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History of Dartmouth College: Getting started

A guide resources for conducting research in Rauner Library's Special Collections on the history of Dartmouth College. It includes finding aids to primary source collections, photographs, and digital collections.

About this Guide

This guide is designed to help individuals researching the history of Dartmouth College in Rauner Special Collections Library.

The main sources of materials in Rauner related to College history will be found in the College Archives. The Archives are made up of a rich array of materials including documents, such as minutes, accounts, correspondence, reports and publications, generated by the College, and its affiliated schools, as well as various student groups, student organizations and fraternal organizations. In addition, the archives holds approximately 400,000 photographic images of the College, audio recordings (including oral histories) and video recordings.

Featured Item

Moors Charity School Crib Sheet

This crib sheet was created by a student in Moors Charity School in the late 1800s. Based on the size, it was probably used for cheating rather than studying!

Helpful Links

Getting Started

Secondary Sources

The history of Dartmouth College should always be viewed in the context of American and world history. For secondary, or background, resources consult the subject guide for History

Histories of the College

While there are many histories of the College the two most complete are History of Dartmouth College by Leon B. Richardson, covering Eleazar Wheelock's (founder of the College) early life through about 1930 and A History of Dartmouth College and the Town of Hanover New Hampshire by Frederick Chase, covering the founding through 1909 [Available online via HathiTrust].

Vertical Files

Vertical Files are files compiled by librarians and archivists in Rauner on subjects, issues, events, people or places that are frequently asked about by researchers. These files contain everything from documents to newspaper clippings to event programs. Vertical files are a great place to begin your research. If your research is not in-depth, you may be able to find everything you need in a vertical file. Vertical files can be requested at the Ruaner Reference Desk.

The Dartmouth

The Dartmouth (a daily student newspaper published from 1839-1842 and again from 1867 to the present) is another useful resource for researching Dartmouth's history. Rauner maintains two indexes to The Dartmouth. The first index covers The Dartmouth from its inception in 1839 to about 1983 and is in the form of a card file. The second index covers 1983 to the present and is available online

General Catalog 1769-1940

The General Catalog contains lists of all trustees, officers and faculty with dates of service. In addition it has brief biographical sketches of all graduates and non-graduates arranged by class for the undergraduate College and for each of the associated schools. It provides lists of all advanced and honorary degree recipients. There is a general index to graduates, a geographical index, as well as an index of officers.

Alumni and Affiliates Files

Rauner keeps files on most deceased alumni/ae of the College, faculty, administrators and honorary degree recipients. These files contain college records--such as alumni questionnaires, military service forms, newspaper clippings, and photographs. Alumni and affiliates files are an excellent place to begin research on an individual associated with the institution. As with vertical files you will need to request these files at the Rauner Reference Desk. Affiliates files (files on select former faculty, staff, and important individuals associated with the College) are available online.

Information on Buildings

The best overview of the history of Dartmouth's built environment is at Dartmo a Website maintained by Dartmouth alumnus Scott Meacham.

College Archivist

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Peter Carini
Rauner Special Collections Library

6065 Webster Hall

(603) 646-3728