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>  News Releases >   2003 >   April

Dartmouth's Rauner Library houses eclectic realia collection

Posted 04/07/03, by Anita Warren


Queenly regalia

'The time has come,' the Walrus said, 'To talk of many things: Of socks, and canes, and oilcloths-Of queenly crowns, and rings.'" OK, maybe that isn't quite what Lewis Carroll wrote, but he might have had he seen Dartmouth's realia collection.

An estimated 500 objects comprise the collection, most of which is housed at Rauner Library. Among the more noteworthy items are Daniel Webster's socks; a gavel carved from a piece of the College's legendary "old pine"; the Winter Carnival queen's crown; a wide assortment of canes and beanies; and an empty plastic bag that once held snow from the world's tallest snowman: a 47.5-foot behemoth constructed on the Green in 1987 and officially recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records.

This unusual compilation of memorabilia and sundry items has a long, somewhat indistinct history. No one knows exactly who started it or when, says archival specialist Barbara Krieger. A College archivist began documenting the collection in the 1930s. In the 1980s, the collection was enlarged when objects were added from the College's museum in Wilson Hall, which was converted to administrative offices.

"The realia collection is designed to enhance the archival, manuscript, and rare book collections by preserving those parts of social and collegiate culture that are documented by three-dimensional objects," says Krieger. "The majority of the collection relates to Dartmouth history and is an eclectic sampling of artifacts created by the College, its students, and alumni."

For more on realia, visit http://libcat.dartmouth.edu/search/ and use the keyword branch:branchwraue.

- Anita Warren

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