Bursting the Dartmouth Bubble


Submitted a year ago

When Dartmouth was a young institution and still situated in a "wilderness" without easy access to Boston, New York, or even Lebanon (let alone radio, television, movies, or the internet), you could image the "Dartmouth bubble" would have been a lot worse than it is today. When you came to campus in 1800, there really wasn't much of anything you could do outside of the tiny town of Hanover. But, we have an amazing bit of evidence from 1804 that the students were looking outwardly and applying their education to the broader world. That year two graduating seniors wrote and performed, as part of their commencement ceremony, a blank verse work entitled "A Dialogue on the Revolution in St. Domingo between Toussaint and Dessalines."

What? Two guys in the boonies of New Hampshire portraying Haitian revolutionaries just as Haiti is establishing its independence? What? They hadn't been to Haiti on an FSP and didn't even have the internet to help them with their research? Such a very cool bursting of the Dartmouth bubble!

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You can see the original by asking for DA-43, Box 3112. We also have an easier-to-read transcription prepared by Errol Hill in 1989 at DC Hist F1923.F35.

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