Digital Tools Open Up Bowdoin’s Past to Students

The following story explores the ways in which Bowdoin students, staff, and faculty are using digital technology to analyze old texts and objects. The article explores several research projects conducted this past year into three collections held by the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections and Archives at Bowdoin College. This department lives on the third floor of the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, and its small staff is always eager to help students and scholars explore its holdings — whether they wish to use traditional, or cutting-edge, techniques to explore history.

Digital Tools Open Up Bowdoin's Past to Students

Analysis by Rudalevige: ‘Happy (Belated) Birthday, Watergate Break-in’ (Monkey Cage)

Andrew Rudalevige

Noting that this past weekend marked the 45th anniversary of Watergate — the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the office building bearing that name — Thomas Brackett Reed Professor of Government Andrew Rudalevige breaks down the “high crimes and misdemeanors” the burglary prompted or revealed.

Read Rudalevige’s piece for Monkey Cage, the Washington Post political science blog.

The Last of the Heath Hens: Special Collections Receives Grant to Preserve 1930s Ornithological Research

Alfred Otto Gross with Heath Hen, Martha’s Vineyard, May 16, 1923

It’s full circle moment for Edward Minot, the interim director of the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island.

Films documenting ornithological research done in the 1930s by his grandfather, Bowdoin professor of biology Alfred Otto Gross, Kent Island’s first director, will be digitized and preserved, thanks to a grant Bowdoin’s George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives has received from the National Film Preservation Foundation.

Minot discovered the 35 mm films, as well as several reels of 16 mm films, in his mother’s attic.

A biologist and ornithologist like his grandfather, Minot immediately recognized the research potential and fragility of the films.

“After a lifetime of hearing about my grandfather’s work with Heath Hens and his trips with MacMillan, it will be thrilling to see movies of the events for which I’ve had mostly an oral history and a few photographs,” wrote Minot in an email from Kent Island. Read the rest of the story in Bowdoin News.

Standing Joe: William Doak ’17 Brews Trilingual Honors Thesis from Chairless Italian Cafés

William Doak ’17 with Massimiliano Rosati from Gran’ Caffè Gambrinus in Naples

It was an observation made when passing through the Bologna airport — that its café, oddly, had no chairs — that led William Doak ’17 to write a trilingual 146-page honors thesis in English, Italian, and French.

The chairless café piqued Doak’s curiosity about why people stand up to drink their coffee in Italy, rather than sitting down as they do in neighboring France. That question led to a research project that covers the cultural history of French and Italian cafés, and how coffee drinking is tied up with modernism, industry, and the national identities of the two countries.

Read the story in Bowdoin News.