"Hastily executed & altogether immature"

One of the joys of working in Rauner is stumbling on something that takes your breath away. That just happened with these two books by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: a first edition of An Essay on Mind (London: James Duncan, 1826) and a first edition of Prometheus Bound (London: A. J. Valpy, 1833). They were both gifts from Elizabeth Barrett Barrett (as she called herself before her marriage) to John Kenyon, a cousin and confidant. It was Kenyon that introduced her to many prominent literati of the time, but who also arranged for her first meeting with Robert Browning. That private meeting in her rooms on Wimpole Street started one of the most famous literary romances of the nineteenth century.

Elizabeth wrote out her autobiographical poem “The House of Clouds” on the back flyleaves of Prometheus Bound and also included the self-effacing inscription:

For this version, which is cold stiff &
meagre, unfaithful to the genius if
servile to the letter of the great poet,
too hastily executed & altogether immature,
the translator’s only apology is–
her remorse.

Tipped into the copy of An Essay on Mind is a long note from Barrett to Kenyon commenting on this work, on Prometheus Bound, and thanking him for taking her sister to Strawberry Hill. At some point, John Kenyon gave both books to George Ticknor (Dartmouth 1807) and added a personal inscription to An Essay on Mind:

Printed when the Writer–EB. Barrett was only seventeen–She wishes that it had never been printed–I on the contrary–as her friend and relation–feel proud of it as a work of extraordinary power, and of a promise which she has far more than justified–The smaller poems–some of them–appear to me of exquisite beauty.

To see them ask for Ticknor VA B82p and Ticknor PR4190.E8 1826. The letter is separately cataloged but still in the book: Ticknor MS 842231.

Judging an Author by His Covers

Over the past year, Shan Williams ’12 has been processing our extensive collection of Erskine Caldwell’s papers. This is the last week of her internship, so in her honor we look at the ups and downs of Caldwell’s career as reflected in his book covers.

When God’s Little Acre came out in 1933, it was packaged as serious literature. Viking treated him as a brave voice in American letters on par with Ernest Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson and Mark Twain. His proletariat fiction resonated with the left-leaning literati and critics loved his stark realism.

By the late 1950s, Caldwell’s star was dimming. His books were still known, but had become more famous for the violent sexual scenes that got them banned in many localities. The covers reflect the change by accentuating the raging passions in lurid covers. And, of course, there was a chance for a movie tie-in (yes, that is Ginger from Gilligan’s Island).

By the 1970s, Caldwell’s books had slipped into the past for most Americans, though they maintained a worldwide audience. It was not until the 1990s that the resuscitation process began when the University of Georgia Press reissued his most famous works. Gone were the flashy covers and sensational blurbs: they were replaced by Walker Evans’s photographs and statements like “What William Faulkner implies, Erskine Caldwell records.”  What had been a dirty book transformed again into high culture.

Come in and take a look by asking for
God’s Little Acre (New York: Viking, 1933) Caldwell 182
God’s Little Acre (New York: Signet, 1958) Caldwell 180
God’s Little Acre (London: Pan, 1960) Caldwell 172
Guds Lille Åker (Oslo : Ernst G. Mortensens Forlag, 1982) Caldwell PS 3505 .A322 G66 1982
God’s Little Acre (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1995) Caldwell PS 3505 .A322 G6 1995

Bookending Dartmouth Row

On July 25, 1884, the cornerstones for two buildings were laid during a long afternoon ceremony. The first was for Rollins Chapel, just to the North of Wentworth Hall, the other was for the new library, Wilson Hall, just across Wheelock Street from Reed Hall. Together they bookend the Classical Dartmouth Row with their Romanesque arches.

The two buildings symbolically and physically defined a space for learning. They framed the main classroom spaces with a site for the mind on one side and a haven for the soul on the other: somewhere between was where “learning” happened. One year after the cornerstones were laid, alumni, students and “friends of the College” assembled for the dedication of the two buildings. The glory of the new chapel was celebrated with prayer and song, and the new library was extolled for its modern, fireproof stacks. But nothing was said about the space between.

A great way to start exploring the history of these building is by asking for their archival vertical files, but also be sure to see the Dedication of Rollins Chapel and Wilson Hall (Hanover: Printed for the College, 1886) by asking for DC History LD1440.R6 D3.

South Vietnam Land and People

We recently acquired an interesting example of propaganda produced by the North Vietnamese in 1967.  Mien Nam Viet Nam. Cat Nuoc, con Nguoi [South Vietnam Land and People] was published by the Liberation Publishing House in Hanoi and distributed to western visitors. It consists of three portfolios of images produced by North Vietnamese artists.

The message celebrating the “Resistance War” is clear:

Napalm, phosphorus, rockets, super-bombers, expanding bullets, toxic gasses–the American command in South Vietnam recoils from none of these and any other means of extermination…. Against such unbridled barbarism, the Vietnamese people have successfully defended their freedoms. Against one of the most colossal war machines ever known to history, “people’s war” is being fought with valiance and creativeness, combining bamboo spears with anti-tank guns–a war in which a young mother’s persuasive voice just as a ten-year-old boy’s inquiring looks, also are weapons.

The portfolios were printed in bulk, but few complete copies have survived. Our prints are still housed in their original portfolios.

To see it, ask for Rare DS557.72.M54 1967.

Romance of the East

A while back we blogged about a Unicorn sighting recounted in John Ogilby’s America. We recently acquired another book from the series, Ogilby’s Asia, the First Part: Being an Accurate Description of Persia, and the Several Provinces thereof: the Vast Empire of the Great Mogol, and other Parts of India : and their Several Kingdoms and Regions: with the Denominations and Descriptions of the Cities, Towns, and Places of Remark therein Contain’d: the Various Customs, Habits, Religion, and Languages of the Inhabitants: their Political Governments, and Way of Commerce: Also the Plants and Animals Peculiar to Each Country (London: John Ogilby, 1673). Despite it’s long-winded title, it is a fairly concise description of Persia and India with a focus on the customs and mores of the peoples.

While America highlighted the exotic and fantastic, here Ogilby is more concerned with exhibiting the region’s allure. The scene of a party of travelers coming over a ridge as they approach Soltanie captures England’s romantic view of the East. The frontispiece, pictured above, shows a handsome man of wealth and power riding an elephant and surveying his realm. A mélange of adventure, intrigue and beauty invites the reader to tour the East through the book.

To see this early example of English Orientialism, ask for Rare DS257.O47 1673.

BrowZine-Journal Reading Shelf for iPad

BrowZine brings the experience of  browsing current journal shelves- enjoying the cover art, scanning the table of contents, and reading the full text- to your iPad.  This new app from Third Iron allows you to build your own journal browsing shelf from your choice of open access and subscription based journals from a large range of scholarly and scientific publishers. You can set up current awareness notification, and save and download articles to Zotero, Mendeley, Dropbox and other services.

There is a free version of the App that you can use for open access materials, and for a fee, an institution can set up your BrowZine experience to include the journals to which your institution subscribes. Stay tuned for a Dartmouth trial of BrowZine!



Mother Goose – The B Sides

Almost everyone knows the stories of Cinderella, Bluebeard, Sleeping Beauty, Puss-in-Boots, and Little Red Riding Hood. But do you know the stories of Diamonds and Toads or Ricky? Despite their current obscurity, these two tales were included in Charles Perrault’s Histoires ou Contes du Temps Passé – better known today by its subtitle Les Contes de Ma Mère l’Oye or Mother Goose Tales.

Certainly Andrew Lang thought “Diamonds and Toads”- published as “Les Fées” or “The Fairies” in Perrault – was of interest as he included it in his Blue Fairy Book (London, New York: Longmans, Green, 1889). It tells the story of two sisters who encounter a fairy at a well. One sister is kind to the fairy and the other is insulting. The kind sister is granted the gift of having a precious object – a jewel, diamond or flower – fall from her mouth whenever she speaks. The rude sister is cursed with toads and snakes whenever she utters a word. A classic tale with the standard moral of “be kind to strangers as you never know who they might be.”

So why have these tales faded while the others have stayed in the mainstream? Were they like the b-sides or deep cuts from the days of vinyl –  interesting to the hard-core fan, but not really the main attraction? Or have other tales with similar stories and morals eclipsed them?

Out earliest copy of Mother Goose is from 1697 and maintains that it was printed in Paris. However, the catalog record indicates that it was printed in Amsterdam and was essentially an unauthorized pirate copy of the real Paris edition.

Ask for Rare Book PQ 1877 .C513 1697 to read this early Mother Goose – in French of course! The Blue Fairy Book can be had by asking for Sine Illus F66blu.

New Hampshire – View from the Cheap Seats

Vox Clamantis in Deserto

I have a strong connection with Dartmouth’s motto “a voice crying out in the wilderness”, often recalling it over the past 30 or so years while hiking and photographing in and around the Northern New Hampshire wilderness. Having worked here at Dartmouth for more than 20 years, many new students, staff and visitors to the college often ask the question – “What is there to do up here in the woods?” Well, I think I have an answer for these folks. Having built up a rather large collection of outdoor photographs over the years reminds me what an excellent place NH is to live and explore. I’d like to share a few of these photos with those new to the area (or not so new) and provide commentary on them for anyone who may be interested in such things.

Champney Brook at Pitcher Falls gorge as seen from
the brook looking into the gorge from the
bottom of the falls.

Champney Falls Trail – The hike up Champney Falls Trail to the summit of Mt. Chocorua is approximately 3.5 miles. It is relatively moderate throughout, with the assistance of a long set of switchbacks, and includes a waterfalls edge climb at Champney Falls near the halfway point of the hike. The narrow and elongated summit area is open and rocky with easy footing and beautiful vistas in all directions. The trail head is located a few miles east of Bear Notch Road on the Kancamagus Highway.
A reverse angle of the same gorge
looking back towadrs the brook.

The early part of the hike is through open woods following the lower section of Champney Brook. The walking is at an easy grade, turning more moderate as you arrive at the point where the brook levels off. About halfway to the top is a side (loop) trail which leads to the base of Champney Falls, follows the main waterfall up and eventually reconnects with the main trail. Here you come to a wonder of nature that I never get tired of seeing in any season, called Pitcher Falls. The gigantic split in the rock and the soaring walls are best appreciated while standing at the bottom of the crevasse, or from the top looking back down towards the brook – if you dare! It is a great place to cool your heels on the way up, on the way down or perhaps just a nice spot to have a cold beer (in the winter months, warm beverages are OK too). The loop trail continues up the side of the waterfall for about a quarter mile with many interesting views of brook worn rock formations.

View from the summit of Middle Sister south
to Mt. Chocorua.
Shortly after the loop trail rejoins the main trail, there begin a series of switchbacks along a rather steep area, making the hike much more gradual. One can continue on up the main trail to the summit, or near the end of the switchbacks (about 2/3 of the way to the top), take a side path to Middle Sister, a lesser peak which has fine views of the summit from an interesting angle. Also providing fine views to the north and west, as well as a broken down foundation that was perhaps part of a tower or summit house once upon a time….?

View from Mt. Chocorua Summit looking south.
This second side trail continues on and rejoins the main trail to the summit as well. The summit area is totally open, although a bit narrow and rocky, which can be intimidating if there are high winds, this due to the steep drop-off from the summit cone and a lack of trees for protection.

View from Mt. Chocorua Summit looking west.

All in all, it is a spectacular hike with a bit of something for everyone that is well worth the effort.
Pitcher Falls in winter, from the top.

Midway up Pitcher Falls during the winter.
Amazing ice formations at Pitcher Falls
I hope this blog post along with the photographs will encourage one to get out there and enjoy the natural wonders we in New Hampshire have fallen in love with.

By Brian Markee

Inaugural Dartmouth Authors Book Talk by Prof. Colin Calloway

The Dartmouth College Library recently expanded its Dartmouth Authors Book Display program to include brief talks or blog postings by featured authors.

Prof. Calloway discusses his book Ledger Narratives: The Plains Indian Drawings of the Lansburgh Collection at Dartmouth College

Prof. Calloway discusses his book Ledger Narratives: The Plains Indian Drawings of the Lansburgh Collection at Dartmouth College

Colin Calloway (History & Native American Studies) has two books currently on display in Baker-Berry Library’s King Arthur Flour Café:   Pen and Ink Witchcraft: Treaties and Treaty Making in American Indian History (Oxford U. Press, 2013); and Ledger Narratives: The Plains Indian Drawings of the Lansburgh Collection at Dartmouth College (U. of Oklahoma Press, 2012).  He gave the inaugural book talk on May 21st, discussing Ledger Narratives, which grew out of the Hood Museum of Art’s Fall 2010 exhibit of the Mark Lansburgh Collection of ledger drawings, and the concurrent Leslie Humanities Center Institute, “Multiple Narratives in Plains Indian Ledger Art.”

Ledger art is associated primarily with Cheyenne, Kiowa, and other Plains peoples, first appearing in the mid-late 19th century.  As contact between Native communities and American military, government agents, and traders increased, so did access to the accounting ledger books in which this art was drawn.  These drawings document – from a Native perspective – a time of tremendous and traumatic change for these communities.  A single drawing can tell a complex story, with footprints/animal tracks indicating travel and passage of time.  Many drawings depict battle scenes against both Native and non-Native enemies, with warriors often clearly identified by their regalia or associated glyphs.  Others depict daily life (hunting, courtship, social dances, etc.) or the encroachment of European American civilization and technologies.

Want to know more?

Join us for our next Dartmouth Authors book talk on Mon., June 24 at 4:00 pm.  Dr. Harvey Frommer (MALS) will speak on “Writing Baseball.” Mark your calendars!

We Blogged ’em, Now Come See ’em!

For Class Day, Saturday, June 8th, we will have an array of very cool items from Rauner set out for graduating seniors, their families, and members of the Class of 1963. Each of the items have appeared on this blog, so it is a great chance to see some of these materials up close and personally. If you are on campus between 10:00 and 5:00 on Saturday, please drop by and take a look.

We also have a special exhibit for the Class of 1963 that is on display Friday, June 7, from 8:00-4:30; Saturday from 10:00-5:00; Sunday from 12:00-4:00; and Monday, June 9, from 8:00-4:30.

All of the fun is open to the public, so come on in and enjoy the Commencement Weekend festivities.