Slow Sales on the Sphinx

Tucked into one of our copies of Oscar Wilde’s The Sphinx (London: Bodley Head, 1894) is a fragment of a Wilde poem in his hand and a royalty statement from his publisher, John Lane. As of February 1895, 132 copies were still in stock and only nine had sold since the previous statement in September. Lane calculated the 10% royalty at two pounds, no shillings, and three pence.

This limited edition had a print run of 200, so only a third of the copies had found buyers at that point. The statement refers to two different states of the book: the more luxurious, large-paper copy sold for over four pounds while the small paper copy was priced at 35 shillings.

Our second copy of the same book lacks the glamor of manuscript inserts, but has a watercolor of an Egyptian scene painted beneath the half title. We haven’t figured out who the painter is (the signature looks like “Bamdin”) but it is clearly not in the style of Charles Ricketts’ illustrations.

Come see for yourself by asking for Val 826 W64 W6 copies 1 and 2.

A Sot for All His Life

We love it when our books speak to each other. In 1722, Daniel DeFoe published his Journal of the Plague Year (London: E. Nutt, 1722). In it he refers to one physician who warded off infection with prodigious alcohol consumption:

Nether did I do, what I know some did, keep the Spirits always high and hot with Cordials, and Wine, and such things, and which, as I observ’d, one learned Physician used himself so much to, as that he could not leave them off when the Infection was quite gone, and so became a Sot for all his Life after.

Defoe was only a child when the Plague hit London in 1665, so he drew on other accounts for his “eye-witness” Journal. One of his principle sources was Nathanial Hodges’s Loimologia: or an Historical Account of the Plague in London in 1665.  We have the 1721 London edition of that work and it has a curious passage where Hodges described the methods he used to ward off infection.

Before dinner he had a glass of Sack “to warm the Stomach, refresh the Spirits, and dissipate any beginning Lodgment of the Infection.” This was followed by a heavy dinner with plenty of wine. The early evening was spent visiting patients, then he ended the day “by drinking to Cheerfulness of my old favourite Liqour.”

More alarming, he always carried wine with him and would have a glass “if in the Day-time I found the least Approaches of the Infection,” such as “Guidiness, Loathing of the Stomach, and Faintness.” Hum, I wonder what could have caused those symptoms–other than the Plague, of course?

Sobering statistics from Loimologia

To relive a Plague year and marvel that anyone survived at all, ask for Val 825D36 S21 (Defoe, see page 276) and Rare RC114.Q5 1721 (Hodges, see page 222).

Graduating? Check Your Library Account!

Check Your Library Account!

Check Your Library Account!

Graduating this June? Here’s what you need to know about your library account!

All library materials are due by 7pm on Wednesday June 4th for graduating students.  Check your library account online to verify that it is clear.   Payments after May 9th may only be made by CASH or money order at Kresge Library;  you may pay by credit card at Baker Berry (even if it is for a Kresge Library charge).

Did you know that Dartmouth alumni (which you are about to become) have many library privileges?   Read more about setting up an alumni account  (note –  you must clear all current library obligations before applying for an alumni account).  Alumni accounts will be available at Baker Berry Circulation after 12pm on June 9th.

Important deadlines:

9 May 2014 – No more checks can be accepted, nor any new charges placed against a students DA$H account.
4 June 2014 – All books are to be turned in by 7pm this day for all graduating students.
7 June 2014 – Staff will be available at Baker-Berry from 10 AM to 11 AM to handle account clearances. This is the VERY LAST CHANCE for students to get their library account cleared so they may receive their diploma. NO EXCEPTIONS.
9 June 2014 – Alumni Accounts for new graduates available at Baker-Berry Circulation after 12 pm.

Filed under: Kresge, Library – General

Hopkins and Mitsui

Nowadays when Dartmouth students hear the name Hopkins, they think of the “Hop,” the campus performing arts center and home to chicken tender quesos from the Courtyard Café grill. Yet the memory of President Hopkins at Dartmouth spans far beyond the funky building that bears his name. Amidst the turmoil that World War II produced, President Hopkins extended a helping hand to an atypical pupil. Takanobu “Nobu” Mitsui, class of 1943, was a legacy at Dartmouth, a physics major, but more importantly in an era of international conflict, a Japanese national. His experience demonstrates how President Hopkins established Hanover as a haven during wartime hysteria.

The outbreak of World War II coincided with Mitsui’s matriculation at Dartmouth in the fall of 1939. By August of 1941, as the relationship between Japan and the United States was deteriorating, the undergraduate began to debate whether he would continue his studies or return home. Despite the possibility of internment, Mitsui wished to remain at Dartmouth.

He was fortunate to have the sponsorship of a classmate of his father’s, Charles Griffith, class of 1915, as well as the backing of the President of the College himself. On August, 11, 1941, President Hopkins expressed his willingness to help Mitsui remain in the United States when he wrote to Griffith stating, “I can see no likely risk in the sponsorship which you have established, and I should be very glad, as a matter of fact, to cooperate with you or to give any official or personal endorsement that might be helpful to you in the matter at any point.” Although Nobu’s father, Takanaga, wanted him to return home, he allowed Nobu to remain at Dartmouth due to the support of Hopkins and Griffith.

The events of December 7, 1941, revealed the strength of Mitsui’s relationship with the College. On the day of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, reporters targeted Mitsui as an outsider and solicited him for an interview. Nonetheless, a group of Mitsui’s peers also congregated at his dormitory, showing their support and assuring Mitsui that he was welcome in the Dartmouth community. In his memoir, Mitsui declared how “being classified as enemy at first left me feeling forlorn and helpless, but the goodwill expressed by school authorities, the student governing body,” who had voted to guarantee his well being as long as the government allowed him to stay, “and our close friends was supportive and warmly welcome.” It is clear that he felt as though he had a firm support system in Hanover.

The day following the bombing, Mitsui “felt a vague uneasiness,” fearing that the attack may prompt someone to act against him, yet he “had not experienced the slightest change in atmosphere” on campus. He later described how “when the war did begin, I was not thrown into a panic. Everyone’s manner toward me was all I could have wished. Basically, it was as if they had known from the beginning that my presence was harmless.”

Mitsui visited President Hopkins later that day, who described him merely as “a victim of circumstances.” Mitsui recalled how he stood “gazing gratefully into the frank, unwavering eyes of a man who harbored no discrimination whatsoever against someone from a foreign country.” He juxtaposed his experience with one that someone in the opposite situation may have encountered since “the president of a Japanese university could not possibly have shown publicly such concern for a foreign enemy student studying abroad. If he were to do so he would be labeled as unpatriotic, and it would become impossible for him to stay in office.” This was not the case with President Hopkins; although he was often away from campus, he made every effort to ensure Mitsui’s well being.

Not only did President Hopkins help Mitsui remain at Dartmouth by providing moral support, but he also stepped in when the war interfered with Mitsui’s tuition payments. Nobu’s family had been using his cousin in New York, Sadakazu, as a medium by which to fund his education. When Sadakazu became interned at Ellis Island, the accounts were frozen, and Mitsui could no longer pay his Dartmouth bills. After extensive correspondences with the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, the administration decided to offer Mitsui loans while he completed his studies.

Nonetheless, wartime circumstances required Mitsui to make some compromises. President Hopkins suggested that Mitsui end his involvement with the Dartmouth Broadcasting System (DBS). He thought it would be best for Mitsui to avoid any connection with radio broadcasting and photography, which were the basis of the club. In a letter from July of 1942, President Hopkins stated that this recommendation was “made in the desire to protect him rather than in any question which we have in our own minds,” revealing that instead of doubting Mitsui’s actions, he merely sought to avoid any misconceptions concerning the student’s extra curricular activities.

However, the entire Hanover community did not share President Hopkins’s feelings toward Mitsui. A newspaper article from September 23, 1943, declared “While New Hampshire boys languish and die in barbarous Japanese prison camps, a scion of one of Japan’s handful of great families whose wealth greases the gears of the global war, dwells unobtrusively in the academic atmosphere of this New Hampshire college town.” While their anger is understandable, those that personally knew Mitsui saw no reason to object to his presence.

Despite the opposition, Mitsui did not regret staying at Dartmouth. In a letter to President Hopkins from January 11, 1943, Mitsui wrote that “staying here means I am fighting for democracy… going back means either I am giving up or postponing my duty as a human being, God’s child.” Furthermore, his memoirs reveal his strong conviction that Dartmouth was his home. He stated, “Immediately upon the outbreak of the war, I found myself firmly determined to stay in America, and later I came to realize that the motivating factor in my decision was this place, here where I was.” This was in part due to the bond he felt with his friends and fraternity brothers, and the hill winds and picturesque setting of Dartmouth may have contributed to this sentiment as well, but it undoubtedly was also related to his connection with President Hopkins.

Likewise, President Hopkins held a special affinity for Mitsui. In 1944 he exchanged a series of letters with an acquaintance, John Tyssowski, in which he explained his sponsorship. This correspondence reveals how he had more than a single motivation for supporting the Japanese student. Although President Hopkins believed continuing his connection with Mitsui would be advantageous for the nation: “I always felt that we were in all probability rendering a large public service in affording educational opportunities to a man of his prominence at home and bound to have his influence in periods subsequent to the war. “The nature of their relationship was more than mere politics. In addition to writing how he had “the very definite feeling that Mitsui may be very helpful in the period succeeding the war,” he continued by stating: “Moreover, as always happens when personal relations are involved, I have become very fond of the boy, and he is to be classified as ‘my favorite [Japanese relation]’ for the time being and I think probably permanently.”

Ask for Hopkins’s President Office Records: Student Undergraduate files to see the letters, and to read the translations of Mr. Mitsui’s memoir completed by Edward Rasmussen ’42, ask for MS-1069.

Also see a previous blog post regarding Nobu Mitsui.

Posted for Haley Shaw ’15.

How Far the Mighty

Joseph McCarthy preached the perils of Communism’s insidious reach into American’s institutions to garner immense political power and control during the 1950s. His name has since become a synonym for fear mongering and the worst kind of political abuse. After riding high for several years, McCarthy finally stumbled.

In 1954 McCarthy and his attorney Roy Cohn were accused of bringing undue influence to bear on the Army in regard to its treatment of one of McCarthy’s former aides. While McCarthy was found to be innocent of the charges, his reputation was badly damaged by the media coverage and never recovered. He became a liability to his party, and on December 2, 1954, he was officially censured by the Senate. He died three years later.

One of the Senators who helped precipitate McCarthy’s downfall was Senator Ralph Flanders from Vermont. In a note to Harold Rugg dated December 31, 1954, he makes a somewhat casual, almost offhand, remark about the censure proceedings which he had instigated.

We didn’t get to Scotland. I concluded that I had to come home to play my part in the censure proceedings.

Flanders then wraps up the letter with another reference to McCarthy.

I am having sent from the Washington office the speeches on the subject of the junior Senator from Wisconsin, which I assume are the speeches to which you refer.

Its ironic that one of the most feared and notorious men in American politics would be so quickly demoted in stature such that he isn’t even mentioned by name.

Ask for Mss 954681 to see the letter from Flanders to Rugg.

Bound by Necessity

We only have a handful of Confederate imprints, but two of them from Mobile, Alabama, are tactile windows into the past. Mobile Bay was under blockade for much of the war, and it fell under Union control in 1864 (“Damn the Torpedoes,” and all that). But there was still a need for good reading material and a local publisher, S.H. Goetzel, stepped up to provide the local community with popular European novels like M. E. Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret! and a translation of Muhlbach’s Joseph II and His Court (Mobile: S.H. Goetzel, 1864).

Joseph II was advertised on the back flyleaf of Lady Audley’s Secret with a caveat that shows the difficulties of doing business in wartime:

The scarcity and high prices of materials compel me to a limited edition, and therefore I would request the public send their orders in time. The uncertainty of wages and general expenses at present disables me from determining the price of the work. I hope to issue the first book by the 1st of May.

But he had another problem related to “the scarcity of materials” he alludes to above. Goetzel lacked good book cloth. Manufactured cloth would have had to be smuggled in from England past the Union blockade–and it is doubtful anything so precious would have been used on a book when there were clearly more pressing needs. But Goetzel had access to stocks of pre-war wallpaper on hand and he found they served admirably as temporary cover material, especially for novels that might not be saved anyway. We like picturing Goetzel, in a fury of passion, grabbing the wallpaper from his stock like Scarlet O’Hara ripping down her curtains, but it probably wasn’t quite so romantic.

You can see these remarkable survivors by asking for Rare Book PR4389.M4L3 1864 and Rare Book PT2438.M4Z35 1864.

Add to our Graffiti Wall!

graffiti_wallGraduating? Got some advice to pass along? Kresge Library has a wall and some colorful sharpies for you to share it on!  Stop by and post your best tips (about research, science, or life in general!) for other science majors and Kresge regulars. Feel free to get creative! If you’re looking for inspiration or ideas on what to add, read last year’s messages!

Filed under: Astronomy, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Sciences, For Fun, Kresge, Math, Physics

Your Most Unworthy Servant

In 1768 Samson Occom, a Mohegan Indian, minister and scholar returned from a trip to England. Occom’s trip was not one of pleasure, but of business. Eleazar Wheelock, founder and first president of Dartmouth College, had sent him over the ocean to travel the country preaching the word of God and collecting money. The object of these collections was Wheelock’s Moor’s Indian Charity School in the colony of Lebanon Connecticut. This school had been founded to educate Indian youth, both male and female, in the hope of converting them to Christianity. Occom had gone to England a willing participant because he believed in the Christian God and because he believed that his people, and Native Americans more generally, needed to be educated if they were to fare well in a world dominated by Anglo-American society.

On his return, Occom was dismayed to find that Wheelock was determined to use the funds raised in England (£12,000—approximately 2.4 million in today’s dollars) to found a College for Anglo-Americans. Though he’d been warned about Wheelock’s intentions by others, specifically the English minister George Whitefield (who was a virtual celebrity of the time) it came as a bitter surprise.

In July of 1771, one year after Dartmouth College opened its doors to its first class, he wrote to Wheelock to express his concern and disappointment. The letter opens fairly typically for an 18th century missive “Revd Sir, Yours of Janr 22: I receivd but a few Days ago.” The letter starts out with some general news, but there is a definite edge to the tone. In the second page Occom makes his true reason for writing clear,

“I am very Jealous that inſtead of Your Semenary Becoming alma Mater, She will be too alba mater to Suckle the Tawnees, for She is already a Dorn’d up too much like the Popiſh Virgin Mary She’ll be Naturally aſham’d to Suckle the Tawnees for She is already equal in Power Honor and Authority to and any College in Europe.”

While this may seem fairly straightforward from our perspective today, a bald statement of displeasure like this was tantamount to shouting in the 18th century. Occom is clearly angry and feels that Wheelock has abandoned the intention of educating the Indians (the tawnees as he refers to them). He continues,

“I Chearfully Ventur’d my Body & Soul, left my Country my poor Young Family all my Friends and Relations, to Sail over the Boiſterous Seas to England, to help forward your School, Hoping, that it may be a laſting Benefet to my poor Tawnee Brethren.”

But he is only just getting going. He notes that he was willing to be “Gazing stock, Yea Even a Laughing Stock, in Strange Countries to Promote your Cauſe” and he berates Wheelock that they “Shall be Deem’d as Liars and Deceivers in Europe, unless you gather Indians quickly to your College, in great Numbers”

These are strong words, made all the stronger since Occom was writing to his mentor and sometimes benefactor. It must have surprised, and perhaps even shocked, Wheelock to receive such a frank and stinging rebuke from his former student, and an Indian at that. While this was not the end of their communications, Occom never did set foot on Dartmouth’s campus and he and Wheelock never met face-to-face again. True to 18th century mores, and despite his anger, Occom closes his letter in a typical fashion for the time, signing off “Your moſt unworthy Servt Samſon Occom”

This letter and many more are now available online as part of the Occom Circle Project, a National Endowment for the Humanities funded project to digitize, transcribe and markup over 500 letters, documents, diaries and sermons written by or about Samson Occom. The site, the brain child of Ivy Schweitzer, Professor of English and Women and Gender Studies, makes the transcriptions available side-by-side with digital images of the original documents with options to view both a diplomatic version (as intended by the author) and a more modern, readable version. The Text Encoding Initiative markup allows scholars and student to search and sort the documents in new ways as well as providing clarifying information about places, people and events mentioned in the letters.

To learn more about this project, still underway, come to the Friends of the Library presentation on the Occom Circle Project on May 15, 2014 at 4:00 in the Class of 1902 Room in Baker Library.

To see Occom’s scathing letter to Wheelock, go to: Or, come in and ask for DC Hist Mss 771424.

Digital Collections to Get Lost In

Today I’d like to highlight a few of my favorite Digital Collections from across the web. These are various odds and ends that are in no way meant to be fully representative of the incredible breadth of content out there. Rather, these collections represent my own pet interests, and I would encourage anyone reading this to seek out digital collections that speak to them, too.

First I’d like to point you towards (surprise!) our very own Dartmouth Digital Collections. Our fantastic library staff has done wonderful work creating a diverse and fascinating collection of materials for digital browsing. My personal favorite picks are the ever-expanding Photo Files collection, and the wonderfully quirky 19th century comic The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck (you can read more about Obadiah Oldbuck in this post I wrote way back in 2012).

The Dartmouth Boxing Club, donated by a Dartmouth Alumni class of 1871
Obadiah Oldbuck: “Raising himself, Mr. Oldbuck perceives his ladye-love. She is not alone! Duel between Mr. Oldbuck and his rival.

The next collection I’d like to direct you to is the New York Public Library’s newly launched collection of historic maps. These are fascinating, and a wonderful peek into the art of cartography as it was practiced throughout American history. Of particular interest to me was the packaging on many of these real-estate maps, hyping upcoming auctions and the promise of land ownership.

Pages from a 1914 land auctioneering pamphlet

Meanwhile, across the country, a collection I had the privilege of viewing as an undergraduate is my own Alma Mater Reed College’s collection of artist books. I am far from an expert in this subject and would defer to our very own wonderful Book Arts Program for more information, but even as a layman I can enjoy these unique and clever book designs.

Tobacco Project: Red Book  by Xu Bing

The amount of materials available on the web is expanding daily, and while it may seem daunting to sort through it, I’ve found the effort is well-rewarded. If you have a favorite collection, let us know in the comments! Happy browsing!

AGU Opens Journal Archive for Greater Access

AGU logoTimed to coincide with Earth Week?  Who knows?   Regardless, the recent announcement from the American Geophysical Union is an important statement from that society (publishers of many prestigious and highly regarded scholarly journals in earth and space science research, notably the Journal of Geophysical Research family of journals).

AGU announced two major steps in making its published research more accessible to scientists and the public:

  • Beginning 1 May, access to all AGU journal content and Eos from 1997 to content published 24 months ago will be made freely available. This change will apply to all articles and supplementary materials from journals that are not already open access, and it currently represents more than 80,000 articles and issues of Eos.  Additional content will continue to become open every month, on a 24-month rolling cycle.
  • In addition, AGU has joined an innovative initiative in the UK, Access to Research, that provides patrons of U.K. public libraries instant online access to journal content from 1997 to the present at the library.

AGU also publishes three fully open access journals – JAMES, Earth’s Future, and the recently announced Earth and Space Science, which will publish its first articles later this year.  (Read the complete AGU press release here.)

In addition to furthering AGU’s mission “to advanc[e] the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs,” there is recent evidence that scholarly journals’ impact, as well as access, can increase (if modestly) through the removal of subscription paywalls, – particularly for highly ranked journals, in the upper tiers of their disciplines.   The impact of open access on scholarly citations is a much studied, complex and controversial issue; this recent study (McCabe & Snyder, 2014) uses an econometric model that rigorously controls for variables in article quality, age, and secular trends in citations using journal panel data.


McCabe, Mark J., and Christopher M. Snyder. 2014. “Identifying the Effect of Open Access on Citations Using a Panel of Science Journals.” Economic Inquiry doi:10.1111/ecin.12064.  (Article preprint available at SSRN, the Social Science Research Network preprint server:   SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 2269040. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network.

Abstract: An open-access journal allows free online access to its articles, obtaining revenue from fees charged to submitting authors. Using panel data on science journals, we are able to circumvent some problems plaguing previous studies of the impact of open access on citations. We find that moving from paid to open access increases cites by 8% on average in our sample, but the effect varies across the quality of content. Open access increases cites to the best content (top-ranked journals or articles in upper quintiles of citations within a volume) but reduces cites to lower-quality content. We construct a model to explain these findings in which being placed on a broad open-access platform can increase the competition among articles for readers attention. we can find structural parameters allowing the model to fit the quintile results quite closely.

Also of interest:

“The Effect of Open Access and Downloads (‘hits’) on Citation Impact: A Bibliography of Studies.” 2014. Accessed May 9.

Filed under: Earth Sciences, Publishing