The Original FSP: George Ticknor Brings Spain to New England

Original FSP PosterA Dartmouth graduate of the class of 1807, George Ticknor ushered in a new era of Hispanism in the United States through his travels in Spain and his subsequent scholarship. Ticknor embodied the intellectual spirit of 19th-century New England through his varied academic pursuits. He guided the American transition from mere enjoyment of things Hispanic, or hispanofilia, into hispanismo, a productive analysis of and intercultural engagement with things Hispanic, which would foster profound academic inquiry for years to come. Pursuing similar aims to those of Ticknor, many Dartmouth students participate in Foreign Study Programs (FSPs). By curating this exhibit, the students of Spanish 53 expose the roots of the scholarly quest to immerse ourselves in the language and culture of other countries.

Spanish 53 (Linguistics, Rhetoric, Poetics, and the Politics of Language) are: Alison Herdeg '11, Amber Gode '09 G'11, Anna Wearn '12, Carmen Rodriguez '11, Charles Buker '11, Elena Martinez de Andino '11, Elizabeth Palmer '11, Emmanuel Tecuatl '13, Hunter Cox '11, James Kim '11, Julia Szafman '13, Virginia Roach '12 and Professor Noelia Cirnigliaro.

The exhibit was on display in Rauner Library's Class of 1965 Galleries from March 2 - April 30, 2011.

You may download a small, 8x10 version of the poster: OriginalFSP.jpg (2.8 MB). You may also download a handlist of the items in this exhibition: Ticknor Handlist.

Materials Included in the Exhibition

Case 1. Ticknor's Travels in Spain Prepare Him for a Career in Hispanism

George Ticknor was a pioneer in the study of Spanish literature in the United States. In 1815, he set out for Europe, where he received news of his appointment to the first "Smith Professorship of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures" at Harvard University. He traveled to Spain to acquire a better knowledge of the language and literature, and to amass his Spanish library, which came to be considered the best collection outside of Spain. He drew from these materials, experiences, and mentors to construct a syllabus on the history and criticism of Spanish literature, which served as the basis for his most famous work, History of Spanish Literature.
  1. George Tyler Northrup. George Ticknor's Travels in Spain. Toronto: University of Toronto Library, 1913. Alumni T437g
    1. Ticknor was frustrated by the lack of European literary sources available to him in Boston. This motivated him to travel in order to study with native experts and collect works of European literature.
  2. Clara Louisa Penney, ed. George Ticknor: Letters to the Pascual de Gayangos. New York: Trustees of the Hispanic Society of America, 1927. Alumni T437ℓpa
    1. While in Spain, Ticknor came under the tutelage of José Antonio Conde, a member of the Academy of History of Madrid and the librarian of El Escorial. This passage discusses how Ticknor spent entire days and weeks studying Spanish books, manuscripts, and works of poetry with Conde. 
  3. Passport, April 22 1856. Washington, D.C., issued to George Ticknor. Manuscript 002116
    1. As a man of letters with great scholarly zeal, Ticknor made extensive use of his passport as he toured the centers of European culture in search of books, ideas, and individuals that could help him advance his scholarship.
  4. George Ticknor and George S. Hillard, ed. Life, Letters and Journals of George Ticknor. Vol. 1. London: Sampson, Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1876. Alumni T437ℓif
    1. During his stay in Europe, Ticknor was awarded the Smith Professorship, an appointment that inspired him to change his travel itinerary so that he could tour the Iberian Peninsula. Here the young traveler explains his new goals to his parents in Boston.
  5. George Ticknor. Syllabus of A Course of Lectures on the History and Criticism of Spanish Literature. Cambridge: University Press, 1823. Alumni T437s
    1. Ticknor’s Harvard syllabus was greatly influenced by the works he collected and studied in Spain, such as this lesson plan about Don Quixote. He purchased the book in Spain, took great pleasure in reading it aloud to his travel companions, and enjoyed discussing it with his tutor José Antonio Conde in Madrid.
  6. George Ticknor. Lecture on the Best Methods of Teaching the Living Languages. Delivered before the American Institute, August 24, 1832. Boston: Carter, Hendee and Co., 1833. Alumni T437ℓe
    1. Ticknor presented this speech to the president, faculty, and students of the American Institute of Education. During his time in Spain, Ticknor was able to learn the nuances of the Spanish language, allowing him to appreciate and connect more deeply with the literature he loved to study. He invites his audience to pursue similar experiences when learning foreign languages.
  7. George Ticknor. History of Spanish Literature. Vol. 1. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1849. Alumni T437his
    1. In the preface of his book, Ticknor thanks Conde for helping him obtain the most sought-after books for his future lessons at Harvard. Ticknor initially intended to publish a compilation of these lectures, but found that in order to record a more comprehensive history of Spanish literature, he would need to publish a separate book.

Case 2. Ticknor and His Associates

The United States came of age during Ticknor's lifetime. Early nineteenth century Americans equally sought to develop a functional democratic government, find their footing internationally, and construct a literary identity. Each objective relied interchangeably on the others. As a member of the Boston elite and a prominent man of letters, George Ticknor engaged in this process throughout the course of his life. The objects displayed illustrate the collaborative intellectual environment that shaped Ticknor and on which he left a lasting mark.

  1. William Wordsworth. Letter to George Ticknor. 9 April 1819. Ticknor 819259
    1. “We are Seven” was published in Wordsworth’s 1798 Lyrical Ballads, which helped launch the British Romantic movement. The transcription “at the request of Mr. Ticknor of Boston” shows how Romanticism permeated literary endeavors on both sides of the Atlantic.
  2. Philip H. S. Stanhope. Letter to George Ticknor. 26 August 1850. Ticknor 850476
    1. The 5th Earl Stanhope writes regarding the receipt of a book dating from the war of Spanish Succession, assures that he finds no fault with Ticknor’s latest publication, and discusses the warm reception of William Prescott in England. Such correspondence with European Hispano-historians placed Ticknor at the intersection of European and American Hispanism.
  3. George Ticknor. Remarks on the Character of the Late Edward Everett: Made at a Meeting of the Massachusetts Historical Society, January 30, 1865. Boston: J.E. Farwell and company, printers, 1865. Alumni B T437rc
    1. A fellow classmate of Ticknor's at the University of Göttingen, Edward Everett held great political prominence in the United States—as Secretary of State, Governor of Massachusetts, and Congressman—and helped Ticknor to found the Boston Public Library. A fellow man of letters, he chose a political route in the project of nation building that occupied the early 19th-century American elite.
  4. William E. Channing. Letter to George Ticknor. 17 May 1835. Ticknor 835327
    1. Channing, the foremost Unitarian theologian of the period and primary influence of the later Transcendentalist movement, writes to Ticknor regarding the state of Christianity in Europe. Ticknor and his contemporaries incorporated a Unitarian vision into their literary interpretations and works, as they believed writers should uphold the moral tenets of society.
  5. Lydia M. Child. Letter to George Ticknor. 29 March 1825. Ticknor 825229 .1
    1. An American abolitionist, women's rights activist, and famous author of “Over the River and Through the Woods,” Lydia Maria Child calls upon Ticknor to use his “influence in the literary and fashionable world” to garner support for her first novel Hobomok. With Ticknor's help, Child became a national literary sensation.  Ticknor’s role among the intellectual elite afforded him considerable power to shape the course of American literary pursuits.

Case 3. Ticknor’s Legacy and Impact in America

Through his studies in Spain and publications including History of Spanish Literature, George Ticknor developed a legacy that would survive long after his travels in Europe. His passion for European studies and literary criticism placed him among the foremost minds in America, and he collaborated with contemporary political figures such as Thomas Jefferson and Daniel Webster to develop American intellectualism. Furthermore, at Dartmouth, Ticknor’s successes also led to friendships with campus figures such as Sylvanus Thayer (of the Thayer Engineering School) and the establishment of a scholarship in Ticknor's name. By the time of his death in 1871, Ticknor had left a legacy within Dartmouth and the field of Hispanic studies that still marks him as one of America’s finest 19th-century scholars.
  1. George Ticknor. Letter to Daniel Webster. 9 February 1843. Manuscript Webster 843159
    1. Ticknor brings an error in Benjamin Franklin’s original 1783 Treaty of Paris map to the attention of Secretary of State Daniel Webster, with concern that Lord Ashburton should be notified. In the tenuous climate of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, Ticknor used his scholarly legitimacy to advise on affairs of the State.
  2. George Ticknor. Dartmouth: A View of the Principal Buildings Delineated in the Year 1803. Dartmouth College Library: Hanover, 1943. Iconography 742
    1. This watercolor painted by George Ticknor at the age of eleven in 1803 is the second oldest delineation of Dartmouth Hall and has become widely recognized as a central image of early Dartmouth life.
  3. George Saito. Problems of Modernization: Discussions on George Ticknor, Mori Ogai and Natsume Sôseki. Tokyo: Rissho Daigaku, 1980. Alumni T437pro
    1. Thomas Jefferson wrote to Elisha Ticknor, Ticknor’s father, in 1816 with travel recommendations after his son’s studies in Göttingen. George Ticknor developed an extensive relationship with Jefferson, acquiring books in Europe for the University of Virginia’s library on Jefferson’s behalf and advising him on its establishment.
  4. "Death of George Ticknor." Boston Journal. 26 January 1871.
    1. This obituary of Ticknor was published in the evening edition of the Boston Journal on January 26th, 1871, the same day of his death. Obituaries of Ticknor were published in the Boston Daily Advertiser, Boston Courier, Boston Post, Harper’s Weekly, The Weekly Tribune, and Boston Post owing to his importance in stature as a New England intellectual. Ticknor was an integral Boston figure, serving as a Trustee of the Boston Athenaeum, the Massachusetts General Hospital. He is most known for his role in the creation of the Boston Public Library.
  5. Sylvanus Thayer. Letter to George Ticknor. 26 December 1868. Ticknor 868676
    1. Sylvanus Thayer, a fellow graduate of the Class of 1807, wrote to Ticknor expressing his regrets for not being able to visit Ticknor while in Boston. The two classmates influenced 19th-century American academics greatly: General Thayer endowed the Thayer School of Engineering, was superintendent of the United States Military Academy, and collected the majority of the first federal library; Ticknor was a major academic advisor to the University of Virginia and inspired the founding of the first public library in America.
  6. Lock of George Ticknor’s Hair, cut May 21, 1860. Manuscript MS-983

Case 4. Impact and Reception in Europe

George Ticknor’s three-volume masterpiece, History of Spanish Literature, was widely distributed in Europe, having been translated from English into French, Spanish and German. This work was often positively received in Europe, but Ticknor’s position as an outsider did not go unnoticed, piquing Spanish nationalist pride, and particularly that of José Amador de los Ríos, who, in response, proceeded to write his Historia crítica de la literatura española
In either case – viewed as a masterpiece or an imposition – Ticknor’s work began to fill an oft-lamented gap, first, by contributing substantially to the study of Spanish literature and, later, by inspiring or provoking others to further explore and describe the history of Spanish literature, be it through a continuation such as that of Gayangos or a reaction like that of Amador de los Ríos.
  1. Francisque Michel. Letter to George Ticknor. 20 December 1850. Ticknor 850670 .1
    1. In this letter, Michel, a notable French academic, offers to find Ticknor a translator for his History of the Spanish Literature, or even to translate the first tome himself. This is only one of several offers Ticknor received to translate his work into the European languages.
  2. Michel Chevalier. Letter to George Ticknor. 13 December [1850?]. Ticknor 850663 .1
    1. In this letter, Chevalier, a distinguished French politician, comments on the disquiet that Ticknor’s inquiry into the Old World causes in Europe because it represents the beginning of an evaluation of the Old World by the New. Chevalier at the same time commends Ticknor for his work in disseminating a more profound understanding of Spain and for helping to develop a literature for the United States.
  3. George Ticknor. Historia de la literatura española. Trans. Pascual de Gayangos and D. Enrique de Vedia. Vol. 1. Madrid: M. Rivadeneyra: 1851. Ticknor LA T43hs
    1. Pascual de Gayangos, who had helped provide Ticknor with the volumes necessary to write his History, not only translated Ticknor’s work but also added significantly to it; his notes, corrections and additions are so substantive that the work comprises four volumes instead of the original three. In later publications in English, Ticknor adopted many of Gayangos’s changes.
  4. George Ticknor. Histoire de la littérature espagnole. Trans. J. G. Magnabal. Paris: A. Durand, 1864. Alumni T437xh
    1. Magnabal’s translation of Ticknor’s History includes Pascual de Gayangos’s notes to the Spanish translation as well as extensive appendices that were not available in the original English edition.
  5. George Ticknor. Geschichte der schönen Literatur in Spanien. Ed. Adolf Wolf and Ferdinand Wolf. Trans. and Ed. Nikolaus Heinrich Julius. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1867. Ticknor LA T43hgs
    1. This supplemental volume complements the German edition of Ticknor’s History by providing the changes presented in Ticknor’s 3rd edition as well as additions by Ferdinand Wolf, the compiler of this volume.
  6. William Prescott. Prescott; Unpublished Letters to Gayangos in the Library of the Hispanic Society of America. New York: Trustees of the Hispanic Society of America, 1927. Baker Berry 816 P925 S61
    1. Highlighting the disconnect between American and Spanish critics, Prescott’s letter comments with surprise on Amador de los Ríos’s negative reaction to Ticknor’s work, claiming that the Spaniard should have been thankful for Ticknor’s contribution to a field that Spanish critics had – up to that point – neglected. The paragraph begins: “The box I have received contains the critique of Amador de los Rios on Ticknor – ‘savage & tartarly’. What could have provoked the bile of the Spanish Aristarch to this degree? It seems to me a very unfair & illiberal critique, & I should have thought that a Castilian savant would have appreciated the immense difficulties that lay in the way of a foreigner writing the history of a literature so imperfectly explored before…”
  7. José Amador de los Ríos. Historia crítica de la literatura española. Vol. 7. Madrid: J. Rodriguez, 1865. Library Depository 860.9 A481h  v.7
    1. José Amador de los Ríos embarked upon this unfinished seven-volume work partially in response to Ticknor’s History, with the ostensible aim of providing a more comprehensive and critical (hence the title) history of Spanish literature. His work begins prior to the Roman occupation of Spain and ends in the 1500’s.