Devil's Tale Posts
Mad Men‘s midseason finale juxtaposes the U.S. space program and Napoleon as twin parables on the successes and failures of grand vision and ambition. The Apollo 11 launch and landing on the moon in July 1969 provides a running theme through the episode, and creates a poignant contrast between everyday life and a preoccupation with events 100,000 miles out in space.
The episode opens with Bert Cooper trying to watch the Apollo liftoff and yelling at the maid to turn off the vacuum cleaner. Meanwhile in California, Ted Chaough’s existential crisis while flying over Claremont terrifies the Sunkist representatives; in a later phone call he tells Jim Cutler that he wants to leave advertising altogether. Lou Avery complains to Jim Cutler that Don’s appearance in the Philip Morris client meeting cost them the Commander business to Leo Burnett. Betty entertains house guests that include surly teenager Sean and his nerdy younger brother Neil. Harry’s partnership in the firm is still under consideration, not finalized, and serves as a nodal point in a power struggle between Jim Cutler and Roger Sterling. The creative team preps for their presentation to Burger Chef in Indianapolis, while Pete worries that “now we just have to pray everything goes smoothly on the moon.”
Elsewhere at the agency, SC&P staff members speculate on the consistency of the moon’s surface while Don receives a breach of contract letter from the agency attorney. It turns out that Jim Cutler had initiated the letter in an attempt to force Don out, a move that enrages some of the other partners who hadn’t been notified before their names were placed on the letter. Don calls for a vote on his status, which is affirmed with only Joan and Jim voting to remove him. Joan, bitter that Don’s actions have cost her money, nonetheless criticizes Jim for his tactics: “You shouldn’t have done that.” Don phones Megan to tell her about the tensions at the agency, but when he suggests to her that it may be an opportunity to start over on the west coast, Megan hesitates before breaking things off with Don.
On Sunday all eyes are watching the lunar landing on television; most are amazed but surly Sean complains about the cost of the space race. When Sally repeats this to Don over the phone, he tells her “Don’t be so cynical.” Bert Cooper says a quiet “Bravo.” Shortly after, Roger receives a call that Bert has died, and goes to the office to remove Bert’s name plate from his door. He meets Joan and Jim Cutler there. Jim uses Bert’s death to suggest an opportunity to get rid of Don, to which Roger objects. Roger informs Don of Bert’s passing, and Don goes to Peggy’s hotel room to tell her to do the Burger Chef presentation herself. Roger meets with an associate at McCann Erickson who wants the Chevy team for the Buick account, but Roger suggests that McCann buy a stake in SC&P. McCann is interested only if Roger can keep the creative team of Don and Ted together.
The Burger Chef management is wowed by Peggy’s presentation, where she used the lunar landing event as a symbol of people’s hunger for connection and turned it into an analogy for the kinds of connections often missed at family dinners mediated by ever-present television. Burger Chef, she argues, offers a place to re-connect families. Her presentation ultimately wins the account. When Don returns home from Indianapolis, Roger is waiting for him and tells him of the McCann offer. Roger says it’s the only way to save the agency, as he fears Jim won’t stop until he gets rid of everyone. The next day Roger calls a partners’ meeting to announce the McCann offer; Don talks Ted into staying on and the partners’ unanimously agree to the buyout—including Jim Cutler who sees he has been outmaneuvered by Roger. On his way back to his office, Don sees the ghost of Bert Cooper, singing “The Best Things in Life Are Free.”
Last night’s episode featured references to the space mission, Napoleon, Newport, Popsicle, electric percolators and The Wild Bunch, among other things. Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.
A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.
When Charles J. “Charlie” Soong arrived at Trinity College in 1881 as the school’s first international student, he had already seen much more of the world than the average student. Born in Hainan Province, China as Han Chiao-shun in 1866, Charlie traveled to the Dutch East Indies as a young boy to work, eventually sailing to Boston in 1878 to work for his maternal uncle’s tea and silk business. After his uncle adopted him, Charlie’s name changed for the first time to Soon Chai-Jui.
Little is known of Charlie’s time in Boston, except that it took less than a year for him to realize he wanted more in life than working for his uncle. His first step in a new direction was to join the Revenue Cutter Service, predecessor to today’s U.S. Coast Guard, in January 1879. The popular rumor is that he stowed away, but this was not mentioned in a 1943 report on Charlie’s service by a Coast Guard representative. Influenced by his new captain, Eric Gabrielson, Charlie became interested in Methodism.
Charlie’s new career took him all along the East Coast, including the port city of Wilmington, North Carolina, where he was baptized in the Methodist Church as Charles Jones Soon (the “g” is added after he returns to China). It is also in Wilmington that he met the Reverend Thomas Ricaud, who first brought Charlie to the attention of his future benefactors: Julian Carr, Durham tobacco magnate and philanthropist, and Braxton Craven, president of Trinity College in Randolph County. Approving of Charlie’s new desire to become a Methodist missionary, and intrigued by the idea of a native Chinese minister joining existing church missions in China, Trinity College agreed to enroll Charlie as a special student in April 1881. His tuition was paid by Julian Carr.
Attending Trinity must have been a huge adjustment for Charlie. He had lived in the United States for less than three years, most of that time spent in the cutter service. Then there was the fact that he was moving from the northeast to attend what was very much a “Southern” college, less than twenty years after the conclusion of the Civil War. Trinity College was hardly a racially or geographically diverse institution, with 93% of students from North Carolina and none from farther north than Virginia. There were eighteen students from present-day Cherokee, North Carolina, although little is known about these students other than they were, like Charlie, were enrolled in a special course of study.
According to fellow student Jerome Dowd, Charlie “attracted a great deal of attention from the faculty, the students, and the people of the village because of his racial contrast to the Caucasian and because of his exceptional sprightliness.” Some of this attention was negative, as Dowd notes, “boys were disposed to tease him and play all sorts of pranks upon him.” Yet Charlie persevered, remaining “very amiable, full of fun, and always ready to respond in a playful spirit.” While at Trinity, Charlie lodged at the house of Professor Gannaway, and his studies focused primarily on English language and the Bible.
The strongest traces of Charlie’s time in North Carolina are preserved through the contact that he had with his Durham and Trinity friends. Besides the Carr family, Charlie befriended James H. Southgate, a successful Durham insurance agent, and his daughters Mattie and Annie. To “Miss Mattie” in 1882, Charlie sticks to fairly innocent topics. He reports that he recently received a letter from “Miss Annie” (Mattie’s sister), that “all the boys are well” but they “have to study heaps” for the end of the semester.
Another of Charlie’s early letters, written in elegant script although imperfect English, is addressed to J. Gordon Hackett, who was a schoolmate boarding in the same house as Charlie. Writing shortly after commencement in June 1882, Charlie talks about in Randolph County, President Craven’s illness (he died later that year), and missing Hackett’s company. But like any teenage boy might, he talks mainly about…well…girls:
“[B]oth of Misses Field are here yet they will go home next friday morning. I tell you they are very pleasant young Ladies I like them ever so much. I had heard they spoke good words of you and your welfare. I was very much interesting when they compliments you so highly. I enjoyed it. Trinity is very pleasant now, but I don’t know what it will be after the [girls] go off. Dr. Gunn went off this morning and Fortisty moved down here last evening. He is now in your room. Miss Bidgood is here yet I believed. She will stay until next month. She looks as pretty as ever. I went to see her and Miss Cassie sometime since. She talk right lively…
Golden, I been had good times with the [girls] all day long. never looked at the books hardly since [Commencement] except the Bible. Everything is [quiet] now. Miss Mamie and two other [girls] gone to visiting last night we did had big time all the [girls] Fortisty and I we went to called on Ella Carr and we had the best time you ever heard of…”
It was even rumored that the reason Charlie left Trinity to attend Vanderbilt in fall 1882 was that he had become involved with Ella Carr, niece of Julian and daughter of a professor at the College. In fact, there were ample reasons for him to transfer without a supposed illicit romance. The seminary at Vanderbilt had more specialized training for missionaries, and the Board of Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church South was headquartered in Nashville. After graduating in 1885, Charlie returned to North Carolina for several months, lecturing and preaching while visiting old friends. When he finally returned to China in 1886 as a trained missionary, Charlie would use his education and experience to build an extraordinary life and powerful family.”
Post contributed by Mary Mellon, William E. King Intern for the Duke University Archives.
In the Rubenstein Library, sometimes we primarily judge books by their covers, be they bejeweled, finely bound, or otherwise interestingly decorated. And sometimes we certainly do not. Case in point: the book below.
The Library wouldn’t acquire most copies of the third edition of Langston Hughes’s Shakespeare in Harlem, especially not a copy without its original dust jacket and rather heavily worn. But this was no ordinary copy. This appears to be Hughes’s own copy of the last edition of this book issued during his lifetime.
Not only that, Hughes made changes to fifteen of its poems, some of them dramatic shifts in the tone, rhythm, length, or meaning of the text.
The copy recently turned up in a sorority house at Lincoln University, from which it was sold at auction and entered the rare book trade. Much about the volume remains to be discovered. The changes that Hughes made in this volume have not been published or incorporated into any of the later editions of Hughes’s collected works or poems.
After weeks of angst and anxiety, Mad Men showed viewers a happier Don Draper and Peggy Olsen last night. They are finally back in sync and working well together. Peggy and Mathis survey mothers at a Burger Chef restaurant about their reasons for buying family dinners there. Pete and Bonnie fly to New York together. Peggy presents a seemingly successful Burger Chef pitch to Lou and others, but is told that Don should be the one to present it to the client, which angers her.
Megan comes to New York for the weekend and spends time looking for her fondue pot and other items she wants to bring back to Los Angeles, while Don tries to make her nostalgic for her New York home. Bob Benson comes to New York with representatives from Chevy. He has to bail one of them out of jail and is told that GM will be pulling the Chevy account and giving it to Campbell-Ewald, but that Bob will be offered a job at Buick. Peggy second guesses the Burger Chef pitch and works on it all weekend.
Pete visits his daughter Tammy, who barely recognizes him, and he is angry that Trudy is not around. He gets drunk and waits for her return, only to be told that he is no longer part of that family and doesn’t get to complain. Bonnie is angry that Pete doesn’t spend time with her in New York and leaves to go back to Los Angeles.
Don comes in to help Peggy rework the Burger Chef campaign and they manage to have productive and candid conversations. Their creative compatibility shows through and their conversations inspire a better pitch for Burger Chef. Bob visits with Joan and her family, bearing gifts for everyone. He proposes to Joan, and tells her that a marriage would be good for both of them. She says no, stating that she will hold out for love. The SC&P partners meet to discuss losing Chevy. They decide to make Harry Crane a partner, with some dissention from Joan and Roger. Don and Peggy meet Pete at a Burger Chef to sell him on the new pitch.
Last night’s episode featured references to loafers, Buick, Barbie, Fondue pots, among other things. Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.
A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.
The image above, taken from the commonplace book of E. Bradford Todd (found in the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library), is representative of a popular view of the science of phrenology. Seen today on ironic posters and T-shirts, as well as modern ceramic reproductions, the phrenological bust has come to serve as metonym for the entire science of phrenology. The image persists, but so too do misconceptions about the nature of this peculiar nineteenth-century science, which proposed to articulate and even predict the character of an individual based on the shape of the skull.
Phrenology was attractive to the masses and inspired writing of all kinds, from diary entries to letters, as well as published texts and broadsides. E. Bradford Todd, as shown above, recorded the phrenological doctrine – complete with his own sketches – into his commonplace book in mid-nineteenth-century America. Eugene Marshall, a schoolteacher in 1851 in Rhode Island, went to see a phrenological lecture and resolved to study the science, a project he took on with such zeal that he eventually attempted to phrenologize himself. Writing in 1823 when the science was still young, another individual gossiped to a friend via letter that a mutual acquaintance was looking for a wife “with all the proper bumps on her head for he is a great believer [of phrenology]” (Eliza K. Nelson papers). As seen in these letters and diaries from Duke University’s Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, from its earliest introduction, phrenology captured the mind of the public and promised solutions to life’s problems, both great and small, not least of which was the problem of crime.
With generous assistance from the History of Medicine travel grant, I recently visited the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to conduct research in support of my dissertation, “Criminal Minds: Law, Medicine, and the Phrenological Impulse in America, 1830-1890.” My research takes a serious look at the “pseudoscience” of phrenology and considers the ways in which it was viewed as truthful, scientific, and useful to nineteenth-century individuals. In particular, I examine how phrenology, at the beginning of the century, came to be viewed as a valuable possibility for crafting a criminal science avant la letter, more than half a century before the introduction of Cesare Lombroso’s positivist criminology that would later be considered the birth of modern criminology.
Phrenologists wrote early and often about the problem of crime, which was drawing attention from all corners in the nineteenth century. The growth of cities and urbanization, the increasing rapidity and ease of movement of peoples within and between countries, and the rise of mass media that made sensational stories about murder and theft national (and international) news – all of these nineteenth-century trends combined to render crime a particularly fraught problem. Yet well before “criminology” had been introduced, phrenologists and other enthusiasts were considering the ways in which this new science could be used to help solve crime.
While it was primarily intellectuals and professional phrenologists operating within a narrow orbit who ruminated on the potential of phrenology with regard to the criminal problem, we can also find glimpses of the reception of these ideas in the records of non-phrenologists who encountered the science. For example, in the diary of Jane Roberts, a British author, she records a trip on January 6, 1837, to visit a phrenologist in London, Dr. DeVille, with her friend Mrs. Phillips, Lord Byron’s daughter. During this visit, both received phrenological readings by DeVille, but they also heard a long discourse from him about the truth of the science. Interestingly, the examples DeVille chooses to illustrate and prove the science are linked directly to bad behavior and crime, explaining that attention to the developments of the mind (as read in the skull) can serve to prevent or cure evil propensities. He illustrates this claim with two examples: one story in which he identified two robbers before the fact, and a second where a father brings his son in to see DeVille, before he eventually is sent to prison for his crimes. Miss Roberts was impressed by these stories, and resolved to visit him again.
Whether or not Miss Roberts repeated her pilgrimage to the phrenologist’s office, this interaction is representative of the ways in which phrenological ideas about crime entered into vernacular culture. Phrenologists framed their enterprise as a solution to one of the era’s most pressing problems, in part to sell their services to individuals like Miss Roberts. Yet, as I argue, phrenology also made a clear claim attempted to predict and explain the behavior of criminals, and in so doing signaled the development of a new science of crime.
Courtney Thompson is a PhD candidate in the History of Science and Medicine Program, History, at Yale University
Last night’s episode left viewers reeling over the crazy things that some of the characters did. Stan finds a folder of cartoons drawn by Lou on the photocopier. He shows them to some of the other creative staff and they make jokes. Don gets a call from Anna Draper’s niece, Stephanie, who is pregnant and needs help. He tells her to go to Megan’s house and he will fly out to see her. Megan takes her in, but then later tells Stephanie it would be best if she left, writing her a check for $1,000. Lou is angry at the creative staff for mocking his cartoon ambitions and orders them all to work late on a Friday night. Henry and Betty host part of a progressive dinner. Betty speaks up about the war in Vietnam and Henry contradicts her, causing a big argument later. Don arrives at Megan’s house and is disappointed that Stephanie has already left. Ginsberg becomes paranoid about the new computer and goes over to Peggy’s house to work. He tells her that the computer is driving him crazy and makes a pass at her. She pushes him away and sends him home. Sally comes home from school with a broken nose and argues with Betty. Bobby sneaks into Sally’s bedroom to ask if Henry and Betty will get a divorce because they argue so much. Megan hosts a party at her house for her acting friends. Don feels out of place, but then goes for a drink with Harry when he unexpectedly shows up. Harry tells Don that Lou and Jim are pursuing the Commander cigarette account, which will force Don out of SC&P because of the ad he did for the American Cancer Society. When Don comes back to Megan’s house after the party Megan and Amy seduce him together. The next morning Don flies back to New York and interrupts the meeting with Philip Morris executives, selling them on his services, much to the dismay of Jim and Lou. At SC&P Ginsberg calmly expresses his feelings for Peggy and gives her a gift box. She is horrified to open it and see his nipple, which he cut off to relieve the “pressure” from the computer. He gets carried out of SC&P on a stretcher in restraints.
Last night’s episode featured references to Xerox, rumaki, golf clubs, and American Tobacco, among other things. Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.
A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.
You may have heard the news: a working draft of one of the iconic songs in American music, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” will be displayed in Perkins Library on May 8-11, and then here in the Rubenstein Library from May 12-June 27. While at the Rubenstein, Springsteen’s draft, owned by Floyd Bradley, will be in the very good company of one of the largest collections of manuscripts by another favorite son of New Jersey, Walt Whitman, in the Trent Collection of Whitmaniana.
Both Whitman and Springsteen felt and expressed a deep connection with working-class Americans. After a transient childhood, Whitman worked as a journeyman printer before becoming the “Good Gray Poet”; Springsteen’s mother famously took out a loan to buy him a guitar when he turned sixteen, and years of honing his musical craft at small venues for low pay preceded the breakthrough of “The Boss.”
The working draft of “Born to Run” includes many passages that were changed or excised from the final lyrics, but the chorus “tramps like us, baby we were born to run” is already in place.
“Tramps,” or homeless itinerants looking for steady work and a place to live, became a particular concern in the United States (and for Whitman) during and after the “long depression” of the 1870s. Whitman wrote about this phenomenon in many different contexts, perhaps most memorably in a fragment entitled “The Tramp and Strike Questions.” In a sentence that gets to the core of an element of “Born to Run” and other Springsteen songs, Whitman writes there: “Curious as it may seem, it is in what are call’d the poorest, lowest characters you will sometimes, nay generally, find glints of the most sublime virtues, eligibilities, heroisms.” A volume in the Trent Collection, given by Whitman the title “Excerpts &c Strike & Tramp Question,” contains manuscripts and newspaper stories annotated by Whitman in preparation for a lecture on the topic, which was never delivered.
We’re excited to host the “Born to Run” draft, and please contact us if you’d like to take the chance to see this treasure of American culture alongside items in the Trent Collection of Whitmaniana.
Post contributed by Will Hansen, Assistant Curator of Collections.
In 2009, a single-item addition to our Charles Alexander Gore papers turned up in my cataloging queue. The letter surfaced while preparing some collections to move off-site before renovation of the Rubenstein Library began. When I recalled the appropriate box and pulled the folder into which I was going to place the addition, I noticed that the handwriting on my letter did not match that of Charles Alexander Gore.
Using the embossed address at the top of the letter, I determined that the author probably was Rev. Charles Gore (1853-1932), who became an Anglican Bishop not long after he penned it. Because we do not have any other items created by Rev. Gore, the letter needed to be cataloged on its own. The problem in doing that, however, was that I found Gore’s handwriting almost completely illegible.
I determined that the first line of the letter mentioned a war, which likely referred to the 2nd Boer War in South Africa, given the fact that the letter was written in 1901. Other than that, I could only pick out individual words or phrases in the piece. Frustrated, I put the letter back on my shelf. Every once in a while, I would return to it in order to see if I could make progress deciphering it, and even consulted with my British colleague, Mandy Hurt, who also struggled with the penmanship.
I do not know what happened within my brain, but when I recently opened the letter again, I could suddenly distinguish many of Gore’s words! Not all of them, mind you, but enough to catalog the letter with greater confidence regarding its subject matter. I worked through the sentences, and then showed my transcription again to Mandy, who deciphered several more key words and phrases, she tells me, by searching for “typically British turns of phrase.” Here’s our transcription, as it stands:
Oct. 8 ‘01
Dear Mr. McI[___]
My [pri___,] I believe, is that I am not convinced that, if the raid had been properly punished or negotiations decently conducted, there need have been war at all.
But as things were—with much wrong on both sides (& how anyone can exaggerate the guilt of Krüger, I think)—war became inevitable.
In the waging of it, I thankfully believe that we have been as merciful as possible. I expect the good behavior of our common soldiers has been without example.
I think the ‘camps’ are a gigantic mistake from many points of view & that the loss of infant life (especially) has been [____ ____].
But now what can be done? As far as I can ascertain the women are allowed to go now if they have anywhere to go to & [bread?] to go. You say—move the camps to the sea: this will curtail a painful journey. Will it remedy loss of life? I suppose the authorities [___ ___ be ___] to do this, if possible, or foodstuffs are more easily supplied by the sea. One camp (Victoria I think) is going, I see.
I do not think it is the [best] use [___] the clergy. [_____] this have no more power than the [“Good Boer,”] even if they have disposition, to move the people to any better [mind?].
There are moments when I do feel it is my duty to go on [_____, _____] in protest & though I know [it will] do no good. But in this matter it is so difficult to form an opinion—the best men are so much divided—different opinions are so justifiable–& ([on all just showing]) we have taken such pains in most points to be compassionate that I do not feel [inspired?] to idly denounce them [___ ___]. I have some present [___] to propose. Those I have seen who know the [country assure] me the death rate [___] have been as high or higher if they had been left. How can I tell?
A scan of the letter is below. What do you think about our transcription? If you have any suggestions to make as to the words we still find illegible, please do so in the comments section.
Post contributed by Alice Poffinberger, Original Cataloger/Archivist for small manuscript collections. Mandy Hurt is Assistant Librarian for Electronic Resources & Serials Management.
The harsh reality of returning to SC&P has set in for Don in last night’s episode of Mad Men. He arrives at the seemingly empty office to discover the staff listening to the announcement that an IBM 360 computer will be installed in what was the creative lounge. The creative staff grumbles about losing their space. Pete runs into an acquaintance who now works for Burger Chef and gets SC&P a chance to pitch that account. Lou puts Peggy in charge of Burger Chef creative work, with Don reporting to her. Peggy treats Don like an entry level copywriter and he starts behaving badly. Roger and Mona find out that their daughter Margaret has run away to a hippie commune. After her husband fails to get Margaret back, Mona and Roger drive to upstate New York to retrieve her. Once at the commune, Mona storms off quickly, but Roger stays and lets Margaret show him why she loves it there. Roger seems open minded about the commune, but later gets upset and tries to carry her off after she spends the night with one of the men there. After talking to the computer installer, Don suggests that SC&P prepare a presentation to LeaseTech, but Bert refuses. Don starts drinking and later calls Freddie to invite him to a Mets game. The next morning Freddie lectures Don and tells him he is wasting his second chance, advising him to buckle down and work hard. Don seems to get the message and goes to work ready to do what it takes to earn back the trust of his colleagues.
Last night’s episode featured references to Burger Chef, IBM 360, homemade jelly and gin, among other things. Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.
A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.