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.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Survival

Inscription by A. Greely in his copy of "Arctic Voyages"We have a lot of books and manuscripts that are remarkable survivals. How they managed to make it through time and space and land safely in a library is a wonder in and of itself, but we just acquired a new item that endured an arctic expedition that only a handful of people lived through.

The Lady Franklin Bay Expedition, 1881-1884, (also known at the Greely Expedition) set out to establish a scientific observation station. It all started out smoothly enough, and they even established a new "farthest North." But things fell apart when relief ships were unable to reach the station and they had to flee to the south in hopes of rescue. Stranded with only minimal provisions at "Camp Clay," they slowly starved to death, and some resorted to cannibalism. Only six of the crew lasted long enough to be rescued.

We have a rich cache of materials related to their ordeal including David Brainard's diary from the last months of the expedition. The newly added item is Adolphus Greely's copy of The Arctic Voyages of A.E. Nordenski├Âld, 1858-1879 (London: Macmillan and Co., 1879) that he brought along on the journey. That it was carried safely home is astounding. As Greely notes:
This volume... was one of the few books in our library at Camp Clay, Grinnell Land, during the winter of 1883-1884. It shows marks of usage in keeping with the vicissitudes experienced by the loyal soldiers of the American army, and the faithful Eskimos of Greenland, who formed my command.
There is some marginalia, and the front cover is detached, but, all in all, the book did well. To see it, ask for Stef G625.L477 1879.