Friday, August 18, 2017

"Why I Must Say No, Again"

Front cover of the May-June 1960 issue of Rights magazine, including a photograph of protestors on the sidewalk holding signs with messages of support for Uphaus. In November 1950, Willard Uphaus, religious educator and executive secretary of the National Religion and Labor Foundation was invited to attend the World Peace Congress in Warsaw as a member of the US delegation. A committed pacifist, Uphaus had been warned that subversive elements, i.e. Communists "were cynically exploiting the passionate desire for peace to gain world domination" and that they would be dominating the Congress. Uphaus, however, disagreed. He knew that churchmen, like himself, would be there as well as many others who, despite being labeled "subversive," had a “deep and genuine desire for peace.” The Congress went well and at the end of it, Uphaus and others had the opportunity to visit Moscow through the Soviet Peace Committee. The trip was an eye-opener for Uphaus, confirming in him the desire to work even harder to foster American and Soviet friendship. Unfortunately, when he returned to the States he found himself "the spinning center of a tornado, one of the tornados spawned in the panic storm that culminated in what has become known to the world as McCarthyism."

An excerpt from the Saturday edition New Haven Evening Register, April 16, 1960, explaining who Dr. Uphaus is, what the World Fellowship is, and fundraising requests for the Fellowship and for Uphaus's legal fees.As a result of his trip to Moscow, Uphaus was forced to resign from the National Religion and Labor Foundation. He soon found another outlet for his peace activism when he became the co-director of the American Peace Crusade. Over the next several years he was “caught up in this great movement, with the war in Korea "lending a terrible urgency” to his cause. And then the World Fellowship of Faiths knocked on his door. Finding their mission completely in sync with his own, he and his wife became co-directors of the World Fellowship Center in Conway, New Hampshire in 1953. It was then that his trip to Russia came to haunt him.

The red and black cover of a publication titled "Excerpts relating to Willard Uphaus and World Fellowship Inc., from Subversive Activities in New Hampshire. Report of the Attorney General to the New Hampshire General Court. January 5, 1955.The case began with two critical articles about the Center in the Manchester Union Leader in September 1953; "Pro-Red Takes over New Hampshire Fellowship Group," proclaimed one. In response, New Hampshire's Attorney General Louis C. Wyman began to investigate the Center and in particular Willard Uphaus under the Subversive Activities Act of 1951. Uphaus was subpoenaed twice in 1954. During his second round of questioning he was asked to turn over the Fellowship's 1954 guest list and the correspondence with prospective speakers. He refused: "I told the Court that I could not in good conscience comply since doing so would be in violation of biblical teachings against false witness, our Bill of Rights which protects freedom of religion and assembly, and the teachings of my church against 'guilt of association'."

A press release by Uphaus for delivery at a rally in support of the First Amendment New York Center on Nov. 5, 1959. It is titled "Why I Must Say 'No' Again."
Uphaus felt that handing over the names "would make him a contemptible talebearer against people who, to his knowledge, had never done anything to injure the state or the country." For a while it looked as if the case could be resolved based on jurisdiction since Uphaus was a resident of Connecticut. However, on December 14, 1959, after several appeals, Uphaus was charged with contempt of court and sentenced to one year in in Boscawan Jail in Merrimack County, New Hampshire. He was released on December 11, 1960.

To learn more about Willard Uphaus’ legal fight and activism, his work with the Fellowship of Faiths, the National Religion and Labor Foundation, and the American Peace Crusade ask for the Willard Uphaus papers (MS-1077).

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Delineating the Eclipse

detail from delineation of eclipse showing local time199 years ago, here in Hanover, a student displayed his mastery over mathematics and astronomy by delineating a solar eclipse as it would appear in Hanover on August 27, 1821. Unlike the total eclipse North America will experience next week, it was an annular eclipse, so there would have been a ring of fire around the moon as it almost blocked out the sun.

Document illustrating the angle of the eclipseBut like the eclipse next week, the one in 1821 would have only been a partial eclipse here in Hanover. The full force of it cut across the southern states as it moved out into the Atlantic. Event here in the North, it still provided a teachable moment that required computational and drafting skill. In this particular case, it was also an excuse to show off impeccable handwriting.

Detail of delineation of eclipse giving attribution to Nathaneal Cogswell
To view this solar eclipse, you don't have to travel far, just ask for MS 818416.1.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Vermont's Appeal...

Textual title page to Vermont's Appeal...well, this time of the year it is the weather and the blueberries, but Stephen Bradley had something different in mind in 1779. At the time, the newly independent states of New Hampshire, New York, and Massachusetts all had various claims on chunks of land in Vermont. It had not been one of the original colonies, but was being actively settled and contested, and of course was the site of several major Revolutionary War battles.

Inscription by Stephen Bradley to Colonel Sims of VirginiaBradley advocated for Vermont's standing as an independent state and the arguments laid out in this pamphlet were instrumental in Vermont's eventual admittance to the Union as the 14th state in 1790. Our copy is inscribed by the author to Colonel Charles Sims of Virginia, a lawyer with considerable political clout in the new republic whose support Bradley would need.

To see our copy, ask for McGregor 23.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Attorney General of Fugitive Slaves

scribbled note by Salmon Chase reading "Can Congress make wrong right?" followed by his signature.
With Congress taking a break for August after a series of failed efforts to legislate, we thought the following note especially apropos. Written by Salmon P. Chase in 1873, it says very simply, "Can Congress make wrong right?" Chase famously was the Secretary of the Treasury during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln and will be familiar to anyone who has read Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. After winning the election of 1860, Lincoln reportedly said, "The very first thing that I settled in my mind was that two great leaders of the [Republican] party should occupy the two first places in my cabinet -- Seward and Chase." At the time, Chase was a newly-minted United States senator from Ohio who had been one of Lincoln's chief competitors at the Republican National Convention.

A photograph of Salmon P. Chase seated looking off to the right with his hands folded in his lap and his legs crossed.Before Chase became Secretary of the Treasury and then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he was simply a local boy from Cornish, New Hampshire. The town, now associated with Augustus Saint Gaudens and the Cornish Colony, was originally settled by Chase's grandparents. When Chase was sixteen years old, he enrolled at Dartmouth College as a junior and graduated two years later at the age of eighteen as a member of the class of 1826. Eventually, he would move to Cincinnati and be pejoratively known as the "Attorney General of Fugitive Slaves" because of his fierce anti-slavery views and willing defense of fugitive slaves. He went on to organize the Liberty and Free Soil parties in Ohio and eventually became governor of that state.

Here at Rauner, we have a small collection of correspondence from Chase as well as an alumni file.
One of the letters, written to a Judge Smith in August of 1860, several months after Chase's defeat at the convention, states that he holds no ill will for any of the people who voted for Lincoln. Rather, he prefers "the triumph of the cause to the success of any body, whether myself or another." He goes on to say that "the characters and abilities of Mr. Lincoln " provide some measure of hope for the party and its goals. Roughly a year later, he would join Lincoln's team of rivals.

First page of letter from Chase to SmithSecond letter of Chase to Smith

To explore the Salmon P. Chase letters, come to Rauner and ask for MS-103. You can also have a look at his significant alumni file while you're here.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Versatile Spuddy

photograph of Sturgis 'Spuddy' Pishon in his football uniform, hands on hips.
This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the United States' formal involvement in World War I. However, many Americans had already been serving in Europe, either in the Foreign Legion or in support roles such as ambulance or supply truck drivers. By the time the war had officially ended on November 11, 1918, over a hundred Dartmouth men had died as a result of the war. One of those who lost his life was Sturgis "Spuddy" Pishon, a member of the class of 1910 and a lieutenant in the U. S. Army's 341st Aero Squadron. Pishon's plane crashed during a training mission and he died soon afterward in the Post Hospital.

Spuddy was the epitome of heteronormative masculinity: he was a quarterback on the football team and regarded as one of the greatest Dartmouth football players of his time. Captain Galiher, Pishon's commanding officer, takes great pains to emphasize the manliness of his death. In his letter to Spuddy's sister Elizabeth, he claims that the young lieutenant "died like an American; he went down with his machine and retained consciousness up to the time of his death." Later in the letter, Galiher underscores that Pishon "died like a man."

first page of letter to Pishon's sister from Captain Galihersecond page of letter to Pishon's sister from Captain Galiher

Interestingly enough, none of the obituaries about or memorials to Spuddy mention his involvement with the Dartmouth Players, the drama club on campus. In the spring of his senior year, he played the role of Caroline, the daughter of the Earl of Dartmouth, in an operetta titled "The Pea Green Earl." Apparently, dressing as a woman for Dartmouth productions was hardly a one-time lark for the quarterback and future aviator; in the review for the operetta, it states that Pishon "contributes a three-year experience in female roles to the performance." One of the reasons Spuddy might have had so many female parts is because he was fairly short at five feet three inches. On the back of the photograph of him in costume, someone wrote, "Versatile Spuddy" and "The beloved Spuddy Pishon whose gridiron, stage and war records are part of Dartmouth's history."

To learn more about Spuddy Pishon's life, come to Rauner and ask to see his alumni file. To learn more about the Dartmouth Players, come explore their records (DO-60).

Friday, July 28, 2017


This summer has been really rainy and dreary, but we are about to celebrate Sophomore Summer Family Weekend and the forecast is perfect. Today at 3:00, we will be having a tour showing off some of the highlights of the collection. In honor of the fabulous weather, we are working on the theme of "light." So, we will have illumination, spiritual enlightenment, "light" reading, a particularly bright spot from Dartmouth's history, and, of course, the Enlightenment.

What better way to show the process of printing than with a stick of type and Diderot's Encyclopedia! Both spread enlightenment and they will brighten up our tour.

Detail from Diderot showing how type works in the reverse to print.
They will be out for today's tour, but you can see these anytime by asking for AE25.E53 1770 Vol. 7.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Beecham's Pills advertisement described in textWe couldn't let this go by without comment. Last week we worked with a group of health care professionals looking at the history of medications and the establishment of medical authority. Among the materials were several patent medicine advertisements from the early 1900s. This one for Beecham's Pills just gave us all the creeps.

First of all, the quote "The Best Wife I Ever Had!" Okay, does that mean he has had many wives and this is the best ever? Also, is it supposed to imply some kind of ownership? He seems a bit possessive in his stance. Then there is the look on his face. "Look" is too nice a word, let's say leer in his eye. She is a little worrisome as well with her sly grin and holding the little bottle of pills to make the OK sign.

Just what were Beecham's to cause such a wondrous transformation? According to Wikipedia, they were a laxative made up primarily of aloe, ginger and soap. At least they seem pretty harmless unlike some of the other medicines that were advertised. Their message, though, was more disturbing.

Cover to Pearson's Magazine showing Woman in with a boa
To see it ask for the December 1907 issue of Pearson's, Sine Serials PA4.P35 V. 24 1907:Dec.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Faces of Aeneas

Detail showing Aeneas from Ogibly's edition
Ogilby's Aeneas
You don't really think of classical characters being altered by 17th-century political turmoil, but the face of Aeneas, Virgil's hero in the Aeneid, was transformed toward the end of the century based on the political leanings of two publishers: John Ogilby and Jacob Tonson.

At least one scholar has suggested that Ogilby’s Aeneid, printed in 1654, pays homage to Charles II in its representations of Aeneas, whose round face and black mustache bears a strong resemblance to the king in his youth. It is probably not a coincidence that Ogilby was tapped to participate in the planning of Charles’s coronation in 1660; that same year, he also published his translation of Homer’s Iliad, which he dedicated to Charles.

Detail showing Aeneas from Tonson's edition
Tonson's Aeneas
Tonson’s edition of the Aeneid is a more complex political creature than Ogilby’s for many reasons. As a founder of the Whig Kit-Cat Club, he would not have been an eager supporter of Charles II. However, Tonson purchased the original engraving plates from Ogilby’s Aeneid for use in Dryden’s translation of Virgil’s works, which meant potentially including images of Charles II in his 1697 edition. As a result, Tonson paid an anonymous engraver to alter the images of Aeneas that looked most like Charles II so that the monarch’s tell-tale mustache was eliminated or obscured.

Close up of Aeneas showing Charles II's nose and mustache
Charles II as Aeneas
Close up of Aeneas clean shaven with Willian III's hook nose
William III as Aeneas

Moreover, John Dryden was Catholic and a staunch supporter of the recently deposed James II, to the extent that he had openly refused to take the oaths of allegiance to William III and Mary II when they took the throne in 1689. As such, Dryden refused to dedicate his translation of the Aeneid to William. This introduced a potential problem for Tonson, whose ability to publish in England relied on the king’s explicit approval. As a solution, to counteract Dryden’s Jacobite leanings in the text, Tonson hired an anonymous engraver to alter further some of Ogilby’s original plates of Aeneas so that the Trojan hero would share William III’s distinctive Roman nose.

Both books are currently on display (through Labor Day) in the Class of 1965 Galleries in our exhibit, "Adorn'd with Sculptures." After that, you can request them by asking for Rare PA6807.A1D7 1697 for the Tonson edition. We are still cataloging the Ogilby--which we just acquired!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Rocks and a Hard Place

Broadside Verso: "Auction Sale Will be sold at PUBLIC AUCTION, on TUESDAY, the 30th day of MARCH inst., at 10 o'clock, A. M., the following property, viz.: The FARM on which I now live..."
Farming in New Hampshire has never been an easy proposition. Although the overwhelming number of boulders that fill the fields have been a great source of stone for house foundations and picturesque walls, they've also made clearing and planting particularly difficult. In addition, New Hampshire soil is acidic and thin, which makes growing anything a supremely challenging endeavor. It makes sense, then, that most traditional farms in New Hampshire in the 1800s were slowly abandoned by their owners, either for mill jobs in urban centers or for a new farming life in the west where rich soil abounded.

Broadside verso with four different family member letters and an address (the broadside must have been folded up and sealed as an envelope).At Rauner, we have a wonderful broadside that is a perfect illustration of how farming in New Hampshire became a dead end for all but a few hearty (and perhaps foolhardy) souls. In March of 1847, the Dow family of Hanover, New Hampshire, had had enough of the struggle. With plans to head west for better climes, they commissioned a broadside advertising the auction of their farm, including several fruit and maple trees, "one valuable mare," farming implements, and even books.

Our copy of this broadside has personal relevance for the Dow family beyond the sale of their property: on the back of the single sheet are numerous letters written to two of the Dow sisters who were currently working in the mills in Methuen, Massachusetts. Their sister Julia, mother Polly, father A. D. (Agrippa Dow) and brother Lewis all take some time and space to jot down messages to the girls, and their distinct personalities emerge from their words. Julia teases one of her sisters by asking if she wouldn't like to come home and help her with spinning now that she's been a "factory girl" for so long. Their mother says that she can't say much because it's washing day but frets that her daughters won't think much of the log cabin that the family will be living in after the move. The younger brother, Lewis, is happy that school is over. The patriarch of the family, Agrippa Dow, simply asks, "Will you go? Will you go?"

A close-up image of the father's text which reads "Will you go? Will you go? A.D."

To see the Dow family's group letter and auction poster, come to Rauner and ask for MSS 847214.

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Sitter for Little Liza

Letter text in body of psot
We were answering a reference question today out of Charles Jackson's papers and we stumbled on a sweet little moment. Jackson was friends with Judy Garland and Ira Gershwin, and in a letter dated April 15, [1946], Gershwin writes:
We went up to see Judy and the baby. The baby is lovely but Judy isn't recovering as well as she'd like. Nothing serious though as she and Vincente expect to come here for dinner during the week.
I guess little one-month-old Liza Minnelli had a baby sitter that week!

To see the letter, ask for MS-1070, Box 1, Folder 45. There are also some letters between Judy Garland and Charles Jackson in the collection.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Camp Fire Girls

Wood display type poster for Camp Fire Girls Festival in 1912The Camp Fire Girls were founded just up the road from here in Thetford, Vermont, to give girls the same opportunities their bothers had in the Boy Scouts. We just acquired this poster from their 1912 festival with "The First Fire Maker" as the main performance. This complements correspondence between Percy MacKaye and Camp Fire Girls founders, and Luther and Charlotte Gulick. Percy, a multi-talented writer contributed to the first Camp Fire Girls songbook, and appears to have been a friend of the fledgling progressive organization.

The poster is a great example of local printing (the Vermonter Press) from wood display type. It simple layout combines with the rich red ink to make an immediate impact.

We are still cataloging this one, but we will add the call number when we have it (and here it is! Broadside 912640). To see the Gulick's letters to Percy MacKaye, ask for ML-5, Box 39, Folder 10.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer Vacation Battles

Willey House photograph ftramed with pen and ink sketch of rustic boardsIn July 1864, a group of wealthy women and one gentleman set off on an excursion "to rusticate a few weeks among the mountains." They brought along a camera and took pictures along the way. When they returned, they had a book privately printed, a copy for each member of the party, with photographic prints framed with hand done decorations.

Image of one of the tirp participants framed with pen and ink ivyIt is an exquisite book commemorating their travels, but one has to wonder about their sense of place and time. While they rusticated and admired the natural wonders of the White Mountains, the country was still in the midst of the Civil War, when battles were being waged across the South. At one point the author notes a parallel, but one that reflects a distance from reality:
From this point it had been our purpose, if possible, to make the ascent of Mt. Washington on horseback, a method more congenial to our taste than the usual, though less fatiguing, one in a carriage from the Glen. But the haze! that pertinacious foe, adopting Gen. Sherman's tactics, had constantly flanked us since we started from Bethel; now, with provoking tenacity, it seemed to be taking position in our front up the mountain, and concentrating to dispute our passage.
Eventually they made it to the top, but the "battlements" of a storm came upon them and they had a "council of war" in the hotel parlor to decide what to do. In despair, they settled on a retreat to the bowling alley for nine pins. The rhetoric of war is not surprising, but it is a bit shocking how they could compare their lack of a view with the horrors of Sherman's march. Perhaps these families were more insulated from the war than most.

photo of flowers fromed with pen and ink drawing of tree branchs
The book is a fascinating view into their lives, views of nature, and their sense of adventure in a time of national calamity. To see it, ask for White Mountains F41.32 A465.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Dissolution of a Confederacy

First page of two of Washington's letterThis Fourth of July, we celebrate the 241st Independence Day of the United States of America. However, despite the traditional association of this date with the birth of our nation, the battle for independence had begun more than a year before in April 1775 with the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Soon after, fearing an invasion from the north, the Continental Congress authorized the invasion of Quebec. This campaign, which culminated in the Battle of Quebec on December 31st, 1775, was a disastrous failure and resulted in the death of American General Richard Montgomery and the wounding of Benedict Arnold. After many months of a protracted siege of the city, the Americans retreated in disarray in May 1776 amidst a smallpox outbreak within their ranks.

One of the major concerns of the Continental Congress which prompted the ill-advised invasion of Canada was the question of whether the Native American tribes in the region would choose to side with Great Britain or with the colonists. The Iroquois Confederacy, or the Six Nations as they were known then, was a particularly powerful regional alliance of the Mohawk, Onondega, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora tribes. The Iroquois weren't in a position to stay neutral for long, although they initially endeavored to do so; their lands were too close to the theaters of war and they were wary of further encroachment by either the British or their colonists should they stand by and do nothing.
Second page of two of Washington's letter
Aware of the importance of sustaining the Six Nations' neutrality for as long as possible, George Washington wrote a letter to them in February 1776, during the Continental Army's siege of Quebec. The letter is addressed to Joseph Johnson, a "missioner to the Six Nations," and asks him to communicate to the Iroquois that "we can withstand all the force, which those who want to rob us of our lands and our houses, can send against us." Washington further emphasizes that they can look upon him, "whom the Whole United Colonies have chosen to be their Chief Warrior," as their brother. He asks the Iroquois to stay neutral so that "the chain of friendship...should always remain bright between" them. However, despite Washington's hope, the Six Nations ultimately dissolved their confederacy, with some tribes siding with the colonists and the others taking up arms for the British.

To see this letter, and other letters by George Washington, come to Rauner and ask for the George Washington Collection (MS-1033), Box 1.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Sachem Howl

First page of the transcript.
 We've blogged before about our amazing first City Lights edition of Allen Ginsberg's Howl, published in 1956, as well as the unique mimeograph of the poem that Ginsberg sent to the poet Richard Eberhart, complete with manuscript corrections in Ginsberg's own hand. Recently, while answering a reference question about the Sachem Oration, we discovered a Dartmouth alum's homage to Ginsberg's groundbreaking work. Previously, many speakers had delivered their traditionally humorous oration in a false old-timey accent meant to harken back to Eleazar Wheelock and the foundation of the college. H. Dutton Foster, member of the class of 1961 and the chosen Sachem Orator for his cohort, decided instead to take a more modern approach to the honor.

Second page of the transcript."I saw the second-best minds of my generation filed alphabetically in Parkhurst Hall," the speech begins, "Leaving their owners empty-headed, facing alone the dreadful I.B.M., / My brothers of sixty-one, Campion-clad, waiting for the sheepskin key to the magic forest of crisp green dollar bills, / Who trundled into Hanover, four years ago, from America's highschools and prepschools [sic] and  reform schools." Foster continues with such choice lines as, "I'm with you, sixty-one, / taking a Herb West course, and telling him that your mother wants you to get an A," or "I'm with you at Dick's House, / putting the thermometer under your armpit because you have an hour exam coming up." In conclusion, Foster says, "Goodbye, Dartmouth! It wasn't as bad as I make it look: we love you, even if we are critical! It's your own fault for lighting candles in our minds!"

To read the entire transcript of the 1961 Sachem Oration, or those from many other years, come to Rauner and ask for the "Sachem Oration 1947-1969" folder in Box 7443 from the Upper Class Deans Records (DA-673).

Friday, June 23, 2017

Posh Pooh

Picture showing the box, cover, and glassine covered book jacket for the deluxe editionWhen Winnie-the-Pooh came out in 1926, the English publisher issued an inexpensive copy for mass sales while the American publisher tried to make a splash with a boxed, signed limited edition copy for the discerning connoisseur of children's literature. We are lucky enough to have fairly pristine copies of each edition.

It is hard to imagine what the buyers of the deluxe copies were thinking. Obviously, they didn't have kids--a glassine cover would last about 30 seconds in the hands of any self-respecting six-year-old, and few children would be impressed by Milne and Shepard's signatures on the limitation page.
Map of "100 Aker Wood" that appears on the endpapers of the first English edition
But more to the point, it lacks the awesome endpaper maps of the "100 AKER WOOD" that serve to remind readers of each of the stories while allowing them to mentally traipse around the trees "WHERE THE WOOZLE WASNT" with a frightened Pooh and Piglet. We will grant that the illustrations in the deluxe edition are better printed but they hardly seem worth the forbidding preciousness of the book and the absence of the maps. Give us a good tattered Pooh that we can thump down the stairs, not one that has to be handled with kid gloves.

To see them, ask for Rare PZ7.M64 W12 and PZ7.M64 W12 1926.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Wild Flowers

Cover and original envelope to Wild Flowers of the White MountainsTwo weeks ago we blogged an herbarium lovingly constructed by a 19th-century missionary. This week, we have a similar object, but one assembled by a clever entrepreneur rather than a passionate collector. Wild Flowers of the White Mountains, published by the Chisholm Brothers in the 1890s, is a selection of wild flower specimens "gathered from Points of Interest in the White Mountains." This particular copy was sold for 50 cents and was a gift to "Margaret" in September of 1891. At that point, many of the flowers in the book would not have been in bloom, so we know the tourist that gave this to Margaret was not the collector. He or she bought this as a souvenir to send to a loved one.

Specimen of wild columbine collection on Mt. Washington
We have a second copy of Wild Flowers of the White Mountains. It must have been assembled at a different date because the specimens it contains are different. On days like today when "Full many a flower is born to blush unseen and waste its sweetness on the desert air," we are thankful for these relics of the 1890s.

To see our copies of Chisholm's Wild Flowers, ask for White Mountains SB439.C44.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

International Archives Day

French passport for Marcelle RobertLast week, we joined archives and archivists all over the world in celebrating International Archives Day 2017. The theme of this year’s IAD was “Archives, Citizenship and Interculturalism,” which gave us the perfect reason to mine our collections for a good immigration story.

Signed statement of Marcelle Robert's marital status
Marcelle Robert was born in Angoul√™me, France, in 1902. When she met and married American Chester Dwight Perry in 1925 and planned her move to the United States, it was at a time of increasingly stringent regulations on immigration. Congress had passed the Immigration Act of 1924 only a year earlier, imposing strict nationality quotas on immigrants from European countries and barring Asian immigrants entirely. But as an affidavit prepared by the American Consular Service in La Rochelle, France, shows, Marcelle breezed through the immigration process thanks to her marriage to an American. She was granted “non-quota immigrant” status, exempting her from the hurdles that other immigrants faced and even allowing her to bypass Ellis Island upon arrival in the United States. Marcelle had only to offer up her French passport under her unmarried name to prove her identity, and she was essentially on her way. She settled with Chester in New York and gained her citizenship in 1928.

The immigration landscape has grown undeniably more complicated since Marcelle’s journey of nearly a century ago, but the role of archives in documenting human migration around the globe remains the same. The debates, the laws, the stories of individual immigrants — you’ll find them all in the archives.

For more on Marcelle, ask for the Marcelle R. Perry papers, MS-1067.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Preparing for War: Commencement, 1917

line of students at commencement, some wearing military uniformsThe 1917 Commencement was a far different affair than what we will celebrate this year. One hundred years ago, the United States had just entered the first World War and the campus was becoming part liberal arts college, part military training camp. Dartmouth students were already well represented at the front in the ambulance corps, but members of the graduating class of 1917 were gearing up for active battle by drilling on the Green. For many, military uniforms replaced the traditional cap and gown at Commencement.

Students performing military drills in front of Webster HallThe most dramatic display of military preparedness on campus, though, was on the athletic fields. In the Spring of 1917, the War Department’s Students Army Training Corp Program at Dartmouth dug an intricate system of trenches on the fields under the leadership of Captain Louis Keene of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Photos of campus make it look like an active war zone rather than a bucolic small town in New England.
Students digging trenches on campus

The campus photos from World War I are among the last batch being scanned and put online from our Archival Photofiles. You will be able to see them all online soon!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Dutiful Penmanship

First page of Nelson's letterAt a glance, this letter might seem like an off-putting mess of illegible scrawl, but you’d have to forgive the author; by the time he wrote it, he'd lost his dominant arm (and one of his eyes) to naval engagements during the Napoleonic Wars. Its humble appearance perhaps also belies the truly illustrious nature of its composer. Addressed to Admiral Sir John Knight requesting additional frigates for the British fleet and stressing the importance of maintaining good relations with North Africa, it was penned by the greatest British naval commander of all time, Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson.

The letter is dated to September 30, 1805, and was dispatched from HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship, from which he commanded the British fleet. Less than a month later, Nelson would be dead, shot on the deck of the Victory at the legendary Battle of Trafalgar against Napoleon’s French and Spanish forces. Trafalgar was an astonishingly decisive victory for the British, affirming their dominance of the sea and crippling Napoleon’s navy - and his dreams of an invasion of Britain - permanently. While the strategy Nelson chose to employ against his enemy was not entirely novel, it was the combination of his decisive action, boldness, and willingness to trust in the effectiveness and discipline of his captains that defined his virtuosity of command.

However, the win was to come at a heavy price. A little over an hour after he raised the famous signal
Second page of Nelson letter which includes his signature."ENGLAND EXPECTS THAT EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY" and opened the engagement, Nelson was shot by a French sniper. He died three hours later, long enough to hear of his victory over the French.

It's almost difficult to wrap your head around just how popular Nelson was at the time of his death (even Churchill after WWII doesn’t match him) and how keenly his loss was felt. Considered by many to be the embodiment of the fundamentally British nature, coupled with a life packed with adventure, heroism and scandal, it may come as no surprise that Britain went Nelson-crazy after the death of the admiral. Taken in context, this letter becomes more than a nest of scribbles, more even than a request for frigates and food. As a part of the material culture surrounding the life of Britain’s greatest naval commander, it joins the ranks of the "Cult of Nelson", giving the viewer a tangible link to the essence of what it means to be British, and to be a hero.

To examine Nelson's penmanship for yourself, come to Rauner and ask for Ticknor 805530.1.

Posted for Whitney Martin '17.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

So Pretty!

We don't have much to say about this item, except we can't believe how pretty it is. It has been kicking around in the collections for a long time in our uncataloged realia collection. We have been sorting through boxes of stuff this past year to see what treasures might be hidden away. Mainly we are finding things that people once thought were really important relics, but that have since become a little less than inspiring. We are also we are finding some gems and cataloging them.

Definitely jumping up toward the top of the list of awesome finds, is this herbarium of plants from Syria lovingly assembled by William Bird, a missionary from the Class of 1844. He had a decorative flair and wasn't afraid to make a statement with his samples.

It is cataloged and on the shelf now, so you can see it by asking for Codex MS 003273. It is well worth your time.