Down the Rabbit Hole: A Look Inside Special Collections

As part of its “Scripts” issue of the Mirror supplement, The Dartmouth recently published an article on Rauner Special Collections Library. The reporter interviewed Special The interior of Rauner Special Collections Library.Collections Librarian Jay Satterfield, and two faculty members who regularly use Special Collections for their teaching. What the reporter found surprised and awed him. Read the full article, “Down the Rabbit Hole: A Look Inside Special Collections.” 

Time for Teaching: Active Learning and the Modern Librarian

Four librarians examine a book.

Participants in the LALI Archives and Special Collections program design and engage their peers in an active learning session using primary source materials.

Dartmouth’s Librarians Active Learning Institute (LALI) gives librarians time to focus on an increasingly central part of their work – their teaching.

Initially designed for Dartmouth librarians, the institute has expanded in recent years to include more than 20 participants from other institutions each year, as well as a track for special collections librarians and archivists, and a road show that will bring LALI off campus to other universities for the first time this fall. With more than 70 applicants for 23 spots this year, the institute has grown steadily since its inception. Participants now come from all corners of the United States, represent a wide range of academic institutions, and are at a variety of stages in their careers. . . Read more in Elli Goudzwaard’s article, “Time for Teaching: Active Learning and the Modern Librarian.”

Elli is Dartmouth’s Learning Initiatives Program Manager.

Exhibit: Protest! at Dartmouth

College campuses have a long history as sites of activism and protest. It’s a truth acknowledged easily enough by today’s students, who have witnessed and in some cases participated in current movements like Black Lives Matter, #NoDAPL, and the Women’s March on Washington, among numerous others. What may be less apparent is the role the college plays when the activism dust settles.

At Dartmouth, the archivists of Rauner Special Collections Library are committed to recording the College’s history—the history of many years ago and the history of yesterday—through primary source documents. Campus activism is a significant part of this history, and one of the most effective ways of capturing it is via first-person narrative.

Oral history is an interview-based approach to documenting the past, centering around an in-depth, recorded conversation between two people: the oral historian and an individual who experienced a particular event, era, or culture firsthand. Because of its emphasis on non-dominant perspectives and marginalized voices, oral history is uniquely situated among history methodologies to document moments of protest and dissent. It is, at its heart, a means of telling stories that might otherwise have gone untold.

This exhibit explores three protest movements in Dartmouth’s past, and a selection of oral history interviews with individuals who experienced them. These interviews and many more are available at Rauner Special Collections Library.

Exhibit curated by Caitlin Birch, Digital Collections and Oral History Archivist, and designed by Dennis Grady, Library Education & Outreach.

Baker-Berry Library, Berry Main Street: May 1 – July  30, 2017

Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

By Thomas Orde-Lees, Quartermaster

“August 1916, 23.

No change in pack or weather.

Certain members are exhibiting obvious concerns about the present food shortage and strange to say now that there really is a shortage the imperturbable pessimists are apparently quite unconcerned and certainly are not saying anything in the nature of “We told you so.” It is not unusual that pessimism and equanimity are counterparts.

Three boats sailing on icy ocean

“Endurance under full sail” – courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

The manner in which the aforesaid members exhibit their fears is in trying to overcome them assuming that the pessimists are now thoroughly scared and therefore making mocking remarks such as “Now we shall all starve” and “We shall have to eat the one who dies first” and so on, which has actually occurred before now when people have been in only very slightly worse straits than we are now. There’s many a true word said in jest. To a close observer there are many other indications in the way that the fatuous optimists shout loudly to each other all manner of such remarks about the food supply question as if to keep their spirits up by the cheery loudness of their voices in much the same way psych-ologically as Chinese walking along a road at night shout loudly to each other to keep off evil spirits in other words fear by mutual encouragement.

Of course the probability is that we have ample to support us until the pack clears off again, for it has now been in for a week and the longest previous spell has been 13 days only, but when it does clear we shall have no reserve left and, should we be based again within a few days for a more we should be in a bad way.

I had gone round the foot of Penguin Hill and had reached the top in order to give a had with the rope, but as I was immediately afterwards required down on the ice foot I had the pleasure of being lowered over the precipice on the end of the rope, and subsequently ascended by the same means.

Previous entry  |   Next entry  |  Go to introduction

One hundred years ago this August, Ernest Shackleton rescued his crew after the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Rauner holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916.” These entries are a selection from the diary of the expedition’s quartermaster Thomas Orde-Lees.

Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.

Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

By Thomas Orde-Lees, Quartermaster

“July 1916, 25.

Mild and damp. West wind and snow.

We had quite an exciting incident today. A large pregnant female seal drifted quite close in on an ice-slab in West Bay at a place where there is a good ice-foot over the rocks but where Penguin Hill rises in an abrupt precipice. Wild came along with his little gun but failed to make his usual fine shooting and although he shot it three times in the head he did no kill it. As he had only three cartridges with him he sent Holness back tot he hut for some more.

“The James Caird” – courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

To reach the hut it was necessary to go right round the foot of Penguin Hill a distance of some 300 yards over a difficult rocky path. Whilst Holness was away the seal so far recovered itself that it got its head and shoulder over the edge of the little floe and was about to dive when Holness arrived. It was an anxious moment for fear we might lose this valuable quantity of food. Wild then successfully dispatched it and it was decided to cut it up where it lay as soon as the floe drifted in close enough to gain access to it, and to haul it up the precipice by rope.

I had gone round the foot of Penguin Hill and had reached the top in order to give a had with the rope, but as I was immediately afterwards required down on the ice foot I had the pleasure of being lowered over the precipice on the end of the rope, and subsequently ascended by the same means.

The seal was cut up into four pieces and hauled up and the fully developed foetus which had only about two months to go was hauled up complete. We also got two penguins.”

Previous entry  |   Next entry  |  Go to introduction

One hundred years ago this August, Ernest Shackleton rescued his crew after the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Rauner holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916.” These entries are a selection from the diary of the expedition’s quartermaster Thomas Orde-Lees.

Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.

Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

By Thomas Orde-Lees, Quartermaster

“July 1915, 19.

A moderate easterly blizzard confines us to our bags.

Both bays are full of close big lumpy pack.

On days like this we talk and talk. The principal topic is always food, good solid boiled suet puddings being generally voted as the things best worth living for, then apple and black currant puddings with cream, and then how new cake. I suppose it sounds beastly greedy to write like this but we are always in deadly earnest about it and

“The Night Watchman” – courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

get quite heated over arguments as to whether muffins are more filling than crumpets. One has the sort of feeling that if a genie were to suddenly appear and offer us muffins or crumpets some idiot might go and say crumpets. I am a muffineer and know that the muffin is incomparably better food value that the crumpet. “Conspue”(?) the crumpet advocates!

We so seldom mention the war that it is hardly worth referring to it. I think we are all a little ashamed of having run away from it now that we find ourselves in this position of forced inertia, I know I am, and am most anxious to get back in time to do my bit. Most, though by no means all, of us think it must by over by now. I am one of those who think the contrary. If it is over it must have ended in a draw and Brittain could never tolerate that. Wordie is the best debater on this subject and sometimes gives us very interesting information as to pre-war conditions in Germany. For the rest, discussions on processes described in the Encyclopaedia, how things are done and made and semi-scientific talk fills the bill.

No poor penguins today.

Previous entry  |   Next entry  |  Go to introduction

One hundred years ago this August, Ernest Shackleton rescued his crew after the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Rauner holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916.” These entries are a selection from the diary of the expedition’s quartermaster Thomas Orde-Lees.

Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.

Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

By Thomas Orde-Lees, Quartermaster

“June 1915, 19.

It is still mild but overcast again. A big swell bids fair to disperse the enveloping pack; open-water leads are increasing.

The nut-food sugar gamble is still rankling. I cannot help feeling I bear Wild a grudge and he no doubt feels contemptuous of me, even so it is better that we should give our emotions some rein than vegetate in mental torpor. As a matter of fact, Macklin agrees with me that we are none of us quite normal mentally owing to privation and improper nourishment.

“Tom Crean Husky pups” – courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

I feel sure that had we been in possession of sufficient alcohol to make it a “swopable” commodity and had some members made a corner in it they would have revelled in their shrewdness and a reinstatement of rights would have been the last thing that they would have tolerated, but after all who am I that I should point the finger.

I find that my diary of impersonal impartiality is lately becoming inconveniently egoistic to the elimination of the more general affairs that really do matter, but I dare say the personal side of the case in the case of even only one person may have its uses.

I have another little bone to pick with Wild. Some weeks ago, as previously stated, in order no doubt to allay any uneasiness as to our future food supply Wild stated that we had ample meat to last us until the end of August. To anyone capable of simple calculation it was obvious that this was an over estimate and one could not help thinking that perhaps it was a case of “the wish being father of the thought”, at any rate since then we have killed 300 penguins and 5 seals, and as far as I can estimate, (and I have had a good deal of experience now at estimating and calculating food supplied) we have no more than will last us until August 15th at the present rate of consumption. A large Weddell seal was lying for several hours on a small floe which drifted in to within 20 yards or so from the beach but unfortunately for want of a boat it never became accessible. It is very tantalizing to see so much prospective meat within one’s gasp and yet to be unable to secure it.”

Previous entry  |   Next entry  |  Go to introduction

One hundred years ago this August, Ernest Shackleton rescued his crew after the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Rauner holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916.” These entries are a selection from the diary of the expedition’s quartermaster Thomas Orde-Lees.

Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.

Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

By Thomas Orde-Lees, Quartermaster

“June, 1916. 15”

Mild but wet. Temperature 31 degrees. I am tired of stating that the pack is still in; but it is.

Poor Blackborrow had to have his toes amputated today.

The doctors worked under difficulty.

We were all ordered outside except the doctors and Wild, who stayed as a privileged spectator and Hurley who has a reputation as a stoker and who therefore kept the fire going to maintain an equable temperature. He managed to get up and keep a temperature of 80 degrees for an hour, not so bad for the Antarctic, nothing but blubber and penguin skins for fuel.

“Shackleton on Ice” – courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

As it was drizzling we all went and took shelter in one of the caves. It was pretty wet and damp there. We cut each other’s hair to pass the time away and pretty good frights we made out ourselves. As we had to sit on a block of ice during the process, nothing else being available for a seat, we mostly got rather wet where our clothing came in contact with the ice.

The caves are now easily accessible owing to the icefoot having bridged the gap that formerly intercepted out approach.

They form very useful shelters and if only their floors were above high water level and they were on the East side of Penguin Hill they would be of great value to us as shelters for penguin-skinning and as storehouses. To reach them it is nearly always necessary to go right round Penguin Hill although the caves are not more than twenty yards from the hut, but the short cut is seldom negotiable, and when it is, it is only effected by the thin coating of ice adhering to very steep rock faces. Steps have been cut in this ice but a slip would entail a ducking in deep water.

It was nearly three hours before we were again able to get back into the hut by which time we were bored, cold and hungry.

The operation had been successful in spite of difficulties and when we got back into our cosy bags the patient was sleeping off the effects of the anaesthetic [sic].

Previous entry  |   Next entry  |  Go to introduction

One hundred years ago this August, Ernest Shackleton rescued his crew after the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Rauner holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916.” These entries are a selection from the diary of the expedition’s quartermaster Thomas Orde-Lees.

Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.

Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

By Thomas Orde-Lees, Quartermaster

“May, 1916. 15.

A cold night followed by a calm day with a calm open sea. Ninety penguins came up and all were killed. Wild asked me, sarcastically, if I was satisfied. He seems to think that I am personally afraid of having to starve. This is not exactly the case, it is rather the whole party that I am concerned about. I should not like to see a repetition of the Greeley disaster, and upon my word, I think we are asking for it.

"Endurance under Full Sail" - courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

“Endurance under Full Sail” – courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

We are now burning nothing but penguin skins on our indoor stove and nearly all the cooking is being done on it. It requires about fifteen skins per day and it behooves us to get all the penguins we can if only for the value of their skins as fuel.

To burn them it is necessary to cut them into thin strips which are laid over the two cross bars of the stove. The heat of the burning oil on the bottom of the stove causes the oil to “render” from the strips of skin; it drops on to the heap of ash and debris at the bottom and in due course ignites and helps to render the oil our of the next two strips and so on. It is necessary to replenish the strips every five or ten minutes. We leave the feathers on the skins just as they are and being very oily there is no unpleasant smell such as burning feathers usually make. The fire is lighted by a few wood-shavings and splinters derived from the little wooden “sweet-boxes” in which every ten pieces of nut food are packed.

There are therefore ten of these wooden boxes in a case of 100 blocks of nut food or seventy of them in all and, as each box will light two fires we have enough to get our stove going for a period of four months at least. We could quite easily light the fire by pouring seal oil on to the ashes of the previous night and inserting a wick when the whole lot would soon be in a blaze, but as the wood is available and blubber scarce we use the former for the present.

We are fortunate in having a good supply of matches, but even if we had none we could easily manage to get a light, in the first instance, with a “burning glass” on one of our rare sunny days and thereafter maintain a constant flame night and day with a blubber lamp.”

Previous entry  |   Next entry  |  Go to introduction

One hundred years ago this August, Ernest Shackleton rescued his crew after the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Rauner holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916.” These entries are a selection from the diary of the expedition’s quartermaster Thomas Orde-Lees.

Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.

Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

By Thomas Orde-Lees, Quartermaster

“May, 1916. 12.

A nasty dump day with a mild easterly blizzard.

A good many paddies were caught. They seem very plentiful just now.

The ice foot proved too much for the penguins today. Large numbers landed on a rock which can be reached form the shore by a round about way. They inspected the route ashore, decided it was no good and turned back. I observed three batches do this and thinking later arrivals might be similarly deterred I crept round and lay in wait and, on another batch coming up, I cut off their retreat and compelled them to go ashore.

"Shackleton on Ice" - courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

“Shackleton on Ice” – courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

I was not so successful with a second batch, several eluding me, but I managed the third batch all night. In this way I coerced ashore 51 birds of which Wild considered 21 sufficient for our needs. I really have no patience with these methods and am at a loss to know what inspires them. It certainly is not due to humaneness. The situation is too critical to take such liberties. I dare say we shall get penguins as long as we have to stay here, but there is no guarantee that we shall and no advantage whatever in leaving it to chance.

The only expedition that has previously wintered in this neighbourhood (Bruce at the South Orkneys) report that the penguins all left at the end of April and if analogy is worth anything they may quite likely leave here soon too.

We have now let seven hundred birds slip through our fingers, if we ever go short we shall have only ourselves to blame. So we shall be under the painful necessity of killing them rather more regularly in future.

One wonders just why these birds visited us in such great quantities. Were they driven up from Graham’s Land by the ice and are they “en passage” migrating to islands further west more free from ice?”

Previous entry  |   Next entry  |  Go to introduction

One hundred years ago this August, Ernest Shackleton rescued his crew after the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Rauner holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916.” These entries are a selection from the diary of the expedition’s quartermaster Thomas Orde-Lees.

Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.