[Posted by Jennifer Sharp M’11, a Project Archivist with the Watkinson Library]

dedicationA common practice in the nineteenth century was to maintain a friendship album. Though mostly kept by women, entries were often from both men and women. The albums contained poems and stories, and served a purpose similar to a high school yearbook or a Facebook wall.

Lucy Strong was the sister of Charles Wells’ wife, Jane Naomi (Strong) Wells. As we can tell from the album’s dedication, in 1832 Lucy attended (or perhaps just visited) Wesleyan Academy, now Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.

She received entries from several men there, including one from Columbia, South Carolina, and another from New Hartford, Connecticut.

While often the entries were just text, some, such as this entry from Clarissa Talmage, were far more intricate.

Though water damaged, the pages all remain legible. It’s great to have this example of a nineteenth century custom in the collection.

*I have learned from online histories of Wilbraham & Monson that Wesleyan Academy was the first co-ed boarding school in the country. The wording in the dedication makes it sound like Lucy was a student there, but in my quick search I was unable to find a date for co-education.

 

talmagenew_hartfords_carolina

[Posted by Jennifer Sharp M’11, a Project Archivist with the Watkinson Library]

When Charles P. Wells died, it was reported in Hartford’s two prominent daily newspapers. The Hartford Daily Times described his character as “peculiarly self-contained and reserved.” Similarly, the Hartford Daily Courant wrote that “Partaking largely of the Quaker character of his father, he led a quiet, undemonstrative life, and in some sort the world went by him.”

Charles P. Wells’ collection, with its many pages of Bible study notes, does suggest that quiet study was a significant part of his day-to-day life. There are other pieces in the collection, though, that provide a glimpse of a more playful side.

front_streetWhile in his early 20s, Wells entered into several “agreements” with friends. One, signed with his friend John Corning, was that neither man would go to Hartford’s Front Street for a month. Another was that Wells and a friend would not “associate with any young woman damsel or girl” for one year.

young womanBy far, the most intricate of these was the Hebedatombobyboosthimout Club (no, I don’t know how you pronounce that). The initial club document I found is three handwritten pages, in small script, with little space between the lines. Additionally, there is a Book of Record. At the end of the first entry, written in pencil (in a different hand), is a list of the four members: Charles Stanton, L.H. Goodwin, Charles Wells, and John Corning.

The document and the record book are not easy reading. But they are certainly among the more unique items in the Wells collection. I encourage you to visit the Watkinson and take a look.

club 1 club 2 club 3

16
Nov

Analog

   Posted by: rring   in Gifts, Interns, oppotunities for research

[Posted by Ashley Esposito, a graduate student in American Studies doing an internship in the Watkinson]

Analog1Leigh Couch Collection in progress…

This week my focus was on Analog Science Fiction. Originally published under the title Astounding Stories from 1937-1960 then making the transition to a few versions of Analog that juggled “science fiction,” “science fact” and even “science fiction & fact.” Analog published 664 volumes from 1960-2016. This collection includes volumes from 1960-1994. In the first picture you can see just how impressive that is. Our digital age has taken a toll on the tangible printed word so it makes this collection nostalgic.Analog2

The pictures show the progression from Astounding Stories to Analog and its further progressive reimagining. The progressively evolve from February 1960 and January 1961 you can see the stylized font associated with Astounding Stories (AS) continuing the visual character from its covers. On the top right cover from January 1963 you can see the title is Analog Science Fact Science Fiction complete with the symbol for that was created to the magazine to give the full title ‘ANALOG – Science Fact is analogous to Science Fiction’. In 1966 the symbol all but disappears from the cover at yet it persisted on the binding until about 1974 where it seems to disappear completely.

The cover font and layout went through a few versions until the 1990s when it settled on its current presentation. The last photo is of the recently published November 2016.

Analog3I enjoyed getting to know Analog not only because it is such a long-standing publication that gives a different insight into society but also because I can see some of my favorite concepts and images from science fiction being born on the covers and in the pages of Analog.

 

Additional Resources:

www.sf-enyclopedia.com

www.isfdb.org

THIS JUST IN!

birdsA collection of one hundred 18th and 19th century articles, offprints and monographs relating to bird anatomy in English, German, French, Dutch, Italian and Latin, and illustrated with 145 plates, mostly lithographs and engravings.

John Amory Jeffries (1859-1892) was one of the original active members of the American Ornithologists’ Union founded in 1883, but his interest in ornithology had developed much earlier. He and his brother, W. A. Jeffries, performed active field work which gave him, even before he entered Harvard College in 1877, “an unusually thorough knowledge of local ornithology as well as a very considerable collection of birds.” Although his love of field work continued, he turned his attention to anatomical and biological work while attending Harvard College (1877-1881) and, afterwards, Harvard Medical School (1881-1884). During those years he found time to do a surprising amount of anatomical and embryological work upon birds, giving his attention largely to the development of feathers and other epidermal structures. After receiving his M.D., he went to Europe for two more years of study, mostly at Vienna and Berlin. He returned to Boston in 1886, establishing himself professionally and continuing his ornithological studies until his premature death from pneumonia at age 33.

Recently acquired!

img230Autograph Letter from John James Audubon to Robert Havell, Jr., dated July 21, 1839.

With instructions to deliver casks of natural history objects to Sheffield, and wishing him a pleasant voyage to America. Having spent 1837-39 in England, finalizing the publication of the Birds of America, Audubon writes to Havell days before both men depart for America: “…We will sail on Monday next . . . from this port for New York on board the packet ship the George Washington . . . You and Mrs. Havell and daughter will sail from London on the 1st of August . . .”

Upon their arrival, Havell and his family stayed with the Audubons in Brooklyn before moving to Ossining, NY, and subsequently to Tarryown, where he spent the remaining years of his life painting and engraving landscapes and views of the Hudson River and of American cities.

This is a nice addition to the collection, especially since our copy of Audubon’s Birds of America was Robert Havell’s own copy–it sold to a New York firm just after Havell died, and bought that same year by Dr. Gurdon Russell, Trinity Class of 1834, who gave it to the College in 1900.

16
Nov

Worlds of IF

   Posted by: rring   in Gifts, Interns, oppotunities for research

[Posted by Ashley Esposito, a graduate student in American Studies doing an internship in the Watkinson]

IF1Leigh Couch Collection in progress…

This week I spent time with the If Science Fiction magazine, also know as the Worlds of IfIF has 175 volumes published between March of 1952 and December of 1974. It was under the same publishing umbrella as Galaxy so it often shared authors, stories and advertisers. The Leigh Couch Collection has 130 volumes of the 175 printed.

Authors included Robert A Heinlein, Keith Laumer, James Blish, A E Van Vogt and Jacqueline Lichtenberg.

It has been suggested that both Galaxy and If did not get the recognition they deserved during the 1960s because of the sloppy printing and binding that is visible in both magazines. The content of the magazines was considered quality writing.  By comparison, the 1970s volumes are much better designed and bound. When you factor in the change in cover price in the 1960s of .35 to .60 in 1970s it is easy to see where the additional funds came from to present the magazine in a better light.

I also noticed in  IF that the normal mail order correspondence course and book order forms were replaced by full color advertising inserts for tobacco products. So it seems that If  began to take departure from Galaxy.

IF2As I continue to explore this collection, I am overwhelmed by the diverse research potential and interest that exists within its pages.

Resources:

www.sf-enyclopedia.com

www.isfdb.org

7
Nov

Fall 2016 Creative Fellows

   Posted by: rring   in Creative Fellowships, students

Portrait Linh Tran '17Linh Tran’17 was born in Russia, raised in Vietnam and came to the U.S for an undergraduate degree at Trinity College. She is an Economics major with a deep interest in the financial services and real estate industries. Having recently completed her spring semester in Denmark, where she was a student blogger, she explored her arts interest at Trinity as the President of Ballroom Dance Team and the contributing photographer of Humans of Trinity. Linh’s proposal is to learn about classic pottery patterns, especially on the works of Josiah Wedgewood. Inspired by Trinity and Trinity’s history, Linh intends to incorporate an image of the school’s Chapel, the year it was built and Trinity’s logo into the patterns that she will draw on pottery. She intends to show the harmonious combination of classic and modern patterns and also wants to donate to Trinity the potteries that represent the school’s spirit.

CharlieCharles Meier McMahon ’18 of West Hartford, CT, has always been fascinated by the perceived dichotomy between western and eastern civilizations. Throughout the course of this semester, he will be encountering texts that relate to this theme, from analyzing a religious manuscript to reading travel narratives, and also looking at the materials that went into producing them. He will keep a blog of his observations, and by the end of the semester intends to produce an illustrated pamphlet.

Andrew

Andrew Biedermann, ’18 is an art history major currently in his junior year. He hopes to attend graduate school in art history and one day enter the art world. Andrew’s interests in art are broad but he has been drawn for some time to museums and the profession of curating. Last year he curated a student art exhibition in Trinity’s Career Development Center, selecting 50 of the roughly 100 art submissions. This semester Andrew is delving into the Enders Collection of ornithological books. He expects to compile an illustrated catalogue of books pertaining to bird hunting. While Andrew does aspire to one day begin hunting, his main interest in the topic stems from the stunning prints he has encountered.

 

OliviaOlivia Gibson ’17 is a International Studies, Religion, and Classics triple major at Trinity. She is also the president of the art collective on campus (The Mill) as well as Station Manager of the college radio station. Having been born in the heart of Silicon Valley and then raised in the old world surroundings of St. Andrews, Scotland, Olivia has always had a keen love of the interplay of past and present. Her proposal, motivated by her passions for history and art, is to use photos from the archives as well as her own observations to create a series of images which look at the history of student life at Trinity College, imagining how different scenes and organizations have changed over time and how different time periods can be layered over each other.

4
Nov

Galaxy

   Posted by: rring   in Gifts, Interns, oppotunities for research

[Posted by Ashley Esposito, a graduate student in American Studies doing an internship in the Watkinson]

Galaxy stackLeigh Couch Collection in progress…

This week I found myself focusing on Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine. My first task was to confirm the chronological order while conducting an inventory of this section of the collection. Galaxy was founded by H. L. Gold in October of 1950. Between 1950 and 1995, Galaxy was published in 262 issues, although there were various times when the publication was on different schedules. Based on the inventory I conducted we have approximately 48% of the issues printed. Some issues we have in two or three copies.

A range of now-famous writers published in its pages, including Theodore Sturgeon, Jack Vance, Larry Niven, Frank Herbert, Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Issac Asimov. Galaxy seemed to regularly reinvent itself and its direction with each new editor.

In 1953 it shared a Hugo award for Best Magazine with Astounding. As with the many of science fiction publications, Galaxy has transitioned into the digital age as Galaxysciencefiction.com and its companion, Galaxy e-zine.org.

I look forward to getting to know this title better as this project persist. If you are interested in some further information on Galaxy or science fiction in general, please use the resources listed below.

Galaxy stack2

Resources:

www.sf-enyclopedia.com

www.isfdb.org

[Posted by Jennifer Sharp M’11, a Project Archivist with the Watkinson Library]

In my previous post, I mentioned that the Charles P. Wells collection would be organized into three series: personal, business, and extended family. The personal series is the largest, comprising correspondence, Bible study notes, and other material related to Wells’ day-to-day life. The bulk of the correspondence dates from the 1830s and 1840s and is arranged alphabetically by author. Among those who wrote to Wells with regularity are his wife, Jane Strong Wells (when she was out of town), Henrietta Blake, Jerusha Clark, Emily Bond, Haynes Lord, S. Wells Williams (who spent time as a missionary in China), and H. W. Warner. It is a mixture of family and friends, as many of us have today. Nineteenth-century and 21st century correspondence have their similarities and differences, and the Wells collection provides the opportunity to examine some of these.

MrNLFosterOver the past few decades, as email has become part of our daily lives, we have grown accustomed to strings of messages gathered together. Pull up one message, and you can read all of them. Nineteenth-century correspondence lacked threads, and extant correspondence has a greater chance of being one-sided. This is not to say that you won’t find both (or all) sides of a conversation; it just isn’t as common as with our modern day communication. As I have sorted the correspondence, I found there are in fact pairs of letters within the collection.

There are certain conventions researchers will notice in most 19th century correspondence. While today we rely on date stamps, Wells and others would mention the date of the letter to which they were replying. This was key to determining the first matching set of letters.

Wells’ letterbook begins with a letter dated June 12, 1830 to Nathan L. Foster.

[MrNLFoster]

Looking through Foster’s folder, it was easy to see that this letter prompted Foster’s reply the following month.

[FriendCharles]

FriendCharlesFoster wrote that Wells’ “favour of the 12th ult” was in front of him. There are other hints that these two go together. Both mention procrastination and the concept of carpe diem. My favorite aspect of Foster’s letter is that he includes in his first paragraph a line that so many of us use all the time, “I was extremely busy.”

Though I have not yet had time to confirm a connection, there appears to be a draft of a letter to Jerusha Clark that matches with a reply in her folder.

It is quite possible for matching letters (or other writings) to be held by different repositories. As I researched Nathan L. Foster, I found that the American Antiquarian Society holds a collection of Foster’s diaries. I have no way of knowing if Foster mentions Wells at all in his diaries, but if I were a scholar of either, I might make a trip to the Society to find out.

There is far more to learn from the Wells correspondence than I can fit in a single blog post. When the collection is open for research, I encourage you to visit and explore it for yourself.

(If you are interested in properly archiving your personal email so that someone else can read it 150 years from now, the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program has a PDF with tips on preserving your own media.)

[Posted by Ashley Esposito, a graduate student in American Studies doing an internship in the Watkinson]

blog3c1As progress continues on this collection, I have switched gears. Individual cleaning and air drying of each volume has proven to be a time consuming endeavor.

This gear change allowed me to plow through five bankers’ boxes of materials in the same time I was able to work on two boxes. With the extra time I was able to focus on the categorizing and sequencing the numerous volumes. Occasionally a duplicate volume was located and the even rarer third copy of a volume.

One unexpected find that I found very interesting was the way that some volumes were marked for postal delivery. In more recent titles the practice of placing the addressee label directly on the magazine publication seems to have become more common. However, I found a few that were still in their original brown paper postal wrapping. According to the US Postal Service at about.usps.com under their Postage Rates for Periodicals: A Narrative History page, periodicals were given a very low rate in the interest of free press that was supported by both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. This explains the second class marking that seems to have gone out of existence in the modern postage rate schedule.

For me it is easy to see why this collection will appeal to a diverse group of researchers. A researcher could easily look at the printing/binding process of mass publications over the course of many years or the advertisements that find their way into the different magazines or the correlation between pop culture and science fiction predictions. No matter which lens you use, this collection provides a phenomenal look into the past.

[A WEEK LATER]

blog3aThis amazing collection has begun to take shape. This week saw huge strides in the organization and chronological order of this overwhelming set of science fiction magazines. To accomplish this task, it was necessary to sort the magazines by title then by decade, year, then finally by calendar year. It was absolutely amazing to see such a diverse set of images and see the progression of each magazine over the years.

Thus far the majority of the magazines are from the following publications; Analog/Astounding Science Fiction, Galaxy, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Worlds of If Science Fiction. Analog/Astounding Science Fiction now commonly called ASF has been in publication since the 1930’s. Astounding Science Fiction was combined with Analog in the 1960’s and is publishing.

Galaxy was published from the 1950s-1995 in paper and is now in digital format. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction began its publications about 1949 and is still in publication. Worlds of If Science Fiction also began its publications about 1949 and is still published.

If you are interested in the ins and outs of the publication dates and history of the magazines, I found lots of information from www.sf-encyclopedia.com  to be very enlightening. Approximately fifteen to twenty percent of the collection still needs to be sorted but for now it is on display in the atrium of the Raether LITC, near the circulation desk (Level A). Feel free to stop by and look at the wonder that is this remarkable collection.

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