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Detail from Mark Mulfinger's color print "Print Room"

On February 28, the Art Collection was invited to participate in a Maker Hub workshop on linocut printing. The Library’s Maker Hub provided the tools and materials, printmaker and graphic designer Lauren Emeritz ( provided the expertise, and the Art Collection brought examples of linocut blocks and prints from the collection to inspire. 

The clear favorite was Mark Mulfinger’s Print Room, a large color print made using the reduction method. This technique uses only one block; with each successive color printed, more of the block is cut away, Mulfinger says, until only “the final darkest skeleton lines remain.”

Mulfinger's color print "Print Room"

Print Room
Mark Mulfinger
450 x 670 mm
Fairchild Endowment Fund purchase
(Click image to enlarge)

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Detail from Helen Keller note

In honor of this year’s theme for Women’s History Month, I created an online exhibition representing a few amazing and persistent women whose works and writings comprise the small yet significant (persistent!) women’s archives here. In making my selections, I reflected that to be women making their way in the world, even into the 20th century, took persistence and courage! Some of the women in the exhibition are exemplary for their accomplishments despite cultural, physical or racial impediments. However, I discovered that there are also those who boldly sought challenges and voluntarily put themselves in the line of fire. These women were the entrepreneurs and pioneers who owned businesses, challenged government, founded hospitals and schools for the underprivileged, and explored hazardous terrain.

You are invited to discover more about these women by visiting the online exhibition.

More information about women’s manuscripts collections is available in this research guide.

--Lisette Matano, Manuscripts Archivist


Photo of Helen Keller

Helen Keller. Photograph, dated 1938. Credit: Haas, N.Y.  
Lisa Sergio papers GTMGamms172, 14:58


Helen Keller note

Helen Keller. Signed autograph note, no date.
John S. Mayfield papers, autograph series, GTM830101a, 3:34

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Detail from C. D. Broad manuscript in the Montague Summers Papers.

During the processing of the Montague Summers papers, recently opened to researchers at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections, I came across an unusual manuscript in unidentified handwriting titled “The Necromantic Tripos,” written on seven sheets of letter-paper signed “C.D. Broad, in the Trinity Magazine, Dec. 1926.” Because the occult was a particular field of interest for Montague Summers, I immediately noticed the word "necromantic," and decided to take a closer look; for starters, what is a necromantic tripos? For that matter, what is a tripos? And who is C.D. Broad?

C. D. Broad manuscript detail

These questions, as it turns out, are easily answered. “Tripos” is a word only commonly used in English in regards to the undergraduate curriculum at Cambridge University, referring to the tripod or stool on which candidates were historically examined for their degree. Today, tripos still refers to a specific course of study at Cambridge, such as the Geographical Tripos or the Linguistics Tripos, including the examinations required to attain a bachelor’s degree. This reveals a connection to our manuscript by C.D. Broad. Charlie Dunbar Broad (1887-1971) successfully completed his tripos in 1906, became a lecturer at Cambridge in 1923, and in the year our manuscript was published in the university’s Trinity Magazine he became a lecturer in the faculty of philosophy at Cambridge. In the course of his career, Broad authored several works on epistemology and the philosophy of science; later in his career Broad took an interest in the philosophical aspects of psychical research.

So what is a “necromantic tripos”? Historically, necromancy referred specifically to the summoning of, and communication with, spirits of the dead or spirits more generally; over time the term came to be generally applied to any practices associated with sorcery or “black magic.” C.D. Broad’s article for the Trinity Magazine meticulously sets out a full curriculum for the study of magic, high and low, theoretical and practical. According to Broad, the university’s plans to “establish a Tripos on the Subject of Necromancy” were the result of “the munificent gift of a benefactor who prefers to remain anonymous”; he then sets out a course of study in 2 parts, the first being a series of papers on the subjects of astrology, alchemy, the elements of magic, etc., and the second being "sections" of courses on the theory and practice of a multitude of topics, including divination, magical potions, curses, and supernatural locomotion—including the aerodynamics of the broomstick.

C. D. Broad manuscript detail

C. D. Broad manuscript detail

Certain rules are mentioned with some specificity. For example, while permission is necessary for a student to keep a familiar spirit in his room, if it is in the form of a cat or tortoise, permission is generally given, while a Spectral Hound kept as familiar would be barred under the general rule against dogs. ‘Homunculi’ are likewise permitted in the students’ rooms, but only in “stout and properly stoppered bottles”. In some instances, Broad’s injunctions appear more credible than the rules imagined at Hogwart’s, as we find that “No undergraduate in his first year may keep a broomstick for purposes of equitation, or borrow a broomstick for such purposes.” In a similarly reasonable vein, Broad states that “Hands of Glory count as oil-lamps, not as candles, and their use as illuminants in college rooms is absolutely forbidden.” Thus ends the Necromantic Tripos.

C. D. Broad manuscript detail

Why did C.D. Broad write this? Was it for entertainment only, or was there another context for such an article? Can the handwriting of the manuscript be identified, and is it Broad’s? Can the original, published article be found? These questions, so far, are not so easily answered.

C. D. Broad manuscript detail

--Ted Jackson, Manuscripts Archivist

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Detail from Hoya story on the Knickerbocker Theatre disaster

The Knickerbocker blizzard brought 28" of snow to D.C. between January 27 and 28, 1922. Ranked as the largest snowstorm in Washington history, it is named for the Knickerbocker Theatre, which was located in Adams Morgan.  This was the largest movie theater in D.C. at the time and seated 1700 people. By the evening of January 28, the storm was winding down and people were beginning to venture out on foot, although many streets were still impassible to vehicles. The Knickerbocker opened for an evening showing of the movie Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford. During the intermission, the theater's flat roof collapsed under the weight of accumulated snow. Ninety-eight people were killed, including five Georgetown students. 

Francis Tondorf in 1916 YearbookThe student body came to believe that Father Francis A. Tondorf, S.J., known on campus as "Tondy" (seen here as pictured in the 1916 yearbook), had somehow sensed the disaster before it occurred.  Father Tondorf was director of the University’s Seismological Observatory as well as Professor of Biology in the College and Professor of Physiology in the Medical and Dental Schools. Tondorf Road, which runs between Prospect Street and the medical campus, is named for him. Clarence J. Schweikhardt, D’1923, recalled in a 1966 compilation of alumni reminiscences that Tondy taught us that the true purpose of learning is not to pass a test but to stimulate the mind. [He] showed us the importance of remaining open, receptive to all sources of information. Most of all he tried to impress us with the tremendous power of the mind .  .  .  He spoke to us of  . . .  extrasensory perception. He believed we can influence the world outside us and, in turn, can be influenced by outside forces . . . One day apropos of nothing, he told us to stay away from the movies and keep out of crowds. We shrugged it off, thinking that the priest in him suddenly had decided movies were bad. Day after day he reminded us urgently, "Don't go to the movies. Stay out of crowds". We wondered why he hammered away so insistently on his theme, but when the roof of the Knickerbocker Theater [sic] collapsed, crushing hundreds within, we rejoiced we had not been at the movies . . . Tondy never claimed any foreknowledge of the accident, but he never again told us to stay away from the movies either. From that day, we took his advice more seriously . . . 

--Lynn Conway, University Archivist

Hoya issue February 2 1922

February 2, 1922 issue of The Hoya with a front page story of the Knickerbocker disaster. Click to see the entire issue online.

Tribute to Knickerbocker Theatre disaster victim in 1922 yearbook

Tribute to Knickerbocker disaster victim Ivan White in the 1922 yearbook. Click to enlarge.

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Campus in snow 1943

You made it! Finals are over and it is now time for some rest and relaxation! To help get you started on this path, the University Archives presents the following festive images for your enjoyment.

Ice skating on a frozen Potomac River, ca. 1900

Ice skating on a frozen Potomac River, ca. 1900

Campus blanketed with snow, 1943

Campus blanketed with snow, 1943

Georgetown College Journal Cover 1946

Georgetown College Journal cover, December 1946

Nursing School students in the snow, 1961

Nursing School students having fun in the snow, 1961

Heading to class in the snow, ca. 1977

Headed to class, ca. 1977

Sledding ca. 1979

Sledding, ca. 1979

Dahlgren Chapel in the snow 1979

Dahlgren Chapel, 1979

German Club page from the program for the SLL Caroling Contest, 1982

German Club page from the program for the School of Languages and Linguistics Caroling Contest, 1982

Jack the Bulldog with antlers, 1999 (image from University Photographer’s files)

jack the Bulldog with Santa, 1999

Jack the Bulldog makes friends with Santa, 1999 (image from University Photographer’s files)

Healy Hall in snow, 2000

Healy Hall, 2000 (image from University Photographer’s files)


--Ann Galloway, Assistant University Archivist

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Detail from unpublished O'Gorman travel narrative, describing Skye

A significant aspect of researching or working with archival material is the connection that forms between items from the past and individuals looking at them in the present. Reading through collections of personal papers especially develops a sense of familiarity and understanding, if not empathy, with past lives. People reach out from past times through journals, memoirs, letters, photographs and artifacts. Learning about others’ lives is always fascinating; but it is even more delightful to discover a shared experience.

So it was when I read this haunting description of the Isle of Skye by the poet Ned O’Gorman, which took me back to my own visit there. His graphic prose uncannily recalls images from my own memory.


The Isle of Skye is an invention of the subconscious. There are places there of salty light and terrifying natural grace. It is the interior of the land, the assembly of rocks and trees, streams and clouds, that brought me to thoughts of genesis and prehistory. It answered the call of my spirit that hung like a fragile bridge over the new worlds I blustered through.

Beauty is mated on Skye with terror. I wrapped myself in a scarf and wandered inland. The farther I got from the sea the colder and more remote the mainland became. Ocean and islands fell like Ice Age scars and long dead plants in the distance; I was surrounded by ceremonies merely held in suspension until the second coming of some past time. A storm gathered. Beasts seemed to watch behind the trees and rock strewn fields. I walked through a forest of three-foot, stunted pines that would never grow taller for they had been pelted the day of their planting by hail and freezing rains.

I fled back to the mainland and took a train to London.

 --Excerpt from the unpublished manuscript of
an autobiography-cum-travel journal by Ned O’Gorman,
in the Ned O’Gorman papers 4,
GTM050910, Box 1, Folders 98-99.

 Manuscript Archivist on the Isle of Skye

Archivist "lost" in the gorse
on the Isle of Skye.

Ned O'Gorman was born Edward Charles O’Gorman in New York City on September 26, 1929. He received a B.A. from St. Michael's College in 1950 and later an M.A. from Columbia University. Winner of Guggenheim fellowships in 1956 and 1962, O’Gorman was also awarded the Lamont Poetry Selection Award in 1958. These early achievements culminated in the first publication of his collected poems, The Night of the Hammer (1959).  From 1962 to 1965, O’Gorman was editor of the Catholic literary magazine Jubilee. He also taught at Iona College in New York (1957), and Tougaloo College in Mississippi (1965-1966).

In 1966, O’Gorman founded the Children’s Storefront School in Harlem, New York. Inspired by philosopher and social critic Paul Goodman, the privately funded school is a lasting and innovative contribution to the education of disadvantaged children, accepting any who wish to attend, and providing a place where O’Gorman believed “the senses of children [can] thrive…or, at the very least, exist.”  Development and his involvement with the school are recorded by O’Gorman in The Storefront: A Community of Children on 129th Street and Madison Avenue (1970). His critically acclaimed book, The Children are Dying (1978), represents his unflinching advocacy of children in Harlem.

Ned O’Gorman died in 2014. The Ned O’Gorman papers Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are available for research at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. A commemorative exhibition, Ned O’Gorman: through a poet’s lens is currently on view (through January 2018) at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections.

--Lisette Matano, Manuscripts Archivist

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Detail from tuition ledger 1792

Classes began on the Hilltop in January 1792 when William Gaston, the son of a doctor killed during the War of Independence, enrolled. He was soon joined by Georgetown's second student, Philemon Charles Wederstrandt (the subject of an earlier blog post) who went on to serve in the Navy and to fight in the War of 1812.

George Peter tuition ledger entry 1792Another early student and our first veteran was George Peter, whose father, Robert Peter, was the first Mayor of Georgetown. George enrolled in April 1792 at the age of 13. In the fall of 1794, he ran away and joined Maryland troops sent to Pennsylvania to quell the Whiskey Rebellion. George’s family managed to discover where he was and dispatched a messenger after him; George Washington sent him home. He re-enrolled at Georgetown in 1796 and entered the Army as second lieutenant in the Ninth Infantry in July 1799. After fighting in the War of 1812, he was elected to Congress in 1815. There he joined his old classmate William Gaston, who had been elected to the House of Representatives from North Carolina in 1813. Peter died in 1861 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown.

--Lynn Conway, University Archivist


College Journal article about George PeterCollege Journal article about George Peter

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Detail from Dore engraving for Milton's Paradise Lost.

October 31 marked the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s distribution of his 95 Theses. Their publication is commonly considered the founding event of the Protestant Reformation. He may or may not have actually nailed the Theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, but in the end it really doesn’t matter. However he chose to make them public, they hastened a process that would revolutionize Western Christianity and permanently transform the politics and culture of Europe.

But the 95 Theses hastened those changes; they didn’t create them ex nihilo all on their own. Luther was inspired by men, ideas, and events that by 1517 had been in circulation for decades, even centuries. John Wycliffe had translated the Bible into Middle English in 1382, and the movement he led, Lollardy or Lollardism, promoted beliefs and practices that would later become core tenets within Protestantism: the use of vernacular languages, predestination, the unique authority of the Bible, the authority monarchs over the priesthood, and the rejection of purgatory, the papacy, clerical celibacy, pilgrimages, the selling of indulgences, and the intercession of saints. Wycliffe in turn inspired Jan Hus, the Czech dissident cleric who challenged the papacy’s position on the nature of the Church and the Eucharist. He was burned at the stake at the Council of Constance in 1415, almost exactly a century before Luther issued the 95 Theses.

On the other hand, tracing an intellectual line of descent from Wycliffe to Hus to Luther shouldn’t cause us to overlook the diverse and winding paths that Protestantism took. The Reformation was anything but straightforward. It is probably more accurate to speak of the Protestant Reformations, in the plural. The major figuresLuther, Calvin, Thomas Cranmer, to name just a few—each had distinct perspectives on what “reform” entailed, and the practical effect of their ideas depended upon the particular settings in which they acted. This led to some ironies, like Pope Leo X’s awarding Henry VIII with the title of Defender of the Faith in 1521 for the latter’s Defense of the Seven Sacraments. Henry wrote it as a refutation of Luther’s criticisms of the Church—when he was still a loyal member of the Roman Catholic Church. Just twelve years later, Pope Clement VII would excommunicate Henry after his marriage to Anne Boleyn.

Woodcut by Lucas Cranach the Elder for Dat Nye Testament Martini Luthers

Woodcut by Lucas Cranach the Elder
Dat Nye Testament Martini Luthers, Wittenberch [Wittenberg], 1530.

This year’s anniversary of the 95 Theses was marked by commemorations throughout the Christian world. Not surprisingly, German tributes were particularly numerous, with religious and political dignitaries marking the occasion with services and ceremonies throughout the country. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, herself the daughter of a Lutheran minister, was on hand at religious services at All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, on whose door Luther is said to have posted the 95 Theses.

We here at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections wanted to mark the occasion as well (albeit on a smaller scale). The Reformation was an important event both for the development of the printed book and in the history of art, two of our primary collection areas. It provided a massive stimulus to the printing industry, as the debates between rival visions grew more intense and called forth ever-increasing numbers of books, pamphlets, and prints.

Gustave Dore engraving in Milton's Paradise Lost

Engraving by Gustave Doré
in John Milton’s El Paraíso Perdido [Paradise Lost], Barcelona, 1873.

Georgetown’s rare books collection is especially rich in Jesuit and Roman Catholic history, naturally, but it also has an impressive collection of Protestant works. They include the two works depicted here: John Milton’s Paradise Lost with stunning wood engravings by Gustave Doré, and an edition of Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible enriched by nearly three dozen woodcut prints by Lucas Cranach the Elder. We invite anyone interested in these or any of our other books relating to the Protestant Reformation (pro or con!) to come visit us and take a look.

--Kevin Delinger, Rare Books Intern

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Detail from Ambrose Burnside photograph

Ambrose E. Burnside (1824-1881) is remembered in American history as a noteworthy Northern general during the American Civil War. In the annals of American popular culture, he is known as the originator of sideburns, a distinctive form of facial hair whiskers running down each side of a man’s face. The Barnes Publishing Company Photographic Archives, a collection in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections, contains two photographs of Ambrose E. Burnside late in life depicting his muttonchop hair style.

Burnside graduated from West Point in 1847. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he joined the Union forces. At one point during the war, he commanded the Union’s Army of the Potomac. He produced mixed results as a military leader. 

After the Civil War, Burnside entered politics. He served three terms as governor of Rhode Island from 1866 to 1869, and went on to represent Rhode Island as a Republican in the United States Senate from 1875 until his death in 1881.

Ambrose Burnside Photo by W. Kurtz, Madison SquareThe Barnes Publishing Company was based in the nation’s capital. It specialized in providing photographs and biographical sketches of members of Congress in the late 1800s. The Barnes Collection at Georgetown consists of 501 photographs dating approximately to the 1870s. Two of those photos depict Ambrose E. Burnside. W. Kurtz of Madison Square took a photograph of Burnside and his famous sideburns. That particular photograph is designated as photograph number 1 in the Barnes Collection. Someone wrote “Ambrose E. Burnside, R.I.” on the bottom of the photo. The signature does not match Burnside’s signature, however. Burnside’s true signature is reproduced below.[1]

Sample of Burnside Signature

Burnside Photo by W. Kurtz, Madison SquareC.M. Bell of Washington, D.C. took the second photograph of Burnside preserved in the Barnes collection, photo number 187. Both photos date from Burnside’s tenure as a U.S. Senator. Burnside’s characteristic sideburns are readily apparent in both photographs.

William Marvel, Burnside’s biographer, described Burnside’s appearance in the last year of his life in 1881 by writing that Burnside’s “wraparound whiskers and the thick fringe of hair over his ears gleamed so white he looked older than his fifty-seven years.”[2]

--Scott S. Taylor, Manuscripts Archivist

[1] George Sanders et al., The Sanders Price Guide to Autographs (Alexander, NC: Alexander Books, 1994), 444.

[2] William Marvel, Burnside (Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press, 1991), 419.

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Detail, Lady Mary Bentinck sketch

It isn’t often one comes across an overlooked album of original landscape sketches by a noble-born lady who revolved among the circle of the Romantic poets.  The Library recently received one such treasure with a generous donation of books and manuscripts from Stephen R. Graubard, an emeritus professor of history at Brown University and former editor of Daedalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. An inscription inside the front cover traces its provenance to George Bentinck’s sale in 1891 and from thence purchased at a secondhand shop at Ridlers in 1892. Unfortunately, four of its pages were cut out by a previous owner.

Cover of sketchbook

Nevertheless, the remaining images are thoroughly enchanting. The album measures approximately 9 by 5 inches with 18 landscape views and studies of trees, along with some minor faint sketches on facing pages. Most of the pages are individually titled. The area depicted is Lowther in the Lake District in Cumbria, the region inhabited and popularized by poets William Wordsworth, Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  According to the inscription noted above, the sketches are by “Lady Fred Bentinck.” The artist was born Lady Mary Lowther (1785-1862) daughter of Sir William Lowther, the first Earl of Lonsdale and Lady Augusta Fane, daughter of the ninth Earl of Westmoreland. Sir William had Lowther Castle built between 1806 and 1813 on lands held by his ancestors over hundreds of years. The Earl and Countess of Lonsdale often hosted William Wordsworth and Robert Southey at Lowther, and both poets composed poetical tributes to the castle in honor of their friendship with its noble occupants. The Lowthers were active art patrons and commissioned J.M.W. Turner to paint two distant views of their estate which were both proudly displayed at the castle.

Lady Mary married Lord Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck in 1820, a Major General in the British Army who was later active in Parliament. Lord Frederick was the fourth son of the third Duke of Portland. Their marriage ended after eight years upon his untimely death while in Rome.

Sketch from Lady Mary's sketchbook
(Click to enlarge)

Lady Mary was tutored in art by Joseph Farington, who wrote favorably of her skills in his copious diaries, published by Yale University Press in 1982.  She was also instructed by Peter De Wint, an English landscape painter patronized by her father. Wordsworth wrote a sonnet to Lady Mary which he presented to her in 1819 along with an anthology of English verse which he assembled specifically for her, the year prior to her marriage at the age of 35. Her landscape sketches, created that same year, are drawn in ink wash and charcoal with highlights of Chinese white on blue paper. They evocatively convey the environs surrounding Lowther, including Haweswater, Askham Bridge, Askham Mill and Elysian Fields. Some of the scenes are populated by tiny figures with sheep and a few lone canines as they appear to amble sedately along the paths and fields. Here and there, the artist added effective touches of white to convey the foam of the River Lowther or the wool of the herds.  Next to a study of the water as it poured over some rocks, she commented, “Southey came up suddenly when I was attempting this little study. I left off drawing for a walk with him.”

Sketch from Lady Mary's sketchbook
(Click to enlarge)

The Wordsworth Trust’s collection at Dove Cottage in the Lake District includes a more finished pencil and wash drawing of Lowther Castle by Lady Mary, dated 1810 and on larger paper. It would be exciting to view that work together with the album and compare their varying technique and stylistic nuance. From the image online, the drawing at the Trust appears an accomplished architectural rendition. Perhaps it was a gift from Lady Mary to Wordsworth. The drawings in Georgetown’s album are informal onsite sketches, more purely Romantic in their interpretation of the beauty of nature. If the artist had been born of the opposite gender, I venture to speculate he would have enjoyed a successful career in the orbit of Turner and other landscape painters of the period.

--LuLen Walker, University Art Collection Curator

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