In the Grub Box


Submitted 2 years ago

We fantasize about someday doing an exhibition of chunks of wood in our collections. We have many: a box made from wood fromShakespeare's house: a fragment of a goal post; dozens of carved pieces of the Old Pine; plus lots of other odd bits and pieces. Today we discovered a small wooden box made from the wood of Roald Amundsen's skis that he used on his attempt to navigate the Northeast Passage in 1918-1924. Amundsen was already famous for being the first to pass through the Northwest Passage and as the first person to reach the South Pole.

The ski was given to members of the Byrd Antarctic Expedition on July 12, 1929, a little more than a year after Amundsen's death. That would be the heart of the Antarctic winter, cold as hell and dark. So, the members of the expedition turned the skis into keepsakes. This segment of the ski was hollowed out and fitted with a sliding panel. Then it was lovingly carved with a "remembrance" of the Chinook dogs on the top, a penguin on one side, a seal on another, and the latitude, "78º 34 S" on a third side. The underside has the details of the object's origin.

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Inside we found a 1928 dollar signed by several members of the Byrd Expedition.

To take a look, it is inside of the "grub box" used by Arthur Walden on the Byrd Expedition 1928-30, so ask for "Grub Box," Realia 80.

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Rauner Special Collections Library houses rare books, manuscripts, and Dartmouth College Archives for the Dartmouth College Library. We think it is one of the coolest places on campus: besides a great exhibits program, the reading room is open to the public. Where else can you see a first edition of Pride and Prejudice or a copy of the James Audubon double elephant folio Birds of America in the Upper Valley? The Rauner blog is a great way to get acquainted with the collections, or go to Instagram if you have a shorter attention span.

Rauner Special Collections Library is located in Webster Hall on the Green in Hanover. Find current hours and the latest exhibit.

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