Pick of the week, Sept. 7

William North Rice diary, April 21, 1861

We’re inaugurating a new feature on our blog: Pick of the Week. In the course of our of everyday work, we come across a lot of really interesting items, and we thought it would be fun to select one a week to give a sense of these things.

Our first pick of the week comes from a visit by Prof. Demetrius Eudell’s War and (Re)Formation class, in which the students will be examining and using primary sources. I had the pleasure of offering an introduction to SC&A and the wide variety of materials we have. Among the items presented was the diary of William North Rice (1845-1928), who was a student and long-time faculty member and administrator at Wesleyan. The page above shows Rice’s entry for April 21, 1861, in which he describes the outbreak of the Civil War from his perspective as a college student in Middletown, Conn. “I feel quite warlike right now,” the 15-year-old Rice wrotes. “If I was a little taller, and had no particular business on my hands, I think I should enlist. As it is, I shall keep out of the tug of war and meet Greek; let bomb shells alone, and stick to Conchology.” Conchology is the branch of zoology that deals with shells.

The William North Rice Papers (1861-1955) have been processed and are available for research. Here is a link to the finding aid.

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