[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.

[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.


How to Bring Up Baby

   Posted by: rring   in Classes, Students

Kristin1Though raising children will never go out of style, certain fads, methods, or ideas will surely change in the years to come and have definitely changed over the years. Elizabeth Robinson Scovil published her book How to Raise a Baby in 1906, and I was actually surprised to find her methods were not completely off-the-wall or out-of-date. This may be because Scovil was actually a graduate of the Massachusetts General Hospital Training School for Nurses, so it is safe to say that she was well educated and a source that women would have trusted. She was also the author of a number of other texts, including: “A Baby’s Requirements,” “The Care of Children,” and “Preparation for Motherhood.” Her writing did not stop at simple advice on how to be a mother, and she also wrote other books on how to be a proper girl and woman. One of her other texts was “Prayers for Girls,” published in 1924, and “Little Prayers for Little Lips,” published in 1921.



Kristin2Interestingly, How to Bring Up a Baby was provided as a complimentary gift for women along with their Ivory Soap purchases, which explains why the publisher of her text is Procter and Gamble, the popular American consumer goods company. Procter and Gamble insert promotions for their product throughout the booklet. For instance: “No soap but a pure scentless one like Ivory Soap” should be used” (25) or “Children will brush their teeth if they have a tooth wash that tastes nice. There is none better than half an ounce of Ivory Soap (one-twelfth of a small cake) dissolved in four ounces of water with a teaspoonful of rose water as flavoring” (35-36). These examples are not uncommon throughout Scovil’s text.

I unfortunately could not find an image of the particular Ivory Soap product that this booklet was accompanied by; it may have been a variety of products. Instead, I looked into what types of advertisements Ivory Soap had out in 1906. Those, too, unsurprisingly, were directed toward women. Two such ads are included on the previous page. These ads fit into the same vein as the messages within Scovil’s text.

Kristin3Scovil’s books are still available online and do not run for very high prices. They are available from sources like Amazon and AbeBooks. There are various editions of How to Bring Up a Baby listed, ranging in price from $10 to $40. Our Watkinson copy seems to be in better shape than some of the others listed, as its pages are made of some sort of silky, smooth cardboard, and there are no pages missing. There are forty pages in this text, and colored illustrations are included (and dispersed throughout this blog post). Our particular copy appears to have been a gift from the Grom Hayes Library in Hartford, as recorded on the inside cover of the book.

There is no table of contents for the text, but the first page of the booklet is worth noting. In order to be able to personalize her copy of the book, a woman could fill in her baby’s specific details on the first page, as shown on the right. I imagine this was amusing for women reading the book, knowing they could apply the reading material to their own child. In that way, they could know if they were correctly “bringing up a baby.” They could also compare their children’s statistics to what was considered to be average in the day. If their babies fell within normal limits, they could rest assured; if not, they could read on and figure out where they, as mothers, went astray and how to address the problem. This book puts a lot of pressure on the mothers.

Kristin4After this opening page, Scovil provides what could only be considered threatening advice. For instance, Scovil says, “Success in life depends largely on the care that is taken of the health in childhood” (7), and “A child has the right to ask that his parents shall give him a fair start; that they shall not allow him to contract disabilities that could have been avoided by careful oversight” (7). She also mentions that there is too high a “Number of children who die annually from entirely different causes” (7). These causes, she maintains, are preventable with expert care. In fact, she states, “Incessant and intelligent care is necessary to overcome the tendency to disease, and to enable them to become strong” (7).

Kristin5After the first page personalization and her brief note that includes the many threats and warnings, Scovil goes on to write her book about effective childcare. (I use the word “book” lightly because I might consider this more an instructional pamphlet, booklet, or manual than a book.) She divides her book into the following sections: “When to be alarmed,” “Office of the physician,” “Food,” “Sleep,” “Dress,” “Cleanliness,” “Removing stains,” “Ventilation,” “The eyes,” “The ears,” “The nose,” “The teeth,” “The hair,” “The nails,” “Emergencies,” and “Poisoning.” These sections provide pretty solid information, nothing too drastic, but what interested me the most was what Scovil decided to emphasize (with italics) in each passage. Below, I will insert the seven passages from the book she puts particular emphasis on:

“Whenever it should be, and no oftener, Ivory Soap is mentioned; and, invariably, a reason for its use is given” (3). “No oftener?” I’m not so sure about that… Ivory Soap is mentioned 18 times so on average, every other page. This proves the text is intended to be a promotional piece for Ivory Soap.

Kristin6“It may not be out of place, to add that for nearly thirty years, Ivory Soap has enjoyed a unique position in the homes of the majority of intelligent Americans. For bath, toilet, and fine laundry purposes, it has no equal” (4). “Intelligent Americans?” Was this supposed to compliment her readers and make them feel good about themselves? Was this an elitist brand of soap? Is that why she mentions that Ivory Soap is to be used for “fine laundry” purposes? What would be the opposite of “fine laundry,” I wonder?

Scovil mentions that children need nourishing food for their school lunches and may have “a piece of cake but no pastry” (18). Heaven forbid that a child would eat a pastry! She doesn’t elaborate on this advice as the merits of cake versus pastry, but she does allow the children a slice of cake.

“The most exquisite cleanliness is necessary in the care of bottles and everything used in the preparation of the food. The baby’s life depends on this” (15). This emphasis reminds me of the first page. Scovil makes clear the very high stakes involved in raising a child and how essential Ivory Soap is to that undertaking.

Kristin7When speaking of wet weather, Scovil advises that, “The feet should be well shod in thick boots and rubbers. Rubber boots may be worn if circumstances permit of their being removed” (22). I really can’t explain her emphasis here. Aren’t shoes always removed eventually?

Never box a child’s ears” (33). This makes sense; do not physically abuse your child (obviously). I don’t know if the emphasis was because this was a common problem at the time, or if this was something she considered to be highly detrimental to the proper growth of children. Both seem like good reasons to me.

“When a child swallows any small body, as a pin, or a cent, give soft food—potatoes, oatmeal, or bread and milk. Use no medicine. The substance will probably become imbedded in the soft mass and pass safely away” (39). Here, I think Scovil assumes that mothers will panic and quickly resort to any type of stomach medicine available. She further advises that, if the object does not naturally remove itself from the child, a doctor be consulted.

Kristin8Though Scovil’s booklet is an instructional text for mothers, it is also a long and illustrated advertisement for Ivory Soap. I don’t know how much Procter and Gamble paid her to promote their product, but she certainly does so with great frequency—to the point of it being amusing. They had no qualms about inserting promotional material within book. For example (one among many), Scovil insists, “A cake of Ivory Soap is within the reach of every mother, and with this she can keep the skin of her children in perfect condition” (26).  “Perfect” condition is quite a promise. The amount of promotional material in the text actually made me not take Scovil’s advice as seriously. Though she had her nursing degree and gave seemingly wise advice, the consistent ads within her work made me skeptical. I’m not sure this would have had the same effect on women back in 1906.

Scovil’s book and Procter and Gamble’s lengthy ad ends very unceremoniously: When referring to the treatment of bites and stings, Scovil advises, “Cover the part affected with a paste made by moistening baking soda with water, or bathe with a teaspoonful of ammonia in a cup of water” (40). The book ends there, leaving the reader to contemplate Scovil’s advice and when she can make her next Ivory Soap purchase.

[Posted by Emily Leonard for AMST 851: The World of Rare Books (Instructor: Richard Ring)]

IMG_2892Film buffs think of “Tyrone Power ” as the breathtakingly handsome actor who was 20th Century Fox’s top male attraction from the mid-1930s to early 1950s, starring in such classics as The Mark of Zorro or Witness for the Prosecution. Theatrical cognoscenti know that the real star in the family was the film idol’s great grandfather, the first Tyrone Power, an Irish comedian who packed theaters all over the Continent before his triumphal tour of the United States in 1833, ’34 and ’35. Impressions of America is the record of these travels.

My master’s thesis concerns the early Republic and, among other things, how foreign visitors viewed it. Power’s book is particularly important because, unlike the negative reports of his fellow Britons who traveled in the United States in the 1830s, it provides an appealing picture of an ambitious young nation, a bit bumptious but always sure that its destiny lay west and that any enterprising person could find success if only he looked far enough. Since Frances Trollope, Fanny Kemble, and the great Charles Dickens, among others, could find little to admire and much to condemn in American society, Power’s Impressions of America is essential to the development of my thesis. But there was not a single copy to be found on the Internet, Amazon or in local bookstores. It has never been reprinted and, surprisingly, Project Gutenberg has digitized only the second volume. A search of the Trinity College catalog turned up the first edition, in 2 volumes, at the Watkinson. I could now provide the balance I need for my review of the early Republic.  Power’s Impressions of America provides the perfect response to the sharp criticism of observers like Dickens and Captain Frederick Maryatt, whose disdain for all things American so incensed the citizens of Detroit that they hung him in effigy.

Power found the citizens of the young Republic “clear-headed, energetic, frank and hospitable…” (x) His assertion that a “working man at the dinner table was as courteous and well-mannered as the elegant lady who sat next to him” (92) refutes other European travelers’ complaints about “… spitting-boxes, tobacco, two pronged forks…”(346). He had, from the outset, been determined to ignore these minor irritants, while focusing on “the great labors” that were rapidly transforming the nation as it moved west.

The energy and ambition exhibited by the average American made a strong impression on Power.  He described “… a community suited to and laboring for their country and its advancement rather than for their own present generation,”(x) noting the many voluntary philanthropic societies devoted to improving community life and, with some amusement, the American predilection for playing soldier as manifest by the ubiquitous musters of militia in towns and villages during the summer months. These glimpses of democracy in action provided a strong contrast to the conditions in Great Britain and Ireland where powerless workers were in virtual bondage to their employers. Indeed, it may well have been the contrast between his down-trodden, near-to-starving Irish compatriots, suffering under the Penal Laws, and the apparently well-fed, decently dressed house slaves Power encountered in his travels in America’s south that made him so tolerant of that ‘peculiar institution.’

“My days were passed at the hospitable house of

Mr. G——n, where I encountered many pleasant

people; and was attended by the sleekest, merriest

set of Negroes imaginable, most of whom had grown

old or were born in their master’s house: his own

good-humoured, active benevolence of spirit was

reflected in the faces of his servants.” (110)

Power’s comments on New Englanders offer some support for this explanation of his failure to condemn slavery. Although he has only praise for Boston’s “…houses of the largest class, well built and kept with the right English spirit as far as regards the scrupulous cleanliness of the entrance areas and windows,” (102) he is not so flattering about the New England character.

“From both the creed and the sumptuary regulations

of the rigid moral censors from which they were spring,

they have inherited a practice of close self-observation

and a strict attention to conventional form which gives a

rigid restraint to their air.” (125)

Or, in the more generous spirit of gentle teasing which is his usual approach to the foibles of Americans in general, he describes a Boston theater audience:

“[it] ‘…is in the character ascribed to New Englanders that

they should coolly and thoroughly examine and understand

the novelty presented for their judgment and, that, being

satisfied and pleased, they should no longer set limits to the

demonstration of their feelings.” (124)

In one area, Power does echo the negative reaction of his fellow travelers. He depletes the way in which new immigrants, especially the Irish, are treated by the native-born. Noting that the Boston’s Tremont Hotel is entirely staffed by Irish lads, he makes a plea for their acceptance into Yankee society, which he characterizes as one with “…many prejudices inseparable from a system of education even to this day sufficiently narrow and sectarian.” (126)

But his major emphasis is on the rapid expansion of the nation, and the people who are accomplishing it:

“…these frontier tamers of the swamp and of the forest:

they are hardy, indefatigable, and enterprising to a degree;

despising and contemning luxury and refinement, courting

labour, and even making a pride of the privations which they,

without any necessity, continue to endure with their families.

They are prudent without being at all mean or penurious, and

are fond of money without having a tittle of avarice. This may

at first sight appear stated from a love of paradox, yet nothing

can be more strictly and simply true; this is, in fact, a singular

race, and they seem especially endowed by Providence to

forward the great work in which they are engaged—to clear the

the wilderness and lay bare the wealth of this rich country with

herculean force and restless perseverance, spurred by a spirit of

acquisition no extent of possession can satiate.” [216]

The paradox here is why the other British travelers’ generally negative reports on America’s citizens in the early Republic which aroused such ire in both the parlor and the press have been reprinted many, many times, while the work of one who saw us as we like to think we were has been so nearly forgotten?  Thanks to the Watkinson library and the seventeen other rare book repositories holding copies, Tyrone Power’s Impressions of America will continue to be available for scholars to study the young nation as it was creating the myths and the legends that form our modern understanding of America’s history.