Archive for January, 2016


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).


Have gun, will travel

   Posted by: rring    in New acquisition, oppotunities for research

img077Recently 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!


Enfield HS classOn 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!



   Posted by: rring    in Field Trips, students

papermania1This 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: