Confront and Learn from the Past

Make existing and forthcoming research on Dartmouth's past accessible and available for research, teaching and community outreach

Many students, faculty, staff and alumni have conducted valuable research over the years to shed light on some of the darkest moments in the history of Dartmouth, as well as some forgotten bright spots. This research needs to be readily available for teaching and community outreach. 

President/Provost/School Deans/Executive Vice President/Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity/Dean of the College/Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Dartmouth's history with underrepresented groups is not blemish-free. In order to learn from the past, it is necessary to have that history available and accessible. While there has been much quality scholarship done on Dartmouth's history, these resources are scattered. The College plans to create a portal through which this work may be accessed, for teaching and to help identify gaps where additional research may be done. 

Work Group Recommendations: 

The working groups were called on to reckon with Dartmouth as it is and has been. The faculty working group recommended that faculty make research on comparative racial-ethnic inequalities a focus -- through an institute dedicated to the subject, and/or through funding to support multi-disciplinary scholarship and programming related to equality, inclusion and diversity.


UPDATE: April, 2018:

On April 19, 2018 Dartmouth announced the launching of a pilot project to engage Dartmouth students in telling some of the stories yet to be told about the history of the College with diversity and inclusion. In addition to promoting student research on original topics of their choosing, and engaging student interns to work with faculty to identify future research and teaching opportunities with the Dartmouth archives, the pilot project will engage a staff member to prototype ways to make this new and pre-existing research available and accessible to our community. Part of this work will capture previously ephermeral work such as exhibitions in a digital format. The technical work of the pilot year is intended to lay the foundation for a larger, ongoing project to begin in 2019.


There is much useful research on Dartmouth's past that addresses its complex history with underrepresented groups.  For example, here are three existing projects on the history of Native Americans at Dartmouth:  

  • The Occom Circle Project: a freely accessible, scholarly digital edition of handwritten documents by and about Samson Occom (1727-1792) housed in Dartmouth College. These papers may be digitally accessed for research on Occom, a Monhegan Indian, Presbyterian minister and missionary, intertribal leader, public intellectual and important Indian writer whose circle included Eleazar Wheelock, founder of Dartmouth College. A Society for Early Americanists hosted a symposium on the Occom Circle Project at Dartmouth September 9-11, 2016, showcasing how digital archives of indigenous works enhance understanding of native writing, while also problematizing concepts of ownership and control. 
  • Colin G. Calloway, The Indian History of an American Institution: Native Americans at Dartmouth (University Press of New England, 2010): Calloway, the John Kimball Jr. 1943 Professor of History and professor of Native American studies at Dartmouth, traces Dartmouth's unique and complicated relationship with Native Americans and their history. 
  • The Hovey Murals at Dartmouth College: Culture and Contexts, edited by Brian P. Kennedy (University Press of New England, 2011): This book provides both the history of the controversial murals depicting the mythical founding of Dartmouth College and its wider cultural and historical context. It is a guide to the murals and to understanding how they fit into a troubling and difficult history of envisioning Native Americans by non-natives in American literature and popular art. 

The next step in creating a portal through which users can access these and other projects: Identify a faculty curator and an advisory committee who will ensure the portal includes scholarly, critical work on Dartmouth's history with underrepresented groups. 

To recommend exisiting research to be considered for this site, please use the comment form below.