Archive for the ‘College Archives’ Category


Charles Allen Sumner, Honorary M.A. 1887

   Posted by: rring

[Posted as 10 of 10 in a series on the College Archives by Emma Paine, a graduate student intern from Simmons College]

Sumner_1I like Charles Sumner’s alumni file not because it tells a complete story, but because it opens so many possibilities—every time I think I understand the man, I find out something new about his life!

A writer for the 1900 Trinity College Bulletin perhaps said it best when he declared, “His career, full of energy and enterprise in the most varied fields, furnishes rare material for biography.”  In the course of his life, he was the head of the Junction Telegraph Office in North Adams, MA, a student of law and phonography, a sailor, a newspaper reporter, a shorthand court reporter, a special correspondent in the first stagecoach to ever cross the Sierra Mountains, an editor of the Sacramento Daily State Sentinel, Assistant Quartermaster in the U.S. Army, Colonel of the First Regiment Nevada Infantry, a Nevada State Senator, a Congressman from California, a lawyer, a legal stenographer, an orator, and a published author.


Sumner_2He fought against the Confederate Army, monopolies in the railroad industry, the “notorious Denis Kearney” (a nativist labor organizer in California), and the Shafter land bill, “which sought to dispossess most of the people of San Francisco.”   He convinced the San Francisco bar that shorthand reports of legal proceedings were important; he “saved from public plunders the San Francisco Marine Hospital, which has become a Sailor’s Home”; and, as a Congressman, he introduced a “Bill to Enlarge the Postal Facilities of the People of the United States” in an attempt to save the American people from the tyranny of telegram monopolies and expensive communication.  He wrote a book of poems with his brother, including a piece on one of his favorite subjects—short-hand reporting.  Oh, and he was also an accomplished traveler, boarding the clipper ship Fleetwing in 1856 for a “voyage around the horn” to California and later publishing a travel guide to Sweden.

Sumner_3To see this collection and learn more about any of Sumner’s many activities, stop by the Watkinson and ask for the file.

[Posted as 9 of 10 in a series on the College Archives by Emma Paine, a graduate student intern from Simmons College]

Townsend_1“Please don’t send sticky envelopes to the tropics!” the note read, followed with a kindly reminder “US stamp no good here.”   The hastily handwritten scrawl on the bottom of the nearly empty alumni survey immediately caught my attention.  “Where is this man?” I thought as I began to look through the file, “And what is he doing there?”

Townsend_2According to the ink stamp on the document, Trinity received this message in November 1958, just as its author, the Rev. Jack Townsend, was wrapping up his eleventh year as Executive Secretary of the Missionary District of the Panama Canal Zone and Archdeacon for the Republic of Colombia. By November, Rev. Townsend would also have been preparing for a two-month trip to the fairly new missionary territory of Ecuador, where he was one of the first Episcopal clergymen chosen “to provide ministrations of the Words and Sacraments, until [the Bishop Gooden] could go himself and later provide resident priests.”  There are two accounts of this trip in his Alumni File, describing his first view of “the headlands from which Balboa (not stout Cortes) first saw the Pacific Ocean,” a baptism conducted in English and Spanish (“the first time in their lives they heard a baptism conducted in their own language”), and a flight to Quito, Peru through the High Andes (“There was not a sign of life as we threaded our way back and forth.  It was like flying on the moon!”).

Townsend_3The Rev. Townsend graduated from Trinity in 1916 and then spent three years in France as part of the Ambulance Corps for the French and American Red Cross during World War I.  Four years after returning to America to finish his education at Berkeley Divinity School, he left the country again, this time to begin his lifelong career as a missionary in Latin America. In addition to his posts in Panama and Ecuador, he also served in Guantanamo and Camagüey Cuba, where he saw the beginnings of the Cuban Revolution in the 1930’s and reported them in a mailing titled “¡Hola, Amigos de Cuba!”  “Many friends of Cuba will be wondering what is happening down here,” he begins, “I only wish I knew!  We are cut off from real news by censors and by the extraordinary rumors circulating about, most of them false.  Perhaps if I tell what I have seen it will help.”

If you want to know what he saw, stop by the Watkinson and ask for the file!

[Posted as 8 of 10 in a series on the College Archives by Emma Paine, a graduate student intern from Simmons College]

Tudor_1An English professor and a poet, Stephen Tudor, Class of 1955, was clearly a fan of the written word, and his folder is full of correspondence, most of which is addressed to a couple named John and Phyllis.  It appears Stephen was in the habit of writing them yearly letters to exchange birthday wishes and to give John the status update on his Girand-Perregaux timepiece, an earlier gift that proved itself “a remarkable watch, through thick and thin” and always seems to be “ticking along heartily as ever.”

In addition to updating John on the watch, Stephen also talks about his work, his family, and his travels, and, in this way, his whole life unfolds through his letters.  Although he would have preferred history, Tudor got his first job as an English professor. He then earned his MFA at the University of Oregon and found a job at Wayne State University, where he’d teach English and creative writing for the rest of his life.  He and his wife, Ellie, had a child named Michael, and when he was old enough, Ellie earned her own M.A. in dance and became a teacher.  They all spent a sabbatical year in Wales, where they met “Welsh Tudors” and Mike showed his new classmates “the proper way to do a lay-up.”  Stephen continued to write and to sail and to publish many poems and short stories about the Great Lakes, and he died while competing in the 1994 Singlehanded Challenge Regatta on Lake Huron.

Tudor_2Woven in and around these major events are stories about dogs, sewing rooms, snow days and sled rides, observations about education in America and Wales, and commentary on what it’s like to be married to a working woman (“Naturally, I raise my eyebrows when I come home from a long day in Detroit and find that there’s no supper on the table.”)




Together with his manuscripts and the official alumni surveys and press releases in his file, they tell an unexpectedly rich and complete narrative of life as (in Tudor’s words) it “goes on going on.”

To learn more about Tudor, or anyone in the Alumni Files, stop by the Watkinson and ask at the front desk.


[Posted as 7 of 10 in a series on the College Archives by Emma Paine, a graduate student intern from Simmons College]

Barnett_1Speaking at their 50th wedding anniversary party, Mrs. Barnett offered the Rev. Joseph Barnett, Class of 1913, the greatest tribute he’d ever received, saying “Thanks to my husband I’ve never lived a monotonous life.”  I found these words in newspaper article about the 77-year-old’s trip up to Trinity in a camper trailer, so it’s safe to say she was telling the truth about that!

After graduating from Trinity in 1913, Barnett followed his father’s example and was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church.  Although he could have avoided the action on the front lines by serving as a chaplain during World War I, he insisted on going to the front as a private. Several newspapers, including the Hartford Courant and the New York Evening Post reported the story, but Barnett didn’t plan to tell his fellow soldiers that he was a clergyman—“I’m not going to sermonize and preach, and I’m not going to do missionary work for the church, but I do think that when it’s all over—whether I come back or not will not make much different, perhaps—the men will know that at least one clergyman was not above living with them and dying with them, if need be,” he said.Barnett_2

When the war ended, Barnett continued his work with the Church, traveling around the country to live and preach in a dozen states before purchasing a $3,600 mobile home and settling down in Florida. In addition to this trailer home, he and his wife also purchased a camper they used as their everyday car; Barnett brought this camper to Trinity for at least three reunions, parking it near the dorms and using the campus’ electricity to power his stove and the refrigerator that kept his meat from spoiling.  “We think mobile homes are the greatest invention since the telephone,” he said in another newspaper interview, and it’s easy to see why— a moving house not only got Rev. Barnett where he was going—like to his beloved Trinity—but also let him meet new people along the way!Barnett_3

To learn more about Rev. Barnett, or anyone in the Alumni Files, stop by the Watkinson and ask at the front desk.


Henry Fuller, Class of 1937: A Bold Alumnus

   Posted by: rring

[Posted as 6 of 10 in a series on the College Archives by Emma Paine, a graduate student intern from Simmons College]

Fuller_1In 1977, alumnus Henry Fuller received a letter from a friend who shared his interest in Russian history and, specifically, the Romanovs—the last Russian royal family.  Accompanied by a signed photograph of a Romanov relative, the letter suggests, “”Why don’t you stuff them in with Anna Viroubova’s watercolors and let some graduate student at Palo Alto sort it out in 2196, the bicentennial of Nicky and Sunny’s coronation?”  Trinity’s not Paolo Alto, but Fuller did take his friend’s advice, donating his collection of Russian history books, scrapbooks, letters, and, yes, Anna Viroubova’s watercolors, to the College Archives upon his death in 2001.  (A lifelong supporter of Trinity, he also donated $39 million from his estate to the College.  New Hampshire’s Currier Art Gallery and the Manchester, New Hampshire Historical Society also received gifts from his estate.)

Although the items themselves are incredible, the story behind his collection is equally amazing.   Throughout his high school and college years, Fuller had a habit of requesting autographs from world leaders and famous individuals.  Sometimes, he also included a small gift, like when he sent King George V “an unusually centered guideline strip of four of the current 1¢ U.S. Postal issue” to add to his stamp collection. (These, along with Mr. Fuller’s self-addressed envelope, were returned because “His Majesty only collects stamps of the British Empire.”)Fuller_2

In 1934, he wrote a letter to Anna Viroubova, a former lady in waiting to the last Tsarina of the Russian Empire.  Fuller was interested in the history of the Russian Revolution (as well as in purchasing some of Viroubova’s photographs of the royal family), and they began to correspond regularly, eventually making plans for Fuller to visit and interview Viroubova in Finland that summer.  Later, in an English class at Trinity, he would write the story of her relationship with the Royal Family and her harrowing escape from Russia, attempting to redeem a woman many viewed as despicable and dangerous.  Whether he succeeded in convincing his professor is another story!Fuller_3

2196 may be a long way off, but if you’d like to start sorting out the many stories this collection has to tell, just stop by the Watkinson and ask to see the box inventory.

[Posted as 5 of 10 in a series on the College Archives by Emma Paine, a graduate student intern from Simmons College]

IMG_2885A prolific writer who published five books and numerous poems, short stories, and essays over the course of his life, Professor Fred Pfeil was also a big contributor to the College Archives—when he passed away in 2005, we received approximately 16 boxes of material including manuscripts, revisions, research notes, and correspondence for nearly everything he published, as well as syllabi, clippings, conference materials, and notebooks documenting everything from his political activism and meditation practice, to his experience as an Amherst student in the late 1960’s and the later development of his own course material at Trinity.  He even saved his Woodstock tickets!

Pfeil_2If you’ve ever wondered how the people who grade your papers go about writing their own, or you’ve heard how hard it was to research pre-internet and want to see this process for yourself, the Pfeil papers (especially box 7) are a good place to look! The items in this box deal mostly with Fred’s 1995 book White Guys, a collection of essays on the representations of white, straight masculinity in rock music, detective novels, action films, and other examples of contemporary popular culture, and they track the development of the book from research to publication.

Sources are at the heart of any research project, and Fred saved many of his! There are whole issues of Time, The Bloomsbury Review, The New Yorker, and Esquire as well as several folders of scholarly articles, newsletters, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and film reviews, some with the inter-library loan slips still attached.  They are all arranged according to Fred’s original labels, which include titles like “Mainstream Press Coverage of the Men’s Movement,” “Alternate Press Coverage of Men’s Mov.,” and “Feminist Response to the Men’s Movement,” as well as the catch-all “Men’s Movement Stuff.”

Pfeil_3We also have Fred’s notes on these sources.  He appeared to prefer the blue examination books for his note taking, and there is one that includes film analyses and quotes from reviews of the films discussed in “The Year of Living Sensitively.”  There are also type-written drafts of  this chapter, each of which shows Fred’s revisions in pen; in fact, one copy has comments written in two different hands, and it’s possible to see how Fred addressed these suggestions (or not) in his revisions!

Pfeil_4Once these drafts were revised, the last step was publication, and there are several pieces of correspondence that show how White Guys was produced and marketed.  One key piece is the author’s questionnaire, which solicited Fred’s ideas for marketing his own book.  Who knew the author was so involved in that part of the process?

If you’re interested in learning more about Fred and his writing, please stop by the Watkinson and ask for the finding aid.

[Posted as 4 of 10 in a series on the College Archives by Emma Paine, a graduate student intern from Simmons College]

Skau_1Born and raised in Hartford, Dr. Evald L. Skau (Norwegian, pronounced “sk-ow”), was no stranger to winning prizes.  As a child, he won the Sunday Globe’s freehand drawing prize, and he also took home the boy’s story prize for his “My Dream About My Kite.”

Skau_2He then went on to win many awards at Trinity, Yale, and the United States Department of Agriculture.  By far his most prestigious award, however, was his 1930 Guggenheim Fellowship, which enabled him to spend two years in Europe studying the purification of organic compounds and made him the first professor in Trinity history to be so honored.

Although he had stayed close to home for most of his life, earning his BS (1919) and MS (1920) at Trinity and returning to the College in 1927 to teach, he was eager to go abroad.  On August 14, 1930 boarded a Red Star Liner to begin the biggest adventure of his life, and he saved a large collection of letters, newspaper clippings, maps, notes, cards, menus, and journals from his trip.

His journals describe a myriad of adventures, from taking daily saltwater baths and playing shuffleboard on the Red Star Liner, to visiting “a really gorgeous array of buildings” at Antwerp’s Tercentennial Belgian World’s Exposition and “ach[ing] for a drink of Hartford or old U.S. water” while searching for a place to live in Munich.   He was so cosmopolitan that no one in Germany every thought he was American, but he shows his roots in several entries like this one:

Skau_3“Things I haven’t seen yet over here: 1. granulated sugar- it is always given out with [unclear] coffee in lumps, 2. Watermelon, 3. Ham and eggs as we know them, 4. Root beer, 5. Good movies

Unusual things you see here: 1. Beer trucks on streets loaded, 2. Small autos, 3. Innumerable bicycles, 4. Man and woman walking along, the woman carrying a couple of suitcases and the man empty handed setting a pace for her, 5. Automatic hall lights: you turn them on at front door + they go out again automatically in 3 minutes 6. Big feather beds 7. Theaters showing classical dramas crowded”)

He struggled to keep up with his journaling as the demands on his time increased, apparently abandoning his journals by the beginning of 1931. However, since he wrote so many letters, there are other ways of following him as he studies and socializes with chemists all over Europe!

For more information about Dr. Skau, his journals, and these letters, please stop by the Watkinson and ask for the finding aid.

[Posted as 3 of 10 in a series on the College Archives by Emma Paine, a graduate student intern from Simmons College]

Campo_1Did you know that 60% of Trinity students travel abroad at some point during their college career?  And did you know that it all started in the 1970’s as an experimental little summer program in Rome?  The highs and the lows of this first year are all documented in the papers of Dr. Michael Campo, J.J. McCook Professor of Languages, Emeritus; former Director of the Barbieri Center for Italian Studies, and founder of study away at Trinity College.

On September 2, 1969, the Curricular Committee voted to approve Dr. Campo’s proposal to establish a Trinity College Summer Program in Rome.  Three days later, the faculty concurred, and Trinity’s first study abroad program was on the way to becoming a reality.   According to the proposal, “Rome [was] a natural center for such a learning experience,” but it was such a “natural center” that Trinity had to compete with several other schools that already offered programs there.  In order to stand out from the pack and attract the 200 students needed to make the endeavor a financial success, Trinity advertised a “broad diversity of course offerings taught by an able faculty,” offering classes like “The Architecture of the City of Rome,” “Elements of Drawing and Design,” “Introductory Italian,” and “Latin Literature in Translation,” as well as an archeology program that allowed students to participate in a real dig.   Lest the very idea of the dig discourage enrollment in the latter, though, Dr. Campo reassured the students: “Do not get apprehensive about the digging,” he wrote, “- there will be just enough to give you an idea of excavation techniques.  It will not be strenuous at all…There will, if course, be good shower facilities at the camp.”

Campo_2Although Dr. Campo faced many challenges when it came to scheduling and advertising the program and enrollment was considerably lower than anticipated, he managed to work out the issues and at 4pm on June 10, 1970, approximately 11 staff members and 112 students set out for a six-week adventure in Rome.  According to the official report, the program went well— any and all difficulties were swiftly overcome and the archaeology students greatly enjoyed excavating a particularly rich Etruscan tomb they lovingly called “Moby Dick” because of the high vaulted ceilings.   Dr. Campo’s personal papers tell a slightly different story, however, starting with a letter thanking him for his “long and newsy letter describing the incredible complications in the program there” and ending with this:

Campo_3Why the orange juice?  Who is Miss DeGrazia?  What happened to her shoes?  Where were they going in the car?  And what happened to the gas pump?  There’s definitely a story (or several) happening here!

To learn more about Michael Campo and the early days of study away, stop by the Watkinson and ask for the finding aid.

[Posted as 2 of 10 in a series on the College Archives by Emma Paine, a graduate student intern from Simmons College]

A mathematics professor by trade, Dr. Harold L. Dorwart was also a fastidious chronicler of history.  His papers, donated to the college in 1979, reveal someone who recognized history being made and had the presence of mind to collect the evidence.  Moreover, in a testament to his mathematical training, he also analyzed that evidence, creating a collection that’s more like a well-edited textbook than the typical box of faculty papers.

Dorwart_1Dr. Dorwart called his text “Trinity College 1967-68: A Documentary History,” and his handwritten table of contents identifies over one hundred newspaper clippings, memos, proposals, posters, and commentary from his rather tumultuous year as Acting Dean of the College.  (It was actually supposed to be a fairly easy job until a diaphragmatic hernia put the President out of commission and left Dorwart to lead the College through a series of five “crises,” including the student sit-in and the “punishment controversy” that followed!)

Sometimes, Dr. Dorwart comes across as a hero, like when he prohibited on-campus military recruiters from reporting student protesters to the Vietnam War Draft Board.  Other times, he comes across as a bit of a villain, like when he attended a student meeting on an unexpected tuition hike and refused to answer the students’ questions (per his superior’s orders).   Most of the time, though, he comes across as an ordinary guy thrust into the extraordinarily challenging situation of saving the College from certain destruction by making everyone happy, all while avoiding the attention of the Press.

Dorwart_2Dorwart_3Although the sit-in is a big part of his collection, it’s not the only momentous occasion Dr. Dorwart experienced and recorded as part of his everyday life.  Several years earlier, he was invited to meet President Dwight D. Eisenhower when the war hero addressed the Trinity campus at the 1954 Convocation, and Dr. Dorwart saved all sorts of invitations, instructions, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera documenting the day.  These items really bring this historic day to life—especially the Trinity College Traffic Control map, which visually documents all of the effort that went into planning the event and reveals connections to today’s Calendar Office.

Dorwart_4Dorwart_5To learn more about Dr. Dorwart and his collection, visit the Watkinson and ask for the finding aid!

[Posted as 1 of 10 in a series on the College Archives by Emma Paine, a graduate student intern from Simmons College]

Professor Harry Todd Costello was recently featured on this blog in connection to his work in the field of philosophy, specifically his connection to the famous philosopher Bertrand Russell.  He served as Russell’s teaching assistant at Harvard in 1914, and his faculty papers contain notes from that course, as well as essays and lectures from other philosophy courses he taught or took.

Although he was very much involved in the study of philosophy, however, Costello was also a professor of Psychology— in fact, he was the only professor in Trinity’s Philosophy and Psychology department until 1927.

The College Archives has several items from his teaching days, including exams for his Abnormal Psychology classes and the syllabus for Intro to General Psychology.  There’s also a newspaper article he might have used as a reading for Abnormal Psychology in Spring 1944.  Of course, Costello didn’t have access to PDFs, electronic course reserves, or even Xerox copies during his 36 years at Trinity, so we can only wonder how he shared the clipping with his class.

Another find is a sheet of notes on “Memory Training,” which he presumably handed out during the first class of Elementary Psychology.  Some of the tips:

  • “Trust your memory.  Think habitually and definitely that you are going to remember.”
  • “In learning a disconnected series, form quick associations, the more bizarre the better.  Get a picture that gets them all in.”
  • “Be rigidly exact in recall.”
  • “Learn to forget the useless.”
  • “Practise.”

Costello_1In addition to items that show how he taught psychology, there are also two journals that demonstrate how he learned the subject as an undergrad at Earlham College in 1907.  Although they didn’t have computers or today’s brain scanning technology, Costello and his fellow students were still looking for ways to objectively study seemingly subjective phenomena, and these journals document their experiments.


Most of the time, the students were each other’s lab rats, and the experiments literally brought them closer together. In one experiment, for example, Costello had to shave the back of his lab partners’ hand and count the “hair stalks” in order to determine the location of “pressure spots.” In another, “Distribution of Taste Sensitivity over the Tongue,” he had to identify prominent papillae on his partner’s tongue and then drop different flavored liquids on each one to determine which papillae sensed which kinds of flavors.   Should we be thankful that the field of psychology’s changed a bit since then?


To learn more about these journals and the rest of the Costello collection, please stop by the Watkinson and ask for the finding aid.