Most of my research into our Native American literature collection has focused on the very earliest publications from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but the majority of our  recent acquisitions have been of newer books. When we state that our goal is to document as comprehensively as possible the full range of publications by Indigenous writers of North America, that includes everything from obscure pamphlets of the nineteenth century to books for children published in the last decade. I was just about to head to the stacks to shelve a handful of freshly cataloged books when I thought I ought to share a handful of these items with the world.

Rabbit's Snow Dance

This copy of Rabbit’s Snow Dance by James & Joseph Bruchac was a gift to the collection from Professor Lisa Brooks. It was published in 2012 and the copy in our collection will remain as crisp and clean as new for generations to come. I like to imagine a student or researcher coming to examine our copy many years from now and recalling their own copy of this book that they loved so much they read it to pieces. One reason books for children are often very rare and collectible is that children tend to be very hard on their books.

Stories about “the Little People” can be found throughout the collection, such as Charles Eastman’s “The Dance of the Little People” in Red Hunters and the Animal People (1904). Here is a more recent story of the Little People — a collaboration between Joseph Bruchac and Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel: Makiawisug: The Gift of the Little People (1997).


In addition to retellings of traditional tales, some of our books for children contain lessons about traditional crafts, such as Kunu’s Basket (2012):

Kunu's Basket

Others aim to preserve and pass on Indigenous languages. Thanks to the Animals (2005) is written in English, but the publisher’s web site includes an audio file of Allen Sockabasin reading the story in the Passamaquoddy language.

Thanks to the Animals

And then there are stories that are drawn from contemporary life, such as Robert Peters’ Da Goodie Monsta (2009). He says of the story’s origin “Da Goodie Monsta was written when my son, Robert Jr. was only three. He woke up from a nap and told me of a dream he had about a monster. ‘Did he scare you?’ I asked. ‘No’ replied Robert Jr. ‘He was a good monster.'”

Da Goodie Monsta

These five titles are just a small sample of the growing number of books for children included in our collection of books by Native American writers. They will now take their place on the shelves alongside works by Charles Eastman, Zitkala-Sa, and (my personal favorite) Acee Blue Eagle’s Echogee: The Little Blue Deer (1971).

Echogee The Little Blue Deer Cover

Dramatic Amherst

We’re going to devote this post to taking a peek at the rich visual materials in the Amherst College Dramatic Activities Collection. This is but a very small taste of the large collection of photographs, playbills, costume sketches, set designs, props and recordings of Amherst College theatrical productions to be found in the Dramatic Activities Collection.

H. M. S. Pinafore, produced in June of 1879 by the Glee Club in College Hall.

While students had been putting on dramatic productions since the very early days of the college, there is little photographic evidence until the 1870s. This is one of the few photographs of a nineteenth century production taken on set; most were cast portraits taken in a photographer’s studio. The lack of adequate lighting is evident in the blurriness of many cast members. This was the first full-length dramatic production put on at the college.

This studio portrait of cast members from The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, produced in February of 1885, features the illustrious Clyde Fitch (reclining).

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was produced in March of 1907. Note the classic Art Nouveau program and the studio background in the cast portrait (click to view larger).

Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs, published in 1930, was produced in December of 1936 by the Amherst College Masquers.

A January 1940 production of Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen

A January 1940 production of Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen staged in Kirby Theater, which opened in 1938

Set design for The Devil's Disciple, November 1946

Set design for The Devil’s Disciple, November 1946

Shakespeare's The Tempest, November 1951

Shakespeare’s The Tempest, November 1951

A poster for the Masquers' production of Oedipus Rex, November 1955

A poster for the Masquers’ production of Oedipus Rex, November 1955

The Balcony by Jean Genet, September 1968

The Balcony by Jean Genet, September 1968

Costume sketch for Domina of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which was produced in October of 1974 by the Masquers

Costume sketch for Domina of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which was produced in October of 1974 by the Masquers

C'mon Back to Heavenly House by Ed Bullins, produced by the Masquers in April of 1977

The premiere of C’mon Back to Heavenly House by African-American playwright Ed Bullins, produced by the Masquers in April of 1977

Set design for the October 1982 production of The Misanthrope

Set design for the October 1982 production of The Misanthrope

Moliere's The Misanthrope, November 1982

Moliere’s The Misanthrope, November 1982

..And young Sam Bowles’s son–

And young Sam Bowles is old Sam Bowles

When old Sam Bowles is done.”

This jingle, which appeared in “Time Magazine” on Oct 15, 1934 but which was said by the reporter to have been sung for decades by “the beery compositors of the venerable Springfield (Mass.) Republican,” refers to the three generations of “Sam Bowleses” who ran the Springfield Republican newspaper between 1824 and 1915, when the last editor named Sam Bowles died.  The fifth Sam Bowles broke the pattern: he didn’t run the paper. Instead, his cousin Richard Hooker took over the paper as editor and publisher. Subsequently, Sam’s younger brother Sherman worked for the paper as business manager, and then in other capacities for what had become the Republican Company, comprised of several papers.*


The “Springfield Republican” building, ca. 1900

That the first Samuel Bowles (1762-1813), the father of the Republican’s founder, was determined to have a son named after him is proven by his naming four infant sons Samuel until one lived long enough to make it stick:

List of the children of Samuel Bowles I (1762-1813), from

List of the children of Samuel Bowles I (1762-1813), from “Genealogical and historical notes of the Bowles family” (1851)

The verse about the Bowles men was running through my head when I resealed a daguerreotype that I believe to be the youngest image extant of Sam Bowles III (1826-1878).  The daguerreotype has excellent provenance: it came to us through direct descendants of Sam Bowles along with many other photographs and papers of the Bowles-Hoar family.  Because the daguerreotype’s dirty original glass obscured the image, and because the sitter lacks the facial hair we’ve seen in so many other photos of the most famous Sam Bowles, it took a while to realize who the sitter was.  But in resealing the image in July I was able to see that we had a view of a Sam Bowles taken around 1848, before he took over the paper from his father (1851), met the Dickinsons of Amherst (1858), or became a trustee of Amherst College (1866-1878).   Here it is, shared with you and shown for the first time:

Samuel Bowles III (1826-1878),

Samuel Bowles III (1826-1878), “the Editor,” here ca. 1848.

Let’s look at that verse again, then, taking the opportunity to illustrate with some of the images at Amherst College of the Samuels involved with the paper.

There’s old Sam Bowles:

Samuel Bowles II (1797-1851),

Samuel Bowles II (1797-1851), “the Founder,” ca. 1850.

And young Sam Bowles:

Samuel Bowles III, a little older in ca. 1852.

Samuel Bowles III, a little older in ca. 1852. Shown earlier at: https://www.amherst.edu/library/archives/holdings/BHFP/bowles

And young Sam Bowles’s son:

Samuel Bowles IV (1851-1915), whose son Sherman was the last Bowles to run the paper.

Samuel Bowles IV (1851-1915), whose son Sherman was the last Bowles to run the paper.

But young Sam Bowles:

A third cased image of Sam Bowles III, this time ca. 1856.

A third cased image of Sam Bowles III, this time ca. 1856.

Is old Sam Bowles:

Cabinet card of Sam Bowles III, ca. 1875.

Cabinet card of Sam Bowles III, ca. 1875.

When old Sam Bowles is done. In keeping with the verse, we should have another photograph of the founder, Samuel Bowles II. So far, only one photograph of him is known — the one five photos above — so we’ll end with his grandson again, Sam Bowles IV, and then another photograph of his sons Sherman (below, at left) and Samuel V:

Cabinet card of Sam Bowles IV, ca. 1884-5, probably taken in connection with his marriage to Elizabeth Hoar of Concord, Mass.

Cabinet card of Sam Bowles IV, ca.1877.

Sherman and Samuel Bowles, ca. 1896-7.

Sherman and Samuel Bowles V, ca. 1896-7.

It’s easy to confuse the Bowles men, especially given differences in counting the Sams (whether to start with the founder or, as the Bowles family did, with his father, who died a decade before the paper was founded), or in knowing which one was at the helm of one of the papers in a given year. We hope this post helps link names with faces and dates.


*The history of Springfield newspapers — dailies, weeklies, Sunday editions — is detailed in “The story of an independent newspaper, by Richard Hooker; one hundred years of the Springfield Republican, 1824-1924” and “The Passing of the Springfield Republican,” by John J. Scanlon (1950).


A few weeks ago I wrote about our facial goniometer, an instrument that measures the precise angles of the human face, and wondered whether it had been acquired by Amherst’s college physician and professor of physical education and hygiene Edward “Doc” Hitchcock (AC 1849). This led me to further pondering about the interesting 19th century origins of anthropometry, the science of measurements and proportions of the human body.


Edward “Doc” Hitchcock, Class of 1849

In the fall of 1861, “Doc” Hitchcock, as Professor of Physical Education and Hygiene at Amherst, introduced his system of anthropometric measurements documenting the physical size and strength of every freshman for more than twenty years. These measurements became an American standard for comparative purposes and earned Hitchcock the reputation as a pioneer in this field.

The anthropometric protocol for students as instituted by Dr. Hitchcock involved over fifty different measurements in six different categories: heights, weights, lengths, breadths, girths and strengths. It required many kinds of specialized devices and an elaborate system of record-keeping to register them. The practice of measuring students was in fact so accepted and indeed so entrenched in the culture of Amherst in the 19th century (as well as at many other American colleges that adopted Hitchcock’s methods) that it was customary to include physical data even in an annual list of graduates:

statistics_class_1879The table below lists not only the average measurements of the college population, but also the record highs in each category — as well as the name of the student holding that record:

Anthropometric Manual 1900 Box 18 Fol 9

Table from An Anthropometric Manual Giving Physical Measurements and Tests of Amherst College Students Between 17 and 26 Years of Age, and the Method of Securing Them. 4th ed., 1900).  Edward and Mary Judson Hitchcock Papers, box 18, folder 9.

What was the purpose of all these measurements?

The Need of Anthropometry: A Paper Read by E. Hitchcock. Brooklyn: Rome Brothers, 1887.

Hitchcock, in a paper entitled “The Need of Anthropometry” (1887), explained the rationale this way:

To learn what is the condition of all the young men as they come to us and how, and in what way can we help them to grow while connected with us, is the ultimate aim of the Anthropometric work of Amherst College. And the carrying out of this object involves the accurate observation of the physical characteristics of the students, and by a patient and long time process of comparing data, finally enabling the Department to declare to them a standard by which they may be judged.

“Doc” Hitchcock is widely credited as “the father of college physical education.” He took quite seriously Amherst president William A. Stearns’ emphasis on the goal of mens sana in corpore sano, a healthy mind in a healthy body, as the answer to the observable increase in morbidity among a sedentary class of college-educated Americans at that time in the country’s history. Many colleges and universities began to adopt European regimens of exercise for their students and built the first gymnasiums on their campuses. Amherst, under Stearns’ leadership, went one step farther in establishing the first department of Physical Education and Hygiene (and an endowed professorship to secure it).

This advertisement on the back cover of

This advertisement on the back cover of “The Need of Anthropometry” shows Hitchcock’s influence as a exponent of anthropometry and the range of colleges and schools where it was practiced.

The elaborate system of body measurements that Hitchcock introduced, then, was intended not (as one might queasily suspect) as a reference (veiled or not) to relative judgments on racial “purity” (eugenics being a hideous malformation of science that was to have its full bloom in the early decades of the following century). Rather, it indicated an attempt to educate the whole man — mind, body, soul — and encourage each one individually to be mindful of his body as a temple. I have little doubt that it was influenced by the Victorian ideal of “muscular Christianity,” a piety built on a foundation of fresh air, wholesome diet, sport and exercise.

Below, preserved in the college scrapbook of Shattuck Hartwell (AC 1888) is his personal booklet of anthropometric measurements, entered in pencil next to the printed average values for men in his height range. As can be seen from the numbers, Hartwell was probably told he should work harder in Amherst’s calisthenics classes to make up for many deficiencies!

physical_measurements_hartwell1888_a physical_measurements_hartwell1888_b

Physical education class in Pratt Gymnasium, winter 1899.

Our Archives holds a wealth of material on anthropometry. The Edward (AC 1849) and Mary Judson Hitchcock Family Papers hold most of Doc Hitchcock’s writings on the subject and on physical education generally, and show too what a leading figure he was not only on the Amherst campus but nationwide in his field. The records of the Department of Physical Education and Hygiene contain annual reports, manuals, correspondence, articles by Hitchcock and other educators, and many tables of anthropometric data. Our Photographs Collection holds a few rare images showing anthropometry apparatus in use, as here:

physed_anthropometry03 physed_anthropometry02 physed_anthropometry01

The mustached man in the third photo above, by the way, can be identified as Leverett Bradley (AC 1873), a member of Amherst’s famed crew team that took the championship at the Springfield Regatta, July 1872. A formidable athlete, Bradley went on to become an Episcopal priest in Boston and Philadelphia. Muscular Christianity, indeed.

Today marks the end of my three month research leave from my daily duties in Frost Library. I have spent some of my time away digging through the holdings of other repositories, including the Library Company of Philadelphia, The American Antiquarian Society, the Rare Books Division of the Library of Congress, New-York Historical Society, and New York Public Library. There are still many other collections on my list — my goal is to personally inspect as many copies of Samson Occom’s Sermon as I possibly can, a project that will take much longer than three months to complete.

Another chunk of time was spent presenting my work in progress at conferences, most recently at the annual conference of The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing in Montreal. Earlier this summer I spoke about Samson Occom at the Digital Antiquarian conference at AAS and at the annual conference of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. One of the great benefits of these conferences is the opportunity to hear presentations by other scholars followed by long conversations about a wide range of subjects.

Each of these conferences involved different, but overlapping, networks of scholars; each also involved a mix of public performances, casual conversations, old and new friendships, and the sharing of print resources. Samson Occom lived and worked in a similar universe of overlapping and interconnected networks, both professional and personal.

For example, the Archives & Special Collections holds a copy of the first New London, CT edition of Occom’s Sermon:

Samson Occom. A Sermon... (1772)

Samson Occom. A Sermon… (1772)

The first edition was published in New Haven in the first week of November, 1772; the New London edition appeared around November 13. Newspaper advertisements are a key resource for bibliography; they help pinpoint publication dates, but they can also tell us much more.

Here is the ad for the first New Haven edition:

The Connecticut Journal, And The New-Haven Post-Boy. October 30, 1772

The Connecticut Journal, And The New-Haven Post-Boy. October 30, 1772

The Connecticut Journal was owned and operated by Thomas and Samuel Green, the only printers in New Haven in 1772; it was common practice for printers to include announcements of their other publications in their newspapers. The paper came out every Friday, so “next Monday” means the first edition of the sermon was available on November 2.

Timothy Green ran The New-London Gazette and was the only printer in New London, CT in the early 1770s. The November 13, 1772 issue of his paper included this advertisement:

The New-London Gazette. November 13, 1772.

The New-London Gazette. November 13, 1772.

The first striking detail of this ad is the mention of the addition of “a short Account of the Life of said Moses Paul.” The source of this biographical sketch is a broadside that was published in New Haven on the day of Moses Paul’s execution — a common tradition in England, but less common in the colonies. That broadside is a subject for another day, but it is noteworthy that the text of that broadside is included in almost every edition of the sermon that follows the first New London edition.

The other critical detail in this advertisement is the distribution information — the short list of names following “A few of the above Sermons may be had of…” Anyone familiar with Samson Occom’s life will recognize the name of the Rev. Samuel Buell of East Hampton, Long Island.

Samuel Buell. The excellence and importance of the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ in the gospel-preacher. (1761)

Samuel Buell. The Excellence and Importance of the Saving Knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel-Preacher… (1761)

Samuel Buell preached the sermon at Occom’s ordination at East Hampton, NY on August 29, 1759 and was an important figure in Occom’s Christian evangelical network. Occom’s connections to the Native communities of eastern Long Island are also deep – he established a school at Montauk in November 1749 and married a Montaukett woman, Mary Fowler, in 1751. Occom and his family lived at Montauk until 1764 when they moved back to Mohegan. One can imagine the Native public of Montauk eager to read this sermon, especially considering that many of them may have learned to read English from Occom himself.

This item is just one small example of the ways that close attention to the details of printing and publishing history can expose important network connections. This single advertisement provides evidence that Occom’s sermon reached a specific Native Public within weeks of its first publication. What would it have meant to this audience to see Occom’s name on the title page of his own book? How might copies of the sermon circulated among the Indigenous communities of Long Island? How many times was this text read out loud to those who could not read it for themselves or could not afford to purchase a copy of their own?

I found nearly 100 newspaper items related to either Moses Paul’s crime and execution as well as Samson Occom and his sermon. It will take me a while to digest all of it. Stay tuned…

Orra White Hitchcock

Classroom chart on linen drawn by Orra White Hitchcock, Amherst College.

Classroom chart on linen drawn by Orra White Hitchcock, Amherst College.

This summer in the Library, we have four excellent Digital Humanities interns conducting research in the Edward and Orra White Hitchcock Collection.  Working with these interns has been a great excuse for me to delve a bit more into this collection and fall in love with the artwork of Orra White Hitchcock, perhaps the Pioneer Valley’s earliest female botanical and scientific illustrator.

Orra White Hitchcock drawing of cedar sprig

Orra White Hitchcock drawing of cedar sprig

Classroom chart on linen drawn by Orra White Hitchcock, Amherst College.

Classroom chart on linen drawn by Orra White Hitchcock, Amherst College



Orra White, born March 8, 1796 in South Amherst, began teaching mathematics, astronomy, botany, and the decorative arts to young girls at the Deerfield Academy when she was only 17 years old.

While teaching at Deerfield Academy Orra met Edward Hitchcock, a local naturalist, and with Orra lending her hand to watercolor illustrations for an herbarium, the two began what would become a lifetime collaboration of joining science and art.




In 1821, Orra White married Edward Hitchcock who would become the third President of Amherst College and appointed state geologist of Massachusetts.  Orra lent her skill in scientific drawing to the publications of Edward’s geological findings, with many of her illustrations appearing in Hitchcock’s 1833 Report on the Geology of Massachusetts and the 1841 Final Report.

Orra White Hitchcock print of rocking stone, Fall River

Orra White Hitchcock print of rocking stone, Fall River

Edward Hitchcock held the position of professor of Chemistry and Natural History at Amherst College from 1825-1845.  During this time, Orra painted over 60 large format charts on linen depicting geological formations and prehistoric skeletons for Hitchcock’s classroom lectures.  These charts allow us a look at of how science was taught at Amherst in the mid 19th Century, as well as a glimpse of the geological landscape of the Pioneer Valley during her time as an artist.

Classroom chart on linen drawn by Orra White Hitchcock, Amherst College.

Classroom chart on linen drawn by Orra White Hitchcock, Amherst College.

Classroom chart on linen drawn by Orra White Hitchcock, Amherst College.

Classroom chart on linen drawn by Orra White Hitchcock, Amherst College.

These charts are held in the Archives, where we hold the largest collection of Orra White Hitchcock’s artwork.  Orra’s classroom charts have been digitized and made freely accessible through the Amherst College Digital Collections.

Classroom chart on linen drawn by Orra White Hitchcock, Amherst College.

Classroom chart on linen drawn by Orra White Hitchcock, Amherst College.

Classroom chart on linen drawn by Orra White Hitchcock, Amherst College.

Classroom chart on linen drawn by Orra White Hitchcock, Amherst College.

Equinox pressmark (designed by John Heins)

Equinox pressmark (designed by John Heins)

In 2010 the Library of America reissued all six of Lynd Ward’s “novels in woodcuts” (also called “novels without words”) in a two volume set. If you like graphic novels but have never read Ward’s work, these are a great introduction, and you can check them out from any of the Five Colleges libraries. If you like what you see, you can also visit the special collections at Amherst or Smith to compare the experience of reading one of the original editions. The Archives and Special Collections at Amherst owns a second printing (from December 1929) of Ward’s first, and probably best known, wordless novel Gods’ Man. Even though it was first published a week before the Stock Market Crash, the book sold so well that it went through five printings by October of 1930, with a sixth printing in 1933, totaling more than 20,000 copies.

A copy of the 1929 edition (left) and the 2010 reissue (right)

A copy of the 1929 edition (left) and the 2010 reissue (right)

Note the deliberate placement of the apostrophe in the title; as Ward himself explained:

And for what it is worth, you may also be interested in knowing that the first title I suggested for the book was “All art is useless.” The name we finally worked out, “Gods’ man,” using as it does the plural possessive, stemmed from the idea that it is usually phrased somewhat along these lines: the Artist is always the darling of the Gods.

This quote is from a 1958 letter from Ward to Irving Steingart, as noted by Perry Willett in his 1997 exhibition catalog The Silent Shout: Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, and the Novel in Woodcuts. The personal papers of Lynd Ward are held by the Georgetown University Library, who have presented several excellent exhibitions of his work.





Ward’s fourth woodcut novel was published in 1933 by the Equinox Cooperative Press. Prelude to a Million Years: A Book of Wood Engravings is described this way by Ward, in an essay reprinted in the Library of America edition (p. 643):

I have always thought of Prelude to a Million Years as a kind of footnote to Gods’ Man, a sort of codicil that would acknowledge that changes had occurred and that these changes required an amendment to the earlier testament. It was a very limited statement, running to a total of only thirty blocks. Because it was a minor work it was printed directly from the woodblocks on a beautiful rag paper in a small edition. Prelude was the third publication of Equinox Cooperative Press, a group of young people, including myself, working in printing, publishing, and the book arts who wanted to do non-commercial books, just for the love of doing it. Each copy of Prelude was bound by hand and made with loving care.


The Amherst copy is in very good condition, and although this picture doesn’t do justice to the original cord-stitched copper coated spine, it does show the patterned boards that were designed by Ward and later used as the endpaper pattern in the Library of America edition.

The Equinox Cooperative Press published 16 books between 1932 and 1937. It was founded by Ward, his wife May McNeer (a journalist and author), Henry Hart (an editor at Scribners), and six others.

In all its decisions, Equinox was guided by a belief in the democratic process. The discussions of every basic point were wide-ranging, always completely frank, and often interminable. … In seeking a corporate form that would reflect this belief in the democratic way, we decided to organize as a cooperative. But we discovered that the laws governing cooperatives were sharply defined, with consumer cooperatives on the one side and producer cooperatives on the other. Since we were producers, we were incorporated as a producer cooperative. But since most producers are, in the nature of things, farmers, we became the only publishers in the history of Western culture who had to file annual reports with the New York State Department of Agriculture. — Lynd Ward, in the foreword to Henry Hart’s A Relevant Memoir: The Story of the Equinox Cooperative Press (1977).



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