Books from the Nonesuch Press

A Nonesuch Press Dust Jacket

A Nonesuch Press Dust Jacket

I wrote an earlier blog on The Golden Cockerel Press , one of the famous private presses represented in our Rare Book Room.  Another private press which was also noted for its beautiful volumes was the Nonesuch Press.

The press was founded in London in 1922 by Francis Meynell, his wife Vera, and their friend David Garnett, co-owner of a bookshop in Soho.  Nonesuch Press published its first book in May 1923, and from then until the mid-1960s it produced more than 140 books.  Unlike most private presses, Nonesuch used a small hand press to design their books, but then had them printed by commercial printers.  This method allowed the books to be designed with the quality of a fine press, but since they were commercially printed, to be available to a wider audience at lower prices.  Nonesuch editions are prized by collectors, and we have several in our collection thanks to Dr. Harold Marvin, Davidson class of 1914.

Two of the titles in our collection are

Princess of Babylon

Princess of Babylon

The Princess of Babylon by M. de Voltaire, and Graziella by Alphonse de Lamartine.  The Princess of Babylon was printed in a limited edition of 1500 copies (ours is #106) on Batchelor’s Kelmscott hand-made paper, and bound in vellum backed marbled boards.  It is beautifully illustrated with plates and decorative vignettes by Thomas Lowinsky.


Graziella was also printed in a limited edition consisting of 1600, of which 600 were for sale in the United States.  This semi-autobiographical novel tells the story of a young Frenchman’s romance with a Neapolitan fisherman’s daughter.  It was bound in decorated cloth boards and includes 30 illustrations, some in color, by Jacquier.




Thanks, Dr. Marvin, for your wonderful gifts to our library!

Guest Blogger: Amanda Scott, May 2017 graduate and future librarian, On the Path from Chambers to Main Street

1903 Souvenir Album cover

1903 Souvenir Album, Campus View Looking West from Chambers

Every day I walk the path from Chambers to Main Street, past Oak and Elm, Phi and Eu. The path is incredibly familiar, and thus it was a surprise to realize that the photograph of a tree lined path from a 1903 view book is the same walk, only missing the benches, well, and the bricks paving the path. Phi sits at the end of the path, almost blocked by trees. As other photos in the view book show, the only change in Phi and Eu is the landscaping around them. Though the view book exclusively documents the heart of Davidson’s campus, Phi and Eu are the only buildings in this view book to remain completely unchanged. The original Chambers still stood in 1903, and would for eighteen more years, and Rumple and Martin were replaced by new buildings serving the same purpose. Some of the reference points used in the view book no longer even exist. Shearer was torn down in 1960, to be replaced by Cunningham, and the ivy-covered Morrison Hall came down in 1945.

1903 Souvenir Album, Hall of the Philanthropic Society

1903 Souvenir Album, Hall of the Eumenean Society

1903 Souvenir Album, Shearer-Biblical Hall – Erected on the Site of the “Old Chapel”

1903 Souvenir Album, The New Dormitory Building

The view book boasts of recent improvements to the college. Among other changes, within the last four years, Shearer, the original Martin, and a so far unnamed new dormitory were built. The dormitory, later dubbed Rumple, was well equipped, with running hot and cold water and radiator heating. It was also wired for electric lights, as the college planned to soon build a power plant. Despite the new building, the college was having a housing crisis, and the calls for enough funds to build another dorm were beginning to grow desperate. Rumple sat where Little is currently located, and I found it interesting to compare the two buildings. Rumple was large at the time, housing sixty students, while Little holds seventy-five. Both buildings follow the same aesthetic of other dorms along dorm row, but while Rumple started the look, Little merely matched the buildings already built. Chambers also needed to be renovated—after nearly fifty years of use, the building could use some work.

1903 Souvenir Album, The Chambers Building – Erected in 1857

My attention kept getting drawn back to the images of the original Chambers. The tallest building on campus poked over the treetops, appearing in several shots. Before looking at this view book, I had never seen a picture of Old Chambers, despite hearing many campus stories about it. In one of the pictures, you can see the large columns that still haunt the lawn in front of the present Chambers. The building is different in some ways from present Chambers, smaller and not quite as cohesive, but the buildings still look similar. Then and now, Chambers remains the center of campus, even as the building itself is destroyed and rebuilt.

Marbled Paper

American Military Biography

When you hear the word “marble” what comes to mind?  Small round glass balls you played with as a child?   The streaks of fat alternating with lean in a rib-eye steak?  Your beautiful variegated stone kitchen counters?  All are accurate.  But what if I told you that the Rare Book Room has several examples of “marbled” paper?  Do you picture paper that has hardened to rock?  Actually, “marbled paper” is given that description because of the appearance of the paper —with streaks and patterns like marble.

It is made by transferring water colors floating on the surface of a gum solution to a piece of paper.  The colors are drawn on the solution with sticks or combs to create patterns such as swirl, splash, and feather.  Colors vary, from dark to light; from the use of many colors to few.

Moby Dick

The technique was found as early as 118 in Japan, but the Persians are credited with first using it for books.  It was first used for the endpapers of a book, but it is also used for covers and bindings, and was used heavily in Europe and the U.S. in the 18th and 19th centuries.  It has more limited use currently, but has been revived for special books of limited editions.

Johnson & Queeney

The Rare Book Room has several examples of this beautiful technique, many currently on display.  So, if you’re in the area, come by the RBR to see some of our beautiful “marbled paper” books.

Le Duc de Nemours

Works of Robert Burns

Mill on the Floss

History of England

Man’s Oldest Sport

Andy Lausier, Davidson’s 12th head coach for wrestling and very recent arrival to the Davidson Athletic Department, demonstrated why wrestling is considered man’s oldest sport. There are Etruscan tombs and Greek vases documenting early matches, and the sport is described in the Bible as well. Many U.S. Presidents have also been wrestlers: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and even Calvin Coolidge.

At Davidson, the sport of wrestling began in 1920 and the photograph below is the earliest we have located in the College Archives.

1923 Quips and Cranks


As with any athletic endeavor, there is equipment required and this 1932 Cash ledger shows exactly how much was paid for wrestling equipment.

1932 Cash Ledger, last line shows wrestling

Coach Lausier also commented that wrestling is a sport known for its diversity. This has certainly been true at Davidson. In 1927, Davidson’s first Jewish student, Isadore Doduck, was a member of the freshman wrestling and tennis teams. Jimmy Jung “from Kannapolis by way of Canton, China” captained the Davidson wrestling team in 1949.
(Previous “Around the D” entries).

During its nearly one hundred year existence at Davidson, there have also been familial connections among the athletes. The captain of the Wrestling team in 1923 (shown above) was A.D. Cromartie and forty-three years later, a member of the 1966 Wrestling team (shown below), was Dean Cromartie.

1966 Wrestling Team

As we approach the centennial of wrestling at Davidson, look for announcements and events on campus and more unique finds from the College Archives!

Matsukaze: A Japanese No Play

Cover of the RBR's copy of Matsukaze: A Japanese No Play

Cover of the RBR’s copy of
Matsukaze: A Japanese No Play

So, just what is a Japanese No (or Noh) play?  According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Noh comes from a Japanese word meaning “talent” or “skill.”  It refers to a traditional Japanese theatrical form, one of the oldest exant theatrical forms in the world.  It involves music, dance and drama, and has been around since the 14th century.  Plots are drawn from legend, history, literature and contemporary events, with themes often involving dreams, the supernatural world, and ghosts.  All the performers in a No play are men, in rich and heavy costume.  The main character, the shite, often takes several roles, each represented by a mask so that the audience knows which character is on stage at the time.  There is actually little action, with the performers acting more as story-tellers than actors.

One of the most famous of the No plays is Matsukaze, translated as “Breeze through the Pines,” or “Wind in the Pines.”  It is a “wig play” or “woman play” in which the characters are women, although played by men.  In Matsukaze, the two main characters are the spirits of Matsukaze (the wind) and her sister Murasame (the Autumn rain).  They lived in Settsu Province, and when the news of the death of their lover came, they both died of grief.  However, their sprits lingered on.  As the play opens, a traveling priest asks about a local memorial, finding out that it was built as a tribute to the two dead sisters.  The priest meets them in a dream, they explain their past and are overcome with madness.  Their souls are released and they pass from the mortal world, leaving only the sounds of the wind and the rain behind.

Matsukaze title page

Matsukaze title page

Dr. Harold Marvin (Davidson, Class of 1934) donated a copy of Matsukaze to the library’s Rare Book Room from his private collection.   Our copy, Matsukaze a Japanese No Play by Kwanami, was translated by Dan Frank Waugh, was privately printed in New York City in 1933, and is number 15 of only 75 copies.  It was bound by hand at the Stratford Press in imitation vellum and textured gray and black paper boards.  It was printed on hand-made Japanese silk paper.

Hand-made silk paper with deckled edges

Hand-made silk paper with deckled edges

The delicate paper is uncut (folded at the top) and has deckled edges. The decoration on the title page is from an ancient Japanese sword guard and symbolizes the play Matsukaze.

Thanks to Dr. Marvin for deciding to give us this beautiful book.

Coping with College

A June 2017 New York Times article, “Colleges Get Proactive in Addressing Depression on Campus,” mentions several programs at Davidson College and quotes the recently retired Dean Shandley as well. The article explains that colleges and universities are hosting numerous mental and emotional health programs to see what works the best and for the “broadest swath of students.”

I decided to take a look at Davidson College roughly fifty years ago to see what was offered. In the 1962-63 Davidson College Reference Catalogue (part of our digital collections), there are numerous references to “counseling” and this service was found in several departments and offered in various locations on campus.

Inquiries regarding “Student Interests and Counseling” were to be addressed to the Dean of Students and this was indicated on the first page of the catalogue. In addition to the Dean of Students, there was also an employee with the title, Director of Student Counseling.

Alumni Weekend, June, 1963, Dr. William Hight,
Director of Student Counseling

The David Ovens College Union is described as a “laboratory of student management and self-expression as well as a place for informal counseling and guidance.”

Aerial photo of Johnston Gym and Richardson Stadium and Field; the roof of the Ovens College Union is visible.

As one might expect, one of the responsibilities listed for the College Chaplain was “personal counseling;” although, expectations that the Chaplain would provide counsel regarding summer employment, another stated assignment, would probably not be anticipated. The Supervisor of Dormitories was also encouraged to offer advice and counsel students regarding problems in campus housing.

Mrs. Moore, Supervisor of Dormitories, surrounded by students.

Although the term would probably not be applied the same way on today’s campus, in the 1960s, counseling began with Freshman Orientation and continued throughout a student’s career, according to “The Degree Programs” section of the 1962-1963 catalogue.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact

“A Fondness for Town Ball”: Early Years of Baseball at Davidson

As the Men’s Baseball team goes on a Cinderella run in the NCAA Division I World Series, let’s look back at the foundations of baseball at Davidson College.

Baseball is first mentioned as a pastime on campus in 1870, played as recreational “Saturday ball”-style games by members of the literary societies. Much of the information the archives has on 1870s baseball come from the reflections of E.M. Summerell (Class of 1876), who was interviewed for a May 15, 1924 Davidsonian story, “Earliest Days of Davidson’s Baseball History Are Pictured By Former Player”:

“Dr. Summerell said that he had a fondness for town ball and that when a baseball club was organized here the spring after he came, he joined and made the team. He played every position on the field, including pitcher, catcher, and infielder.”

Members of the Class of 1892 baseball team, holding a sign indicating that their class had won the championship showdown between all class teams.

Cornelia Shaw’s Davidson College describes the spirit of Davidson baseball in these early years:

“The first mention of baseball was in September, 1870, when two clubs (The Mecklenburgs and the Red Jackets) were in existence… Members were excused from literary society meetings on Saturday mornings to take part. The games were an overflow of joyous interest in sport; there were no coaches and no admission fees.”

Baseball became an intramural sport, and each class fielded a team to play against the others. Quips and Cranks, the yearbook, often recorded athletic records set each year, including a “baseball throw.” However, the March 1898 issue of the Davidson College Magazine noted that “baseball doesn’t receive as much attention among us as it should,” implying that football was the more popular sport on campus at that time.

The 1905 intercollegiate team, with their mascot – that year, “Bowman’s baby.” We do not know who Bowman is, but likely a townsperson in Davidson.

Class baseball played an important role in one of the most infamous riots on campus – the Freshman Riot of 1903, when inter-class competition and hazing led to a conflict between the Class of 1906 (then freshmen) and the Class of 1905 (then sophomores) that legendarily involved their baseball score score (freshmen 12, sophomores 9) being scrawled on the columns of Old Chambers, sophomores being barricaded from their rooms, both classes taking refuge in boarding houses in town and then possibly settling their differences in a fistfight on the College President’s lawn.

The baseball squad in 1906. Since this image includes 47 players, it is likely of all the class teams and the intercollegiate team players together.

Baseball became a varsity sport in 1902, when Davidson began intercollegiate play. The first season went swimmingly, with Davidson recording victories over Duke University (then Trinity College), The Citadel, and University of South Carolina. The intercollegiate team’s first season record was 7-2, and the team would go on to post a 84-55-2 record over the first ten years of play. The freshmen class retained a junior varsity team, known as the “Scrubs” and later as the “Kittens” or “Wildkittens”, which allowed freshmen to get more playing time.

A summary of the first year of varsity intercollegiate baseball play appeared in the 1903 Quips and Cranks: “What team in the beginning of its career ever made such a record on the diamond as our team did last year?”

A baseball cartoon from the 1902 Quips and Cranks, the first year of intercollegiate baseball play.

A cartoon from the 1904 Quips and Cranks, celebrating Davidson baseball’s win over UNC. Cartoons of this type, often featuring racist stereotypes, were commonly featured in yearbooks in the early 20th century.

The baseball program has significantly expanded since the early years of “town ball,” class team rivalries, baby mascots, and early intercollegiate play. Cheer on our modern-day Davidson ball players in their best-of-three super regional match-up against Texas A&M – game one will be on June 9, game two on June 10, followed by a third game on June 11 if necessary. Go ‘Cats!

Happy Retirement, Jan Blodgett!

A few weeks ago longtime College Archivist and Records Management Coordinator Jan Blodgett retired after 23 years of service to Davidson (for information on our new College Archivist, DebbieLee Landi, see our earlier blog post introducing her). Jan has made an impact all across the Davidson College campus and the town of Davidson, including on this very blog – Jan started Around the D on January 21, 2009! This week we’ll celebrate her time as College Archivist by delving into our photo archives for images of Jan:

Jan sits at a table in the archives in 1994, with Loyce Davis and Barbara Butler.

Jan leads a discussion on Davidson history in the Davidsoniana Room during Freshman Orientation in 1996. Jan’s introduction to the past and present of Davidson College has been a part of orientation for over 20 years.

Jan stands by one of the columns of the Chambers Building in 1997, while then Library Director Leland Park chats with Josh Gaffga.

Members of Common Ground, including Jan, a local grassroots organization designed promote communication and understanding and improve relations among people of all races in Davidson, gather for a Christmas Day memorial service in 1998.

Library staff, including Jan (in the pink skirt and shirt), gather in the lobby of E.H. Little Library, circa 1998.

Library staff gather in front of Beaver Dam in 1999. Jan is towards the back of the group.

Jan chats with then Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, in the Rare Book Room during his visit to campus in 2001. Billington is looking at the Arabic language Bible of Omar Ibn Sayyid, one of the highlights of our rare book collection.

Jan works with a student on researching campus architecture, in the Rare Book Room in 2014.

Jan led a paddleboard tour of the history of Lake Norman in July 2015, in partnership with Davidson Parks and Recreation.

A full Archives & Special Collections staff #shelfie in 2015! From right to left: Caitlin Christian-Lamb (me!), Sharon Byrd, and Jan Blodgett.

Jan (with her back to the camera) works with ENV 340 students in the Rare Book Room, in 2016.

Hilton Kelly is photographed while photographing Jan (meta!) working with Charlotte Mecklenburg public school teachers on a workshop in summer 2016, aimed at integrating archival materials across secondary education. The teachers’ projects can be found here.

Jan enjoys archival glogg in December 2016 with Roman Utkin and Caroline Fache.

Jan addresses the crowd at her final campus history tour in April 2017 (you can view the livestream of the tour here).

Jan Blodgett was the first professionally trained archivist to work at Davidson College, and her work building and organizing collections, as well as fostering community and curricular connections is fundamental to the Archives & Special Collections current and future work. We will always be grateful to Jan for her tireless, generous, and energetic work – please join us in wishing Jan a fond farewell and a happy retirement!

Burke’s Weekly for Boys and Girls

Burke's Weekly for Boys and Girls

Burke’s Weekly for Boys and Girls

The library’s 100,000th volume, an addition to the Rare Book Room, was the 1st volume of Burke’s Weekly for Boys and Girls, a short-lived serial (1867-1871) which was published in Macon, Georgia.  Our volume includes the issues for 1867.  It was given to the library by Dr. Leland M. Park, our former library director, who had received the volume from his father.

Burke’s Weekly was begun by two brothers, J. W. Burke (the publisher) and T.A. Burke (the editor) after the U.S. Civil War to provide southern children with a magazine of stories, games, puzzles, and poetry.  The timing of the publication in the South, when many of the region’s families were trying to rebuild from the war and had little money to spare, was not the best, and subscriptions lagged, so much so that the publication ceased in 1871.  The brothers indicated in its last issue that they thought a publication such as theirs was needed and desired, but that they had not succeeded in that enterprise.  They then thanked those who had supported them.

Burke's Weekly Title Page

Burke’s Weekly Title Page

The stories in the issues had plots, which although they were interesting to children, also often included moral lessons.Stories with a moral  Other stories, specifically aimed toward girls, included information on pursuits such as “keeping house” and helping their mothers with the household chores.  The activities of animals and children were often topics for stories, and the poetry was sometimes religious in nature, or had topics related to the seasons.



Issues also included a section called “Our Chimney Corner” which included riddles, and other puzzles.

Our Chimney Corner

Our Chimney Corner

Thanks to Dr. Park (and his father) for this volume.

Some Things Never Change: Advice for Students

As students graduate and get ready to leave Davidson, they all get plenty of advice.  Whether they’re going on for further formal education, going into their first “real” jobs, or taking a year to volunteer or travel… whatever they decide to do, they all get advice…solicited or not…from parents and other family members, friends, and their “Davidson Family.”  Faculty members who have been important in their lives are often sources of advice, and that hasn’t changed in the last two centuries, as seen in one of our Rare Book Room titles “Youth’s Friendly Monitor, or The affectionate school-master: containing his last pathetick farewell lecture to his young pupils, on their entrance into a busy world, and their diligent pursuit after new employments….”  This 60 page volume, a gift of Dr. William P. Cumming, class of 1921, was published in 1787 and was written by James Burgh (1714-1775), a London schoolmaster.

Burgh’s lecture began:

“The Time being now come, when you are to remove from under my Care and Direction, and to go into other Hands, which will soon send you out into the wide World, where you must struggle for yourself and either sink or swim, according as you are favoured by Providence, and conduct yourself prudently, or otherwise; I think it my Duty to add to the many Advices I have given you from Time to Time…”


His advice included the following:

There is nothing of so much Consequence toward gaining a handsome subsistence, and arriving at an early and comfortable Situation in the World, as constant Application to Business, and steady Pursuit of the Main Point.”

“Be on your Guard as to Amusements and Diversions, which, if too much indulged, will take you off your main Pursuits….”

“Do not depend wholly upon your own Judgment; but, in the Choice of a Friend, strive to find one who has the universal Approbation of his Acquaintance, for his Integrity and Discernment.”

He also advised that:

“When you know no Good you can say of a Person, whose Name you hear mentioned, to be quite silent.”

And, he recommends that a scholar continue pursuing

“useful and ornamental Knowledge,” which is “the very Food of the Mind, and except Virture and Piety, is the most truly valuable Acquisition.”

He also reminds students of the importance of philanthropy.

It is a fatal Error, though a common one, …for a Man of Wealth to spend his Riches wholly upon himself….”


Good advice in 1787, and still pretty good in 2017!