Archive for May, 2016

[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.”



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!