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Dartmouth News
>  News Releases >   2002 >   February

Historic Steuben Bowl on display in Rauner Library

Posted 02/06/02

A rare Steuben Bowl representing New Hampshire in the series "The United States in Crystal" has been moved from Baker Library to the Class of 1965 West Gallery in Rauner Library. Installed in a case designed and custom-built for this purpose, the crystal bowl can now be seen clearly and from three sides as was originally envisioned.

Created in 1959, the bowl was designed by artist and craftsman Sidney Waugh, and is nearly two feet tall. It depicts a scene from the story The Devil and Daniel Webster by Stephen Vincent Benét. The new installation includes copies of the 1937 edition of the book, opened to illustrations by Harold Denison.

The bowl was given to the College anonymously in 1982 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Daniel Webster, Class of 1801. The "United States in Crystal" is a series of bowls engraved with scenes representing the history of each of the states.

Webster, known as one of the great orators and statesmen of the 19th century, is also the subject of many New Hampshire legends. In the story depicted on the bowl, an impoverished New Hampshire farmer seeks Webster's help in freeing himself from a desperate pact he made with the devil. Webster employs his famous oratorical skills to free the man, then secures a promise from the devil that he will never again bother the farmer or any other New Hampshire residents.

Webster is also known for his defense of his alma mater in the famed Dartmouth College Case, argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1818. In the case, Webster won a landmark decision protecting private institutions of higher education from arbitrary encroachment by the government. The case subsequently became one of the most cited precedents in American law, and established the integrity of contracts.

-Philip Cronenwett and Tamara Steinert

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