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Production photo of Phantom Limb.At Jones Media Center, staff have been lending technological expertise to help curate exhibits in the Library and other locations across campus. These exhibits draw attention to a particular topic while displaying rare items drawn from locations as diverse as the Rauner Special Collections Library, the Hood Museum, and faculty members' personal collections.

In the Fall, Anthony Helm and Tara Albanese worked with Phantom Limb Company's Jessica Grindstaff and Erik Sanko to create a media-rich website, in conjunction with the public premiere of Phantom Limb 69ºS at the Hopkins Center for the Arts and an exhibition curated by the Dartmouth College Library.  The show tells the harrowing story of Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1916 Antarctica expedition.

Global Health ExhibitIn December, in conjunction with DHMC, the Great Issues in Medicine and Global Health Symposium exhibit was displayed on Berry Main Street. Our intern edited video and built an interactive viewing station for users to explore.  The video included rare archival footage of Dartmouth from Jones Media Center video collections, including the 1975 performance of You Laugh, a protest piece by the first female Dartmouth students. A viewing copy of this production is available for library members to check out.

image of Norman Miller's latest bookThe current exhibit, which will run through July 2012, features the work of Professor Norman Miller. The exhibit is held in conjunction with the publication of Miller's memoir, Encounters with Witchcraft: Field Notes from Africa. Items on display include African artifacts, photos, and a documentary video.

In June, Digital Media Intern Tara Albanese will showcase her work in multimedia exhibits at the New Media Consortium annual summer conference, hosted this year at MIT.

Preservation Week 2012 has come and gone. How did you celebrate? There were a number of great activities all over the country – I hope you were able to participate and deepen your understanding of the need to preserve our cultural heritage today so...

Preservation Week 2012 has come and gone. How did you celebrate? There were a number of great activities all over the country – I hope you were able to participate and deepen your understanding of the need to preserve our cultural heritage today so that it may be passed on to the next generation. If you haven’t had a chance, be sure to review our preservation pointers.

Dartmouth's major Preservation Week event was a public screening of the film Quetzalcoatl. You may recall from earlier posts (here and here) that funding for the film restoration was provided by a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation. Part of the mission of the NFPF is to promote film exhibition and so projecting the film before an audience was a grant requirement.

Quetzalcoatl was ready for public viewing at about the same time that our colleagues at the Hood Museum of Art were preparing a major exhibit, "Men of Fire: Jose Clemente Orozco and Jackson Pollock". We decided to schedule the premiere during the "Men of Fire" exhibit (April 7 – June 17) and serendipitously Preservation Week fit right in.

April 25 was the premiere and Mary Coffey, Associate Professor of Art History, provided an introduction to an audience of fifty students and community members. She highlighted these aspects of the film:

  • The director’s use of pan and scan to emphasize parts of the mural.
  • The impact of the musical score by Theodore Newman.
  • What parts of the mural the director included and what was excluded.

What a difference it made to experience Quetzalcoatl on the big screen! After the movie, Professor Coffey took questions from the audience and many commented that the film helped them better understand Orozco's work. One person stated that although he had studied the mural, he had never before been able to see at eye level the figures of Quetzalcoatl and the Christ in the way the film maker made possible.

If you would like to view the movie, a DVD copy may be checked out from the Jones Media Center. Ask for Jones Media DVD 13348. Or you may see it on Dartmouth's YouTube channel.

If you are in the Upper Valley, be sure to visit the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College to see the "Men of Fire: Jose Clemente Orozco and Jackson Pollock" exhibit from now until June 17.

Written by Barb Sagraves.

Samson Occom Though Eleazar Wheelock is well remembered as the founder of Dartmouth College, it’s largely thanks to the efforts of Mohegan Native American minister and intellectual Samson Occom that Wheelock’s dream was made reality. And while Occo...
Samson Occom

Though Eleazar Wheelock is well remembered as the founder of Dartmouth College, it’s largely thanks to the efforts of Mohegan Native American minister and intellectual Samson Occom that Wheelock’s dream was made reality. And while Occom’s role in the founding of Dartmouth was undoubtedly crucial, the Occom Circle Project intends to assert his rightful place as an important voice in early American history as well. With the help of Professor Ivy Scheweitzer, Rauner Library, Computing Services, the Digital Production Unit, Preservation Services, and many other departments and individuals, we are nearing the project's goal.

In 1743, Eleazar Wheelock met a young Mohegan named Samson Occom. Occom had been taught English by missionaries at a young age, and had already converted to Christianity. During the four years they initially spent together, Wheelock found Occom to be an excellent pupil, and he successfully prepared Occom to be ordained as a minister. Occom, for his part, encouraged Wheelock's goal of educating and enriching the lives of the Native American population. This bore fruit in 1755, when Wheelock founded Moor’s Charity School in Lebanon, Connecticut, which accepted both Native American and British students on charity.

Letter from Samson Occom to Eleazar Wheelock, regarding fundraising plans for Moor’s Charity School

By then Occom had already departed from Wheelock's instruction to seek his own fortune. In 1749 Occom was offered a position as the schoolmaster for the Montauk Native Americans on Long Island. It was there he met his wife, Mary Fowler, and started a family. In 1759 he was ordained. Occom spent the next several years traveling New England as an itinerant minister, first as a missionary to the Oneida Native Americans and eventually returning to the Mohegan tribe in 1764.

It was here that his path crossed yet again with Eleazar Wheelock; a meeting that would have a profound and lasting effect on the Upper Valley. At this time the Moor’s Charity School was financially troubled. Wheelock had had small success fundraising throughout New England, but it was not enough. What he proposed was a fundraising trip to England, to be undertaken by his most accomplished pupil. Occom agreed. He was joined by the Reverend Nathaniel Whitaker.

The pair left for England in 1766, and after two years they had raised over £12,000, a truly substantial sum at the time. As Francis Lane Childs wrote in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine: "[A]n Indian preaching in the pulpits of English churches was naturally a sensation, and large throngs came to hear him and his colleague. The subscription papers which they carried were filled with all the way from small contributions... to ones of considerable amount from wealthy, pious-minded persons. In fact, they ranged all the way from 5 shillings given by an anonymous widow to two hundred pounds donated by King George III himself. One of the gentlemen who headed the list was William, Second Earl of Dartmouth. Another was a philanthropic and well-to-do merchant of London, John Thornton."

It is safe to say that without this fundraising on Occom’s part, the founding of Dartmouth would have taken substantially longer, or indeed, may not have been possible at all from Wheelock’s position. In 1769 the school charter was signed by Governor John Wentworth, and true to its roots in the Moor’s Charity School, it declared "that there be a college erected in the province of New Hampshire by the name of Dartmouth College for the education and instruction of youth of the Indian tribes in this land in reading, writing, and all parts of learning which shall appear necessary and expedient for civilizing and Christianizing children of pagans, as well as in all liberal arts and sciences, and also of English youth and others...[It shall not] exclude any person of any religious denomination whatsoever from any of the liberties and privileges or immunities of the said College on account of his or their speculative sentiments on religion."

In June of 2010 Dartmouth English Professor Ivy Schweitzer was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to establish an online archive of Occom's writings. Schweitzer's project began in 2005, when, teaching a first-year seminar, she had difficulty providing access to Occom's letters for her entire class. The solution of the online archive accomplishes this, as well as making the history of the college (and Occom’s role within it) accessible to a much wider audience. Schweitzer said: "This puts Occom at the center of a larger cultural movement in which you can see how important his work is."

The letters themselves are currently available in a beta website, with a finished version projected for 2014. The Occom collection presented some interesting challenges; first and foremost there is the lack of an actual collection, with the 500-plus letters and manuscripts culled from other areas of Rauner Library and assembled specifically for this project. It's up to College Archivist Peter Carini and his team at Rauner Library to make sure the articles are genuine and the information is up to date.

One of the Occom letters, torn along a fold

The letters then arrive at the Preservation Services department, where our Collections Conservator Deborah Howe does everything possible to conserve and keep these documents in optimal condition. Torn documents are mended with Zen Shofu paste, a wheat-based adhesive, as well as Japanese tissue, which is tinted in an acrylic bath to best match the original documents' hue. In some circumstances a very thin gossamer tissue is used in order to best preserve the fidelity of the text.

The same letter, after conservation treatment

After Preservation Services has repaired the documents they come to the Digital Production Unit, where they are scanned and added to the temporary online database. From there, Project Manager Dawn Dumpert, Professor Schweitzer, and a rotating cast of student workers transcribe and mark up the documents in TEI (Text Encoding Initiative). The document then goes to Cataloging and Metadata, where Text Markup Unit Manager Mina Rakhra's team creates a cataloging record and applies metadata to the newly-scanned documents. For the finished product, Paul Merchant in the Digital Library Technologies Group is working on the search features, and Susan Lee in Computing Services is working on the design of the website.

This project represents both a major step forward in early-American cultural history, and an example of how well the various library and faculty members can collaborate. It’s safe to say that without the exceptional work of Professor Ivy Schweitzer, Rauner Library, the Digital Production Unit, Cataloging and Metadata Services, the Digital Library Technologies Group, Computing Services, and the Preservation Services department, this project would not have been possible.

Written by Ryland Ianelli.

Preservation Week: April 22- 29, 2012. This week on the blog we're highlighting Preservation Week with daily pointers for preserving your personal collections. With the devastation of last year’s flood still lingering and the cleanup ongoing, it is v...

Preservation Week: April 22- 29, 2012. This week on the blog we're highlighting Preservation Week with daily pointers for preserving your personal collections.

With the devastation of last year’s flood still lingering and the cleanup ongoing, it is vital that we keep in mind one of the most damaging aspects of flooding: mold contamination.

Mold can feed on paper and glues that are in your valuable books. In the right conditions mold can develop within 48-72 hours once an item becomes wet. With the promise of warmer weather coming soon, it is important to be diligent in keeping your surroundings clean and free of moisture. To learn about preventing mold growth here are a few web sites:

Preservation Week at Dartmouth College Library is part of an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association to raise awareness of preservation issues and solutions. For more information visit our website.