Recently a Trinity library staff member gave us a series of pocket guides issued by the US military to aid soldiers in acting properly abroad. Pics of all of them are here–these are fascinating and would be a great spark for a paper for history students!
The 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).
On Friday morning we hosted a group of high school seniors from Enfield, some from an English class but most from a philosophy course taught by Kelly Mazzone (nee O’Connor), who took an M.A. from Trinity in History in 2007 (under direction of the late Jack Chatfield).
The students have been studying excerpts from Genesis, the works of St. Anselm, St. Tomas Aquinas, William Paley and Blaise Pascal, as well as passages from Milton and Dante. They seemed pretty excited and engaged when I laid out for them our editions of Paradise Lost (in ten books, 1668, and in twelve books, 1678, including a copy formerly owned by John Eliot), and several edition s of the Inferno.
Also of interest to them were our original leaf (and newly acquired facsimile of) the Gutenberg Bible, the first volumes of two of the major polyglot Bibles–Paris (1645) and London (1657)–and the 1611 first edition of the “King James Version,” not to mention two of our beautiful books of hours, and (in answer to, “what is your oldest book”?), our cuneiform tablet.
I think a few bibliophiles were born that morning–or at least, definitley quickened!
This morning a student and I visited Papermania in downtown Hartford–I’ve been meaning to go for years, and I definitely am glad I went. Well over 100 dealers “from Florida to Canada” (but mainly from the northeast) brought a great array of STUFF to the fair–lots of ephemera of course, and books, but also posters, postcards, photos, and all manner of artifacts from scientific instruments to pop culture bobbles and doodads…I especially liked a little stamping kit for creating musical scores.
My student bought one small thing for himself, and I bought several things for the library, and made a good many connections. Of particular interest is a collection and archive (3 boxes) related to the Boston scholar-printer Daniel Berkeley Updike, of the Merrymount Press, which will be delivered to the library soon; also a series of historical fiction for juveniles, and another batch of 19th century American almanacs for our growing collection.
One of the items I wanted to buy but didn’t (we’ll see!) was a large broadside of recipes, printed in Hartford and hand-colored:
Last night we had over 50 people attend the opening of “Pieces of Eight,” the collective title of a showcase of eight separate student exhibitions in the Watkinson Library, which will run through June 30, 2016. This is the fifth annual such showcase of student exhibitions, and the turnout of faculty, students, parents and staff was very gratifying.
The exhibits and their curators are as follows:
Handmaid to History: What is Antiquarianism? / Elizabeth Askren ‘17
“Following the Light of the Sun, We Left the Old World”: The Dawn of Printing / Alec Buffamonte ‘17
An Uneven Playing Field: Sports and Social Classes in Britain / Marcus Cinotti, graduate student
Who You Gonna Call? Ghost Hunters from 1860-1960 / Hunter Drews ‘16
Bluejackets & Devil Dogs: U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Recruiting Posters from the Great War / Jordan Finning, graduate student
From Ragtime to Rock & Roll: Music Culture at Trinity College / Matthew Nazarian, graduate student
Victorian Ladies Leave the Sidelines: Women in Sports, 1860-1890 / Rosangelica Rodriguez, graduate student
Infant Doping and the Opium Imagination / Sarah St. Germain, graduate student
I thought it would be good to put up this little piece of ephemera–related to the Connecticut push to get Jackson elected.
“The Committee-men should take it upon themselves, personally, to see that every Jackson man is at the polls.”
As was the custom at the time, neither candidate personally campaigned, but their political followers organized many campaign events. Most interesting are the notes of the political stance of Connecticut figures on the back.
Members of the current Tripod staff were able to benefit from the wisdom of several alumni who worked on the paper in their time at Trinity, and came in today to look at the exhibition “Ten Decades of the Tripod.”
Ben Barber ’65 held forth to the students about the importance of editing, especially when the current editor revealed that many student contributors were offended by changes made to their copy.
“That’s journalism,” said Barber, a professional journalist for decades who currently writes for the Huffington Post, and who made it clear that every writer needs an editor. Barber left Trinity and “became a hippie,” as he says, roving through India and Thailand for ten years, writing poetry and selling stories to newspapers back in the US. He spoke at length with several students about writing and reporting.
Robert Cockburn ’90, who also serves on the Board of Fellows, talked animatedly with the students and other alumni (Pat Sclafani ’83, and Patty Hooper Kelley ’82) and told stories of their days with the paper. A bit later Marybeth (Callan) Serdechny ’83 and Que (Ho) Witik ’83 dropped in and reminisced about the classmates they saw in the stacks of Tripods from the 1980s.
Another alumnus, Dan Kelman ’76, who served on the Tripod as a freelance photographer in the early 1970s, pointed out many of his pics and reminisced about his friend Dave Levin ’75, who went on to shoot photos for Sports Illustrated.
Commissioned via the USAF ROTC program after he graduated in 1959, Mr. Reynolds was a seasoned fighter pilot when he was deployed to Vietnam in 1963; he was shot down on November 28, 1965 while flying an F-105 fighter-bomber, was captured and survived as a POW for seven years. After his repatriation in 1973 he had a distinguished career in the military and later with the Raytheon Company.
The archive we have received can be broken down into three parts: official and non-official correspondence related to his capture and imprisonment (including a dozen or so letters he sent to his parents during his captivity), as well as news clippings and published materials; letters he received after repatriation as a result of the VIVA campaign (see below); and printed epehemera and a small amount of official materials related to his post as air and defense attache at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China from 1984-1988.
One of the most interesting aspects of this archive are the hundreds of letters Reynolds received as a result of the VIVA campaign–from total strangers, even from elementary schoolchildren, expressing support and good wishes, and shared stories. Initially an acronym for Victory in Vietnam Association, VIVA was incorporated in 1967 by a conservative student group who preferred the lectern and the party caucus to the picket line. In 1969 the name was changed to Voices in Vital America, to reposition VIVA’s aims to support the war’s troops and prisoners. The bracelet was the goose that laid the golden egg. In 1972 VIVA took in $3.7 million, much of which was spent on a massive POW/MIA public awareness campaign that included newspaper ads and billboards, tens of millions of buttons, brochures, bumper stickers, and matchbooks, as well as newsletters sent to a mailing list of over 150,000 (there are examples of many of these ephemeral items in the collection).
The collection will soon be processed for research, and is a welcome addition to our archives!
Well, in actuality, what I just brought back from Oak Knoll Books in New Castle, DE is a fabulous facsimile of the first book printed with moveable type, ca. 1455, shown here with TWO ORIGINAL LEAVES from a Gutenberg Bible that we have had at Trinity since the Fall of 1950.
This complete facsimile of the Gutenberg Bible was printed in 1961 by Pageant Books (New York). The reproduction derives from the Insel Verlag edition, which was based on the copy in the Königslichen Bibliothek in Berlin and the copy in the Standischen Landesbibliothek in Fulda, considered to be the most beautifully illuminated of the extant copies. According to the Gutenberg Museum, there are now 49 documented partial or complete copies of the Gutenberg Bible.
Last week in preparing a presentation for prof. Barbara Benedict’s ENGL 364 class, one of the books I pulled was our copy of the first edition of Alexander Pope’s translation of the Iliad (London, 1715-20). Pasted onto one of the flyleaves was a bit of paper that made me (and prof. Benedict, when I showed it to her an hour later) gasp in disbelief and delight. Here we have what MUST be a rare survival–a subscription ticket in Pope’s own hand, signed, for receipt of partial payment by one of his subscribers (and Pope scholars will understand the significance of this particular subscriber as well).
It was a great discovery of physical evidence, and allowed us to talk even more fully than we could have (using only the published subscriber’s list) about the ways in which Pope marketed, sold, and distributed the book.