December of 2010 marks the unofficial beginning of this website’s fifteenth year. For the anniversary, I will be posting a bit about the history of the site and will try to clear the shelves of a few old and unfinished article ideas:

  1. The Upper Valley Subway Map
  2. The full text of William C. Hill’s Dartmouth Traditions (1901)
  3. The Indian origins of “When Shall We Three Meet Again?”
  4. A non-proposal for dividing Dartmouth into a federation of residential colleges
  5. The gates of Dartmouth
  6. The other Hopkins Center

Thanks to Alex Hanson for the coverage in the Valley News.

[Update 01.16.2011: Links to items 3 and 5 and coverage added; post made non-sticky and publication date changed from December 1, 2010 to January 16, 2011 to put it in order.]

[Update 01.22.2011: “This month” changed to “December of 2010” for clarity. Capitalization changed in titles.]

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The Indian origins of “When Shall We Three Meet Again?”


Dartmouth’s graduating seniors still hold their annual Class Day event in the Bema and at the Old Pine, in College Park, as they have done since the 1850s or even the 1830s.

Although students do not sing it today, for a number of decades beginning by the late nineteenth century the students sang a well-known hymn called “When Shall We Three Meet Again?” at Class Day or at other events, such as Dartmouth Night. The lyrics involve three people parting around a “youthful pine” and vowing to meet again there in the future, so it must have seemed appropriate.

Around the time it was first sung at a Dartmouth event, or probably before then, the song appears to have become associated with Dartmouth in the popular mind. Most accounts acknowledged that the connection was legendary, but the idea was that three eighteenth-century Indian graduates wrote the song as they parted ways around a memorial pine tree, perhaps the Old Pine itself.

The Lyrics

“A PARTING HYMN, Composed by three Indian friends, (who graduated at Dartmouth College) at a favourite Bower.”[1]

When shall we three meet again?
When shall we three meet again!
Oft shall glowing hope expire —
Oft shall wearied love retire —
Oft shall death and sorrow reign.
Ere we Three shall meet again.

Though in distant lands we sigh,
Parch’d beneath the hostile sky;
Though the deep between us rolls,
Friendship shall unite our souls,
And in Fancy’s wide domain
Oft shall we Three meet again.

When our burnish’d locks are grey,
Thinn’d by many a toil spent day;
When around this youthful Pine,
Moss shall creep and Ivy twine;
Long may this loved Bower remain —
Here may we Three meet again.

When the dreams of life are fled,
When its wasted lamps are dead —
When in cold Oblivion’s shade,
Beauty, wealth and fame are laid —
Where immortal Spirits reign,
There may we all meet again.

The Kashmir Connection

The earliest publications found are from Boston[2] and London,[3] both dating to 1807. Both publications attribute the hymn to “a Casmerian Indian.” U.S. publications continued to attribute the hymn to “a Cashmerian Indian” into the 1820s.[4] The reference to a Casmerian (i.e. Kashmiri) Indian appears to place this particular air within the broader genre of the “Hindoostanee air.”

A Hindoostanee air was a European (especially British or Anglo-Indian) transcription of a traditional Indian song that was sung by dancers in houses or court festivals in India during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.[5] While those transcribing the music were often British women, the lyrics were typically translated by local translators, often with an eye to authenticity.[6] Hindoostanee airs became part of British popular culture, and Byron wrote a poem called “Stanzas to a Hindoo Air” in 1822.

So that’s it: Dartmouth’s old-time farewell hymn might have been written on the Indian Subcontinent centuries ago and translated for English ears in the early nineteenth century, its “Indian” authorship giving rise to confusion soon after its publication in the U.S.

[1] “Miscellanies: A Parting Hymn,” The New England Farmer 5:13 (20 October 1826), 104.

[2] [Attr. a Casmerian Indian], “An Original Air,” The Emerald, or, Miscellany of Literature, Containing Sketches of the Manners, Principles and Amusements of the Age 1:10 (26 December 1807), 113.

[3] [Attr. a Casmerian Indian], “An Original Air,” La Belle Assemblée: or, Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine, Addressed Particularly to the Ladies 3:[1] (July 1807), 47.

[4] See [attr. a Cashmerian Indian], “When Shall We Three Meet Again?”, Christian Register 3:18 (12 December 1823), 72; [attr. a Cashmerian Indian], “When Shall We Three Meet Again?”, The New-England Galaxy and United States Literary Advertiser (5 December 1823), 6, no. 321. Some 1820s publications asserted that the “Cashmerian” attribution must be incorrect because the lines must be of American origin. “An Elegant Morceau,” The National Recorder 3:23 (3 June 1820), 366. Other early publications credited the hymn to “a lady” or “a lady at thirteen years of age.”

[5] Ian Woodfield, Music of the Raj: A Social and Economic History of Music in Late Eighteenth-Century Anglo-Indian Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 157-158.

[6] Nicholas Cook, “Encountering the Other, Redefining the Self: Hindostannie Airs, Haydn’s Folksong Settings and the ‘Common Practice’ Style,” in Martin Clayton and Bennett Zon, eds., Music and Orientalism in the British Empire, 1780s-1840s: Portrayal of the East (Aldershot, U.K.: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2007), 13-14.

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The gates of Dartmouth

Although Dartmouth seems to take some pride in having a campus without any gates, it could still benefit from the exercise of defining a campus boundary and identifying the major entrances to the academic precinct. A sketch from several years ago:

map of Dartmouth boundaries and possible gates

This is all fairly obvious, but it does not seem to receive much attention in writing. The greatest coherence (and the greatest support for the idea of walkability) seems to be achieved by reducing the number of gates and pulling them inward.

The only site where two gates would stand close to each other is at the southwest corner of the Green. Pulling the gates toward the center would allow them to share a single gatepost on the Green itself, but that would detract significantly from the Green and would interfere with the tree on the corner. Here, the gates should spring from the Inn and C&G (south gate) and from Collis and C&G (west gate):

map of possible gates

Again, this is not a proposal, and Dartmouth does not need any more* gates.

However, if this sort of project were built, and if it were differentiated from its direct ancestor, Charles McKim’s wonderful gates at Harvard, the builders couldn’t go wrong with a set massive rusticated granite piers supporting a timber truss. This would refer to the Connecticut river bridges, especially Rufus Graves’s arched truss of the late eighteenth century.

* Tuck Drive was built with a brick gateway at each end. The lower example survives. More recently, Scully-Fahey Field was erected with a large freestanding gateway.

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The other Hopkins Center

Wallace Harrison’s Hopkins Center is not just the latest in a long line of buildings planned for the spot south of the Green, it is the third of three theater complexes honoring Ernest Martin Hopkins proposed for that site. The first was designed in the late 1930s, and the second was a refreshed version of the first put out after the war, both by architect Jens Larson. The postwar version was put on hold, and by the time momentum increased again in the early 1950s, Larson had left, the Georgian idiom had gone out of fashion, and new people (notably Nelson Rockefeller) had become involved.

1. photo of model of proposed Hopkins Center at Dartmouth from 1947 film

A 1947 film about Dartmouth made available by the college has several shots of a large model of Larson’s postwar Hopkins Center design. The shots begin about 9:38 into the film.

The men shown discussing the model are identified as Treasurer Halsey C. Edgerton and advisory building committee chairman Professor Russell Larmon, with Hopkins Center Committee executive secretary Robert Haig also appearing.

This plan of the 1939 version is marked with the locations of the photos below. (The plan and a section are from Warner Bentley’s article “The Dartmouth Theatre,” Theatre Arts Monthly 22:4 (April 1939), 306-309.)

photo locator map

The narrator tells us that the proposed $3.5 million Ernest Martin Hopkins War Memorial Center will have a main auditorium seating 3,000 and ancillary spaces for music, drama, radio, “and allied activities.” When the present Hop was built, the site was enlarged, the film and broadcast functions were reduced or eliminated, and the auditorium was reduced and swapped with the theater at the bottom of the site. Perhaps the most notable difference is in the way the projects treated College Street: the model in the film not only preserves the street but places the entrance to its Little Theatre on it.

2. photo of model of proposed Hopkins Center at Dartmouth from 1947 film

3. photo of model of proposed Hopkins Center at Dartmouth from 1947 film

4. photo of model of proposed Hopkins Center at Dartmouth from 1947 film

5. photo of model of proposed Hopkins Center at Dartmouth from 1947 film

6. photo of model of proposed Hopkins Center at Dartmouth from 1947 film

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A non-proposal for dividing Dartmouth into a federation of “residential colleges”

Following are some thoughts, inspired in part by the excellent Collegiate Way site, about dividing Dartmouth into a federation of independent “residential colleges.”

This is not a sincere proposal: I do not think that Dartmouth should be divided into residential colleges, and I have no evidence that Dartmouth is considering anything related to residential colleges. The closest Dartmouth has come to something like this in recent years was its creation of the cluster program of the mid-1980s and the construction of the East Wheelock Cluster. That cluster is not a true residential college, and it was not thought of as the start of any kind of campuswide program.

This proposal is meant instead (1) as an exercise that might promote the more efficient development of the campus through small additions, and the improvement of outdoor spaces; and (2) as a suggestion of how, if residential colleges ever were to be created, they should be designed. If Dartmouth actually were to create a residential college system, I suspect that budget constraints and alumni opposition would severely limit the effort. This proposal is meant to show what a wholehearted program would be.

map of proposed consortia

Each of the nine “residential colleges” (here called “consortia” to avoid confusion) is given an average of 400 beds, a faculty resident’s house, and a dining hall.

map of proposed consortium
A variation on one of the consortia in greater detail.

The most important and difficult part is making the buildings contiguous or at least related and giving them legible spaces to surround. The most resistant consortium is the Wheeler-Richardson combination. The group depends on Rollins being brought in as a dining hall and the three buildings being connected, and even then the site has no room for a faculty residence. The SAE house might work, or a new house could be built rather close to the Old Pine.

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Dartmouth Traditions by William Carroll Hill (1901)


Download a pdf version of William Carroll Hill’s 1901 book, Dartmouth Traditions.

About the Book

William Carroll Hill (1875-1943?), of Nashua, N.H., received his Bachelor of Letters degree, a degree offered only between 1884 and 1904, in 1902. He was the historian of his class and wrote the Chronicles section of the the 1902 Class Day volume, a book that the printer gave the appearance as Dartmouth Traditions. Hill became an antiquarian, genealogist, and historian and apparently wrote a history of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Dartmouth Traditions was published when Hill was a junior. The book is not really about traditions and probably would be better titled Dartmouth Worthies. It is a collection of essays written by students and alumni. While the essays on Daniel Webster and other known personages are not very useful, some essays appear the contain information that is only available in this book. Examples are the report on the investigation into the history of the Lone Pine and the first-person account of the drowning death of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s son.

About this Project

The transcription of this somewhat hard-to-find book began in 2003. The book has since become available in Google Books, which somewhat defeats the purpose of the project. The Google Books version has the great advantage of reproducing the attractive typography of the original, but its computer transcription is not as accurate as that of the version presented here.

[Update 05.13.2011: The Rauner Library Blog has a post on Hill, highlighting the Stowe episode.]

[Update 12.21.2010: Link to pdf posted.]

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The Upper Valley Subway

Inspired by Transit Authority Figures (see the Daily Hampshire Gazette), as well as my beloved Metro and of course Advance Transit, here’s a mockup of a map for a Hanover-area subway system (pdf).

Upper Valley Subway map by Scott Meacham


[Update 08.06.2016: Thayer School Dean Robert Fletcher “drew up plans in 1899 for a subway line running between Hanover and White River Junction” (Lee Michaelides, “In the Beginning,” Dartmouth Engineer Magazine).]

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A history of Dartmo.com

In the spring of 1995, I started posting webpages on a server where I had space as a student. Some of the pages had observations on Dartmouth architecture. This is an example:

thumbnail of old web page

After graduating, I put up some of the information on a new server (I think it was at alaska.net) and titled the collection “DArch.” The name came from a manila folder that held a few clippings related to Dartmouth architecture. I compiled notes on all the buildings I could learn about and put up what I called notes toward a catalog of Dartmouth buildings during December of 1995.

thumbnail of old web page thumbnail of old web page

Versions of the site from the fall of 1999, winter of 2002, and fall of 2003 (all originally at meachams.com) show a search for a standard identity as the site became more bloglike:

thumbnail of old web page thumbnail of old web page thumbnail of old web page

I had no good answer to the question of how to pronounce the name “DArch,” and so I renamed the site “Dartmo.” in 2003 and gave it its own domain name.

Throughout I have tried to keep up a slow pace of posting bits of information about Dartmouth that I find interesting. The original posts were dated vaguely and posted in sequence by hand on two or three long web pages. After weblogs became popular, I turned each of the original posts into a blog post and gave it an arbitrary sequential date within a month of its actual posting.

The site kept a standard appearance from February of 2005 until April of 2010, when the effort of maintaining the site’s idiosyncracies within WordPress became too much of a hassle:

thumbnail of old web page

Over the years the site has been cited, plagiarized, hacked, and infringed upon. The most popular element has been the “Notes toward a Catalog,” which was mostly written in 1995. It is now outdated, poorly-formatted, somewhat error-ridden, and largely supplanted by other sources. I would get rid of it if it weren’t linked by outside sites. The Campus Guide in print or on Google Books is a better source in most cases.

The best way to pull in information seems to be to put out information, and the site has helped a great deal with both the Campus Guide (2008) and the ongoing Lamb & Rich monograph. Great information has come from a large number of people, especially Hanover-area residents not connected with the college. In fact the college has been fairly quiet: I have always hoped for scoops but cannot recall getting any. Once, a few years ago, the development office even started sending corrections through a third party. Dear Development Office: Don’t worry, I won’t be offended. Please send your corrections (and scoops) to dartmo@gmail.com.

What’s in the future? I expect to cut back even more on posting and devote more time to the book. The growth of the Web, particularly the advent of on-line construction press releases and newspaper articles, has made this site generic and untimely. I am still collecting information for a general encyclopedia along the lines of The Encyclopedia of South Carolina or The Encyclopedia of Chicago, but again that would be in print instead of on line. These days it is difficult to imagine the scale of the campus expansion that took place or was planned during the early 2000s, but if the pace of construction were to pick up again in Hanover, the news might be too interesting not to write about.

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[Update 11.11.2012: Three sentences reworded slightly for clarity.]
[Update 03.19.2012: Two sentences reworded slightly.]
[Update 01.22.2011: Domain name info added.]