The Unfriendly Arctic

Shipwrecks capture the imagination with epic tales of tragedy and heroism. From Robinson Crusoe to Life of Pi, shipwrecks have provided readers stories of life and death they just can’t put down. While Rauner has endless books on shipwrecks, it also has its own relics of a voyage gone wrong. Over the years, a number of tokens from the last voyage of the HMCS Karluk have washed up on Rauner’s shelves.

Viljhalmur Stefansson, who taught at Dartmouth from 1947 to 1962, organized the Karluk‘s voyage to explore the area north of the Canadian coast. Karluk began its journey in June 1913. The Executive Council of British Columbia presented Stefansson with a silver salver upon his departure. However, the crew would soon need more practical goods than an engraved tray. By September 10th, Karluk was ice-bound for the winter. Stefansson became separated from the ship: Karluk began to drift through the ice while he was on a hunting trip with five other members of the expedition. Though Stefansson claimed the separation was accidental, some of the remaining crew saw his departure as the abandonment of a mission he suspected would fail. Stefansson did not return from the trip until 1918 after an extensive exploration that included the discover of new Islands, but the Karluk sunk after months of drifting on January 10th, 1914.

The sinking of Karluk left twenty-two men, one woman and two children stranded on what would become known as “Shipwreck Camp.” Divisions between the shipwrecked soon arose on the ice camp. Two parties set out in attempt to reach Wrangel Island and set up a more permanent site on land. These parties overestimated how close they were to the island and the ease with which they could set up a new camp. Both perished in the Arctic conditions. Finally, the main party managed to reach Wrangel Island in March. The captain, Robert Bartlett, and an Inuit hunter, Kataktovic, continued on in search of a means to alert the rest of the world of the fate of Karluk. The rest of the group set up camp, desperately awaiting rescue. Finally, on September 7th, a walrus hunting ship accompanied by Bartlett picked up the fourteen remaining survivors.

Six survivors would publish first-hand accounts of “the last voyage of the Karluk.” Bartlett went on to lead many more Arctic voyages. Stefansson lectured widely on “the Friendly Arctic,” organized another ill-fated expedition to Wrangel Island and eventually became the Director of Polar Studies at Dartmouth. You can find much more about the Karluk and practically anything else related to the polar regions by exploring the Stefansson Collection on Polar Exploration.

Posted for Kate Taylor ’13

Polar Players

Sometimes, as we get older it is easy to forget the excitement of mystery, but in Rauner we have countless items that recapture that childhood imagination—like the Player’s Cigarette Cards.  The cards, which came with Player’s Cigarettes, each feature a different representation of Arctic exploration: from explorers to ships and the formation of Icebergs, every card tells a short story about the frozen ends of the Earth.

One of my favorite of the cards features “Andrée’s Polar Balloon.” It describes Herr Salomon Andrée, who raised money for his Polar hot air balloon, made from Chinese silk and filled with hydrogen. A few weeks after his departure, a pigeon message was received, after which nothing was heard from him again.

The mystery lies not only in each story, but also in the story of the cards’ circumstance: who collected these cards? Were they meant for kids, despite their being contained in cigarettes cartons? What is the connection between cigarettes and polar exploration?

If you come by Rauner and ask for Realia 536 you can find out the answers to some of these questions, but even more importantly, you can look at these beautiful cards and discover questions of your own!

Posted for Lucy Morris ’14

Your Preservation Week Daily Tip: Care & Handling

One of the simplest tips to help preserve paper and other materials is to wash your hands before handling them, and to take special care when you do open or move them around. Avoid using excess stress to open books, and don’t “crack the spine.” When you move books, don’t slide them on a table, pick them up instead. Delicate pieces of paper can be placed in folders or on top of sturdier paper to support them when lifted. Keep food and drink away from these items. For more information check out the Northeast Document Conservation Center at http://www.nedcc.org

Preservation Week at Dartmouth College Library is part of an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association to raise awareness of preservation issues and solutions. For more information visit our website.

Your Preservation Week Daily Tip: Storing CDs

Many listeners have migrated their music CDs to their computers. Care for the computer music files as you would all digital files. For those who still maintain a CD collection, store your discs vertically as in a bookshelf in their original packaging. Protect discs from scratches and fingermarks by handling with care and put back in their cases after listening. If creating your own music discs label them with a non-solvent pen created for this purpose rather than a label. For more information check out www.cool.conservation-us.org/bytopic/audio/

Preservation Week at Dartmouth College Library is part of an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association to raise awareness of preservation issues and solutions. For more information visit our website.

Your Preservation Week Daily Tip: Backups

Keep those digital treasures safe! Schedule automatic backups through your operating system. Back them up using an external hard drive or Internet storage! Avoid long-term storage on CDs, DVDs, and flash drives. For more information check out the Library of Congress at http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/personalarchiving/

Preservation Week at Dartmouth College Library is part of an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association to raise awareness of preservation issues and solutions. For more information visit our website.

Waste Lands

We have three “firsts” of T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland. Two variant copies of the first American edition, each with typographical oddities of interest to obsessive collectors, and the first English edition. They are all fascinating in their own right but two things jumped out when we had them pulled for a class last week.

One of our American editions published by Boni & Liveright in 1922 still has its original dust jacket–a rarity in itself–but also a bookseller’s advertising tag attached. On the bottom corner of the back cover is simple ad for the original seller of the book, The Old Corner Bookstore in Boston. At the time, it was the largest retail book outlet in the country. It was known as the haunt of Boston’s literary elite, but was also famous for innovative sales gimmicks–this being one.

The first English edition will give you goosebumps. It was published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press in 1923. Virginia Woolf herself hand set all of the type (she said her hands were shaking when she finished). The Woolfs had impeccable taste as publishers, but they were not the best printers the world has seen. The type was unevenly inked in the printing process giving the page a blotchy look. In a way, that just makes Virginia’s work more apparent and heightens the aura of the book. You can see the handmade quality.

Come see all three by asking for Rare PS3509.L43 1922 copies 1 and 2, and Val 817 E42 Y512.

Your Preservation Week Daily Tip: Photo Captions & Metadata

In today’s world of digital and traditional photography, thorough knowledge of the preservation options for the format you use is helpful. For paper-based materials write relevant caption and date information in pencil on the back of the print photograph. For digital photographs, add this information (metadata) in the space provided for it in your software program, and consider naming images with meaningful and specific file names. Choose archival storage means for both, whether acid-free albums or boxes for one or a digital back-up system for the other. For more information check out the Library of Congress at http://www.loc.gov/preservation/care/photo.html

Preservation Week at Dartmouth College Library is part of an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association to raise awareness of preservation issues and solutions. For more information visit our website.

Your Preservation Week Daily Tip: Paper Storage

Store your paper materials in an environment with relatively low humidity, away from direct sunlight, and on shelves not on the floor. Whether you have books, maps, letters or other items made primarily of paper, a good environment will contribute a lot to their future condition. For more information check out the National Archives website http://www.archives.gov/preservation/

Preservation Week at Dartmouth College Library is part of an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association to raise awareness of preservation issues and solutions. For more information visit our website.

Preservation Week — ALCTS Webinars

Preservation Week, April 21- 27, is an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association to raise awareness of preservation issues and solutions. The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) is hosting a number of free webinars that week. Here is a roundup of the events:

The Preservation of Family Photographs: Here, There and Everywhere
April 23, 2013

All webinars are one hour in length and begin at 11am Pacific, noon Mountain, 1pm Central, and 2pm Eastern time.

For additional information and access to registration link, please go to the following website: http://www.ala.org/alcts/confevents/upcoming/webinar/pres/042313

Presenter: Debra Hess Norris is Chair of the Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware, and Professor of Photograph Conservation.

Description: This presentation will offer basic guidance on the care and preservation of family photographs from 19th-century tintypes to contemporary color prints. The webinar will address the fundamental physical and chemical properties of photographic print and negative materials, including albums and scrapbooks, and the causes and mechanisms of their deterioration. Strategies for preservation, such as proper handling, storage and display techniques, will be shared.

Registration Fee: Free but registration is required.

ALCTS thanks Archival Products for sponsoring this webinar and supporting Preservation Week.
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Personal Digital Archiving
April 24, 2013

All webinars are one hour in length and begin at 11am Pacific, noon Mountain, 1pm Central, and 2pm Eastern time.

For additional information and access to registration link, please go to the following website http://www.ala.org/alcts/confevents/upcoming/webinar/pres/042413

Presenter: Mike Ashenfelder, Digital Preservation Project Coordinator, has worked for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program at the Library of Congress since 2003. Mike has a Bachelors degree in Music Education from the Berklee College of Music and a Masters in Music History from San Francisco State University.

Increase your understanding of common digital files – digital photos, recordings, video, documents, and others – and learn what it takes to preserve them. Technology changes rapidly. If you don’t actively care for your digital possessions you may lose access to them as some technologies become obsolete. Learn about the nature of the problem and hear about some simple, practical tips and tools to help you preserve your digital stuff.

Registration Fee: Free but registration is required.

ALCTS thanks The MediaPreserve for sponsoring this webinar and supporting Preservation Week

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Archival 101: Dealing with Suppliers of Archival Products
April 25, 2013

All webinars are one hour in length and begin at 11am Pacific, noon Mountain, 1pm Central, and 2pm Eastern time.

For additional information and access to the registration link, please go to the following website: http://www.ala.org/alcts/confevents/upcoming/webinar/pres/042513

Do you need to purchase archival supplies for your organization or even yourself? Are you confused by the terminology and not sure about the differences between the various vendors? Not finding exactly what you are looking for and unsure about adapting different products?

Presented by Peter D. Verheyen, Head of Preservation and Conservation at Syracuse University, Archival 101 is designed to demystify the archival product market for the layperson and non-preservation specialist. The presentation will provide an overview of the conservation and preservation issues facing libraries, cultural organizations, and individuals; describe the terminology in use; discuss products and offer buying tips on the different ways these can be used. A list of links to other resources will also be provided.

ALCTS thanks Gaylord for its generous support of this webinar and Preservation Week.

Finding Neptune

Uranus, the seventh planet, was officially discovered in 1781 by William Herschel and at that time was thought to be the farthest planet from the sun. However minor variations from its observed orbit and that predicted by computation indicated that an additional body might be present further out that was responsible for the perturbations. The challenge of calculating the hypothetical orbit of such a body and thus pinpointing its location for observation was independently taken up by Urbain Le Verrier and John Couch Adams. Unfortunately for Adams, Le Verrier published first.

Adams presented his findings to the Royal Astronomical Society on November 13, 1846, approximately two and half months after Le Verrier’s calculations had been made public at a meeting of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris. In his paper An Explanation of the Observed Irregularities in the Motion of Uranus: On the Hypothesis of Disturbances Caused By a More Distant Planet; With a Determination of the Mass, Orbit, and Position of the Disturbing Body (London: W. Clowes & Sons, 1846) Adams discussed his own interest in the problem and attempts to resolve the issue but ultimately credited Le Verrier and Johann Galle with the discovery of what we now know as the planet Neptune.

I mention these dates merely to show that my results were arrived at independently, and previous to the publication of M. Le Verrier, and not with the intention of interfering with his just claims to honours of the discovery; for there is no doubt that his researches were first published to the world, and led to the actual discovery of the planet by Dr. Galle, so that the facts stated above cannot detract, in the slightest degree, from the credit due to M. Le Verrier.

Adams then goes into details of his attempts to calculate the orbit and the various methods that he employed. This was a tedious process of testing various hypotheses and then calculating the predicted orbit from those equations and comparing the predictions to observed data.

Rauner’s copy of Adam’s paper is a presentation copy from the author to a Lieutenant W. S. Swafford, R.N. Ask for Rare Book QB 681 .A32 1846.