In this month’s column, holiday greetings found inside family letters from World War II remind John Cross ’76 about the spirt of the season and the Bowdoin spirit.
In going through letters that my father, Bob Cross ’45, had written and received during World War II, I came across one written seventy years ago by my grandfather, Leroy Cross, whose office as faculty secretary was in Massachusetts Hall. At about 3:30 on the afternoon of Wednesday, December 1, 1943, members of the Bowdoin community and residents of Brunswick were startled by a loud explosion:
“…the general rumor was that an airplane had crashed just north of the campus. Dean Nixon accompanied me as far as the church on the hill…I saw a large part of the office force and the student body, including many army boys in uniform, so I guess we all had the same desire to help. … [a] Corsair plane from the Air Station with a British pilot more or less exploded in the air, the two machine guns falling to the street, one in front of the College Spa [a restaurant located across Maine Street from the northwest corner of the campus] and the other near the little triangle north of the First Parish Church.
Continue reading Whispering Pines: December 1943
Image detail: Visual.ly
From the earliest known origins in ancient Egypt to the point in time when men began wearing wedding bands, the history of wedding rings is presented in this infographic from Visual.ly.
BBC Radio 4 recently came to Brunswick to visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe house and interview Tess Chakkalakal, associate professor of Africana Studies and English, about the lasting impacts of Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Chakkalakal’s comments were featured as part of the radio program, “The Legacy of Uncle Tom,” which aired on Nov. 25.
“One thing that Stowe wasn’t, was ambivalent about slavery,” Chakkalakal said. “She knew it was wrong; and really the reason for the novel … was to speak out against the fugitive slave law” — that is, the law that prohibited northerners from harboring escaped slaves. Stowe herself harbored a runaway slave in her Brunswick home.
“When Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852, it immediately caused a stir and created a groundswell of anti-slavery feeling,” reads the BBC’s description. The program “traces the reactions to this work from the Abolition Movement, through the Civil Rights Movement to the Rodney King beating in 1991 and the murder of Trayvon Martin last year.”
Chakkalakal and Professor of English Peter Coviello will be co-teaching a Spring 2014 course called “Uncle Tom and Its Afterlives” as part of the College’s new Civil War course cluster, funded by a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation.
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Thomas Brackett Reed, of the Class of 1860.
More than a century before last week’s historic vote to limit the Senate filibuster, House Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed, a Mainer and a member of the Class of 1860, “broke the filibuster,” recalls the Portland Press Herald, in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1890 and, “in the process, enshrined the absolute ’majority rules’ doctrine that still dominates there today. Read the Press Herald article.
And check out ”Bowdoin Professors on the Senate’s Filibuster Bust.”
For Barry Mills, the anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is about recalling a national tragedy as well as the people around him who mattered most.
Continue reading Barry Mills: JFK, History and Family
Alexander Gardner, Ruins of the Arsenal, Richmond, Virginia, April 1865, Albumen print. Museum Purchase, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund.
The exhibition “This Mighty Scourge of War: Art of the American Civil War” brings together paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art’s collection, depicting the diversity of ways in which artists responded to the Civil War.
Curated by museum co-director Frank Goodyear, the exhibition features six of Winslow Homer’s many wood engravings, which became the dominant illustrations of the war through widely-read publications such as Harper’s Weekly. While Homer portrayed poignant scenes of daily life (both on the front lines and at home), other artists such as Martin Heade and Jervis McEntee infused the war into the their paintings metaphorically through storm-filled skies and other symbols of unrest. Continue reading This Mighty Scourge of War
Summoning Ghosts with Artist Hung Liu from Bowdoin College on Vimeo.
Acclaimed artist Hung Liu visited Bowdoin on Nov. 7 to meet with students and faculty and to present an evening lecture. Here she sits down with Bowdoin’s Shu-chin Tsui, associate professor of Asian studies and film studies, to explain the title of her talk, “Summoning Ghosts,” and recount some of the history behind her distinctive style of art.
The two paintings featured in this interview appear in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art’s current exhibition Breakthrough: Works by Chinese Contemporary Women Artists (image captions below).
Hung Liu, The Path, 2010–2011, mixed media, Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York.
Hung Liu, Relic 8, 2004, oil on canvas, Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York.
In this month’s column, John Cross ’76 explores the origins of one of the College’s tastiest holiday traditions, The Bowdoin Log.
While every day is a feast at the College, thanks to a top-rated Dining Service, this is the time of year when the shortening of daylight hours and the dropping of outdoor temperatures trigger a seasonal anticipation of holiday feasting. Alumni, faculty, staff, and parents who want to revisit some delicious Bowdoin dishes can go to the Dining Services web site to find recipes for carrot ginger soup, Cajun meatloaf, or other favorites, all scaled down to suit the kitchens and appetites of single families. Without a doubt, the star of the show at this time of year is a dessert known as “the Bowdoin Log,” vanilla ice cream rolled in pulverized chocolate cookies and topped with hot fudge sauce and slivered almonds.
Continue reading Whispering Pines: The Bowdoin Log, An Unofficial History
English Department Chair Aaron Kitch presented “Queer Matter: Science and Sexuality in the Renaissance” in Kresge Auditorium on Nov. 5, the first offering of the faculty lecture series Science Before Science under the auspices of the College’s new Medieval and Early Modern Studies colloquium, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The lecture series is about “trying to understand what constitutes science before the scientific revolution,” Kitch said. Focusing on the contents of the Ripley Scroll, a document named after 15th-century English alchemist George Ripley, Kitch spoke of alchemy as an early science that helped define the practice of approaching nature as an object of study. Beyond exploring alchemy’s place in science history, he also highlighted its overlooked ties to the history of sexuality. Alchemists considered matter to contain the seeds of other types of matter, he said, a phenomenon they likened to sexual reproduction. Some considered matter to have desire for itself – a homosexual identity of sorts.
Kitch’s lecture also served to announce an upcoming course cluster offered by Medieval and Early Modern Studies on the same “science before science” theme, running from spring 2014 through spring 2015. Each semester, four or more courses involving science in pre-modern times will be linked through shared readings, lectures, dinners, films, symposia, and other events.
Continue reading Alchemy Talk Introduces Medieval-Early Modern Initiative
On this Veterans Day, we share with you a profile of Richard Overton, who at the age of 107, is believed to be the oldest living U.S. military veteran. Overton, one of the nation’s 22 million veterans, attributes his longevity to whiskey, cigars and “staying out of trouble.” Read the story in the International Business Times.