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

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.

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.

Homecoming: Edmund B. Dearborn

We recently acquired a small collection of letters addressed to Edmund B. Dearborn. Dearborn was a New England schoolteacher, who, although he prepared for college at Hampton Academy in New Hampshire, never matriculated at an institution. At Hampton Academy, Dearborn was a member of the Olive Branch Society. Incorporated in 1832, the society was founded to promote and improve writing and public speaking skills. However, when a fire at the Academy destroyed their collection of about six hundred valuable books, the society ceased to exist.

The letters in the collection are primarily from Dearborn’s former schoolmates. Most had also been members of the Olive Branch Society and many of them went into teaching as well. The letters detail the routine, responsibilities and personal narratives of small town schoolteachers.

Several of them attended Dartmouth College and it is through these letters that we get a first-hand account of student life at Dartmouth in the first half of the 19th century. In a letter from September 1829, Joseph Dow ’33 describes his life at Dartmouth, commenting that the “situation [here] is indeed very fine,” and that the “situation of Dart. Coll. has been grossly misrepresented.” He also implies that he expected Dearborn to join him at Dartmouth the following year and that in preparation for that he would “endeavor to give [him] some ideas of the place by the following uncouth figure.” Dow follows this statement with a small drawing in which he describes the buildings in “their situation relative to each other.” He also describes the Tontine building, which was destroyed in a fire in 1887, as a

huge building of brick, four stories high and part of a day’s journey in length. The lower part contains the Jackson Post Office-lawyer offices- tin plate worker’s shop-saddlers etc. The upper part contains rooms for students – principally quacks

Another former member of the Olive Branch Society, John Calvin Webster ’32 describes a more notorious incident when he writes that even though he had no particular news:

last week a negro woman died and was buried and on the night ensuing some of the medical students attempted to dig up the body. There were watchers expecting the attempt would be made, who let them dig down within a few inches of the coffin when they seized them.

Other correspondents in this collection include Amos Tuck, Jesse Eaton Pillsbury, S. P. Dole and David P. Page. To look at these letters please ask for MS-1290.

Taj Torah

We just acquired a truly amazing manuscript that has us all a twitter (though we don’t Tweet, just blog!). The manuscript is a copy of the Taj Torah produced in Yemen c. 1400-1450. This is one of only three known Hebrew manuscripts with illustrated carpet pages. The Torah is prefaced with a copy of the Tajim, a Yemenite grammar and guide to reading the Torah, so the manuscript is both a sacred text and a pedagogical device for its reading.

The manuscript has many possible uses in the classroom at a time when medieval and early modern Jewish texts are growing in interest and importance in academia. The specific aspects of it that most excite us are the carpet pages that can be compared and contrasted with Western illuminations and elucidate children’s education in the middle ages, and the potential for discussion of the manuscript as an object (i.e., its construction, material components). Among the nice carpet pages are  a drawing of the labyrinth of Jericho and a “Magical Square” of letters in a pattern.

Two years ago we worked with a class on medieval Christian, Islamic and Jewish traditions. We were able to lay out excellent medieval representations of the Koran and the Vulgate Bible but we lacked a comparative example of the Torah or similar Jewish text. That gap is now filled. We are able to lay, side by side, representative texts from all three monotheistic faiths, and all from roughly the same time period.

We are just starting to catalog the manuscript. You can ask for it by name at our reference desk and we will update this post when it is cataloged.

A War to End All Wars: Whining the War

As a young man at Dartmouth and in the military, Harold Pinkham, Class of 1915, was a confused and unhappy outsider. At Dartmouth, he was not athletic enough to make a sports team nor popular enough to make a fraternity and recalled being targeted during the customary freshman hazing of the period. After one year at Dartmouth, he transferred to Bowdoin, but stayed there only one year before leaving to live as a self-described hobo in the American West.

On April 17, 1917, in his father’s shop in Milton, New Hampshire, Pinkham read the headline announcing America’s Declaration of War. He had always supported Wilson’s neutrality as “a beacon of light in the darkest age of mankind” and saw no justification to assume that France and Britain were right, or that Germany was wrong.[1] Pinkham realized that, as a healthy, unemployed, single man of 22, he would be drafted.[2] He could not register as a conscientious objector, because he did not belong to a recognized religious sect that prohibited fighting in wars. He chose to evade the draft and went west when the draft was announced. During his sojourn in the American West, Pinkham held a variety of jobs, including laying railroad track in Idaho and working in a lumberyard in Everett, Washington.

In June 1917 Pinkham had a sudden change of heart. On his birthday, June 16, 1917, Pinkham signed up for the Washington State National Guard and was given the rank of corporal because of his college education. In his edited war journal, Pinkham claims to have been unaware that he was not joining the U.S. Army. In April 1918, the distinction between the National Guard and U.S. Army was erased, but it seems implausible that a year before this merger Pinkham would not have known which division of the military he was joining.[3] Pinkham attributes his change of mind to financial need and renewed faith in Woodrow Wilson’s idealism.[4]

Pinkham was chronically dissatisfied with his duties during the war. After attempting to evade the draft, he complained that his six months in Seattle were too tame. When he was finally sent to France in December 1917, he was indignant and insulted that his section’s job was to lay track in Is Sur Tille in the Cote d’Or, the same occupation he had pursued in Idaho. Pinkham considered himself “practically a prisoner” and compared his condition as a soldier to the position of German P.O.W.s. After falling ill from “weak kidneys and a violent back ache,” he was reassigned to sorting boxes for the quartermaster while the rest of his section dug trenches and set up machine guns to protect against air raids.[5] Pinkham argued that other units should be doing the digging, and that his unit should be dispatched to the front.

Pinkham’s dissatisfaction continued throughout the war. In May 1918, Pinkham’s unit left Is Sur Tille and he wrote eagerly that he hoped to be done with “drill and senseless games.”[6] Instead of going to the front, however, he was transferred to Pont Levoy to train newly arrived infantry sections, who “a month earlier were in civilian clothes . . . many of them ignorant to how to load a rifle and destined for slaughter, just as surely as the lambs in the Chicago stock yard.”[7] He was then summoned to St. Dizier, Marne, a city close enough to hear the gunshots from the fighting in the Argonne Forest, but instead of fighting, he cared for casualties. Pinkham was extremely disappointed by what he perceived as his disgraceful war record: “it seemed that all my life had been a failure, in college, business, art, and love. And now, within earshot of the guns, I was to fail at war.”[8] Pinkham had hoped that his service would be a source of personal redemption.

In the beginning of November 1918, he sensed an approaching Allied victory and complained to a Marine Sergeant that he would never have the opportunity for combat experience. According to Pinkham’s journal, the sergeant suggested that he join his section by impersonating an AWOL private and advance on Verdun with them. Pinkham took his suggestion and marched with them out of the camp, but the unit took the wrong route. They turned around and returned to Froidos, and Pinkham took advantage of the change to steal back to his quarters. Despite his persistent demands to be placed at the front, Pinkham lost his nerve and decided not to advance with the Marines. This did not prevent him from complaining that he was kept in France as part of the Army of Occupation when others went home. When Secretary of War Newton Baker visited the troops, Pinkham joined the others in crying, “We want to go home!”[9] Pinkham maintained no clear ideology, but was instead guided by persistent melancholy.

Like many soldiers, Pinkham tried to alleviate his depression through escapism. He drank with his fellow soldiers regularly and sometimes to excess. When he vomited in his quarters, he blamed the monotony of the noncombatant life and excused his behavior as the natural result of war.[10] During his time in the military Pinkham frequently pursued sexual relationships with women. In Seattle he saw the daughter of one of his older friends and visited Seattle’s red light district. In France he had an affair with a young French widow and later hired a prostitute while on leave. Pinkham derived little comfort from these distractions and could not live up to his own shifting expectations about his military career.

Pinkham considered himself in a personal crisis during his war years, and used literature to develop his beliefs. When he read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, he saw his own religious struggle in the philosophical agnostic protagonist, Levin. Later when reading Maurice Hewlitt’s Open Country, he identified with the wandering poet protagonist. For a while he read novels by H.G. Wells and tried to adopt a fatalistic attitude. Finally his reading of the New Testament converted him to Christianity. He handled the strains of war both stereotypically through sex and alcohol but also more individually through his philosophical and literary interests. Throughout his war years, Pinkham futilely searched for a philosophy that seemed meaningful to him and an antidote to his persistent malaise. After the war, Pinkham felt strangely uncomfortable in America after so long an absence. He continued his wandering life, but then settled down as the postmaster in his hometown of Milton, New Hampshire.

Harold Pinkham ‘15
Milton, New Hampshire
Corporal, 161st Infantry, Formerly the Washington National Guard
This Series: During World War I, 3,407 Dartmouth men were uprooted from campus, graduate school, or their early careers to serve in a modern war unlike any previous American military engagement.[11] Four of them, Harold Pinkham ’15, George Dock ’16, Edward Kirkland ’16, and Wainwright Merrill ’19, left records of their war experience in the Rauner Special Collections Library. All four matched the demographics of the College at the time and were united by their experiences at progressive prewar Dartmouth, but despite their somewhat similar backgrounds, their personalities were quite different. Their stories speak to the diverse beliefs, experiences, and sources of comfort of Dartmouth men involved in World War I.
Ask for MS-62.

1Harold Pinkham, “War Years,” Dartmouth College. The Papers of Harold Batchelder Pinkham at Dartmouth College. 1978, 2.
2Keene, 8.
3Keene, 15.
4Harold Pinkham, “War Years,” Dartmouth College. The Papers of Harold Batchelder Pinkham at Dartmouth College. 1978, 7.
5Harold Pinkham, “War Years,” Dartmouth College. The Papers of Harold Batchelder Pinkham at Dartmouth College. 1978, 32.
6Harold Pinkham, “War Years,” Dartmouth College. The Papers of Harold Batchelder Pinkham at Dartmouth College. 1978, 71.
7Harold Pinkham, “War Years,” Dartmouth College. The Papers of Harold Batchelder Pinkham at Dartmouth College. 1978, 94.
8Harold Pinkham, “War Years,” Dartmouth College. The Papers of Harold Batchelder Pinkham at Dartmouth College. 1978, 105.
9Harold Pinkham, “War Years,” Dartmouth College. The Papers of Harold Batchelder Pinkham at Dartmouth College. 1978, 142.
10Harold Pinkham, “War Years,” Dartmouth College. The Papers of Harold Batchelder Pinkham at Dartmouth College. 1978, 50.
11Charles Wood, The Hill Winds Know Their Name: A Guide to Dartmouth’s War Memorials. Hanover N.H.: Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs, 2001, 6.  

Oh, that I had a Steam Launch

It’s our 500th posting on this blog, and yesterday was our fifth anniversary. What to blog for such an auspicious occasion? The traditional fifth anniversary gift is made of wood–we did that once, no wait twice, and so many of our books have wood in them that would be too easy. The most glamorous “500” item we can think of is the publisher’s mock up for Dr. Seuss’s second book, the 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.  But, really, we blog Seuss all the time. There is always the line in Richard Hovey’s “Eleazer Wheelock” satirically referring to five hundred gallons of New England rum, but we’re not sure we want to celebrate that way…. Luckily, current events have stepped in, and we always try to be timely.

Earlier this week the Canadian government discovered one of the lost ships belonging to the John Franklin expedition. The most recent search has been going since 2008, but it was the intensive search for Franklin spearheaded by his wife, Lady Jane Franklin, that captured the world’s attention in the 1850s and successfully mapped vast regions of the Arctic. The story does not have a happy ending. In 1854 John Rae discovered relics from Franklin’s expedition and interviewed Inuit witnesses that established the death of the crew.

You would think that Rae would have been seen as a hero for his efforts, but he also discovered evidence of cannibalism that cast a shadow on the men the world had made lost heroes. Even after Rae’s discovery, Lady Franklin continued her efforts to not only find possible survivors but exonerate them of any behavior not fitting a British Naval officer. In this letter, she conveys the frustration of one of the searchers, who felt that large sailing ships were at a disadvantage in polar seas, stating, “Oh that I had a steam launch, or a small vessel of 100 tons but chiefly a steam vessel!”

Our extensive Stefansson Collection on Polar Exploration has dozens of items related to the Franklin Expedition and the ensuing search.

You can see some of Lady Franklin’s letters by asking for Stef Ms-180. And to read a sensational pamphlet on Rae’s find, ask for The Dreadful Fate of Sir J. Franklin and the Brave Crews in the Arctic Expeditions (London, Saunders, Brothers, 185-) at Stef G660.D72.

A Head Full of Steam

If you’ve ever traveled across the Connecticut River between Orford, New Hampshire, and Fairlee, Vermont, then you did so on the Morey Memorial Bridge. The steel span, finished in 1938 and now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was named for Samuel Morey, a resident of both Orford and Fairlee who was instrumental in the construction of the river locks between Connecticut’s Windsor Locks and Olcott Falls in New Hampshire (now the site of the Wilder Dam).

However, Samuel Morey is perhaps better known today, at least around these parts, as the man who should rightfully be called the inventor of the steamboat as we now know it. Although Robert Fulton is generally regarded as the proper holder of that title, he instead should be credited with making the steamboat a commercially viable concept. Morey had built and successfully operated a steam-powered paddleboat in the early 1790s, more than a decade before Fulton’s Clermont sailed up and down the Hudson between Albany and New York City in 1807. In fact, some historians speculate that if Morey had been a better businessman, his name would be synonymous with the steamboat, and not Fulton’s. The financier for Fulton’s “invention,” Chancellor Robert Livingston, had originally approached Morey with an offer of $7,000 to use his invention. When Morey refused, Livingston turned to Fulton instead, and the rest is history.

The Samuel Morey papers at Dartmouth bear testimony to Morey’s early inventive endeavors. They contain numerous United States patents for various inventions related to the use of wind and steam power and provide a veritable who’s who of Founding Father signatures, from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson all the way up to Andrew Jackson. One of Morey’s first patents, filed in 1793, involves a wind-powered cooking spit. One of his last is concerned with an improvement of the “decomposing and recomposing of water in combustion with spirits of Turpentine,” filed in 1833.

To see Morey’s patents and other papers, ask for Rauner MS-150.

Item as deScribed: Medieval and Modern Illuminations

A new exhibit that showcases selections from Rauner’s medieval manuscripts collection is available for viewing at Rauner Special Collections Library from August 5th through August 31st. “Item as deScribed” is an artistic exploration of medieval illuminations by Ben Patrick, chair of the Visual and Performing Arts programs at Vermont Commons School in South Burlington, Vermont. Ben graduated from Saint Michael’s College in 1998 with a BA in Fine Arts and from Pratt Institute in 2004 with an MS in Art Education of Art and Design. He has been the Artist in Residence at Vermont Commons School since 2004, where he designed the Visual Arts Program, which unites media, concept, and studio application.

The inspiration for this exhibition originated from a field trip to Rauner Special Collection Library with a group of seventeen VCS art students. The concept for the exhibition involves language, media, and iconography, as well as the parallels and differences involving medieval and contemporary lexicons. In the process of examining these relationships, Ben has experimented with a wide range of materials: calfskin vellum in multiple ink jet printers and heat presses; lapis lazuli in petroleum distillates; and 24k gold (carefully painted on the halo of the Virgin Mary). Ultimately, these investigations seek to demonstrate that our illuminated text and icons, and our need to communicate with them, have not altered significantly over the last thousand years.

The exhibition is divided into three parts, each juxtaposing old and new media (and materials). It is the artist’s hope that this exhibit will shed light upon the timeless currency of ‘language’ in all of its processes, materials and meanings. Like the students and artists at Vermont Commons School, to whom this exhibition is dedicated, Ben also hopes that this current show will “inspire in others the restless, curious, always questioning tides of the creative process.” We hope that you’ll have an opportunity to come by and examine Ben’s inspiring artwork alongside equally enthralling illuminations from our medieval manuscripts some time this month. Once the exhibit comes down, the manuscripts can be requested at Rauner using the following call numbers: Codex 002253; MS 002088; MS 002254; Codex 001965; Codex 001598; and Codex 001918.

Shrouded in Mystery

Maria Magdalena, Duchess of Tuscany, was born into the Hapsburg family. The daughter of Archduke Charles the II and niece to Maximilian II, she married well. Her husband was Cosimo II de Medici. Her Book of Hours, perhaps originally prepared as a wedding gift, became for her a kind of album of miniature art and relics. The book is filled with miniatures she received as gifts from other royal families in Europe.

But what makes this so special is an extraordinary bit of cloth lovingly embroidered onto folio 172. On the back it is described in Latin, translated, “The Holy Cloth saved in Turin, in which was bound the body of Jesus Christ, as an example of its holy contact with the same, having been a gift to the most serene Mary, given by Fernando, Duke of Mantua.” What this really is, we don’t know. Likely it is a piece of cloth, painted with blood to look like the complete Shroud of Turin in miniature. But, could the cloth actually be a bit of the Shroud–a relic taken from it, then painted to represent the whole? Almost surely not, but the information on the back is inconclusive and these were the people with the connections, wealth and power to secure relics. That Maria treasured it as a relic is unquestionable.  Either way, it is an amazing bit of mystery.

To see it, ask for Codex MS 608940.