Archive for the ‘Events’ Category


We were swingin’

   Posted by: rring

Trinity library opening-28On September 20th we filled the Library atrium with music from the 1930s (played on a Victrola discovered in the Watkinson), cleared away the furniture and potted plants, and did a little swing dancing.

This was the official opening of our “Jump and Jive” exhibition, celebrating the gift of over 5,000 sound recordings constituting the Bennett “Bud” Rubenstein collection of jazz, pop, and big band music.

The event was attended by more than 40 people from the campus, Hartford, and New Britain, and included Barbara “Bert” Rubenstein (the donor, and widow of the collector), and one of her three daughters.

Trinity library openingMrs. Rubenstein shared reminiscences of the era and of her husband’s passion for the music–both in terms of collecting and playing it.  They both went to many clubs in the 1940s where the likes of Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller were playing, so it was a special treat to have her here to see how the collection will be cared for and appreciated for generations to come.

Trinity library opening-33Members of the Hartford Underground (a local swing dance club) were on hand to show us some moves, and some of the students from Trinity’s own swing dance club (newly formed last year) joined in as well.

Trinity library opening-22With the Rubenstein gift, the Watkinson now holds well over 10,000 sound recordings dating from the 1890s (wax cylinders) to the 1970s.  The exhibition was curated by staffer Henry Arneth, who also serviced and repaired our Victrolas and gramophones so that we (and our patrons) can hear these recordings the way they were originally intended to be heard.

So the next time you pass our glass doors, don’t be surprised if you hear music and see us dancing!


Come Jump & Jive in the Library!

   Posted by: rring

Record covers 5EXHIBITION OPENING of “Jump & Jive: Music from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s” on Friday, September 20th, 4:30-6:30pm!

Come to the main library atrium and to the Watkinson to hear jazz and big band music playing on period Victrolas–just as it would have been heard in the Roaring 20s!

Between 5:30 and 6:30, swing dance instructor Javier Johnson and his partner My Janixia (from the Hartford Underground) will put on a dance display and teach a swing dance lesson to anyone brave enough to try!

We’ll have light refreshments in the Watkinson, and another Victrola playing music that will make your toes tap and your fingers snap!

Let’s make the library echo with rhythm and swing!



Bookish visitors

   Posted by: rring

On Sunday we hosted representatives from two regional bibliophile groups–the American Printing History Association, New England Chapter (APHA NE) and the American Book Collectors of Children’s Books (ABC’s)–and printed a keepsake for them to take back to their members.  From left to right, Phil Weimerskirch (APHA), Alice Beckwith (APHA), John Renjilian (APHA/ABC), Caroline Hardy (ABC), and Nancy Rossi (Trinity guest and new member of APHA).  Along with a tour of the stacks, we presented an array of fine press books from our impressive collection, as well as some of our “high spots,” like the first edition of the King James Bible (1611), which is open on the table.

The keepsake was printed at Hartford Prints!, our new best friend for letterpress things, and features the Watkinson logo bearing one of the basic tenets of our field, “Book openeth book.”


Toe the Line exhibition a hit!

   Posted by: rring

We have been thrilled to see a steady stream of folks from the Country Day School Headmaster’s Association conference, hosted at Trinity between June 18-21.  Over 40 of the ca. 150 participants have found their way to the Watkinson (some ditched a session), and many have expressed delight and interest in our exhibition.  Here are some of the comments from our guestbook:

“Some things endure–fewer rules are better!”

“Thank you for putting it together–lots to read and think about.”

“This is fabulous!”

“Enlightening & delightful exhibit!”

“Wonderful collection!”


Jump & Jive!

   Posted by: rring

Staffer Henry Arneth picked up a working portable Victrola last weekend while antiquing in Vermont. We will feature it in the fall exhibition celebrating the gift of the Rubenstein collection of musical recordings.

Click here for a short video of the player in action:

Heat wave


Commencement weekend!

   Posted by: rring

We were thrilled to see over 70 people (families and friends of graduating seniors) come through the Watkinson today!  On display is, of course, the famous Audubon (Birds of America), several books recently acquired and given (including the 2nd Folio of Shakespeare), as well as a small student exhibition and the main exhibit on Hyam Plutzik.


Creative Fellows presentations

   Posted by: rring

Yesterday afternoon we enjoyed the presentations of our 2012-13 cohort of Creative Fellows, two of whom (Georgia Summers ’15 and Laika Abdulali ’13) will be continuing to work through the summer.

Georgia read a tantalizing excerpt from her paranormal novel based in the Watkinson.  It promises to be a page-turner!

Laika described the fascination (and unexpected humor) she found in several of our travel narratives to the Far East, which she is using as a basis to write several short stories.  She also commented that the ability to browse the Watkinson and read freely among the rare books provided her with a great way to de-stress from writing her thesis (Political Science).

Julia Falkowski ’13 surprised the crowd by bringing in “chocolate jumbles,” which she made from an 1886 recipe book which was used to advertise the products of a food company.

Michael Benson ’13 treated us to two tracks of his mash-up of old-time jazz and modern rap and hip-hop.  And Anastasia Edwards ’13 stunned everyone with a beautiful dress she designed using our 19th-century Paris fashion material.

President Jones, the Trustees of the Watkinson, and the students, staff, and faculty who came to hear the presentations were delighted, and asked many questions.  We look forward to receiving applications (DUE MAY 31) from students who will constitute the 2013-14 cohort!


Past and Present Poetic Voices

   Posted by: rring

Yesterday we formally opened the exhibition on “Hyam Plutzik ’32, American Poet,” featuring a reading of selected poems by Plutzik by Ciaran Berry (Assistant Professor of English), Clare Rossini (Artist-in-Residence), Dick Allen (Connecticut’s Poet Laureate), and Trinity students Diana Lestz ’13 and Cassie Spittel ’13.  All of the readers also read one of their own poems in Plutzik’s honor.

The exhibition was curated by Ed Moran, literary adviser to the Plutzik family, and most of the material was generously lent by the University of Rochester, although some artifacts (like Plutzik’s fishing gear) were lent by the family.

Associate Curator Sally Dickinson and staffer Henry Arneth were instrumental in the installation of the exhibit, which will be on display through the end of May, so that those who come to campus for Commencement will be able to view a slice of the life and work of this accomplished Trinity alum who died well before his time



Hyam Plutzik ’32, American Poet

   Posted by: rring

Our April/May exhibition will focus on the life and career of Trinity alumnus Hyam Plutzik ’32, who studied under Trinity professor Odell Shepard (1884-1967).  During his student years, Plutzik served as an editor on the Tripod, and helped revive the student yearbook, the Trinity Tablet, which had been dormant for many years.  Several years after graduation, he returned to Connecticut to spend a “Thoreauvian” year in the countryside, undoubtedly inspired by Professor Shepard’s interest in the nineteenth-century Transcendentalists.  In 1941, on the eve of America’s entry into World War II, Plutzik wrote a detailed account of his life since graduation in a remarkable 72-page letter to Odell Shepard, the original of which is in the Watkinson, and will be on display. It was Odell Shepard who wrote Plutzik’s recommendation letter to Yale University, where he pursued graduate work on scholarship from Trinity College

Most of the materials on display are on loan from the University of Rochester, which hosts the Plutzik Reading Series, one of the longest-running reading series in the country.

The opening of the exhibition (which is being installed as I write) will be on April 9, from 1:30 – 3:30pm, and will feature readings of Plutzik’s work by our own award-winning poet Ciaran Berry, Artist-in-Residence Clare Rossini, and Dick Allen, the Poet Laureate of Connecticut.  Trinity students will also read selections of their own poetry.


Amazing Audubon Exhibition at NYHS

   Posted by: rring

I was thrilled to be invited by the Alumni Office to speak about the Watkinson’s collections related to natural history at an alumni event in New York.  The New York Historical Society has mounted the first of three exhibitions of Audubon’s original paintings, most of which were used as the basis for producing the 435 aquatint engravings for his famous Birds of America (completed in 1838).

Over 40 alumni of Trinity College came out last week on a crisp evening to take a tour of the four large galleries which hold over 160 pieces of art, manuscript letters, and various small artifacts which comprise “Part I” of the exhibition.  You can hear the recent NPR story on Audubon, which mentions the exhibition.

Also joining us was professor Tom Wickman, who has structured a history course around our Enders ornithology collection.  We are team-teaching this course in the library, and were delighted that one of our students (and her parents) also made it to the event.

The Society’s docents did an excellent job taking our two groups through the exhibition, explaining in broad strokes the very interesting life that Audubon led, which culminated in the production of his famous (and famously big) book.  After the tour, I spoke about our amazing copy of the Birds of America, the plates of which were selected and hand-colored by the engraver himself (Robert Havell, Jr.), and passed from his hands in 1878 to a book firm and then to a Trinity alum, Dr. Gurdon Russell (class of 1834).  Dr. Russel owned the set for over 20 years before giving it to Trinity College in 1900, where it has been kept safe and made available to students ans scholars for over a century.

I concluded my remarks by emphasizing the use to which we put these collections throughout the school year, through presentations, events, and initiatives like our unique Creative Fellowship Program.  We all had a great time, and I hope the alums will remember to visit the Watkinson when their classes return to campus for a visit to see the Audubon, which is on permanent display.