[Posted by Peter Rawson, Associate Curator of Archives & Manuscripts]

chem paper1The Chemical Prize Essay collection in the Trinity College Archives contains 327 chemical essays submitted by students at Trinity between 1858 and 1905.

These essays were submitted as part of a competition among students in to win the first place prize of $30 and the second place prize of $20.

The prize began in 1858 as a contest for seniors and became a junior prize in the mid-1880’s.

Essays were submitted to the Professor of Chemistry.  These included Rev. Thomas R. Pynchon, Scoville Professor of Chemistry and Natural Science, 1854-1879; H. Carrington Bolton, Scoville Professor of Chemistry and Natural Science, 1880-1887; Robert B. Riggs (pictured here), Scoville Professor of Chemistry and Natural Science, 1888-1929.Riggs Robert B ca 1900

 

 

 

 

 

 

chem paper2The assigned essay topic each year was predetermined, with topics concerning chemicals, new technology, plants, light, or the metric system. The essays are organized in alphabetical order of the essayists’ last names, and they include both the winning essays and the other contestants’ essays.

Jarvis Laboratory interior undatedJarvis Lab (undated)

WellsWe are very happy to announce the gift of an archive of family papers related to early 19thC Hartford from former Trinity College President (1981-89) James F. English, Jr. (H ’89) of Noank, CT. Jim is also an emeritus member of the Watkinson Library Board of Trustees, which he served to our great benefit for 12 years, from 1997-2009.

The papers mostly relate to Charles Pitkin Welles (1811-1876), although other members of the Welles (or Wells) family are also represented. The archive includes correspondence, ephemera, objects, and other documents (like report cards from Hartford High School ca. 1850, insurance policies, invitations, bills, etc.), poetry, diaries, and printed chapbooks and newspapers.

 

img166According to his obituary in the Hartford Daily Times (March 4, 1876), “his peculiarly self-contained and reserved character, and his thoroughly domestic and retiring habits” made him almost a stranger in his own town. Born of Quaker parents, “the slow and unruffled Quaker calm not only asserted itself in his ever cool and even blood, but led him away from the stirring outward life” but rather, to the “quite and genial atmosphere of his books.”

“It is related of him that once, when word was brought to him, down town, at night, that his place of business (he kept a drug and medicine establishment, not far from the Main and Asylum street corner) was on fire, he deliberately arose, carefully dressed himself, and adjusted his necktie with his usual care. It did not suit him, and he took it off, and getting another, arranged that to suit him–and then walked up town to see what was going on at the fire.”

img165

19
May

Thanks and Good Luck!

   Posted by: rring   in Preservation & Conservation, students

[Posted by Sally Dickinson, Associate Curator & Preservation Librarian]

gaia cloutier blogGaia Cloutier ‘16 worked as a student assistant in the Watkinson Library this year. Gaia came to the job with some prior knowledge of books gained through taking Jonathan Elukin’s class on the Bible and History of the Book. She spent the year working on a special collection of books called the Cage collection. Gaia cleaned, inventoried, verified catalog records, and barcoded call flags which we place in the books (not on the book itself). This collection was originally the rare books collection of Trinity College. Because the books were enclosed within a metal gate, the area became known as “the Cage.” The books range from 17th century histories in multiple languages to books bound in parchment, to Japanese books with color woodblock prints. Some of the older tomes have issues that compromise their structure. Special boxes will be made for these volumes. Timing was perfect: Gaia finished the project the final week of classes at Trinity. Thank you, Gaia!

Tags:

27
Apr

Third Annual Writer’s Residency

   Posted by: rring   in News, Prizes and Awards, students

IMG_1361I am pleased to announce that May Collins P. Woollcott ’16 is this year’s awardee of the South Beach Writing Residency, offered by the family of Hyam Plutzik ’32.

Originally from Atlanta, GA, May is an English major with a focus on creative writing. This semester she is completing a poetry thesis under Professor Clare Rossini, poet and Artist-in-Residence at Trinity College. Upon graduation, May will be moving to Boston to work in publishing. She hopes to attend an MFA program in the coming years.

The family of Hyam Plutzik (Trinity ’32) provides an annual residency (for five years) in South Beach in the Betsy Writer’s Room to a graduating senior with outstanding talent in the literary arts.  The award is bestowed as part of the graduation program (Honors Day).  This residency comes with a $500 travel stipend, six days lodging, and a per diem of $50. During the residency, which can happen anytime during the award year, the recipient will be invited to participate in an Arts Salon to share her work with the community.

27
Apr

Hartford Medical Society Library

   Posted by: rring   in Connecticut history, Hartfordiana

HMS deskRecently I was given a tour of the Hartford Medical Society Library, a local cultural/historical gem which (admittedly) is a bit tough to get to, at the UConn Health Center in Farmington, but well worth it.

The HMS was founded in 1846. The Society’s rules, adopted September 15th of 1846, state: “The object of this Society, is to maintain the practice of Medicine and Surgery in this city upon a respectable footing; to expose the ignorance and resist the arts of quackery; and to adopt measures for the mutual improvement, pleasant intercourse, and common good of its members.”

HMS stuff2Aside from the historical collections of books and manuscript material, which are fascinating, there are a number of artifacts, many of which are described in a catalogue that the HMS published in 1979.

To learn more about the library and its collections, I urge Trinity students and faculty to contact the Librarian, Jennifer Miglus, who is both friendly and helpful!

HMS stacks

27
Apr

Hebrew Bible Printed in England

   Posted by: rring   in book history, From the stacks!

BibleThe Watkinson has a great Bible collection, including this, the first separate edition of the Hebrew Bible printed in England, preceded only by the printing of the text as part of the Walton Polyglot (which we also have!). Editor Nathaniel Forster (1718–57), an accomplished scholar of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, has included (in the style of the table of contents) “Pentateuchus, Prophetae priores, Prophetae posteriores, Hagiographa”; the leaves following “Prophetae posteriores” are separately signed and printed “Vol. 2.” Based on Van der Hoogh’s version, the text is in Hebrew, with titles and chapter heads also in Latin. Unlike most 18th-century books printed at Oxford, this is scarce. Of the eight reported copies in libraries four are in the Northeast, two in California, one at Duke, and one in Ohio.

Our first librarian, J. Hammond Trumbull, acquired our copy for the Watkinson in May of 1872 from the English firm of Bernard Quaritch, for 15 shillings.

[With thanks to PRB&M for their description]

8
Apr

NY Book Fair

   Posted by: rring   in Book Fairs, Field Trips, Uncategorized

book fair1Every April the ABAA (Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America) and the ILAB (International League of Antiquarian Booksellers) sponsors an international antiquarian book fair in New York, at the Park Ave Armory. The other big fairs of the year are in Boston (November) and California (February), alternating years in Los Angeles & San Francisco.

I always come to New York, but this may be the last year that the show is at the Armory, which would be a great shame (they are planning to go up-market and attract folks that can pay a lot more than book dealers to use the space). I usually just come for a day, but this trip I was able to stay for 3 days, and so, I thought a report might be fun.

Some 200 dealers from all over the world place the most interesting items in their stock in booths that measure about 10 x 10 feet … tens of millions of dollars worth of antiquarian material in one big room for four days. It’s a great place to build relationships and buy amazing things for your collection.

The dealers hail from many US states as well as the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Russia, Japan, Australia and Argentina.

There are a cluster of dealers from the UK from whom I love to buy–they have an eye that I agree with, and generally I agree with their pricing! This year was no different, and I will discuss specific acquisitions in later posts. Justin Croft, whom I met perhaps 10 years ago when I was buying for another institution, always has more than enough items to tempt–especially French and English manuscript material. Simon Beattie is another whom I met a decade or more ago, when he was with Quaritch, I think, and I was so impressed when he set up on his own–both because I know how brave that move is (I tried my hand at bookselling for a couple of years), and because his catalogues were just so freaking cool. The design actually made the items more attractive–one wanted to buy them just to reward Simon for the effort! And although I generally don’t acquire Russian materials (one of his specialties), he often has a quirky rare item that fits with what I am looking for at the time (more to follow!).

Susanne Shulz-Falster and Deborah Coltham are two other U.K. dealers with whom I enjoy working. Always charming and enthusiastic (as are Simon and Justin), Susanne has fabulous books related to printing history, but it is often the quirky side items that attract me (again, more to follow). Deborah often comes up with great stuff on the history of medicine (including quackery).

That’s enough for now–back to the fair!

gothic exhibThe Watkinson loans material to round out the story!

This captivating exhibition displays costume, the fine and decorative arts, and literature to explain the context of Romantic fashion up to contemporary Goth. Watkinson loaned books by Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Jules Verne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, H.G. Wells and Hartford’s own Lydia Sigourney. Sigourney’s Letters to Young Ladies is one of the stops on the audio tour, and is described by Watkinson associate curator Sally Dickinson. http://tap.thewadsworth.org/tap-web-app/#archive/tour-655/controller/StopListView

 

gothic exhib sigourney 2Mrs. Sigourney wrote hundreds of poems, books, and articles that captured the sentiments of the day, especially for women. Guest curator Lynne Bassett gave a special tour the day of the opening and was most appreciative of our collaboration. Our relationship with the Atheneum continues to grow!

Gothic to Goth runs March 5 through July 10, 2016 at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford.

gothic exhib sigourney

[Posted by Sally Dickinson, Associate Curator & Preservation Librarian]

[Posted by Henry Arneth, Special Collections Assistant]

Egbert Austin “Bert” Williams (1874-1922) was an American blackface vaudeville star. Born in the Bahamas, Williams began performing at an early age with various minstrel shows, and in the 1890s took a partner, George Walker. The pair performed under the name “Two Real Coons” because there were so many white blackface performers. It was also in the 1890s that Williams made his first recordings.

By the early 1900s, Williams’ style had changed. He performed with the Ziegfeld Follies beginning 1910, singing and “philosophizing” during the breaks in the Follies routines. This recording, “I’m Gone Before I Go,” (Columbia A-2078) from 1916, is typical of his later work. In the song, he speaks of the African-American participation in the Mexican Revolution (ca. 1910-1920). This song forms an interesting juxtaposition when compared with other patriotic songs of the period both in tone and music. The happy-sounding composition seems to belie the somewhat dismal lyrics. Williams’ delivery is also different because he doesn’t sing the entire time. He sings refrains, but speaks the stanzas, which gives the listener the feeling that one is viewing Williams on stage.

26
Jan

And we’re off!

   Posted by: rring   in Americana, book history, Classes

DoughertyThe Watkinson helped jump-start the first day of classes by hosting Jack Dougherty’s EDUC 300 class last night until 9:00pm. The students were asked to analyze several examples of 19th-century common school textbooks from the collection of Henry Barnard, which was bought by J. Pierpont Morgan in 1905 and made its way into Trinity’s hands when the Watkinson was given to the College in 1952.

Questions put to the students as they perused various readers, geographies, primers, speakers, spellers, and even a “confederate arithmetic,” included “what do textbooks reveal about the ideology of the authors and of the common school advocates?”, “how do they portray human nature?”, “what do they reveal about religion and education?”, and “what do they reveal about everyday life inside 19th-century common schools?” (i.e., classroom organization, student-teacher interaction, and pedagogical methods).