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Friday, February 12, 2016

North and South: Objects on the Road

This past week the Rosenbach has sent objects on loan to exhibitions at two other institutions: one traveled northward to Princeton and the others headed south to Alexandria.

The Princeton loan is one of our two Thomas Sully portraits of Rebecca Gratz (we lovingly refer to her as "Rebecca without the hat"). She is normally on display in our parlor, so if you come visit us while she's gone you'll be able to check out a portrait of her father, Michael Gratz, by Jane Sully Darley, that we've temporarily moved into her space. The Darley painting is fascinating because we also own the Sully painting it was copied from and seeing both versions of Michael Gratz in the parlor together is really interesting.

Thomas Sully, portrait of Rebecca Gratz. Phialdelphia 1831. Collection of the Rosenbach 1954.1936
Anyway, back to Rebecca. Rebecca has headed northward to participate in the Princeton Art Museum's exhibition By Dawn's Early Light: Jewish Contributions to American Culture from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War which opens this Saturday (2/13) and runs through June 12. It turns out that the Princeton folks can't resist a pretty face and if you check out their website, Rebecca is actually the poster child for the exhibit. If you haven't ever been to the Princeton Art Museum, it's well worth a visit, both for this exhibit and for its wonderful permanent collection. I hadn't been myself until a few years ago when our annual guide trip was to Princeton and I was thoroughly impressed, both by their collection and by their knowledgeable docents.

As Rebecca traveled north, two of our documents related to Civil War Alexandria headed to an exhibit at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. This is a small, but fascinating, museum located inside the famous Torpedo Factory art center. One of the items that they are borrowing is a personal favorite of mine: a letter from the Civil War spy Rose O'Neal Greenhow, with a sketch of  Fort Ellsworth (part of the defenses on Shuter's Hill) on the interior.

Rose O’Neal Greenhow , Message from Mrs. Greenhow of Washington D.C. . 1861. Collection of the Rosenbach AMs 1168/11
Rose O’Neal Greenhow , Message from Mrs. Greenhow of Washington D.C. 1861. Collection of the Rosenbach AMs 1168/11

The  Alexandria Archaeology site actually has a whole brochure on Shuter's Hill, which is great for putting this in context.

The other item we lent is a hand-drawn map, from an unknown hand, of the defenses of Arlington Heights, which includes Alexandria  and Fort Ellsworth at the lower left.
Sketch of Arlington Heights. Collection of the Rosenbach AMs 1168/11
Civil War Alexandria is getting some  extra attention right now because of the PBS drama Mercy Street, which is set in a military hospital there. Hopefully that will pique some folks's interest to check out the real historical material at the archaeology museum.

So if you are positioned to check out either of these exhibits, please do and let us know your thoughts. Either way, it's a real pleasure to be able to contribute to the work of other institutions and reach more people through these kinds of loans.




Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach and the primary poster at the Rosen-Blog.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Dodgson Answers Revealed

Here are the answers from last week's trivia-fest.

1) Which of the following words was NOT invented by Dodgson:
  • Chortle
  • Snark 
  • Galumph
  • Telarian
The answer is "telarian." Both "chortle" and "galumph" come from Dodgson's famous nonsense poem "Jabberwocky," while a "snark" is a mysterious animal in his The Hunting of the Snark: an Agony in Eight Fits. "Telarian," on the other hand, comes from the Latin word tela, or web, and refers to web-making, like a spider.

2) Which of the animals in the caucus race of Alice in Wonderland is a reference to Dodgson himself? 

John Tenniel, "Sit down, all of you, and listen to me." 1954.183. Collection of the Rosenbach

It's the dodo, a reference to his own name.  Dodgson's interest in the dodo was no doubt influenced by his visits to the Oxford Museum of Natural History, which houses the best surviving dodo specimens, as well as some iconic artistic depictions of the bird. Going back to the caucus-race image above, the duck is for his friend Robinson Duckworth, while the eaglet and lory bird are references to Alice Liddell's sisters Edith and Lorina.

3) Dodgson is famously associated with Christ Church College, Oxford, where he attended university and then became a mathematics lecturer. But which Public School did he attend before entering Oxford?

Dodgson attended Rugby for three years, beginning in February 1846. He did well academically, but did not enjoy it. Looking back in 1855 he wrote: 
During my stay I made I suppose some progress in learning of various kinds, but none of it was done con amore, and I spent an incalculable time in writing out impositions this last I consider one of the chief faults of Rugby School. I made some friends there, the most intimate being Henry Leigh Bennett (as college acquaintances we find fewer common sympathies, and are consequently less intimate) but I cannot say that I look back upon my life at a Public School with any sensations of pleasure, or that any earthly considerations would induce me to go through my three years again.
4) The Rosenbach owns Dodgson's passport, which he used on his one and only trip outside of Britain. Where did he travel?

Dodgson's trip was to Russia; he accompanied Henry Liddon, the dean of St Paul's college, Oxford. The pair spent a month in Russia and on their cross-European train trip  they also stopped in France and Germany.

 5) When Alice recites "How doth the Little Crocodile," in Chapter 2 of Alice in Wonderland, she is parodying which famous poem by Isaac Watts?

Alice is mis-remembering "How doth the Little Busy Bee", which was first published in 1715, but remained a fixture into the Victorian period.

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!

How skilfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labors hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.

In works of labor or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.

In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be passed,
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.


6) Which of these is a pamphlet written by Charles Dodgson? 
  • On the Means of Improving the Quality and Increasing the Quantity of Food
  • Lawn Tennis Tournaments, The True Method of Assigning Prizes with a Proof of the Fallacy of the Present Method
  • Logic and Utility : The Tests of Truth and Falsehood, and of Right and Wrong; Being an Outline of Logic, the Science of Reasoning, and of the Utilitarian or Happiness Theory of Morals 
  • The Type Printing Instrument : Descriptions and Opinions of the Press
Dodgson wrote the piece on Lawn Tennis Tournaments. The other pamphlets are real Victorian creations, but not by Dodgson.

7) At the mad tea party in Alice in Wonderland the Dormouse tells the tale of Elsie, Tillie, and Lacie, who live in this unusual location.

The sisters live at the bottom of a well, a treacle well to be exact. In the Dormouse's story, "treacle" refers to a sugar syrup and Alice says that "There’s no such thing" as a treacle well.  But an older meaning of the word treacle was a healing liquid, from the Latin theriaca, and sacred wells were also known as treacle wells. There was an actual "treacle well," in Binsey, about a mile and half from Oxford. The well, known as St. Margaret's Well, was associated with St Frideswide,  a 7th century holy woman known for her cures. Here are some pictures of the treacle well as it looks today:

http://s0.geograph.org.uk/geophotos/02/34/71/2347122_6e452f25.jpg
© Copyright Des Blenkinsopp and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

St. Margaret's Well
© Copyright Des Blenkinsopp and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The names of the sisters are themselves references to Alice Liddell and her sisters: Lacie is an anagram of Alice; Elsie is a play on the initials of Lorina Charlotte; and Tillie refers to Edith, whose family nickname was Matilda.

8) Dodgson first used the pen name "Lewis Carroll" when he published this poem in 1856.

His poem "Solitude" was published in the magazine The Train under the pen name Lewis Carroll. Dodgson actually gave the editor, Edmund Yates, several options. Here is Dodgson's diary entry for February, 11, 1856

"Wrote to Mr. Yates sending him a choice of names: 1. Edgar Cuthwellis (made of transposition out of 'Charles Lutwidge'). 2.  Edgar U.C. Westhill (ditto). 3.Louis Carroll (derived from Lutwidge=Ludovic=Louis and Charles [Carrollus] 4. Lewis Carroll (ditto.)"

9)  Unlike the Cheshire Cat, Alice's own cat never physically appears in Alice in Wonderland, although it is referred to several times. What is her cat's name?

Alice's own cat is named Dinah.

10) Much of Dodgson's handwritten material is in this unusual color ink, which he began using in 1870.

He wrote in purple!

So, how did you do? If you want to brush up, remember our Alice in Wonderland exhibitions will be open through May 15!




Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach and the primary poster at the Rosen-Blog.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Dodgson Trivia

In honor of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson's birthday this week (January 27), I've pulled together a quick quiz of Charles Dodgson/Alice in Wonderland trivia. Answers to come next week. Enjoy!

1) Which of the following words was NOT invented by Dodgson:
  • Chortle
  • Snark 
  • Galumph
  • Telarian

2) Which of the animals in the caucus race of Alice in Wonderland is a reference to Dodgson himself?

John Tenniel, "Sit down, all of you, and listen to me." 1954.183. Collection of the Rosenbach


3) Dodgson is famously associated with Christ Church College, Oxford, where he attended university and then became a mathematics lecturer. But which Public School did he attend before entering Oxford?

4) The Rosenbach owns Dodgson's passport, which he used on his one and only trip outside of Britain. Where did he travel?

Charles Dodgson's passport. 1867. EL3 .D645 MS3. Collection of the Rosenbach


 5) When Alice recites "How doth the Little Crocodile," in Chapter 2 of Alice in Wonderland, she is parodying which famous poem by Isaac Watts?

6) Which of these is a pamphlet written by Charles Dodgson? 
  • On the Means of Improving the Quality and Increasing the Quantity of Food
  • Lawn Tennis Tournaments, The True Method of Assigning Prizes with a Proof of the Fallacy of the Present Method
  • Logic and Utility : The Tests of Truth and Falsehood, and of Right and Wrong; Being an Outline of Logic, the Science of Reasoning, and of the Utilitarian or Happiness Theory of Morals 
  • The Type Printing Instrument : Descriptions and Opinions of the Press

7) At the mad tea party in Alice in Wonderland the Dormouse tells the tale of Elsie, Tillie, and Lacie, who live in this unusual location.

8) Dodgson first used the pen name "Lewis Carroll" when he published this poem in 1856.

9)  Unlike the Cheshire Cat, Alice's own cat never physically appears in Alice in Wonderland, although it is referred to several times. What is her cat's name?

10) Much of Dodgson's handwritten material is in this unusual color ink, which he began using in 1870.



Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach and the primary poster at the Rosen-Blog.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Nightingale's Notes on Nursing

One book which I was delighted, and a bit surprised, to discover on our shelves while doing shelf-reading, is Florence Nightingale's Notes on Nursing: What it is and What it is Not. Notes on Nursing was published in 1859, after Nightingale had become a celebrity for her nursing reforms during the Crimean War. (If anyone watched the first episode of the new PBS series "Mercy Street" last Sunday you'll remember the rather strident nurse who had served under Nightingale). Our first edition is in a study, practical cover.

Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing. London: Harrison, [1860?]. EL3. N687n. Collection of the Rosenbach.

Although Nightingale would become famous for promoting nursing as a profession, and one suitable for women, she claimed in her preface that Notes on Nursing was not intended for professionals, but for the many women who needed to nurse at home:

The following notes are by no means intended as a rule of thought by which nurses can teach themselves to nurse, still less as a manual to teach nurses to nurse. They are meant simply to give hints for thought to women who have personal charge of the health of others. Every woman, or at least almost every woman, in England has, at one time or another of her life, charge of the personal health of somebody, whether child or invalid,–in other words, every woman is a nurse. Every day sanitary knowledge, or the knowledge of nursing, or in other words, of how to put the constitution in such a state as that it will have no disease, or that it can recover from disease, takes a higher place. It is recognized as the knowledge which every one ought to have–distinct from medical knowledge, which only a profession can have.

Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing. London: Harrison, [1860?]. EL3. N687n. Collection of the Rosenbach.

Nonetheless, the book was used at the Nightingale School of Nursing, founded in 1860, and within the text itself Nightingale includes statistics on the number of  servant and non-servant nurses in Britain and her plea for nursing as an art (found in the conclusion) specifically references nurses in hospital wards:
(3.) It seems a commonly received idea among men and even among women themselves that it requires nothing but a disappointment in love, the want of an object, a general disgust, or incapacity for other things, to turn a woman into a good nurse.

This reminds one of the parish where a stupid old man was set to be schoolmaster because he was "past keeping the pigs."

Apply the above receipt for making a good nurse to making a good servant. And the receipt will be found to fail. Yet popular novelists of recent days have invented ladies disappointed in love or fresh out of the drawing-room turning into the war-hospitals to find their wounded lovers, and when found, forthwith abandoning their sick-ward for their lover, as might be expected. Yet in the estimation of the authors, these ladies were none the worse for that, but on the contrary were heroines of nursing.
What cruel mistakes are sometimes made by benevolent men and women in matters of business about which they can know nothing and think they know a great deal.
The everyday management of a large ward, let alone of a hospital—the knowing what are the laws of life and death for men, and what the laws of health for wards—(and wards are healthy or unhealthy, mainly according to the knowledge or ignorance of the nurse)—are not these matters of sufficient importance and difficulty to require learning by experience and careful inquiry, just as much as any other art? They do not come by inspiration to the lady disappointed in love, nor to the poor workhouse drudge hard up for a livelihood.
Nightingale's primary focus was hygiene: cleanliness and fresh air. At the time she wrote Notes on Nursing, she did not yet embrace the germ theory of disease, believing, like many Victorians, that miasmas from filth caused disease, but her instructions on creating sanitary conditions would have been of practical benefit nonetheless. She also offered many other types of advice, from introducing variety (flowers, changing prints) into the sickroom to prevent the invalid from going stir-crazy to directions about rest and food.

As someone interested in food history, one passage I found interesting was where she argued against the common idea that beef tea and gelatin were the most nutritive food for the sick, asking her reader to evaporate the water out of  beef tea to see how little nutriment it actually contained and to consider that gelatin was mostly water and that bulk doesn't equal nourishment. It turns out that Nightingale still thought beef tea was still useful in the sickroom because it had a certain"certain reparative quality" that she couldn't explain, but gelatin was right out, since it "has a tendency to produce diarrhoea,–and to trust to it to repair the waste of a diseased constitution is simply to starve the sick under the guise of feeding them."

An earlier owner of our copy (possibly the J. D. Ridout who wrote her(?) name on the inside of the cover) made light pencil marks next to some of the suggestions that she presumably found significant, such as managing a patient's cup and what kinds of foods to prepare.

Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing. London: Harrison, [1860?]. EL3. N687n. Collection of the Rosenbach.
Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing. London: Harrison, [1860?]. EL3. N687n. Collection of the Rosenbach.

So while Notes on Nursing might not be what one would first expect to find in our British Literature collection, I've certainly enjoyed exploring our copy.





Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach and the primary poster at the Rosen-Blog.










































Friday, January 15, 2016

Happy Hat Day

The internet tells me it's "National Hat Day" today, January 15. I'm not really sure where this supposed holiday comes from, but it is a good excuse to show off some some of the fabulous hat-wearers in our collection.

Here's Ben Franklin in his classic fur hat.
""Dr. Benjn. Franklin, Engraved for the Select Portrait Gallery in the Guide to Knowledge" 1965.779. Collection of the Rosenbach


And Napoleon in his trademark chapeau.
David Edwin, "Napoleon Buonaparté." Philadelphia: C. and A. Conrad & Co., 1809. 1954.1178. Collection of the Rosenbach

 Tam O'Shanter is wearing his name-sake headgear in this picture.
George Bryan Campion, "Tam O'Shanter & Souter Johnny".1954.573. Collection of the Rosenbach.

There are many great hats, for both ladies and gents, in this 18th-century image of "The Promenade at Carlisle House."
John Raphael Smith, The Promenade at Carlisle House. 1781. 1954.623.Collection of the Rosenbach.

The unknown lady in this miniature is sporting a lovely feathered design.
Unknown lady., claled Mrs. Coswap. 1954.630.272.Collection of the Rosenbach

As is the infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia, in her own miniature.
School fo Alonso Sanchez Coelho, Isabella Clara Eugenia. 1954.0630.046.Collection of the Rosenbach

His Excellency Mirza Aboo al Hassan, the envoy of the king of Persia, might win for height.
David Edwin, His Excellency Mirza Aboo al Hassan. Philadelphia : Hopkins and Earle, 1809 or 10. 1954.1159.  Collection of the Rosenbach

While this gentleman might win for sheer size.
Robert Nanteuil," Le Bassin".[S.l. : s.n., between 1645 and 1678] 1954.269.91.Collection of the Rosenbach

Finally, we couldn't possibly leave out Marianne Moore, two of whose famous tricorn hats are in our collection. This Henri Bendel version was a gift from her friend Hildegarde Watson in 1958.

Henri Bendel, tricorn hat. 1958. 2006.2582. Collection of the Rosenbach
Happy Hat Day!



Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach and the primary poster at the Rosen-Blog.


Friday, January 08, 2016

A Sextet of Jabberwocky

Our recent Facebook post of Benedict Cumberbatch reading Lewis Carroll's classic "Jabberwocky" made me wonder what other fabulous renditions there might be out there. Here are a few I turned up. I will also keep track of how many versions pronounce "borogoves" incorrectly--it is a very common slip to insert and extra "r" to make "borogroves" (Cumberbatch made this mistake).

Neil Gaiman agreed to read something for his fans if they donated money to Worldbuilders, a charity he supports. Those who donated got to vote on what they wanted to hear and Jabberwocky won. Gaiman actually can recite it from memory (although he does fail the borogove test) and the recitation starts around 45 seconds into the video.


Back in 2010, Christopher Lee, who voiced the Jabberwock in the Tim Burton film, read the poem sonorously at a British Library event.


I really enjoy this musical version, composed by Sam Pottle, who is better known for composing the theme song to the Muppet Show.


Lewis Carroll puts in an appearance in the video game Assassins Creed Syndicate, set in 1868 London, but even he can't pronounce "borogoves" correctly.


This is a demo of a sung version intended for the Disney movie of Alice in Wonderland. It didn't make it into the final movie, although the Cheshire Cat does quote from the poem.  The unfortunate "borogroves" put in an appearance.


Finally, my personal favorite: The Muppet Show. Just wait for the Jabberwock head--it's worth it.

So those are my six, with a 50% "borogroves" rate. Which is your favorite?



Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach and the primary poster at the Rosen-Blog.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Exploring Wonderland



As you probably know if you are a frequent reader of the Rosenblog or visitor to the Rosenbach, we have had a very busy fall with the opening of “Down the Rabbit Hole: Celebrating 150 Years of Alicein Wonderland." Alongside this wonderful exhibition—which is on now through May 15, 2016—we presented a full fall roster of public programs to highlight and explore themes in the exhibition.


Have you heard the one about the writer, the visual artist and the cognitive scientist stuck in a room with a copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland? Well, they weren’t exactly stuck … and they were joined by a sold-out audience, but we presented just that on October 21, 2015, with the program “Alice and the Art of Looking.” The panel featured Maria Popova, founder of the “digest of interestingness” that is Brain Pickings; Maira Kalman, author/illustrator of many books for adults and children; and AlexandraHorowitz, a cognitive scientist who studies psychology and animal behavior. The trio's wide-ranging conversation addressed Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as a masterwork of narrative and an allegory for existence through science, storytelling, art, and asked the question, what is the “looking glass” of society today? The audience enjoyed diving into the unique perspective offered by each of the panelists even further during a lively question and answer period and proved just how many interpretations and experiences are contained within this one brilliant work.


The very next evening, we were thrilled to have Leonard Marcus, acclaimed children’s literature expert and guest curator for the “Down the Rabbit Hole” exhibition, present a slideshow talk on the significance of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in the philosophy and practice of the Surrealist painters. Particularly fascinating was the way in which Marcus drew connections between Lewis Carroll’s “nonsense” and its influence on the work of René Magritte and Salvador Dalí.

On November 11 and 18, Emilie Parker, Director of Education, and I made the trip to the lovely Bryn Mawr Film Institute to introduce two films: Dreamchild (1985, directed by Gavin Millar) and Alice (1988, directed by Jan Švankmajer). These were two of a four-part series of Alice-related films screened by BMFI in partnership with our exhibition. The films curated by BMFI illustrated just some of the ways in which Lewis Carroll’s classic book has had immense impact on a wide variety of filmmakers of varying styles and approaches. 


Before his appearance as part of the Free Library’s always-excellent Author Events series, we were honored to host Simon Winchester on November 16 in a sold-out talk on his book, The Alice Behind Wonderland, which explores Lewis Carroll’s photography and his depiction of the real-life Alice in his 1858 photo “Alice Liddell as the Beggar Maid”. Winchester elucidated the way in which a passion for photography, a very new hobby at the time, was a portal through which Charles Dodgson, a socially awkward Oxford mathematician, was able to access his creativity to create some of the most beloved literary works through his alter ego, Lewis Carroll. 



On December 3, artist and illustrator Charles Santore offered a robust Rosenbach audience a glimpse into his studio with a slideshow talk. Santore showed images depicting his progression in the illustration process of his edition of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground—from staged photographs, to sketches, to full watercolor panels. As an extra treat, the artist brought some original illustrations with him for an up-close look at his work. Santore’s generosity carried over into the book-signing where he took the time to include an original sketch in each book he signed for the audience.

Stay tuned for more exciting “Down the Rabbit Hole” events in 2016, starting with Christopher Morgan on Lewis Carroll’s puzzles and games on Thursday, January 21, 6:00 pm. If you are interested in a more intimate experience with our collection, check out one of our Lewis Carroll Hands-On Tours in January, February or March, or any of our other Hands-On Tours on a variety of subjects. Information on all of our programs is available on our website. We hope to see you soon!



Alexandra Wilder is the Sunstein Family Manager of Public Programs.