Students

A Message from the Chair of the History Department to Majors in the Class of 2020

Professor Dubrulle (lower right) poses with most of his suitemates shortly after they graduated from Pomona College.

Professor Hugh Dubrulle, chair of the History Department, sent the following message to the majors in that department who will graduate this year.


Dear History majors in the Class of 2020,

Every year at the senior dinner, the department chair makes a few remarks to the graduands majoring in History and American Studies. The chair usually issues a few pleasantries, tells the students how much the department will miss them, asks them to stay in touch, and reminds them that in the future the faculty stands ready to help them in any way possible. In other words, once a history major at Saint Anselm College, always a history major.

This year, of course, we’ve had to cancel the dinner in the same way that we’ve had to cancel so many other things. I realize that anything I write online is a poor substitute for a senior dinner where you can socialize with your favorite professors and fellow seniors. But I’d feel negligent if I didn’t issue a heartfelt farewell of some sort to the history majors from the Class of 2020.

Long ago, I received my BA in History from Pomona College. There are three things that every alum of that college shares: a mystical reverence for the number 47; a perverse pride in our mascot, Cecil Sagehen (alums frequently punctuate observations on social media with “Chirp! Chirp!”); and a clear recollection of the inscriptions on the college gates that flank North College Avenue. My attitude to each element of this triad varies. Frankly, I’ve grown tired of the “Mystery of 47” which is fatuous, and I die a little when yet another alum posts on the Facebook alumni page, “Hey, I was at the meat counter in the supermarket, and I got ticket number 47!” As for Cecil Sagehen, he’s certainly distinct if a bit ridiculous. Of the three, it’s the inscriptions on the gates that seem most worthy of attention (and by the way, these gates—surprise, surprise—are far smaller than the ones at Saint Anselm College).

One side of Pomona College’s gates at the intersection of North College Ave. and 6th St. (ca. 1930).

The gates were erected in 1914 when James A. Blaisdell was the college president, and he provided the text for the inscriptions. On one gate is written:

Let only the eager, thoughtful and reverent enter here.

On the other, the inscription reads:

They only are loyal to this college who departing bear their added riches in trust for mankind.

Years later, Blaisdell admitted to one of his successors that the first quote was “a trifle too prohibitive,” and that he should have left out the word “only.” That was a good insight. I know that when I first marched through the gates as an 18 year old (a rite of passage that all freshmen endure) I was certainly eager (perhaps in the wrong ways), moderately thoughtful on a good day, but not at all reverent. Blaisdell felt much less ambivalence about the second quote, claiming it was “exactly as I still would wish it.” It’s this latter inscription that I’d like you to keep in mind.

I know I speak for every professor in the History Department when I write that, at some point, we made a pledge to study history. Perhaps our attraction to the discipline began because we found it entertaining and engaging. But as we got older, we began to see that history is interesting. When I write “interesting,” I use it in the same sense as John Robert Seeley, author of The Expansion of England (1883), perhaps the most influential history book written in English during the 19th century. When he employed that word, Seeley did not signify “romantic, poetical, and surprising.” Instead, he meant something that “affects our interests, which closely concerns us and is deeply important to us.” History, he intimated, provides special insights into the past, the present, and the relationship between the two.

History is truly interesting because it helps us recognize the degree to which we are surrounded and thus limited by the past. As the text on the department website asserts (and we must thank Professor Pajakowski for these lines), “We live in the shadow of the thoughts and actions of those who lived before us. To ignore this legacy is to live a sort of collective amnesia.” However, studying history also includes realizing that we are not imprisoned by the acts of previous generations; by studying past societies we can understand values that differ from our own and imagine alternatives to the world in which we live. This immersion in the experiences of the past (as well as the methods we use to interpret that past) enhances one’s judgment of people, places, and things today.

Having made our pledge, it was with these riches that we left college and later graduate school. We thought they were so important that we decided to become academic historians and devoted our professional lives to sharing them with others. You must have found history significant because you also devoted much of your time here over four years to this discipline. Now that you are graduating, we ask you to do as we did—to bear your added riches as a trust for the people you will serve in your own careers.

If you majored in Secondary Education and are bound for a job teaching history in high school, this responsibility should be fairly clear. But even if you are not going to be a teacher, there are still important ways you can bear this trust in service to your country, your work, and your community.

The foregoing probably sounds portentous. After all, I’ve taken my keynote from an inscription that appears on a gate, and such inscriptions are invariably solemn and pompous. And I’ve made the study of history sound like a sacred inheritance passed from one generation to the next (which, if you were paying attention in some of my classes, will remind you of Edmund Burke’s arguments in Reflections on the Revolution in France). Still, the ideas expressed in Blaisdell’s quote are no less true for all that.

After all, take a look around you. Is the world doing so well these days that it has no need of the historical understanding as well as the analytical and expository skills you obtained in college? Can it really dispense with the riches you acquired during your four years?

Although the department chair repeats the following sentiments every year at the senior dinner, they are still sincere. The department will miss you, and we ask that you stay in touch. We will always be happy to hear from you. If you drop by, even in the midst of a busy day, we will make time to speak to you because it gives us joy. If you need references or any other assistance, do not hesitate to call on us because we are happy to help. After all, we share a common understanding that history, as Seeley put it, is interesting; we are all in this together.

Best wishes,

HD

Senior Profile–Dena M.

The class of 2020 is having an unusual final semester, to say the least. While it is no replacement for a graduation ceremony, we thought it would be nice to have a little feature for each of our graduating seniors. 

Dena

Today’s featured student is Dena M. from Norfolk, Massachusetts. Dena is a History Major with Minors in Politics and American Studies. 

What are your favorite hobbies or activities?
Reading, cooking, and baking.

Why did you become a history major?
History was always my favorite subject in school, and I knew I wanted to spend my time learning about something I really enjoyed. Also, I knew that the skills I would learn as a history major would be useful to whatever career I chose.

What is one book from a history class that will stick with you?
The Myth of Seneca Falls by Lisa Tetrault will always be one of my favorites because it changed how I thought about a movement I assumed I knew so much about.

What is a fond memory you will have about your time as a history major?
As much as the process of writing my thesis was difficult, I liked the camaraderie that formed among the other people writing theirs at the same time. We all understood what the other was going through and were willing and able to support and help each other.

Who was the most interesting or intriguing historical figure that you learned about while at Saint Anselm?
I would have to say Mary of Hungary, the woman who I wrote my thesis about. Her story has so many twists and turns, and she was so successful at what she did, I really enjoyed learning more about her.

If you could live in a time and place that you studied, what would it be?
I think I would live in 1960s America. I would want to be able to participate in the social movements of the decade.

Do you have any plans after graduation?
I am putting off having to deal with the bad economy for another three years because I am going to law school.

Senior Profile–Breda H.

The class of 2020 is having an unusual final semester, to say the least. While it is no replacement for a graduation ceremony, we thought it would be nice to have a little feature for each of our graduating seniors. 

Breda

Today’s featured student is Breda H. from Londonderry, New Hampshire. Breda is a History and Secondary Education double major.

What are your favorite hobbies or activities?
Playing lacrosse, hanging out with my friends, and going to the beach.

Why did you become a history major?
I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and history was something I have always been passionate about. I was lucky enough to find a profession that combined these two interests.

What is one book from a history class that will stick with you?
One history book that I will always remember is God’s Forever Family from Professor Moore’s Contemporary America class. I did not know anything about the Jesus Movement before reading this book. I found it very interesting to learn about the impacts these people had on not only religion, but also music and American culture.

What is a fond memory you will have about your time as a history major?
I loved being about to walk through the third floor of Joseph and seeing everyone’s doors open and happy to see you. I could go into any professor’s office and felt welcomed. They all truly cared about us in and outside the classroom.

Who was the most interesting or intriguing historical figure that you learned about while at Saint Anselm?
In Professor Dubrulle’s Civil War class we discussed the role of soldiers from Claremont, NH in great length. I honestly had never heard of anyone from that region before and it was interesting to learn about New Hampshire’s impact on the Civil War.

If you could live in a time and place that you studied, what would it be?
If I could live in any time or place that I studied I would choose the 1950-1960s in the United States. I have always found that part of history interesting because of everything that was going on in not only America but, also the rest of the world. There is always more to learn about this time period.

Do you have any plans after graduation?
I am applying to high school history teaching positions in New Hampshire. (if you know of any let me know!!!)

Latinx History and Literature Students Explore Latinx NYC

During the last weekend in September, members of SP374/HI150/HU300—a team-taught interdisciplinary course on Latinx History and Literature taught primarily in Spanish—immersed themselves in the art, culture and history of Latino communities in NYC. Piling into a van at 5:00 am on Saturday morning, the first big stop was El Museo del Barrio, New York’s leading Latino cultural institution. Students viewed artwork from the Taino culture that preceded Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World and modern pieces that challenged current perceptions of Puerto Ricans and other Latinos in NYC. Each student had a favorite, including senior Josephine Roy, a Biology and Spanish double major. She spent a full 30 minutes watching and listening to a video in which two Latina indigenas (persons of Native American descent) created a social experiment that played on the space between the public’s fascination with “uncontacted peoples” in Latin America but lack of knowledge of Latino culture in the U.S.

The group then met New York city artist Adrián Viajero Román, who creates immersive installation environments. We explored a recreation of his grandmother’s house from Puerto Rico, which was destroyed in Hurricane Maria, but which continued to exist in memories, salvaged and treasured furnishings, and protests of discriminatory treatment of the island’s residents, who are U.S. citizens.

We were lucky to be joined by Latino community builder and media promoter George Torres who gave us a four-hour tour of key parts of the Latino community in New York City. From the history of street murals and graffiti to the economic obstacles to generational wealth accumulation, Mr. Torres used personal history and humor to help us all see parts of NYC hidden from the casual visitor. As senior Abby Mitchell, a Sociology major and Spanish minor from West Hartford, Connecticut put it, “I have been to NYC many times with my family, but in one day George showed me how much more there is—and how much pride and energy many Latinos have invested in these less-seen parts of the city.”

Sophomore English and Secondary Education major and Spanish minor Cam McIntire was particularly struck by our visit to the Bronx to see Amaurys Grullon, founder of Bronx Native and recent recipient of the Bronx Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Leadership Award. Mr. Grullon and his colleagues were preparing a party for Jharrel Jerome, the first Dominican American to win an Emmy for this role in Netflix’s When They See Us. Yet he took the time to explain to us his entrepreneurial approach to building respect for a borough that has historically been excluded and perceived as violent (with highways built to direct traffic away and trap residents within). Celebrating the rappers, politicians, and artists that have risen from the Bronx, Bronx Native seeks to curate art, make records, film videos, produce products, and build connections that promote Bronx pride and showcase Bronx successes. As Cam noted, “Bronx Native is both a store and movement that seeks to unite the people of the Bronx.  The owner and artist seeks ways to help the community build confidence in its identity, to know and understand its heritage and to have faith in its own culture.”

The Pregones festival was next, a series of performers highlighting all aspects of the Latino experience in NYC. Poet Rob Vassilarakis spoke about being gay and Latino in NYC, a theme of intersectionality or multiple identities that has come up often in class. LaBruja or Caridad de la Luz made clear that while her Latina momma expected her to sing Latino folk songs, this Latina rapped—and how!  Power Malu spoke about how the Freddy Gray shooting was originally an environmental tragedy, as lead in the soil of Freddy Gray’s neighborhood had robbed him of intellectual capacity long before police officers robbed him of his life. Power Malu emphasized the need for more urban Latinos to get involved in environmental awareness. Meghan Wilson, a senior Spanish and Sociology major with an Education minor, was particularly struck by a poet who told her personal story of struggle growing up Afro-Latino and feeling excluded in white, black and Latino culture: “We’ve learned about the history of discrimination and the challenges faced by Latinos, so it was inspiring to hear from a person who is living that reality today, but fighting and taking pride in her heritage, her identity, and her skin color.” Sophomore Valeria Mendoza felt that experiencing the Pregones festival was the best part of the trip because it provided such a diverse set of Latino points of view. She noted, “In class we see primarily the big picture, but here it was smaller with more specific and personal experiences. We could see what is similar or different across experiences and groups and hear people’s feelings.”

Kudos to the students for amazing energy (and Professor Jaime Orrego for organizing, and then handling a very long day of NYC driving and parking!). After this packed day, we trekked to the hotel, had an amazing pan-Latino dinner, and checked out the East River waterfront across which we could see the Empire State Building in lower Manhattan. Professor Orrego and a group of students even took an Uber to Times Square to see the bustling, hustling city on a Saturday night!

The next day, after sleeping “late” (breakfast at 9:30 was early for some students), we headed back into Manhattan for one last stop—the 9/11 memorial and a street food festival. Full of Bolivian salteñas (empanadas) y salchipapas (french fries with cilantro and pork), we finally headed back on the long drive to campus. Senior Josephine Roy summed up the experience well:  “When I enrolled in this class I thought we would be studying the past.  Now I understand we are studying the present, since people are still living with the impacts of the past today.”

For more information on the locations, activists, and artists mentioned in this piece, see https://www.elmuseo.org/ , http://www.viajeroart.com/work , http://sofritomediagroup.com/ ,   https://www.bronxnative.com/ , https://pregonesprtt.org/ , https://www.pepatian.org/roberto-simply-rob-vassilarakis/ ,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caridad_de_la_Luzhttps://www.facebook.com/IamPowermalu

Or if you are an Instagram user, you can check out @viajero, @thebronxnative, @powermalu, @labrujanyc, @simply_rob_vassilarakis, @pregonesprtt and @urbanjibaro.

History Majors Present at Phi Alpha Theta Conference

On Saturday, November 23, three Saint Anselm College students joined 41 other history majors from 15 New England colleges and universities at Salem State University to present their research at the Phi Alpha Theta New England Regional Conference.  One Thing After Another caught up with Maria Gregor, Dena Miller, and Nicholas Meissner to ask them about the experience.

Maria Gregor ’21

Q: What was your presentation about?

A: I presented my research seminar thesis which argues that Renaissance courtesans were early feminists who have been omitted from the feminist narrative. The poetry of the likes of renowned Venetian courtesan Veronica Franco are not only left out of the narrative of Renaissance history, but from the history of feminist writings. I believe that this omission indicates that courtesan women were excluded from academia and the category of feminist literature due to scholars’ disproportionate fixation on their sex work rather than their scholarly achievements.

Q: What was it like to present your research at an academic conference? 

A: I greatly enjoyed presenting at Phi Alpha Theta, and it was interesting to hear the research topics inside and outside of my own panel. My panelwas focused on gender and race in Early Modern Europe, and all of the topics presented during this segment were linked by rampant negative assumptions about specific groups of people [Spanish colonists, women, courtesans]. Talking with other students outside of my own college gave me the opportunity to gain additional perspectives on my research and re-evaluate the most effective aspects of my thesis.

Dena Miller ’20

Q: On what did you present?

A: I presented my senior thesis, “Mary of Hungary and the Political Manipulation of Gendered Assumptions.”

Q: What did you think of the conference? 

A: Initially, the idea of presenting my research at a conference was intimidating but once the program began, I didn’t feel that way anymore. Instead, it was interesting. It was cool to hear from other undergraduate students about their research. There was a supportive atmosphere because we all knew what it took to produce research papers of this sort. When I got up to give my presentation, I didn’t feel like I was being judged, as I was afraid I was going to be. I don’t know if I would do it again, but I do value the experience of presenting and showing off what I have worked so hard on.

Nick Meissner ’20

Q: What was the topic of your presentation?

A: I presented my history thesis on the involvement of the United States in the Guatemalan Civil War between 1965 and 1968. During these years, officials in the State Department, Office of Public Safety (a bureau to the USAID), and the CIA-trained the Guatemalan police and military in counterinsurgency warfare. The result was state-sanctioned terrorism with right-wing death squads, indiscriminate violence committed by government forces in the countryside, and selective violence practiced by the police via an efficient archive system.

What was it like to share your research at an academic conference?

I found it very engaging to share the results of my research with other history students from different colleges and universities. It was personally intriguing to be placed in a discussion group whose members presented theses with similar stories of American political and/or economic imperialism in the post-war world (i.e. Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Cuba before 1959). We were all able to connect our arguments into a larger historical trend of foreign interventionism abroad during the Cold War.

Moore and Small Study the Relationship between Guns and Evangelicals

Last academic year, Professor Andy Moore obtained a summer research grant from Saint Anselm College’s Center for Ethics in Business and Governance. Moore used part of the grant to pay History major William Small ‘22 a stipend to serve as a research assistant. One Thing after Another asked them about the project on which they worked together.

The blog first asked Professor Moore some questions.

Q: Please tell us about your research topic.

A: Within the past couple of years, I started to notice a public and very distinctive relationship between Protestant evangelicals and the gun rights movement. This project explores that relationship both historically and in its current state. So in a sense, I am exploring the 21st-century culture wars and the nature of the conservative movement now. If we created a Venn diagram of the people I will be studying, there would be considerable overlap between Protestant evangelicals and gun rights supporters. Both groups are politically conservative, both tend to come from rural areas or the South, and both supported Donald Trump by overwhelming majorities in 2016. Beyond simply acknowledging the overlap, however, I hope to tease out some of the theological underpinnings of these evangelicals’ connection to guns and the Second Amendment.

Q: How did a historian come to work with the Center for Ethics in Business and Governance?

A: I have been developing a new course called “Guns in America” that I am teaching for the first time this fall. As part of my interest in guns, I started to notice these examples of Protestant evangelicals closely aligning themselves with gun rights, the National Rifle Association, and defending the Second Amendment. I started to collect news accounts and other sources about this trend, thinking I might come back to it at some point after I finished other projects that I have been working on for a long time.

When the Center for Ethics in Business and Governance (CEBG) announced its summer research grant, I started thinking about the ethical questions inherent in this topic. Because I think this could be a great opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary conversation with another discipline, I reconsidered the project in light of the CEBG’s mission. A good friend who is an ethicist critiqued my original proposal for me, so even in writing the proposal I have engaged in interdisciplinary conversation.

For me, one aspect of the grant that made it attractive was the opportunity to work with a student researcher. Will Small agreed to work with me this summer to track down and analyze sources. Last year, Will had helped me locate primary sources to use in my new course, “Guns in America,” so this gave the chance for us to continue that research and take it in a different direction.

Q: What types of sources were available for this project?

A: Will found a lot of online sources that were relevant. Those include news stories from both Christian and secular publications, as well as blog entries and discussion forums by activists on both sides and by people who have given this issue some theological thought. Also, I visited the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives in Nashville, Tennessee. The Southern Baptists are the largest evangelical denomination, and they have leadership that has been increasingly political the past 40 years. There I found official church publications and letters from lay Southern Baptists from all over the country about gun rights and gun control. About 20 years ago, there was a mass church shooting at a Baptist church in Fort Worth, Texas. I found some information about that shooting and its aftermath.

Q: Given the controversial nature of gun rights in the United States, have you envisioned opening up the discussion of them to Saint Anselm students in any way? If so, how?

A: I hope so. The research grant requires a public presentation of the research. I hope that proves to be an opportunity to engage with students—or anyone with an interest in guns and gun-related issue—in a fruitful dialogue about a controversial topic.

 Q: Besides the public presentation, what are the goals of this research?

A: I hope that an academic journal article will be the ultimate product of this research. By the end of the year, I expect Will and I to have a serviceable article manuscript that we can begin to shop around to potential journals for feedback and eventual publication.

Next, One Thing after Another turned to Will Small for some questions.

Q: What was your experience doing research over the summer? What skills did you develop? 

 A: I was allotted approximately 125 hours of work over the summer, so I decided to schedule this number out to encompass the entire season rather than front or back-load it all. I ended up with a routine that involved working two hours a day every week, minus weekends. Towards August, though, I began to work three hours every other day, including weekends, as I felt that it fit my schedule better. I found, as probably is to be expected, that digging up new materials on the topic was more engaging than taking detailed notes on what I had already found. Throughout the project, I was able to develop efficient methods of online research and further my knowledge use of the college’s databases. I was also able to put some analytical thought into action in attempting to figure out how all of these pieces of research fit into the larger narrative of American or evangelical history or culture.

 Q: Did anything surprise you during this research?

A: As Professor Moore mentioned, the majority of my research involved finding and taking notes on newspapers or other editorial articles that expressed a Christian perspective on gun rights. Surprisingly, much of what I found from evangelical authors supported a more restricted view of gun rights, especially from the Reverend Robert Schenck, president of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute and a faith consultant for many officials in Washington, D.C. In fact, according to an August 2017 survey by the National Association of Evangelicals (https://www.nae.net/evangelical-leaders-own-guns-but-want-stricter-laws/), although 58% of evangelical leaders live in a home with guns, 55% of them also support stricter gun laws. I was not expecting the sheer volume of pro-gun control (or gun safety, as some prefer to call it) evangelical writings. Additionally, in rifling through public forums, I was a little surprised to find how common concealed carrying in churches is in some places in America. Since I had never come across this phenomenon in my daily life or given it much thought, it was interesting to find a way that others in the country lived differently.

Gibb Reads Spain’s Early Modern History

As History major Nelson Gibb ’21 returns to campus, One Thing after Another decided to ask him about his experience learning paleography (that is, deciphering old handwriting) and transcribing sixteenth-century Spanish documents from the Archivo General de Simancas over the summer for Professor Perrone. Gibb obliged us in this thoughtful interview.

Q: How did you learn paleography?

A: I learned paleography both with the help of Professor Perrone and an online course that covered the basics of the subject. This course, through the website Coursera, highlighted basic steps one should take when presented with a document. It also gave a general overview of the history of medieval Spain which was the period these documents were from. Spending much time in Professor Perrone’s office going over every letter of every document as well as refining my skills throughout the entire summer has made me feel confident in the art of paleography.

Q: What were the challenges of transcribing sixteenth-century documents?

A: By far, the hardest thing about transcribing such documents was the penmanship of the various writers and scribes I was presented with. Each writer had a different writing style from the next, and getting used to each of them was certainly very hard. Another challenge was that these documents featured many abbreviations which could be dealt with only by keeping a list of all of their meanings. Very often I would come across a few letters or even just a symbol that the original scribe had written to avoid writing common words and place names too often; these all had to be memorized or written down. Obviously working 130 hours on this project as well was challenging, as sorting through so much data at times became tedious. Overall, however, I would not trade the experience, and I am very glad that I was able to help with this project.

Q: What did you find most interesting about the archival documents? Did anything surprise you?

A: What was most interesting to me was how thorough the scribes were about their discounting. These documents were filled with very specific amounts that certain monasteries had been discounted—as well as the very date that certain transactions had taken place. I was surprised by how important this information must have been to those who organized and received it. I also appreciated the occasional 500-year-old doodle on the sides of some pages done by the original scribes.

Q: What do you believe you gained from transcribing documents for a data base? What did you learn about Spanish history from using digital images of original sources?

A: I believe that by having the opportunity to transcribe these documents I have learned how to identify early modern Spanish abbreviations, better recognize long strings of Roman numerals, and apply myself for long hours at a time to a project with great significance. Obviously, the online course taught me a lot about the history of medieval and early modern Spain, but nothing could compare to the in-depth look that this paleography project gave me.

Q: How has this research contributed to your studies as a history major?

A: The medieval and early modern periods in Europe have always been very interesting to me, and this subject allowed me to fully invest myself in the day-to-day life of sixteenth-century scribes. There is something awe-inspiring about not only learning about this time period, but immersing oneself in it. The idea that these documents have not been transcribed by anybody before now is also very humbling. I feel that my knowledge of day-to-day affairs in early modern Spain has been deepened, and to look this closely at history is something that I had always hoped my college career would prepare me for. I will also be touring Spain with the Saint Anselm College Choir in the spring, and I look forward to gaining an even deeper understanding of the places and names that popped up often in the documents.

Q: What made you decide to be a history major?

A: I actually started my freshman year as theology major, but I always knew that the history of theology was what truly interested me more than anything else. Because of this, I tended to be more engaged in theology courses that discussed the history of the Hebrews or Christians, or of the church itself. With the help of many amazing history professors, I realized that I could combine history and theology by majoring in one and minoring in the other. Before I had officially switched majors, I took Origins of European Civilization with Professor Perrone and Asian Civilization with Professor Masur. These two classes confirmed that history was what I was truly passionate about, and I am grateful that I have been able to focus heavily on it as well as theology.

Frankonis Discusses His Work at the College Archives

Several weeks ago, Ed Frankonis ’19 delivered an excellent and fascinating talk on an internship that he did with the College Archives. This internship consisted of curating items (mainly photographs) associated with Aurel Stuart, a Manchester photographer who was active for over 60 years and worked extensively with the College. We asked Ed to give us a brief summary of his talk (he had to cut a great deal out since he referred to a large number of images on display), and he happily obliged.


Thank you for coming.

I’m Ed Frankonis, a senior History major at the College, and I began this internship as a 4-credit class at the beginning of the semester.

I want to start by defining what an archive is. An archive is a repository for public or historical documentation for preservation. It is, in effect, the permanent memory of a place, person, or thing. A library is information about the past and present, but an archive is information for the libraries of the future.

So, with that in mind, the archive I worked on contained a variety of objects; old books, manuscripts, diaries, and, of course, photographs. The goal of my internship was to take boxes like the ones before you and enter “metadata” into an Excel spreadsheet, that is, information about an artifact like a photograph (e.g. standard measurements, BW or COLOR, amount of copies), and determine if we needed to set it aside for any reason (e.g. poor condition or rips, emulation, crinkling, silvering, etc.). In effect, I was helping to preserve the College’s history. One such key player in the College’s history was a photographer named Aurel Stuart.

Stuart was a New Hampshire native who started his own photography business after serving as a bombardier over Europe during World War II. His love of photography during the war “kept him sane” as he lost colleagues to anti-aircraft fire. After working at a photographer’s studio for six months he opened up his own business, where (according to the job list he gave us) he wound up taking photos for a whole host of events that included many persons of interest. And he did so for 65 years. From the 1950’s into the 1960’s, he took photos of technical objects to train engineers, various shows, and the usual variety of weddings and graduations. Later, starting in the 1970s, he did fewer engineering photos and more insurance company photos as well as more pictures for Saint Anselm College.

Now I’d like to showcase and discuss some of his photos here. As you can see, Stuart shot photos of the College for a wide variety of reasons. Some images show the architecture, others portray social occasions, and still others depict ceremonies. As you can tell, some things at this school just don’t change. Others, however, move on rapidly (hairstyles, clothing, buildings, etc.)

So why focus on Stuart? The College employed more than one photographer to preserve our memory in Alumni magazines and archival collections (these photographs will influence how people remember things), so why this particular individual? Well, he is the reason I am in a HAZMAT suit. As you can see [Frankonis showed an images of a cluttered attic], when Stuart died, aged nearly 100, he left quite a collection behind, over which sat a large, asbestos filled death-trap.

So, at the behest of the College Archivist, Keith Chevalier, I journeyed down one early Tuesday morning, donned this suit, and put small boxes of photographs (which included images of Saint Anselm College basketball teams, army artillery drills, weddings, and so on) into larger boxes, separating the ones with College material from the rest (about 17 big boxes in total by the end). These photos, many of which will require a chemistry lab to clean (as the local fauna of the attic decided to use them as a latrine), are incredibly important. They help preserve the memory of the College.

And that’s what a history major can do; in fact, that’s often how history is made. Such mundane acts put viable material in archives, which shape memory, which shape how people tell the history of a place, which impacts how much change can occur, and which in turn impacts identity, and so on.

Hummel Reflects on Her Time at the NHIOP

As history major Sarah Hummel ’19 prepares to graduate, One Thing after Another wanted to ask her about her extensive experience at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) where she’s been working since 2017. Hummel obliged us in this thoughtful interview.

Q: What inspired you to work at the NHIOP? How did you get the job? When did you begin working there?

A: The opportunity to work at the NHIOP arose while I was taking HI363: Public History with Professor Salerno during the fall of 2017. One aspect of this class was curatorial work, and our project was to curate displays at the Institute. We had the opportunity to go through the Institute’s archives, choose materials, and collaborate with our partners and classmates to tell a story through a museum display. It was a neat experience! I had been interested in museum work for a few months at that point, and that project got me even more interested. After that project was complete, there was still a fair amount of curatorial work to be done at the NHIOP. At the same time, it is my understanding that Ann Camann, my boss, wanted to embrace the historical and archival aspect of the Institute and make exhibits, like the ones that our class created, a regular part of the Institute’s offerings. In October, I was offered the job to be a part of this process, and I started working at the NHIOP that same month.

Q: What do you believe that you have gained from your time at NHIOP? Are there any history related skills or pieces of knowledge that you have particularly enjoyed?

A: I have gained so much from my time at the NHIOP! First, the experience of having a job in which I contributed to a larger goal, vision, and project—that has been rewarding. The job has taught me discipline, but it has also taught me creativity and critical thinking. In particular, brainstorming ideas for exhibits is a fun process, but it can be challenging to tailor those ideas to the specific materials in the archives. It is a way of thinking that takes practice, but it has been good training for my brain. The job has definitely taught me the value of communication and collaboration—none of these exhibits would exist without teamwork! I have been blessed with wonderful coworkers and a great boss, and we are able to work together, provide constructive feedback, and work off of each other’s’ ideas to propel ourselves to success. In terms of history-related skills or pieces of knowledge, I have enjoyed being able to explore the archives. There is a lot of fascinating material in the NHIOP collection, and I hope even a fraction of it gets its day in the sun.

Q: Why do you believe the projects you have worked on are important?

A: The projects we have worked on are important for several reasons. First, they are a teaching tool. Museum exhibits and other kinds of curated displays are alternative educational materials, and, following the mission of the Institute, we are committed to keeping our exhibits nonpartisan. This way, guests can visit and learn from our exhibits, but the material they are consuming is not biased or partisan. It is just information presented in a pleasing and thought-provoking way. This form of learning can be harder to find in today’s world, but unbiased information about the past and present is crucial in order to reach informed conclusions and decisions. Additionally, the projects we are working on are significant because they are a jumping-off point for a larger conversation. That is what we hope to inspire in every visitor – a desire to think more about what he/she has seen and read, and ideally discuss this material with others. For example, our most recent exhibit is about the concept of equality, both during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln and in the modern historical context of social movements. We want people to ask questions about what they have seen: What is equality? Does it exist? How are conditions different now compared to 150 years ago? To 50 years ago? 25 years ago? What can equality look like in the future? If we can spark a conversation about topics such as this one, then we are encouraging civic engagement, and civic engagement is the heart and soul of democracy. People can become personally involved in their history, in their present, and, consequently, in their future. In this way, critical thinking and conversation are empowering.

Q: Could you tell us a little more about the “Perspectives on Equality” exhibit? What story or stories do the displays tell? Please describe the experiences of and the methods used in your work.

A: “Perspectives on Equality” is the newest installment in the American Ideals series that we started at the beginning of the year. The “American ideal” that we are examining in this exhibit is equality. The exhibit is contained within a two-sided glass display case, so my co-curators and I divided our story into two segments. The first segment revolves around the understanding of and debate over equality, particularly racial equality, during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. The Institute recently received a large collection of Lincoln-related objects, and we were eager to use as many of these as we could. The second segment studies equality in the context of the social movements of the latter half of the twentieth century, with a spotlight on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It might seem that these two segments have little in common, but what pulls them together is the concept of equality: how was it interpreted and handled by different groups throughout the course of American history. Equality is seen as a concept that is fundamentally “American,” and we are trying to explore what that means, exactly, and how that definition has panned out at various points in history and for various groups. The timing of the exhibit was also convenient, as it corresponded with Presidents’ Day and Black History Month.

In terms of methods that we used, I would like to emphasize the collaborative nature of this process. For every exhibit that we curate, my co-curators and I start by meeting to brainstorm a theme. For this exhibit, I believe we actually went back and forth a few times to come up with the exact theme that we wanted to convey, and our planning started, if I am not mistaken, before Christmas break. After devising a theme, we divide and conquer the curatorial tasks. I worked on the Lincoln segment, while my co-curator, Matt Solomon, worked on the social movements segment. After a few weeks, we sent our written “storyboards” to Lexie Soucy, who works at the NHIOP, to read, edit, and send out for printing. The “storyboards” are essentially long, detailed labels that we have professionally printed on high-quality poster board. Within about a week, we had the case put together and the storyboards installed. During this time, I was also working on the Reach display, which is a set of curated quotations and photographs related to the exhibit theme that appear on the televisions in the Institute. I was also putting together the book display in the NHIOP Political Library, again related to equality and social movements. The three parts of the exhibit – our three forums for storytelling, if you will – opened in February

Q: What have you been working on since the end of this project?

A: Since the end of the “Perspectives on Equality” exhibit and the coordinated Reach and library displays, I have been working on two projects. The first is a written guide to curating exhibits at NHIOP, which I wrote in preparation for a meeting with my co-curators, including next year’s curatorial team. The main emphasis since the new exhibit opened has been the transition to the new curators; there are two graduating seniors among the curatorial staff. In writing the guide and having this meeting, we are trying to make the transition as seamless as possible. I have also been compiling a portfolio of all of the written work that I have done at the NHIOP for the last two years. It is nice to have all of the text in one location, and I hope to be able to use this as a writing sample or as an example of an extensive project when applying for jobs. It is also incredible to see how much curatorial work we have done at NHIOP in the past two years! I am on page twenty-five so far…

Q: We understand that as you near the end of your graduating year, you have been compiling a portfolio of the work you have done for NHIOP over the years. What other projects or special tasks have you been a part of? Do you have a favorite? If so, what makes it your favorite?

A: The portfolio is dedicated to the exhibit work, which includes the Reach and library displays. I also included a description of the curation process, as well as some photographs of the displays for good measure. In terms of other projects that I have been a part of at the NHIOP, I am honored to have been a member of the Kevin B. Harrington Student Ambassador Program since January of my freshman year. Through this program, I have met some of the biggest names in politics, heard some incredible speakers, and attended some great events. For example, I had the opportunity to work at the Republican Presidential Debate in February 2016. It was an experience I will never forget. I have also met many wonderful people in the program! I applied for and was accepted as Community Outreach Committee co-chair early in my junior year, and I have cherished the opportunity to take a leadership role in this program.

Q: Do you have any post-graduation plans? How does it feel to nearly be finished with your time at Saint Anselm’s?

A: That’s a great question! At the moment, I am trying to keep my options open. I am planning on getting a job after graduation, then I am probably going back to graduate school next spring. There are so many career options, it is hard to choose just one! I cannot believe that my four years are almost over. They truly flew by. It feels like just yesterday I was walking into my World History class with Professor Hardin . . . and that was the beginning of my freshman year! I am nervous to be moving out of my comfort zone, but excited to be starting the next chapter of my life.

History Department Inducts Nine Students into Phi Alpha Theta

From left: Bobby Hughes ‘20, Tyler Viger ’19, Matthew Bacon ‘20, Breda Holland ’20, Edward Frankonis ’19, Allison Reh ‘20, Dena Miller ’20, Harrison Morin ’19, Chapter Advisor Professor Sean Perrone, and PAT Member Sarah Hummel ’19 who inducted the new members. Not in photo: Maxwell Ernst ’19.

On Wednesday, April 3, 2019, the Saint Anselm College History Department inducted nine new members into the National History Honor Society Phi Alpha Theta in front of their parents and friends.

Phil Alpha Theta is a professional society whose mission is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication, and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians. The society also seeks to bring students and teachers together for intellectual and social exchanges which promote and assist historical research and publication by members. There are 970 chapters and approximately 400,000 members in the United States. The Saint Anselm College Sigma Omega chapter was founded in 1972.

Undergraduate students must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours (4 courses) in History with a minimum History GPA of 3.1 and a 3.0 overall GPA. Members receive four issues of The Historian and are eligible to present research at one of 35 annual regional Phi Alpha Theta regional conferences. They can also apply for funding for undergraduate and graduate scholarships and prizes.

From left: Assistant Professor Sarah Hardin, Bobby Hughes ‘20, Tyler Viger ’19, Matthew Bacon ‘20, Breda Holland ’20, Edward Frankonis ’19, Professor Hugh Dubrulle, Allison Reh ‘20, Dena Miller ’20, Professor Sean Perrone, Harrison Morin ’19, and Associate Professor Silvia Shannon.