Picture People Magazine in the 19th century... then banish that image from your mind as quickly as you can and take a look at Photographic Portraits of Living Celebrities (London: Maull & Polyblank, 1856-9). There are no glam shots here, and no airbrushed beauty graces these pages. The collection of photographs with biographic sketches tends toward the academic and political. There are a few names you mightrecognize on the list like Faraday or Cruikshank but for the most part these are not the folks we think of as celebrities today.
Pictured here is Richard Owen, striking a very goth pose with what looks like a crocodile skull. Owen had many accomplishments, but his primary claim to fame was a thirty-year stint as the cataloger of the anatomical collection of the Royal College of Surgeons. He gives us hope that someday rare book catalogers will be all the rage. Or, perhaps our time has passed...To take a look, ask for Rare TR681.F3 M285 1859.
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.