Memories of Blake ’08, Part I

Tucked into the pages of his cumbersome and crumbling “mem book,” which now resides in the Rauner Special Collections Library, lies Francis Gilman Blake’s hand-drawn map of an expedition through the New Hampshire wilderness, annotated with the details of each day’s travel and a branch plucked from the slopes of Mt. Washington. While the practice of scrap-booking at Dartmouth has since been replaced by other hobbies and interests, the Rauner Library has preserved some of the books created by students from the early twentieth century.

Although simplistic in their detail, Blake’s illustrations of the mountains prove stunningly accurate in their physical relationship to each other. The mountains are carefully spaced and aligned, yet they are not drawn from a bird’s-eye view like a traditional map, but from a perspective on the horizon, evoking a deeply personal recollection of the landscape. In terms of geographic orientation however, Blake only offers his audience a single winding line through a series of mountains and towns. But to someone familiar with the mountains, trails, and roads of the region, Blake’s map tells an incredibly vivid and personal story of adventure. The map therefore serves not as a geographical tool, but as an experiential guide. In terms of absolute place and geography it is meaningless, but as a relative measure of place within a shared context, it tells a story more detailed and intimate than any cartographer could draft.

While miles and locations ordinarily serve as measures of distance and place, juxtaposed in this context they convey a measurement of relative time. Blake’s itinerary provides a list of the mountains and mileage that tells not only of where he went, but also of the fast pace and strenuous nature of the hike, allowing those familiar with these steep slopes an intimate perspective on the passing of the journey. Over one hundred years later, these chronological clues prove much more valuable than the dates that accompany them. Notions of absolute time have become lost over the decades, but Blake has preserved these episodes by grounding them in a relative context that survives today.

Blake’s book ends at over one hundred pages, weighs as much as a large dictionary, and holds various large objects between its pages including entire flowers, small books, and notably a 108 year-old pretzel. These characteristics suggest that Blake never intended this book to travel, or even to be opened on a regular basis. Without a title page, cohesive structure, or labels for many of the photographs, Blake’s intended audience likely comprises a small group of those quite familiar to him and his experiences.  This conclusion, drawn from the physical nature of the book, is supported by his uses of time and place within a shared context. Perhaps the chief member of Blake’s audience is his future self, the individual best equipped to unravel the relative contexts of his maps. Blake’s audience is limited only by a reader’s willingness and ability to engage these objects outside of their absolute geographical and chronological contexts, the depth of the connection determined by the extent of the shared experience.

Posted for Edward Harvey ’15

Aboard the Dartmouth

In late November 1773, the Nantucket whaling ship Dartmouth sailed into Boston harbor. Her cargo was tea, brought back from England after sailing there with a load of whale oil. At the time, much of the population of Boston had gotten a tad irritable about British taxation and duties on tea, so the Dartmouth was not allowed to unload her cargo. A few days later she was joined by the Eleanor, also loaded with tea and similarly detained in the harbor unable to unload. On December 15th, the Beaver arrived, and became the third ship that would, the next day, play a role in one of the pivotal events in this country’s fight for independence.

We all know what happened to that tea in Boston harbor on December 16, 1773.

However, I had forgotten from my American history lessons of long ago that one of the Boston Tea Party ships was named Dartmouth. She was the first ship built in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1767 for Francis Rotch of Nantucket, and was named for a section of Bedford. Sadly, the Dartmouth was lost at sea on the Atlantic during the summer of 1774.

There have been other ships named Dartmouth, including a brig built by J. N. Harvey in 1768 and listed in Lloyd’s register of shipping for 1776. It was this vessel that caused some confusion over the rigging when Ruth Edwards was researching the Boston Tea party ship Dartmouth for a commission she had been given by the Class of 1907. The class gave the painting of the Dartmouth to the College in 1967 in honor of its upcoming bicentennial.

During World War II, an oil tanker, the Dartmouth, and a victory type cargo ship, the Dartmouth Victory, were launched. About the same time, two liberty cargo ships were launched: the Samson Occom and the Eleazar Wheelock. I suspect there are other ship with Dartmouth connections, but the vessels carrying the name of Levi Woodbury, Class of 1809, and Secretary of the Navy, are too numerous to go into here.

Ask for Iconography 1368 to see the “Tea Party” Dartmouth.

Trial and Conflict

The adage that “all your dysfunctional relationships have one thing in common, you” comes to mind whenever Eleazar Wheelock’s legacy is up for examination. This is particularly the case with a recent acquisition of Wheelock documents (five in his hand) ranging from the time of his calling to the Second Congregational Church in Lebanon, Connecticut, in 1735 to 1771 after his arrival in Hanover.

Most of the documents deal with conflict: a court case, a disagreement between a minister and his congregation or between one minister and another. Others are less controversial and focus on the installment of a minister, or an invitation to Wheelock, a renowned preacher in his time, to give a sermon at another church.

One of the most interesting items in this group of documents is a scrap of well-worn paper in Wheelock’s hand that is coming apart that the creases. Picking through the chicken scratch it becomes evident these are notes that Wheelock took perhaps during the negotiations regarding his ministry in Lebanon, Connecticut. The notes outline what the congregation had agreed to provide Wheelock as compensation for his ministerial efforts, they specifically record that he would be paid £140 per year in public credit or provisions with the types of provisions and amounts carefully noted. The provisions included wheat, corn, oats and pork and beef. The notes also record that Wheelock was to be paid yearly on the first of January. This agreement was drawn up by a savvy group of flinty Connecticut farmers and businessmen who found ways to reinterpret it, or so Wheelock felt, to his disadvantage. It very soon became a source of conflict between Wheelock and the congregation that would plague him until resigned his position.

The crux of the issue appears to have been how these provisions were to be provided based on the rise and fall of their value. The deficit created by the congregation’s interpretation of this agreement was one of the factors that led Wheelock to take on students for tutoring as a way to supplement his income. This in turn led to his tutoring Samson Occom. It was Occom’s success as a scholar that led Wheelock to the idea of educating Native Americans. So, in a sense, this scrap of paper covered in scratchy hand, is the genesis for the eventual founding of Dartmouth College.

To see Wheelock’s notes and two later “clean copies” that he made of the specific areas of disagreement, ask for MS-1310, box 1, folders 735227. 1, 735227.2, 735227.3

Thanksgiving Tweets, 1946

DOC Thanksgiving Feast, November 1946
Archival Photofiles

November 1946 marked the first Thanksgiving after the end of World War II. It was a time that Dartmouth was returning to some sense of normalcy after becoming a defacto military training ground. No wonder that the students chose something other than war to talk about when the Dartmouth asked them what they were thankful for.  Here are some of their responses from the Tuesday before Thanksgiving:

“I’m glad I won’t need to see The Dartmouth until next Monday.”

“I am thankful that the New York Rangers beat the Canadians 3-2.”

“I’m very thankful that I work for the Jack-o

“I’m thankful that I go to a liberal arts college where I can learn how to be a liberal artist.”

“I’m thankful for Hollywood failures.”

“I’m thankful that after eating in Thayer Hall for two months I can go home for a decent meal.”

“I’m thankful that I have two classes this afternoon so I can spend an extra day in Hanover.”

To read more, take a look at The D on our reference shelves here in Rauner–but not on Thanksgiving. We’ll be thankful to not be at work! The photofiles, though, will still be online.

In the Best Interest of the College

25 years ago, on November 13th, 1989, the Board of Trustees announced the College’s intention to completely divest the endowment from companies operating in South Africa. This decision was the culmination of almost 20 years of protests and discussion between students, administrators, and community members regarding the propriety of the College’s involvement with companies that were complicit in apartheid.

The 1970s and 1980s saw divestment movements arise at many colleges and other institutions in the midst of the public outcry over South Africa’s apartheid system. The College’s first action regarding the divestment question occurred in 1972, when the Trustees voted to form the Advisory Committee for Investor Responsibility, tasked with overseeing the ethical use of Dartmouth’s endowment. In 1977, Rev. Leon Sullivan issued a set of six principles of business ethics for companies operating in South Africa in order to maintain their American backers. Dartmouth and many of its peer institutions pressured the companies in which they had investments to sign on to the principles. However, by the mid-1980s the principles were considered too moderate and many organizations began to consider complete divestment.

The debate over apartheid and divestment at Dartmouth included several highly controversial protests and demonstrations. For example, in 1986, 13 students occupied Baker Tower and only came down after they were promised a meeting with the Board of Trustees to discuss the possibility of divestment. The most well-known protest by far, however, concerned several shanties built on the Green in late 1985 to protest the human rights violations of apartheid and the College’s refusal to divest. Students began living in the shanties and refused to leave despite the cold weather and the administration’s disapproval, but during the night of January 21st, 1986, a group of writers from The Dartmouth Review secretly gathered on the Green and destroyed the shanties with sledgehammers. The next day, nearly 200 outraged students occupied Parkhurst and the President’s Office to protest the attack, while more students rallied outside. President McLaughlin responded by suspending the students who had destroyed the shanties and canceling classes for one day to hold a teach-in exploring racism and prejudice at Dartmouth. While the protests quieted somewhat in the following years, groups such as the Dartmouth Community for Divestment, the Afro-American Society, and the Upper Valley Committee for a Free South Africa continued to pressure the Board of Trustees to divest until 1989, when they finally agreed to do so after a group of protesters stormed a meeting of the Trustees and called for an impromptu vote. The College continued to refrain from investments in South Africa until 1994, when it chose to end the policy following the overthrow of apartheid.

To learn more about Dartmouth’s divestment movement, check out the display case in Rauner’s reading room, just to the right of the doors. Sources for the exhibit are the Records of the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility (DA-328), the Papers of George Bourozikas (DO-55), and archives files on student protests.

Posted for Hillary Purcell ’14.

A Daily Diary of the Great War — November 16 & 17, 1917

By John Hale Chipman, Class of 1919

Chipman standing on far left

Chipman standing on far left

“November 16, 1917 and Nov. 17.

Friday and Saturday, we spent in packing up our luggage and walking around the town and saying good bye to our friends and acquaintances. I went up the Groupement Headquarters and shook hands with my friend Captain Emmet who expressed himself as being very fortunate in making friends among us American boys and said that if Frenchmen in general could understand us, all would appreciate more. I will tell you more of Captain Emmet when I see you again.

At our last roll call, 1:30 P. M. Saturday we received orders that we would leave at 4 A. M. Sunday, Nov. 18 and to pack up and be ready. We needed no urging. However, as my luggage was all packed, I walked up to the other side of the town and told René Champsavin, my old friend, good-bye, and I hated to leave him, believe me. He is a good friend. Then I looked around the old town once more, recollecting my first incidents here and there, and laughing the with boys at our smash-ups here and there and so forth. For we were really leaving and will I ever see the place again? If so, it will be changed. My old friends, officers and poilus will either be home or gone from this earth. Anyway, my experiences and souvenirs of one of the most helpful periods of my life will never leave me.

Saturday night we turned in at 8:30 and at 4 A. M., 40 of us, our section, left in two camions  [trucks] with our luggage to take the 7:00 A. M. train from M. N. D. for Paris. We arrived in the Solemn-Gay City at 2 P. M. and went down to the Hôtel des Etâts-Unis on Rue d’Autin. Here we were glad to welcome a normal life once again after spending 5 months in rustic ways, necessitated by war.

And so, our experiences stop here with the French Army.”



November 16 & 17, 1917

November 16 & 17, 1917








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To see the actual diary, come to Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall and ask to see MS-1229 during normal hours of operation.

A Daily Diary of the Great War — November 15, 1917

By John Hale Chipman, Class of 1919


“November 15, 1917, Thursday, Fair, Cold.

Well, our news came today definitely that we are to be released so we are beginning to pack our things. Orders came today to turn in our yellow identification cards so we turned those in and at the same time received our pay of 2F 50 for 4 weeks work. After supper we gave our last concert at the Y. M. C. A. and here we gathered together in a bunch for the last time.

Rosais, our favorite violinist, gave us selections and Baldy gave us a number of sketches and with several numbers from Busby we were able to while away a few last pleasant hours. At 10:30 we came back to the barracks and piled into our bunks.”

November 15, 1917 (1 of 2)

November 15, 1917
(1 of 2)

November 15, 1917 (2 of 2)

November 15, 1917
(2 of 2)








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To see the actual diary, come to Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall and ask to see MS-1229 during normal hours of operation.

Ciphering Books

Pike’s Mathematical text

If you attended a school, college or evening mathematics class during the18th century, you would most likely have used a ciphering book rather than a textbook for your studies. A ciphering book was a manuscript notebook that contained mathematical definitions, rules, examples, problems and exercises. It would have included basic arithmetic, as well as more complex subjects including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. In addition, a ciphering book often emphasized mercantile subjects such as barter, the calculation of interest and surveying. Copied by students, usually from a teacher’s own ciphering book, the notebooks became the student’s personal “textbook,” to be used in class and also as a reference book later in life.

Ciphering books were always written in ink, often with calligraphy headings and illustrations. However, the quality of the script varied significantly.

Woodward’s “System of Plain Trigonometry”

It appears that Bezaleel Woodward, who would become a professor of mathematics and philosophy, as well as Eleazar Wheelock’s son in law, took little care with the script in his notebook “A System of Plain Trigonometry,” while he was a student at Dartmouth College. In contrast Samuel A. Kimball, who copied John Hubbard’s “A System of Spheric Trigonometry,” was more careful in the execution of his penmanship.

Hubbard’s “System of Spheric Trigonometry”

Another fine example of an 18th century ciphering book is James Pike’s untitled volume. Pike was an educator from Somersworth, New Hampshire, who began teaching himself in 1798. The text is divided into chapters with increasing complexity and even has page numbers that are reflected in a contents page. Pike went on to publish two textbooks in his lifetime, The Columbian Orthographer in 1806 and The Little Reader in 1814.

According to a M.A. Clements and Nerida F. Ellerton, mathematics professors at Illinois State University, the use of ciphering books declined after 1840, due to the fact that they were no longer important in evaluating the quality of a student’s learning or that of an instructor’s teaching. In addition, they argue that state education leaders switched their focus from the individual student to that of a graded class.

To see these ciphering books ask for: MS-1271 (Pike) and Codex 802415.1 (Woodward). Kimball’s cipher book is currently being re-cataloged.

A Daily Diary of the Great War — November 14, 1917

By John Hale Chipman, Class of 1919


“November 14, 1917. Wednesday, Cold, Damp.

Had breakfast at 8:00 after piling on an overcoat and shoes over my pajamas, for the old bunk was so warm it was hard to leave yet the taste of omellette was strong enough to tempt me to be the last one in line before the call “Gichet fermé.” [counter closed]

In the morning rumors floated about as to our release but I guess in every camp, military especially, they are not much believed, yet we must have something to talk about.

Anyway, we had a roll call after dinner, and were ordered to be at the Y. M. C. A. tent at 8:00 as Captain Mallet would speak to us. Yes, we are to be released. After supper, the boys “moved” down to the tent and I guess about 500 of us were there. All the boys of 133, 526 and 184 reported so when Captain Mallet walked in, we gave him a great hand-clapping–for he is our favorite Captain.

He read his speech in English and tho’ simple in style it was very frank but impressive. He thanked us for our services and stated the experience was one we would forever cherish. True enough! So, before closing, we were given our definite information, we were to leave when he finished. The barracks–tent fairly rocked with our cheers. Then we went back to bed, 10:00!”

November 14, 1917

November 14, 1917








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To see the actual diary, come to Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall and ask to see MS-1229 during normal hours of operation.

A Daily Diary of the Great War — November 13, 1917

By John Hale Chipman, Class of 1919

Quiet country scenes near camp at Jouaignes

Quiet country scenes near camp at Jouaignes

“November 13, Tuesday, Cold, Misty.

Up at 7:30 for omelette. Hung around up town and paid a short visit to Champsavin at my old camp. After dinner, I found a package waiting for me from Muddy Marsh, “Old Pal”. She surely is a dear girl to be so thoughtful. 4 packages tobacco, gum, candy, cloves, (buttons and string)–the last triplefold welcome.

After dinner, Ab and I took a walk and there was a most wonderful sunset,–red sun, black-violet kills and a blue mist over the valley which was truly wonderful as we stood on the hill overlooking J.

After supper, I wrote letters, the last ones from France before I see all my friends, I hope. Read some K. N. and went to bed 9:30.

There is one diary section I know was sunk, but I must have something to tell you when I get home.

Love to all,

November 13, 1917 (1 of 2)

November 13, 1917
(1 of 2)

November 13, 1917 (2 of 2)

November 13, 1917
(2 of 2)








Previous entry  |   Next entry  |  Go to first entry
To see the actual diary, come to Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall and ask to see MS-1229 during normal hours of operation.