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Behind the Scenes at Special Collections

On April 2ndthe Dartmouth College Library continued its annual tradition of hosting student visitors as a part of Career CLiC’s Job Shadow Day, an event started in 1999 that has connected 160 schools to over 1,200 employers in New Hampshire and Vermont. This year, Rauner Special Collections Library had the pleasure of introducing three energetic and studious 8th graders from Lebanon Middle, Cornish Middle, and Crossroads Academy to research with primary source materials and rare books. 

Rauner staff Jaime Eeg, Edward Connery Lathem ’51 Special Collections Fellow, andMyranda Fuentes, Institutional History Research Specialist, began the morning with a transcription exercise using letters dating back to the 16th, 18th, and 19th centuries. After deciphering each of their letters, the students came together as a group to transcribe 1794 letter from George Washington to Alexander Hamilton. 

Students followed Jaime and Myranda into Rauner’s closed stacks to learn about the college archives and the Dartmouth College Library's numerous manuscript and rare book collections. Alex Liston, Oral History Specialist, joined the group to introduce the students to our recently-acquired volumes of Gardner’s photographic sketch books of the American Civil War. The stacks tour was arguably the most fun part of the morning, as both library staff and the visiting students got carried away selecting progressively cooler materials from the shelves, from illuminated manuscripts, to Shakespeare’s 1st folio, to the original manuscript of Robert May’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. 

During their visit, the students never ran out of questions, which ranged from questions about specific materials or period in history to more broad questions about information accessibility. As we dropped students off for a pizza lunch, one student remarked, “That was so much fun!” Perhaps a future special collections librarian was born in the stacks on Tuesday! 

Written by Myranda Fuentes, Institutional History Research Specialist, and Jaime Eeg, Edward Connery Lathem '51 Special Collections Fellow. 

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