It was two years ago, April of 2019, that I first came to the Special Collections and Archives. I was a pre-frosh at WesFest, awkwardly wandering across campus with a wrinkled assortment of info sheets and campus maps. The disorienting stream of events and people left me with a nagging sense of worry: maybe Wesleyan wasn’t the place for me, maybe it was all too much.
Queen of home: her reign from infancy to age, from attic to cellar by Emma Churchman Hewitt is a comprehensive, 528-page introduction to all aspects of household management. Presented in a narrative style that addresses readers directly, Hewitt and her invited experts take on the task of explaining to the novice homemaker how to succeed as the “queen” of her home.
This grim entry in Wesleyan’s Alumni Record, published in 1883, offers a sad glimpse into the tangled web of Wesleyan’s early connections with Africa. Read in context with the Missionary Lyceum logbook (“Curiosities belonging to the Missionary Lyceum”) pictured above, inventories from the Archaeology & Anthropology Collection, correspondence in President Willbur Fisk’s Papers, and other sources, we can piece together a network of personal relationships and events that likely led to Wesleyan’s holding one of the largest groups of pre-1850 cultural objects from Monrovia, Liberia, in an American collection.
Cartes-de-visite, such as this clever little pastiche from the prominent New York studio of C.D. Fredricks, became commonplace in the U.S. in the period just before the Civil War. Here, the giant photographed head of an anonymous man sits atop a pint-sized caricature of his body, the angle of his spindly legs echoing his spectacular handlebar moustache.