Posted in African-American History, Amherst College, Amherst College Presidents, College History, Daguerreotypes, Photography, Town of Amherst, Uncategorized, tagged Amherst College, Amherst College history, Black History, Charles Thompson, Daguerreotypes, Emily Dickinson, Maritime history, whaling, William Augustus Stearns on February 27, 2016|
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Daguerreotype of Charles Thompson by Chandler Seaver, Jr., of Boston, ca 1855
Charles Thompson, custodian at Amherst College for more than 40 years in the second half of the 19th century – do you know him? Have you seen photographs of him before, perhaps in an old Olio yearbook? For over 40 years Amherst students graduated and left town with a photograph of Charles Thompson in their copies of the yearbook. Thompson was deeply connected with the College, and with the students’ experience of it, and there is no doubt that those who knew him remembered him fondly.
Most of what we know about Thompson’s life comes from a volume written to raise money for Thompson’s old age by President William Augustus Stearns’ daughter Abigail Eloise Lee. I’ve looked at the book many times over the years, both for the purpose of learning about Thompson’s life and to find details about the College and town during those days. Recently I looked at it again and this time I happened to focus on a passage in which Lee mentions Thompson’s experiences as a sailor. I’d never noticed this information enough to wonder about it, but this time I did.
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..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
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Make room in Times Square: the Class of 1852 is ready to party with you and ring in 2015 dressed in spanking new glass.
This group of 42 men has been the subject of two posts, the first about their wild and crazy Philopogonian ways, and the second about a project to reseal the individual daguerreotypes from the class. I recently resealed the last daguerreotype in the group, so we begin 2015 with a sparkling set of nice, clear photographs.
D. J. Sprague: plate showing photographer J.D. Wells’ stamp at bottom right.
First, a few details about the daguerreotypes themselves: All 42 daguerreotypes are sixth plate size (approx 2.75″ x 3.25″). The plates have a variety of damage but most looked pretty good after merely replacing the old cover glass (with its fascinating variety of gunk) with new Electroverre low iron glass that I cut to size. I do not rinse or otherwise treat the plate except to gently blow off dust. Class member Daniel J. Sprague’s plate had the photographer’s name (J.D. Wells) stamped on the plate itself — an unusual practice — and another plate had Wells’ name on the mat. All others were unmarked but most were also probably by Wells. (more…)
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Posted in Amherst College Alumni, Amherst College Faculty, Amherst College Presidents, College buildings, College History, Daguerreotypes, Edward "Old Doc" Hitchcock (AC 1849), Edward Hitchcock (President), Emily Dickinson, Photography, Uncategorized, tagged ambrotypes, Appleton Cabinet, Aztec Children, Charles Baker Adams, Charles Upham Shepard, Daguerreotypes, Edward Hitchcock, Emily Dickinson, Maximo and Bartola, natural history cabinets, science cabinets, Woods Cabinet on July 27, 2014|
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When Millicent Todd Bingham and Richard Sewall wrote their biographies of Emily Dickinson, they each included a section about the influence upon the poet of President Edward Hitchcock and Amherst College. Bingham and Sewall sought to show that one can see in Dickinson’s poems – in her ideas, imagery, and unexpected vocabulary – the effect of Hitchcock and the college he helped establish.
The science cabinets at the College were among Dickinson’s Amherst-related influences. They housed specimens of minerals, shells, fossils, and animals gathered by Hitchcock and his colleagues over the course of their careers and were important campus attractions. Edward Dickinson, the poet’s father, contributed $50 to the Woods cabinet and $100 to Appleton, and his children were no doubt part of the thousands of people who visited them over the decades. There is evidence that Emily attended the opening of the Woods Cabinet (mineralogy, meteorology, geology) in the Octagon in 1848, and she probably also visited the Appleton Cabinet (zoology and ichnology) when it opened in 1855.
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