Shakespeare’s Superstorm

The Shakespeare play that best lends itself to a spectacular performance is The Tempest.  Magic, fairies and huge storms gave 19th-century producers an opportunity to put on a Big Show and entertain audiences with the latest special effects. These playbills from our extensive Williams/Watson Theater collection present Shakespeare as a rousing good time–not exactly the high culture we have come to expect.

The 1823 production at Theatre-Royal in York hyped the “BURSTING of a MOUNTAIN into a VOLCANO” and “the ascension of Ariel.” The play was based on Dryden and D’Avenant’s popular 1670 rewrite of The Tempest and contained nearly 20 songs. More impressive was the 1856 production that featured 23,000 feet of painted scenery scrolling behind the actors in an “enchanted panorama” and used “extensive machinery” for other effects.

Curiously, a playbill from 1897 has Isadora Duncan in a bit role as one of the “spirits attending on Prospera.” The next year she moved to London where she would soon become one of the giants of dance.

Come in and ask for Playbills PR ENK-You-TR 8230512, PR MA-Boe-BoT2 8560329, PR MA-Bos-Hol 8970510.

The Execution of Private Henry

“Notwithstanding promises given by Pvt CB Henry yesterday he has since as acknowledged to me tampered with seal thongs if not other food… Pvt Henry will be shot today… This order is imperative & absolutely necessary for any chance of life.”  So read the orders given by A.W. Greely on June 6, 1884, to Sergeants Brainard, Long and Fredericks.

The 1881-1884 Lady Franklin Bay Expedition led by Greely started out well enough according to George Rice, though matters deteriorated the following year when an expected supply ship failed to reach the party. A second provisioning attempt in 1883 also failed when the Proteus was crushed by ice, again preventing any additional supplies from reaching Greely and his men.

Without the expected supplies at their main base of Fort Conger, Greely decided to head south and retrieve the secondary caches that were supposed to have been left by the relief expeditions that had been unable to rendezvous with his party. Unfortunately, the cache at Cape Sabine only contained forty days worth of provisions and by the time Greely reached it in October of 1883, the weather conditions prevented the party from continuing on to Greenland or returning to Fort Conger.

Needless to say, rationing was put in place and all members of the party were expected to share in the hardship. According to Greely’s note from June 5, 1884, Private Henry had made a practice of stealing food and while this had been “so far condoned and pardoned,” enough was enough.  Greely wrote that “if this man be detected… eating food of any kind not issued him… you will at once shoot him and report the matter to me.” Private Henry failed to refrain from further stealing and was executed the next day. The remaining seven of the original twenty-one members of the expedition were rescued sixteen days later.

Ask for A.W. Greely’s papers, Stef Mss-64. The two notes regarding Private Henry are in Box 2, folder 18.

SpringerMaterials – New Features

What is SpringerMaterials (tutorial): Based on the Landolt-Börnstein New Series; a Resource for Physical & Chemical Data in Materials Science: 250,000 Substances & Material Systems | 3,000 Properties | 1,200,000 Literature Citations

What’s new

“Substance Profiles for a large number of chemical compounds. These Substance Profiles show basic properties, 3D-structures, names, synonyms and identifiers such as the CAS-number or the InChI-Key of a selected compound.”

“A new Structure Search tool that makes it easy to search for aliphatic, aromatic and organometallic compounds”

“Starting with binary phase diagrams from the Linus Pauling files, SpringerMaterials now offers the possibility to determine precise data coordinates without having to rely on error-prone extrapolation techniques. We will soon add this feature to ternary phase diagrams as well”

New Landolt-Börnstein volumes uploaded:

  • II/29D2: Structure and Molecular Constants – Molecular Constants Mostly from Microwave, Molecular Beam, and Sub-Doppler Laser Spectroscopy – Asymmetric Top Molecules, Part 2
  • II/29D3: Structure and Molecular Constants – Molecular Constants Mostly from Microwave, Molecular Beam, and Sub-Doppler Laser Spectroscopy – Asymmetric Top Molecules, Part 3
  • III/43A10: Crystallography, Structure and Morphology – Crystal Structures of Inorganic Compounds – Structure Types – Space Groups (140) I4/mcm – (136) P42/mnm
  • IV/26B: Heat of Mixing, Vapor-Liquid Equilibrium, and Volumetric Properties of Mixtures and Solutions – Binary Liquid Systems of Nonelectrolytes II
  • IV/26C: Heat of Mixing, Vapor-Liquid Equilibrium, and Volumetric Properties of Mixtures and Solutions – Binary Liquid Systems of Nonelectrolytes III
  • VIII/2C2: Advanced Materials – Metal Forming Data – Non-Ferrous Alloys
  • I/25A: Excited Nuclear States: Nuclei with Z=1-29, edited by. H. Schopper
  • I/25B: Excited Nuclear States: Nuclei with Z=30-47 , edited by H. Schopper
  • VIII/1B3: Laser Physics and Applications – Laser Systems Part 3, edited by H. Weber, P. Loosen and R. Poprawe
  • VIII/6D2: Thermodynamic Properties of Polymer Solutions: pVT data and miscellaneous properties of polymer solutions, edited by M. D. Lechner

New Handbook of Theoretical Atomic Physics

New Physical Properties of Polymers Handbook

New Raman spectroscopy for the characterization of nanomaterials


Resource Highlight: Inspec

Have you ever wondered what other databases are out there that could be useful for your literature searches? Well check this one out! Inspec® is a comprehensive index to literature in physics, electrical/electronic technology, computing, control engineering and information technology produced by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. It is available in several different forms and the Library subscribes to the Web of Knowledge platform.

This is a quick introduction to using Inspec on the WoK platform.

Here are some additional resources to get you more familiar with Inspec:

Filed under: Kresge

Cutting a Pizza: and the Mathematics of Voting

It’s pretty difficult these days to keep from thinking about politics and the upcoming elections. Occasionally there is a mention in the news about various voting systems, which ones we use in the U.S., and the mathematics behind them. But what if you want to do your own mathematical analysis or understand the different arguments about the effectiveness of one system over another?

The Library has material for all levels of mathematical agility on the topic of Mathematics and Voting. The general interest reader might be interested in an introductory paper on Voting and Elections. Naturally, we have many books that cover this topic both in print and electronically. Two ebooks are Mathematics of social choice voting, compensation, and division; and Numbers rule the vexing mathematics of democracy, from Plato to the present.

Now what does math and voting have to do with cutting a pizza? Well, you might say that both voting and math can be computationally complex. And so too can be slicing a pizza, that is, if you want to be fair and keep everybody reasonably happy with the outcome. There is a lot of serious math behind the issue of fairness in voting systems and cutting a pizza. Not all methods will please everyone. Many are still puzzling over what is known as Dartmouth Mathematician Peter Winkler’s Pizza Problem. The mathematics of voting and cutting a pizza may both be viewed as discrete math problems. You can learn more about discrete mathematics from textbooks in our collection to titles in an online collection called Synthesis Digital Library of Engineering and Computer Science and even in Safari Tech Books.

Filed under: Computer Science, For Fun, Math


[… synthetic biologists are currently working on the notion of “standard biological parts,” or genetic sequences that enable a cell to perform certain standardized tasks. Standardized parts will give practitioners the ability to work in a “higher level language.” In short, synthetic biology is going through the same transition in usability that computing saw in the ’70s and ’80s …]

Physics Nobel Prize

David J. Wineland of the United States and Serge Haroche of France will be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics  “for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems”….

see also






You Laugh

We recently acquired a small collection of Dartmouth’s more recent history related to the introduction of coeducation in 1972. Elizabeth Epstein Kadin entered Dartmouth College in 1973, during a time when the College had not yet come to terms with this monumental change, and a sexist and hostile environment pervaded the campus. In response, as part of a class project for a philosophy seminar entitled “Feminism and Revolution,” Epstein and seven other women wrote and produced a play called You Laugh, in 1975. The play was a “35 minute series of skits designed to focus on feelings and perceptions of Dartmouth women.” Even though the women disagreed as much as they agreed during the writing process, according to Melanie Graves ’78, every woman could identify with some of the crude jokes, insults and sexual stereotypes they were confronted with on a daily basis.

The play was first performed at Hopkins Center in front of a sympathetic crowd of only women. However, the next two performances at Rollins Chapel were opened up to the entire Dartmouth community and attracted a mixed crowd, stimulating lengthy discussions among those who attended.

Though it would take many more years, for women to be truly accepted at Dartmouth, the play exceeded the expectations for those who were involved and supported it. It remains a testament to all the women who fought and ultimately succeeded to break into this once all male bastion.

To view the script of You Laugh as well as newspaper accounts and correspondence related to the play and coeducation, including letters of support from trustees as well as letters from a disgruntled alum ask for MS-1228, The papers of Elizabeth Kadin.