It is sometimes called Bishop Brownell’s Book, or the Commencement Book. Peter Knapp in his Trinity College in the Twentieth Century simply calls it, “The Book.”
Not to be confused with the Matriculation Book, “‘The Book’ is a small, early-19th century record book that all recipients of Trinity degrees touch during Commencement ceremonies,” Knapp states. The Book remains unnamed due in part to its contents: its pages contain details of the Commencement exercises and degrees, prayers for graduates in Latin, and include signatures from more recent Trinity College presidential inaugurations. It is a curious and important piece of Trinity history, originating from a legendary mix-up during the first Commencement ceremony in 1827. College President Thomas Church Brownell intended for students to place their hands on a Bible during commencement exercises, but either couldn’t find one or realized he didn’t bring it with him to the ceremony, and so he used his personal record book instead.
“By chance, the Book became one of the college’s oldest traditions,” Peter Knapp writes. “The Book’s use at Commencement appears to have been inconsistent in the years following the Bishop’s Presidency, but it can be said with certainty that all Trinity graduates have touched it” since the 1946-47 academic year.
Thanks to the efforts of College Archivist Eric Stoykovich, the Book was recently retrieved for digitization and is now available to view in the Digital Repository. The physical book resides in a safe location on campus in order to ensure its preservation for annual use at Commencement.
Source: Trinity College in the Twentieth Century by Peter Knapp, pages 232-33.
Nearly 50 years of Resist, Inc. bi-monthly newsletters are now available in the Trinity College Digital Repository as text-searchable PDFs, soon to be joined by documents from Resist steering committee meetings. Part of a large archive recently donated by Resist, Inc. to Trinity College’s Watkinson Library, the newsletters provide a window into activities of the organization and into broader national and international resistance efforts as well.
Founded in Boston to support and promote resistance to the Vietnam War and draft, Resist authored “The Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority,” published 9/28/1967 in the New York Review of Books. Primary signers of this first “Call” included intellectuals and scholars such as Noam Chomsky, Dr. Benjamin Spock, William Sloane Coffin Jr., Dwight Macdonald, Allen Ginsberg, and Rev. Robert MacAfee Brown, and Trinity College’s Paul Lauter. The “Call” asked for universities, religious institutions, groups and individuals to “raise funds to organize draft resistance unions, to supply legal defense and bail, to support families and otherwise to aid resistance to the war in whatever ways seem appropriate” (“Call to Resist,” 1967). Monies received by Resist from monthly contributions and other sources were primarily channeled into grants for petitioning organizations, and much of the monthly steering committee meetings was dedicated to accepting or denying these numerous grant applications.
See the Paul Lauter ‘Sixties Archive in the Watkinson Library for related materials, and see also Trinity Tripod issues dated 1968-1970.
The student staff working for Digital Collections & Services has been busy this semester completing two projects: the George Watson Cole Postcard collection, and the Trinity College Bulletins, housed in Watkinson. Students have digitized hundreds of postcards this semester, with just a few hundred remaining which will complete Trinity’s digital collection of Cole’s 10,000 postcards. The postcards already digitized and cataloged are available for view in Shared Shelf Commons and Artstor. George Watson Cole was a librarian and bibliographer, friend and contemporary of famous librarians Melvil Dewey and Charles Cutter, who traveled through France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and England in the early 1900s and collected every postcard he could find. As a result, Trinity houses one half of his 20,000 postcards, primarily depicting pre-WWI Europe and some of California. These postcards show a slice of life: people, towns, maps, and churches as they appeared at the turn of the century and before two world wars devastated Europe.
The Trinity College Bulletins are also nearly complete, with a few volumes left from the 1940s and 50s, on which the students are currently working. During Fall 2017, the students completed digitization of Bulletins from the early 1990s to 2010.
The Bulletins include annual reports of the College President, Treasurer, and Librarian, the yearly library catalog and curriculum, necrology lists, faculty publications, photographs, summer school and graduate school information, among other booklets. The digitized bulletins stem from 1829 and are available to view on the Digital Repository. To get to the digital repository, visit the college library catalog –> Digital Collections –> Digital Repository –> College history, archives, and publications.
A biography of James Williams (1790 – 1878), who served as janitor to Trinity College for over 50 years, is also now available in the Digital Repository.
Italian Family Seeking Lost Luggage, Ellis Island, 1905, Lewis W. Hine
Sometimes described as the “Gutenberg Bible” of photographic printing, Photographs from the Collection of the Gilman Paper Company #1173 reproduces 200 photos from the highly regarded collection of the same name acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2005. Illustrating the history of photography, the photogravure images were hand-printed by Richard Benson, Dean of the Yale School of Art, and range from 1800s daguerreotypes to 20th Century photos by Robert Frank and Diane Arbus. Trinity College’s Raether Library is fortunate to have been chosen to receive this volume from Nathaniel Gibbons, photographic artist and friend of Richard Benson, and supporter of Yale University Art Gallery’s program to share remaining copies with select educational and cultural institutions.
It is the hope of Mr. Gibbons that our volume will be appreciated for its collection of photos, but also as an example of fine printing and bookbinding, and that it will prove to be a valuable resource for Trinity College students. The book will be housed within our Watkinson Library, and will be accessible to Trinity faculty and students as well as interested outside users.
Planning the Capture of Booth and Herold, 1865, Alexander Gardner
The Ascent of Mont Blanc, 1861, Bisson Freres
Calf-Bearer, the Acropolis, Athens, 1865, unknown photographer
Over the past year, the CTW Digital Projects Group, which encompasses staff from Connecticut College, Trinity College, and Wesleyan University, came together to consider how the three schools might collaborate on digitizing and publishing archival or other materials owned by each school.
For its pilot project, the group selected student-made scrapbooks from multiple eras: those of Linda Abel, a student at Connecticut College from 1965-1969, Lynn Smith Miller, a student at Wesleyan from 1910-1914, and Phillip DeWitt Phair, who attended Trinity College from 1890 – 1894. The scrapbooks offer a glimpse into college student life during these periods through ephemera such as playbills and athletic event tickets, dance and social cards, artwork, valentines, invitations and letters, newspaper clippings, menus, and miscellaneous objects.
Utilizing the University of Southern California’s open-source platform, Scalar, members of the group scanned and uploaded an image of each scrapbook page, jointly decided on metadata fields, and added metadata and descriptions for each page, as well as a biography and introduction to each scrapbook.
“Connecticut Connections” was recently presented at the CTW Retreat in downtown Hartford and is publicly available online at: http://scalar.usc.edu/works/ctwscrapbooks.
The Enders Ornithology Lantern Slides Collection comprises over 800 hand-tinted glass plate photographs, produced by Herbert Keightley Job from 1896 to 1925. Job was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1864 and was a minister, lecturer, author, ornithologist, and pioneer wildlife photographer.
Job’s slides are digitized and make up part of the Ostrom and Alice Talcott Enders Ornithology Collection, a comprehensive collection of over 5,000 items including books, original artwork, periodicals, and more in the Watkinson Library.
While many of Job’s slides are of birds, he photographed this deer in Canaan, CT jumping over a fence on March 12, 1908! Other slides include scenes of everyday life as well as architecture, landscapes, and animals, some of which were taken throughout Connecticut. What you find may surprise you!
Visit the Digital Collections page and select “Enders Ornithology Lantern Slides” under “Image Collections in Shared Shelf Commons” to view the collection. Learn about lantern slides here.
Supported by The Mellon Foundation and others, Digital Public Library of America provides scholars and the general public with access to 18 million items from cultural heritage institutions. Trinity contributions from Watkinson Library and Trinity Archives collections include ornithology lantern slides, early British theater playbills, George Watson Cole pre-WWI postcards, Renaissance manuscript illuminations, and Trinity College “old campus” photos. They can be located in “DPLA” by searching “trinity college” or by more focused searching. The collections can also still be accessed from our library Digital Collections page. Within the Cole postcard collection are 325 views of 1907-1914 California, including this one titled “Greetings from Venice California. On the Road of a Thousand Wonders.: Daily Scene on the Salt Water Canals,” by Souvenir Publishing Co. It shows one of the man-made canals built in 1905 to bring the feel of Venice, Italy, to southern California.
To make space for new book and manuscript collections (acquired by gift or purchase), we have been shipping College administrative records to offsite storage during the summer & fall. Peter Rawson, Associate Curator of Archives and Manuscript Collections in the Watkinson Library, has been working with students and interns since June to create contents lists for the boxes, and to put barcodes on them, so that they can be easily called back if needed. Today’s load was 64 of a total of over 350 cartons of records which we will have sent off site by the end of December. Most of these are non-current records (prior to the year 2000) of the President’s office and the offices of the Dean of Faculty.
Just acquired for the College Archives from an online estate auction in Pueblo, Colorado–a postcard photo of the 1891 Trinity football team! For those who want to know who is pictured, there is a team photo with names in the 1892 IVY (opposite page 100), which can be found online here, or you can visit the Watkinson to see a physical copy!
We are thrilled to show you a series of pics (before-during-and-after) of a small expansion to the Watkinson’s existing compact shelving units, which will allow us capacity for 8,000 more volumes. This is critical, as the Watkinson has taken in (by gift and by purchase) no less than Fourteen (14) collections this year totalling well over 16,000 items (approximately 1,950 books, 10,000 comic books, 1,000 science fiction magazines, 700 film reels, 100 manuscript letters, and over 2,600 pieces of ephemera). For more info on the new collections and acquisitions coming in, see the curator’s blog.