Thinking About ‘The Thinker’

Gordon Wilkins

 

Rodin’s The Thinker. Gif by John Andrews/Creative Salem.

“This awful Thinker: seen from his left, he looks like a bird of prey contented with the vengeance he has meted out to the vile of the earth; a composition of physical and mental dominance, and effect of personality seemingly without rival in all sculpture of the world.” –Truman H. Bartlett, The American Architect and Building News, Vol. XXV, May 11, 1889 Read more

The Seafaring Young Family

Detail from the top of shipping articles for the Eureka, a bark mastered by Joseph A. Young

My name is James King and I interned at the Phillips Library this spring as part of my course work at Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. My first task was to put my learning from class to the test and process the Young Family Papers, with the experienced help and guidance of Tamara Gaydos. This collection is on the somewhat smaller side, being 2.5 linear feet, but the amount of correspondence and meticulous accounts that have been kept really impressed me, especially from a time when these activities took a lot more time and effort to complete than in today’s technology-driven world. Read more

Hidden on the Horizon: A View of the New England Throat Distemper Epidemics from Salem

NIcholas E. Bonneau

Examples of virtal statistics records of births, deaths, and marriages.

Catastrophic epidemics and black holes have something in common: observers outside these events can never truly understand what happens at the heart of the phenomena. Some limited observations are possible while standing outside the “event horizon,” but we can only theorize the extent of turmoil within; being distant from the event irrevocably distorts perceptions of it. Just as the gravity of a black hole allows not even light to escape its influence, the unspeakable grief of loss inhibits the expression of those who suffer most at the geographic or psychological center of an epidemic. Little surprise that the worst epidemic in prerevolutionary history, the throat distempers of 1730s and 1740s New England, remains so hidden from our view, even when occurring in a period as well-studied as the First Great Awakening. Read more