Archive for the ‘News’ Category


A celebration of Paul Lauter’s gifts

   Posted by: rring

PaulLast night the English Department sponsored an event in the Watkinson to help us celebrate the gift of two archives (now processed and ready for researchers) by retired professor Paul Lauter.

The larger of the two archives are 25 boxes of files and papers related to the formation and production of the Heath Anthology of American Literature, now in its eighth edition. The Heath Anthology  began in 1984 as a project of The Feminist Press called Reconstructing American Literature (RAL).  The literary “canon,” according to Lauter and his collaborators, had long overlooked the writings of most women and people of color.  Beginning at the 1968 meeting of the Modern Language Association, activist conference participants argued for a more inclusive and diverse understanding of American literature.  Lauter was a leader in this groundbreaking endeavor, from which the RAL project and ultimately an entirely new anthology emerged.

stuffAmong the categories in the Lauter collection are African American, Asian American, Latino/a, and Native American writings, organizations like MELUS (Multiethnic Literature of the United States), traditionally significant authors like Melville, Multiculturalism, Secondary School projects (for changes in high school curricula) and Teaching. The Teaching folders feature syllabi developed for the Heath Anthology  along with articles by Paul Lauter and other members of the Heath editorial board on such topics as using the anthology and teaching lesser-known writers and multicultural literature.  Also included are copies of a biannual newsletter produced by the publisher, DC Heath, to promote the anthology and to help faculty teach its breadth of literary texts.  54 folders labelled “Miscellaneous” offer access to varied works by authors considered for the anthology, searchable by last names.  The Heath Anthology  is, in fact, part of a revolution in the study and teaching of American literature.

IMG_3119“In putting together the Heath,” Paul Lauter wrote, “we wished to represent what we perceived to be the rich diversity of American cultures, [especially] the significance of gender, race, and class to the shaping and reception of literary texts.”crowd

The second collection is the Paul Lauter ‘Sixties Archive, comprising fourteen boxes which contain correspondence, pamphlets, newspapers, books, and flyers from organizations like Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), New University Conference (NUC), American Friends Service Committee, U.S. Servicemen’s Fund, and the Feminist Press.  Lauter, who was active in all of those organizations, also collected materials on the anti-Vietnam-war movement, including draft resistance and GI peace activity, the feminist, civil rights, and LGBT movements of the time, and student activism more generally.

Hager & Gacring1


Our Spring cohort of Creative Fellows

   Posted by: rring

I am pleased to announce a bumper crop of Fellows this spring!

Lundergan photoAmanda Lundergan ‘17 will create a short film project based on and exemplifying the symbols she encounters in the Watkinson’s extensive collection of material related to the poet Robert Frost. Amanda is originally from Raymond, New Hampshire (close to the Frost Farm in Derry). She is currently in her sophomore year at Trinity College, where she is majoring in Sociology. She is involved on campus through the Trinity Tripod, where she is the Arts and Entertainment co-editor.


MoranJohn Moran ’15 is a San Francisco native in his senior year at Trinity College.  He studies English with a focus in Creative Writing, and spends most of his time writing and composing music.  He hopes to explore the work of great American lyricists of the past to better build up his own body of work.



MullenAshley Mullen ’15 plans to write a novella of about 60,000 words based on the Watkinson’s collection of 19thC diaries by women, etiquette guides, and home magazines like Godey’s Ladies Book. Ashley is originally from San Diego, CA, and is a senior majoring in Art History and minoring in French studies (she spent two semesters in Paris, living with a host family).


Shaina VermaShaina Verma ’18 plans to work with travel narratives of foreigners touring the U.S., particularly British-born, like Oscar Wilde (Impressions of America, 1906) and Charles Dickins’s (American Notes, 1842). Shaina is originally from New Delhi, India, and is currently in her freshman year at Trinity College, where she is a double major in Mathematics and English, whilst considering a minor in Computer Science. She attended boarding school in England, which further fostered her childhood love of books. She is currently working towards a Private Pilot’s License, as well being proficient in Kuchipudi (a Classical Indian dance form).

VillarrealJake Villarreal ’17 will write and perform a set of Slam poetry inspired by the “movement” archives collections in the Watkinson. Jake is originally from Seaside, CA, and transferred from Bates College this year, majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Gender/Sexuality studies. He hopes to use this fellowship to explore how to integrate the arts and social movements, and is working towards becoming an activist for indigenous rights and queer issues.

WatsonSarah Watson ’15 plans to explore the Watkinson stacks and create a “commonplace book” out of what she finds. An English major from Columbus, Ohio, Sarah can be found in the Underground Coffeehouse, singing with the Chapel Singers, and “breaking it down” with the Quirks.  Next year, she is looking forward to being a City Year Corps Member in New Orleans.


Daniel Kelm visits!

   Posted by: rring

Kelm2On October 9 book artist Daniel Kelm gave a talk in the library on his life and work. Kelm has a background in chemistry and weaves science into his inventive book structures.  He has been commissioned by artists who explore bookish forms to help engineer their non-traditional structures, and he also makes books of his own design that challenge the reader to interact with the books as mechanisms and puzzles.  Members of the varied audience–from the chemistry department, Wesleyan University and other parts of Connecticut–had great fun figuring out how the books worked after Daniel’s talk.




“Leaves of Grass” print for sale

   Posted by: rring

IMG_4439I am pleased to announce the availability of copies of a limited, signed and numbered edition (1 through 30) of a 3-color lino-cut print by local artist Kait Lennon, a recent graduate of the University of Hartford Art School and a printer at Hartford Prints!

All proceeds from the sale of these prints will go toward the purchase of a copy of the first edition (1855) of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.

The dimensions of the sheet are 9 x 12 inches, and the print itself is 8 x 10, ready-to-frame!

Cost: $150.00

Please e-mail if you would like a copy.



img808Also available for those who donate to the Whitman:

On December 3, 2013, the students of Clare Rossini’s First-Year Seminar (“The Practice of Poetry”), having visited the Watkinson to compose lines of Whitman’s poetry in metal type the week before, went on a field trip to print keepsakes at Hartford Prints!, a local letterpress shop.  The news article covering the event is here, and here are pics of the students printing.


Spring 2014 Creative Fellows

   Posted by: rring

We welcome and herewith introduce our Spring semester Fellows with great hopes for their projects:

David FieldDavid Field ’15, originally from Franklin, Massachusetts, is currently in his junior year at Trinity College, where he is an English major with a focus in creative writing as well as a minor in Writing, Rhetoric, and Media Arts. David has written two novels and is currently at work on two other projects, all of which he hopes to publish. He plans to attend an MFA program after Trinity and go on teach creative writing at the college level.

David’s proposal is to explore the Watkinson’s collections for adaptations of canonical works such as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Classical mythology, and the stories of specific authors like Edgar Allen Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Lewis Carroll, and “produce my own short stories that re-envision these classic works using a more modern lens.” He intends to produce a small volume of these stories and donate it to the Watkinson.

JuanVasquezJuan Vasquez ’15, born and raised in Bushwick, New York, is a Theater & Dance major with a focus in Arts in the Community, with minor concentrations in Urban Studies and Film Studies. Having recently completed his fall semester at the Trinity/La MaMa program in New York, he is interested in exploring the intersection of community development and the Arts. These interests have lead him to work relentlessly within the non-profit sector in the hopes that civic engagement would catalyze a more inclusive society.

Juan intends to write and produce a staged reading of a play exploring the challenges of gay and transgendered people in Cuba, based partially on one of our recently acquired artist’s books, Eduardo Hernandez Santos’s El Muro, a series of ten pictographic triptychs showcasing the thwarted gay nightlife of Havana.

ADGAlix de Gramont ’15 was born in Paris, France and grew up in Santa Barbara, California. She is studying Religion, with a concentration in Judaism and biblical studies, at Trinity College. She currently works for Glenn Horowitz Bookseller as a cataloging assistant for the Dobkin Research Collection of Feminism and Judaica in New York City. She has been with Glenn Horowitz Bookseller since May 2013.

Alix plans to explore the major trends in book design and production over the past five centuries, using examples from the collections and our excellent secondary source material on the subject, and create a series of sketches illustrating these trends, as well as a few physical examples.


Watkinson Book Travels to Mt. Vernon

   Posted by: rring

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

tom jonesThat the Watkinson library has hidden treasures in its stacks is accepted lore at Trinity, but it is always a delight to discover that we own an unusual item from an interested 3rd party!  Such was the case with Henry Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones: A Foundling, a book owned by George Washington when he was a young man. The library received a request last spring from the Mt. Vernon museum in Virginia to borrow Washington’s copy of Tom Jones for the exhibition “Take Note! George Washington the Reader.”  The exhibition celebrates the opening of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mt. Vernon. The book, in four volumes, was printed in London in 1750. The Watkinson owns volumes 1 & 4, which are both signed “Washington” at the head of the title-page.

The books, along with 2 other titles owned (and signed) by Washington, were bought in 1883 with credit extended to Trinity College by Joseph Jesse Cooke to be used to purchase books at the sale of his library. Three sales were held in New York City on March 13, October 1, and December 3, 1883, consisting of 8,326 lots of well over 20,000 items.  Trinity bought 1,300 volumes from the sale for a total of $5,000 (to buy the equivalent material today, if it were on the market, would require well over $6 million!). Tom Jones was from Part II, October 1883 (lot 866).  The other titles owned by Washington are the 2nd edition of Considerations on criminal law by Henry Dagge (London, 1774) and William Rowley’s Rational practice of physic (London, 1793.) Rowley’s work is inscribed “To his Excellency General Washington from the author” and also has “Geo. Washington” signed on the title-page.

Some of the Watkinson’s most beautiful and rare books were bought at Cooke’s sale, including several 15th c. manuscript Books of Hours, five incunabula (books printed before 1501) and numerous other early printed books.

Shown here are two photos of our book in situ:









Photos provided by Sarah Wolfe, Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

Julia, Head Shot     Julia Falkowski ’13, who was a Creative Fellow in the Watkinson in the Fall of 2012, and majored in English and American Studies, has won the New England American Studies Association‘s Lisa MacFarlane Prize for the year’s best undergraduate thesis.  One of her faculty advisers cited her work with the Watkinson as being a key element in her approach to original sources.
     Julia won for her essay, “The New Literati: Sarah Josepha Hale and Edgar Allan Poe in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture,” which she wrote as a one-semester thesis in the English department this past spring.  Julia now lives in Washington, D.C., where she is pursuing a graduate degree in Museum Studies at George Washington University.
     We offer Julia our heartfelt congratulations, and wish her all the best!

Welcome to our Fall Creative Fellows!

   Posted by: rring


IMG_2737Christina Claxton ’16 was so excited to begin that she was working on her project even before classes started.  Initially planning to do something with the French exploration of Canada (having spent 6 weeks at McGill University over the summer doing just that), she was distracted into another project focused on our fabulous first edition of Diderot’s L’Encyclopédie.

Christina has started recording her impressions on a blog titled Philologie de L’Encyclopédie, and says, “over the course of the semester, I will work with its volumes as well as related sources to understand both its impact on the time of its publication and how it has influenced present day knowledge and thinking.”


IMG_2738Maia Madison ’15 intrigued the committee by her desire to create hand-drawn maps tracing the spread of the use if cacao throughout the colonial Spanish Empire. Here is a further description of her ideas:

“Cacao was introduced to Spain in the early-to-mid 16th century, but took several decades to become established. Upon its increase in popularity and accessibility to the general public, it also diffused to Britain and Western Europe. However, with its introduction to new regions, the composition of chocolate fell to a much lower ratio of cacao and a higher proportion of milk. Most of the original flavoring agents (such as chili peppers and achiote) were also eliminated. However, Spain was the one country that maintained native Mesoamerican traditions of cacao for a longer period of time. In the early 18th century, chocolate was “an exceedingly fashionable beverage” (Bugbee) and consumption had increased substantially as cacao became a lucrative and in-demand good. The premise of this project would be a cartographer/explorer commissioned by the Spanish government to provide an in-depth but engaging and readable collection of information about cacao to Spanish merchant companies to encourage investments in the cacao trade (which would of course be taxed), from plantation to table.

For those who wonder if she can pull this off, take a look at her “draft” sketch (her words) which I caught a look at in passing!img781  If this is a quick sketch, imagine what the finished products will look like.  Here is her plan, viz. the maps:

Two 1-1/2’ x 2-1/2’ maps (one overall of New Spain, another zoomed in detail of Central America with inset on the layout of cacao orchards) with information on primary and secondary production regions, areas where flavoring agents were cultivated, trading routes, voyages, Spanish settlements, etc.

We look forward to seeing their projects unfold, and to announcing our Spring Fellows in December!


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!”


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.