear from the presence in his collection of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice,First page of Emma, Chapter 25 (p. 227) and Mansfield Park, all of which he subsequently purchased in English editions.

Like Smith's, each of the surviving copies of the Philadelphia Emma has its own stories to tell of owners and readers. The New York Society Library recently featured its copy, which is annotated in pencil by nineteenth-century readers, in an exhibition and blog post. Goucher College in Baltimore, where I teach, is preparing an open-access digital edition of our own well-traveled copy. Other copies are held at Winterthur Library, Beinecke Library, and King's College Library of the University of Cambridge. To see Dartmouth's copy, come to Rauner and ask for Smith J PZ3 .A93.

Posted for Juliette Wells, Associate Professor and Chair of English at Goucher College, editor of Emma for Penguin Classics (2015), and author of Everybody’s Jane: Austen in the Popular Imagination (2011).

Friday, August 14, 2015

All Those Things They Don't Talk about in Normal Books

interior pages of Ideas in Pictures Number 4Zines: tiny, usually self-published, heavily illustrated, pamphlet-books that explore issues of identity, politics and labor. It's a "magazine" without the "maga," according to one of the zines in our collection. A lot of people come to Rauner to see our gold-edged, leather-covered books, written and read by the rich and famous--don't get me wrong, I love those too--but zines are the antidote for too much gilt. We have a selection of zines from the early 2000s that cover some of the following topics: black punk rockers, queer hookup culture, female fishermen in Alaska, a strike in a Tyson chicken slaughtering factory, and the situation of Israel and Palestine. Most of these are black and white, made on photocopiers and distributed for a few dollars an issue.

Shotgun Seamstress Number 2 coverOur zines are like confessions, whispered embraces about cultures that some of us belong to, or privileged views into identities we don't share. For example, Shotgun Seamstress (No. 2) describes itself as "a zine by and for Black punks, queers, misfits, feminists, artists & musicians, weirdos and the people who support us." An essay by Brontez Purnell, titled "why i will be a riot grrl till the day i fucking die," details Brontez's discovery of Riot Grrl music while a teenage in small-town Alabama--"THIS WAS WHAT MY LIFE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE." The essays, interviews and graphic work in Shotgun Seamstress create a tiny capsule of Black punk culture.

interior pages of No Snow Here Number 11Some zines are almost indescribable. A tiny zine (No Snow Here, No. 11), barely four inches square, details the author's struggles with the impact of an abuse relationship, beginning with a demand: "All the times you started to say it then stopped yourself because it was too hard speak now." The rest of the zine dissolves into grainy black and white images, snatches of poetry and prose.

Zines are meant to be held closely and examined, each reference sliding over your head or lodging in your heart, almost like cross-sections of a diary. Come to the Reading Room and settle yourself with our zine collection from the Booklyn Artists Alliance (Rare Book Z286.Z54 B66 2000Z).

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

John Barrett – Renowned Diplomat, Son of Dartmouth

Page 1 of letter from President Hopkins to John Bartlett, April 6, 1917
John Barrett 1889 was born in Grafton, Vermont on November 28, 1866. Seventy-one years later, he died but a few miles away in Bellows Falls. In those intervening years, however, he embarked upon one of the most storied diplomatic careers in United States history.

Page 2 of letter from President Hopkins to John Bartlett, April 6, 1917Five years after his graduation from Dartmouth College, Barrett's newspaper work so impressed President Grover Cleveland that he decided to appoint the then-twenty-eight-year-old as minister to Siam. Barrett would subsequently serve as commercial commissioner in Japan, Korea, China, and Australia, followed by jaunts to Mexico, Argentina, and most difficult of all, an appointment as minister to Panama, which had recently seceded from Colombia and was ramping up its construction of the Panama Canal. Barrett so ameliorated the issues between Panama and Colombia, said his Associated Press obituary, that "it was a personal triumph, for only short months before the women of Bogotá had been shearing their tresses to make a rope 'to hang the first Yankee who comes here'."

Barrett moved to Washington D.C. in 1907 to head the Pan-American Union. While there, noted President Theodore Roosevelt, he "developed it from an unimportant dying government bureau into a world-recognized international organization for peace, friendship and commerce." In this capacity, Barrett endeavored to assist his alma mater in any way possible. In early 1917, President Ernest M. Hopkins needed such help.

Dartmouth College at the outbreak of the Great War needed both military equipment and an officer
Letter from W. T. Johnston, Adjutant General of the United States, to John Bartlett, May 22, 1917detailed to campus for its training programs. Both were necessary to accommodate the preponderance of students who wished to train for eventual service. Though necessary, they were understandably scarce in the opening days of the war. Nevertheless, Hopkins placed his complete trust in Barrett, writing to nobody else in Washington on the chance that he may "be in danger of mixing up anything that you may do in this matter."

Page 1 of letter from John Bartlett to President Hopkings, May 31, 1917Barrett immediately set out upon assisting the College’s preparedness efforts. Though he told Hopkins in a telegram immediately that a regular army officer would be "impossible" to provide, he attempted to gain an official endorsement from the War Department for one Captain Porter Chase, former head of a cadet training program in Boston who Hopkins brought up to Hanover to lead Dartmouth’s training programs.

Through his contacts, Barrett succeeded in gaining Chase official recognition. After Hopkins thanked him, Barrett noted in his response "the great pride which all of the Dartmouth Alumni feel in the splendid spirit
Page 1 of letter from John Bartlett to President Hopkings, May 31, 1917which the undergraduates of the old college have shown under the stress and demands of wartimes and conditions." Indeed, stories of Dartmouth students' enthusiastic proclivity for military service had already reached the annals of power in Washington, swelling this particularly influential alumnus with pride for his alma mater.

To read the correspondence between Barrett and Hopkins, come to Rauner and ask to see President Hopkins' presidential papers for the academic year 1916-17 (DP-11, Box 6733, "Military Science"). To learn more about John Barrett 1889, ask for his alumni file.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Not for the Folk

Jeweled binding to Selected Poems of Robert Burns Robert Burns, the Ploughman Poet, the national hero of Scotland, the bringer of Scottish folk culture to the world, done up in about as fancy a dress as you can imagine. This copy of Selections from Burns was executed in an edition of one with every feature handcrafted by the firm of Sangorski and Sutcliffe. The colophon reads:
This "Selections from Robert Burns" has been written out and illuminated on vellum and illustrated with six original hand painted Miniatures. By Sangorski and Sutcliffe of 1-5 Poland St. London. And will not be duplicated.
Painted miniature from Selected Poems of Robert Burns
From the moment you pull it out of its silk lined box, you know you are in for a treat. The cover, morocco leather with a gold-leaf floral pattern, is studded with gemstones. The flyleaves are silk covered and all of the text is in manuscript on rich vellum. The six miniatures are exquisite depictions of key scenes in the poems. It is so beautiful and precious, you forget to read the text.

Page spread from Selected Poems of Robert Burns
Alas, no humble ploughman would have been able to afford this one. Made to be a treasured item for a select few, we open it to the public--to take a look, ask for Bindings 243.