4th of July in New Hampshire

4th of July in New Hampshire

A Happy 4th of July to you all! I hope you have a day to sit back and relax. Me personally, I’m planning to watch baseball later today with hot dogs for dinner (a grand American tradition to be sure).

If you have a few minutes to spare, you can certainly review the resources from last year. This year I thought it would be fun to see what I could find specific to New Hampshire and the Revolutionary War.

Can you believe not a SINGLE battle occurred in New Hampshire? Seriously, none. There was a patented Paul Revere Midnight Ride to Portsmouth, NH to warm them about a plan to attack the Fort of William and Mary (now Fort Constitution, in the midst of a lovely park in Portsmouth that you can visit), and two of the warships captained by John Paul Jones were built in Portsmouth as well. Beyond that? The militia fought at several battles including Bunker Hill, and there’s General John Stark of course.

Beyond that my favorite little anecdote is one that I learned of because a brewery named themselves after the man who started the riot. No, really. And the beer’s pretty good too. It seems to be a New Hampshire thing. It’s called the Pine Tree Riot, and you can read a bit about it here. (If you follow the College, I’m sure you saw the students who went around NH and toured 30 breweries in 30 days. They started at the one I mentioned, Able Ebenezer.)

New Hampshire poetry Festival

I know there’s been a bit of silence in this area of cyber space. Preparations for the new semester are underway, and an update on the catalog conversion will be forthcoming. In the meantime, check out the NH Book Blog for details on the Poetry festival coming up in September! 

2nd Annual NH Poetry Festival — September 24 http://nhbookcenter.blogspot.com/2016/08/2nd-annual-nh-poetry-festival-september.html

NH Poet Laureate hosting reading at Robert Frost Farm

NH Poet Laureate hosting reading at Robert Frost Farm

From The Book Notes NH Blog:

DERRY, NH, July 6, 2016 – The Robert Frost Farm’s 2016 Hyla Brook Reading Series features New Hampshire Poet Laureate Alice B. Fogel on Thursday, July 14, 2016, 6:30-8:30pm. Hyla Brook Poet Sara Backer will also read.

The series, held in the Frost Farm located at 122 Rockingham Rd (Rt 28), is free and open to the public. An Open Mic follows the readings and all audience members are invited to share their work.
Read more here. Note the reading is this Thursday, so coming up quick. Confession time: I’ve never been to the Frost Farm. I’ve known scads of folks who have gone and all have had only good things to say, so the venture would be worth your time. If you’re looking to check out the Robert Frost Farm in general, the Robert Frost Farm poetry website is here.

Born on the 4th of July…

Born on the 4th of July…

Happy 4th of July from the 9th state to join the party! New Hampshire takes Independence Day seriously, as one might imagine, and there are parades and games and celebrations all over the state.

The American Founding is one of the eras of history that holds my interest, and has for some time (nearly 20 years at this point!). You can squarely lay the credit/blame at the feet of my mother, who had us reading out of the old school McGuffy’s readers from Kindergarten onward. The older volumes contained heavy amounts of classical works and Founders, though at the time Jefferson, Franklin, and Washington were the major highlights. Adams, Madison, and Hamilton were still awaiting their renaissance (James Wilson is still waiting for his. Ask me about him some time).

Mom gets full credit for bringing 1776 into my life — yes, we’ve had musicals about the founding before Hamilton!

All kidding aside, July 4th presents us with a day every year that we can use to reflect on our origins — on who these men were, what they’re thoughts and writings contain, what they’re hopes and doubts and fears were. The fact of the matter is, while declaring independence was not a compromise, everything else really was. Most have abandoned the view that the Founders were demigods with a divine mandate, but where does that leave us? Have we conceived of our own history as Adams said we might?

The Essence of the whole will be that Dr Franklins electrical Rod, Smote the Earth and out Spring General Washington. That Franklin electrified him with his Rod—and thence forward these two conducted all the Policy Negotiations Legislation and War. These underscored Lines contain the whole Fable Plot and Catastrophy. if this Letter should be preserved, and read an hundred Years hence the Reader will say “the Envy of this J.A. could not bear to think of the Truth”! [1}

I hope not. Technology is to our advantage here. When I was working on my Junior Project 9 years ago, there were few online resources to be had. Most were locked behind paywalls when they existed, and poor college students do not have the option or luxury of traveling from historical society to museum to National Archive outpost to the Library of Congress to get all their research together. Some of that is still required for the serious student, but the rest of us are able to learn more these days by taking advantage of digitization

  • The National Archive has put together a digital collection entitled Founders Online. The collection is made up of the papers of Ben Franklin, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. Because of the prolific nature of correspondence in those days, every other major and minor Founder makes at least a cameo in the exhibit. Fun note: Abigail Adams has 988 records that she authored housed in the collection. Abigail is pretty much excellent, and you should read her letters as well as those of her husband– theirs is a classic love story.
  • The National Archives also has a Boston location. Check their page for hours and holdings if you’re in the midst of research.
  • The Archives have had an exhibit up for some time entitled “The Charters of Freedom” which provide images and resources for the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.
  • The Library of Congress has a number of resources. This shouldn’t come as a surprise: the library was established in 1800 by act of Congress (signed by John Adams, not Jefferson). The original library was burned in 1814 along with most of the rest of Washington DC, and it was at that point that Jefferson donated his library.
  • The Library has online access to the following collections: Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention (1774 – 1789); The George Washington Papers (1741 – 1799); The Thomas Jefferson Papers (1606 – 1827); and the James Madison Papers, 1723 – 1859.
  • Closer to home, the New Hampshire Historical Society has collections related to NH statehood, including the period of the Revolution. Those, for the most part, are not digital but Concord isn’t far from Merrimack!
  • The Massachusetts Historical society has a number of resources available in person in Boston, but there is also a digital exhibit entitled The Coming of the American Revolution which is of interest as well.
  • Also in Boston is the Freedom Trail, full of sites tied to the Revolution, including the Old State House, the Site of the Boston Massacre, the Old North Church, and Old Ironsides — the USS Constitution.
  • Finally, there is the Online Library of Liberty, which has a large collection of works by the Founders, covering the Declaration, the War, and the Constitution.

Shakespeare in New Hampshire

Consider this early warning for your spring plans, Shakespeare is coming to New Hampshire!

First, some background. The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC holds 82 copies of the First Folio, sometimes referred to as “The Book that gave us Shakespeare.” The First Folio is just that, the first published Shakespeare collection in folio form. There is far more to it then that, though. The First Folio was published in 1623 after Shakespeare’s death and represents the first time his plays were grouped into comedies, histories, and tragedies. It is also the earliest known folio containing a single author’s work.

Oh, and did I mention it is also the first time that 18 of Shakespeare’s plays were first published and thus preserved? If you happen to enjoy As You Like It, the Comedy of Errors, Henry VI part I, Twelfth Night, The Winter’s Tale, or my personal favorite The Taming of the Shrew, you owe their published existence to the First Folio.

At most, 750 copies were printed, with 233 surviving today. You’ll recall Folger has 82. And bless them, they are sending them out into the world so that those of us who cannot make it to DC have the chance to see a First Folio in person. There will be an exhibition in all 50 states throughout 2016.

The first dates of the tour have already wrapped in Indiana, Oklahoma, and Oregon.If you’re heading to Vermont this month, make haste to Middlebury College– they have a copy through Feb. 28. My MLS alma mater, University of Arizona, has a Folio starting tomorrow and running through March 15 for those who have escaped to warmer climes– I don’t begrudge you a bit. The windchill over the weekend was well below zero; we’ve finally recovered.

And New Hampshire? Pencil in April 9 through May 1, my friends. The First Folio will be on display at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester (along side an exhibit on high heels called Killer Heels. How can you not want to see that?) Other New England locations include Brown University in Rhode Island (April 11 – May 1), Amherst College in Massachusetts (May 9-31), and University of Delaware (August 30 – September 25).

Folger also has digital copies available, including downloadable files. Those can be viewed on their website.

Primary Day

The College, as you know, is located in a lovely little corner of New England. Most specifically, the college is in New Hampshire. Every 4 (or so) years, we find ourselves at the center of the media spotlight as candidates dutifully troop through, hoping to garner a vote. It is odd, at least to me, that a state so small should have such a glare on it. I figured I was far from the only one with that question. In addition, this year is the 100th anniversary of the First in the Nation Primary. So, in the spirit of furthering knowledge, I present you with a smattering of resources about the First in the Nation primary and the politics of a presidential election:

In the Library:

The Stacks are were you should go for any resources on political science or political philosophy. I happily spent hours (days… weeks even) down in the stacks doing research for my Junior Project and Senior Thesis, being of a political philosophy bent. It didn’t hurt that the Stacks are easily the coolest place in the library during our warmer months.

Specifically, you will want to browse the E and F sections, and keep a weather eye out for books of interest in J and K.


  • The State of New Hampshire has a good write up on the history of the First in the Nation Primary.
  • The New Hampshire Historical Society up in Concord has a virtual exhibit “New Hampshire: A Proven Primary Tradition.” If you get a chance to go up and visit them in Concord, there are objects that you can view in person, as well as a wonderful research library.
  • New Hampshire Public Radio has a number of features and articles of interest. In particular, there is a piece on the history of the first FITN primary, a series of articles on the history of the Primary in New Hampshire, and run down of a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the Primary and its history which will be offered by University of New Hampshire.
  • Check out the Secretary of State’s site, which has a new poster designed for this year with replicas of the ballot and all the old ballot boxes that were used in each town.
  • If you’re looking to keep an eye on things online, you’ll want to follow two hashtags: #FITN and #NHPrimary.
  • Finally, our friends up at Saint Anselm house the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. Most of you will have seen them host debates in this election cycle as well as previously, but did you know that the Political Library is houses the most comprehensive collection of objects relating to the primary?