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Throwback Thursday: Remembering Mary Ann Griffin, DA

Mary Ann Griffin

Has it really been 30 years since Mary Ann Griffin, DA, first took on the position of library director? Dr. Griffin, whose life and career were cut short in 1995 and for whom the library’s Griffin Room is named, made a lasting impression on the staff who worked with her and on colleagues across campus.

As Rev. Dennis Gallagher, OSA, PhD, said in a previously published blog, “Dr. Griffin always kept [the Beatitudes] of Jesus Christ before her as her own personal ‘plan of action.’” Fr. Gallagher honored Dr. Griffin as “a dreamer” and “a seeker of truth,” like St. Augustine.

 

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‘Cat in the Stacks: Healthy Minds

CAT-STAX

 I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our new column, ‘Cat in the Stacks.’ I’m the ‘cat.’ Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.

“Mens sana in corpore sano” is a Latin aphorism typically translated as “a sound mind in a sound body.”

As we finish off the second week of the semester, your brain might be feeling a little fuzzy. Your feet might be dragging. You might be marking up your fall calendar with all of the projects, due dates, readings and lectures noted within your looming pile of syllabi. You’re thinking, hey, is teleportation a thing yet? Or maybe you’re considering replicating Hermione Granger’s Time-Turner because there just isn’t enough time in a day for all of these commitments in your life.

I feel you. I have been known to madly tailor my daily agenda in desperate search of an hour to breathe, and just for the sake of saving time I sometimes skip that trip to the gym or sacrifice sleep or eat a fast grab-n-go meal instead of a healthy dinner.

Don’t do that.  As you can guess, it’s not a good idea.

When it comes to education, physical and mental health can define your success. Study skills and research tools are fantastic, but they can only go so far when the gray, lumpy organ in your skull is in no mood to cooperate. We all have heard how to stay healthy – eat well, sleep well, get exercise, take mental health breaks – but when our schedules fill up, these goals might be the first to slide down the priority list. We think we’re saving time by skipping these healthy habits to work and work and work some more, but by skipping them, we are in effect making our reading, writing and research hours less efficient, and losing more time overall.

hand draws brain sign

In order to realize our potential as scholars, we have to try to maintain sound minds in sound bodies. Although intense study sessions and long hours in front of a computer can make you feel like an amorphous brain floating around, bodiless, in some unreality far beyond your chair, you are not. All of your knowledge, education and skills are bundled up inside your actual physical head in your actual physical body, and that actual physical body needs to be maintained. Only when the body is healthy can the brain work at full capacity.

hiding face bookI throw down the gauntlet. Move around. Eat some leafy food. Avoid sleep debt. Meditate. Be gentle with yourself. Then, next time you delve into a thick article for class, you might not have to reread the opening sentence twelve times before it sinks into your sleep-deprived mind (been there, done that).

Mens sana in corpore sano.

We can do this.

 


Resources:

Student Health Center, which also houses the University Counseling Center

Fitness Centers on campus

 


Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.

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Embracing a Fresh Beginning: Upcoming Events in Falvey this Fall

FALLEVENT-HEAD

The sun is setting on the summer season, and you know what that means—a new semester is upon us! With hesitation we traded in our strappy sandals and beach tags in exchange for new text books and 3-ring binders. And, while we could start to wallow in self-pity, we should remind ourselves that the new semester brings with it a chance for a fresh start and a new opportunity to be productive. For, as T.S. Eliot once said, “Every moment is a fresh beginning.” At Falvey Memorial Library, we are preparing to embrace the challenges that the fall semester will present us with a newfound energy and focus.

In fact, the Scholarly Outreach team has been working behind the scenes this summer to strategically plan a semester full of interesting, engaging events to keep Villanova students, staff, faculty and community members busy. There is a lot to look forward to! Falvey will offer a great range of events this semester, all of which will appeal to varied interests.

James Hedtke, PhD

James Hedtke, PhD

As always, we will continue to offer informative, insightful events. For instance, James Hedtke, PhD, ’73 MA, professor of history and political science at Cabrini College will present an Alumni Author series talk on Sept. 29  titled “They Never Grew Old: The Freckleton, England Air Disaster of 1944.” The talk will be based on his recently published book The Freckleton, England, Air Disaster: The B-24 Crash That Killed 38 Preschoolers and 23 Adults, August 23, 1944 and will focus on the crash of an American military aircraft into the village of Freckleton on August 23, 1944.

Ellen Cassedy

Ellen Cassedy

Falvey is also fortunate to host Ellen Cassedy—speaker, journalist, author of non-fiction books, and Yiddish translator—at our annual Conscience of the Holocaust lecture on Oct. 22. Cassedy’s talk, “Remembering the Holocaust in Lithuania: Challenges, Controversies, and Hope for a More Tolerant Future” will explore how a nation scarred by genocide comes to terms with its “dark past.” Drawing on ten years of research into tolerance initiatives in Lithuania, Cassedy will shine a spotlight on Holocaust remembrance in a land burdened with seemingly irreconcilable histories.

Joseph L. Tropea, PhD

Joseph L. Tropea, PhD

Falvey will also be welcoming Joseph L. Tropea, PhD, retired Professor and former chair, Department of Sociology, George Washington University on Nov. 5 for our annual event that focuses on scholarship about Italian-American history, culture and the immigrant experience: The Alfred F. Mannella and Rose T. Lauria-Mannella Endowed Distinguished Speaker Series Lecture. Dr. Tropea will discuss his recent work, which draws focus to social history, particularly on the 1907 Monongah, West Virginia mine disaster, which killed 361 persons, including 170 Italian migrants.

Claire Folkman and Kelly Phillips

Claire Folkman and Kelly Phillips

On the lighter side, Falvey is planning a graphic-novels event featuring Claire Folkman and Kelly Phillips, co-editors of Dirty Diamonds (an all-female comic anthology) on Thursday, Oct. 30. Claire and Kelly will discuss their experiences in editing, in being involved in a Kickstarter project and in working with all female contributors.

Additionally, this fall we will continue to co-sponsor an wide array of regularly scheduled events like the VSB peer-tutor office hours and Villanova Electronic Enthusiasts club for those looking to get a bit of extra study help or those simply looking for a break from all of the studying!

And, as always, we will continue to serve as the host site for faculty, staff, and official student organizations to plan their campus events and meetings and need space. We are happy to be able to offer several event/meeting locations for all types of events, such as open houses, panel discussions, lectures, round table meetings, and so on. Requests should be submitted at least 10 days in advance via Falvey’s “Request a Venue” form.

Make sure to mark your calendars now and keep checking Falvey’s Events and Displays page for details about upcoming events!

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VITAL Resources for New & Continuing Faculty!

The Villanova Institute for Teaching and Learning (VITAL) sponsored a new-faculty orientation program on August 18 and 19 in several locations across campus. As part of this program, new faculty were welcomed to Falvey Memorial Library on Tuesday, August 19, for a breakfast meet and greet. Interim Director Robert DeVos, PhD, welcomed librarians, and Jutta Seibert, team leader for Academic Integration as well as the coordinator of the liaison team to the departments of history, sociology and criminal justice, eagerly introduced librarians and staff to new faculty. New faculty members also had the opportunity to gather according to disciplines for informal discussions with liaison librarians in their subject areas. The event provided new faculty a strong sense of what services the Library has to offer the Villanova Community!

Gabriele BauerFollowing the event, I (Gina Duffy) interviewed Gabriele Bauer, PhD, director of the Villanova Institute for Teaching and Learning (VITAL), to discover more about the new faculty orientation program as well as VITAL’s activities and general campus mission.

RD: How many new faculty members did you welcome to Villanova this year during the new-faculty orientation program?

GB: VITAL, in co-sponsorship with the Office of Academic Affairs, welcomed 33 faculty colleagues at the new faculty program held August 18 and 19. While many colleagues are new to Villanova, some are (also) new to their full-time instructional roles. With over 40 presenters from across Villanova on hand, faculty were offered context for their central role in helping to support, inform, and advance Villanova’s mission, vision, and future direction. Among the program topics addressed were professional development support, students’ expectations, academic support services, instructional policies and resources, and teaching in the inspiration of St. Augustine. Attendees represented 22 departments across colleges: Accountancy, Augustine and Culture Seminar Program, Biology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computing Sciences, Economics, Ethics, Finance, Geography and the Environment, History, Human Resource Development, Marketing and Business Law, Mathematics and Statistics, Naval Science, Nursing, Political Science, Psychology, Romance Languages and Literatures, Sociology, Theatre, and Theology and Religious Studies.

RD: What are the highlights of the new faculty program?

GB: Given the comprehensive program, it’s challenging to identify just a few highlights. Based on feedback, the sessions that provide faculty with personalized insights into their teaching and scholarly roles at Villanova seem to be most appreciated. Among these sessions were the sessions addressing our students, academic support services, and the roundtable discussions with Falvey Memorial Library’s departmental liaisons. A faculty panel discussion on the subject, “What I wished I had known in my first year at Villanova” elicited vital advice for our colleagues.  Key examples included creating a folder of all teaching records–such as unsolicited student emails, peer observations, CATS reports, syllabi, assignments, and advising activities—as a repository of material for the annual and three-year review; the importance of being patient when adjusting to a new professional environment, new courses, and new colleagues; setting realistic goals; accepting that things will not always go as planned; and viewing mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth.

new faculty orientation 3

New faculty orientation

RD: Do you have any insider tips or advice for “newbies” on campus?

GB: Being a “newbie” myself last year, I would suggest taking the time to listen, engage in conversation with colleagues, staff, and students in your department. Don’t be reluctant to ask questions or ask for clarification of procedures and conventions that might differ from those at your former institution (that may be more difficult to do for some of us introverts).

Yes, the Villanova website provides extensive, detailed information, yet how long will it take us to find the one kernel that we are looking for? I have discovered that reaching out to colleagues by phone not only expedites the process but helps me meet new colleagues, learn about their work and deepen my understanding and appreciation for the Villanova culture and context. Plus I have found it most enjoyable to talk with colleagues-such conversations add a human touch to our mainly digital work world.

Try and venture out of your department, participate in campus events that interest you or resonate with your values and passion. Take advantage of the many cultural offerings, such as superb theater performances that are offered free to faculty and staff on Tuesdays, or participate in an exercise class.

RD: Can you describe VITAL’s main role on campus?

GB: VITAL provides and coordinates services and resources for faculty members from all disciplines who are interested in helping their students become more effective learners. We collaborate with departments and University offices to identify and support student learning needs and help advance instructional goals. We offer opportunities to meet and learn from nationally known experts and serve as a clearinghouse for higher education materials.

RD: What services that VITAL offers do you believe are the most valuable to Villanova faculty (both new and continuing)?

GB: We provide a range of services that are designed to support faculty at various stages in their careers. Among the services we offer are confidential instructional consultations with individuals, departments or other groups; confidential classroom observations with constructive feedback; tailored sessions to meet departmental needs; mini-grants to support innovative teaching, learning, e-Learning and assessment of student learning; topical workshop sessions and campus-wide events that provide opportunities to engage with colleagues across the University.

RD: Anything else you would like to mention to new and continuing faculty?

GB: We are delighted to bring to faculty members’ attention three teaching resources: Teaching Professor, monthly online newsletter that offers evidence-based, nuts-and-bolts teaching practices for all disciplines; IF-AT, a multiple-choice tool for group feedback, testing of students’ comprehension and ability to apply, and differentiate concepts; and Faculty Online Café to keep your teaching fresh, discuss current topics, exchange teaching experiences and practices with colleagues. To access the Faculty Café, go to elearning.villanova.edu, select the university seal to sign in, and click “Faculty Online Café.”

We wish all of our faculty colleagues—both new and continuing—a fulfilling and productive new academic year and look forward to supporting them. You will always find a free cup of coffee or tea at the VITAL office, 106 Vasey Hall.

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‘Cat in the Stacks: I Do Not Know

CAT-STAX

 I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the first post of ‘Cat in the Stacks.’ I’m the ‘cat.’ Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.

“Teach thy tongue to say ‘I do not know,’ and thou shalt progress.”  -Maimonides

I had some time to kill before the graduate student orientation this past Sunday, and found myself in the Connelly Center. So there I was, stealthily eavesdropping on a first-year student-athlete in Holy Grounds while I bribed my phone to connect to the mobile WiFi on campus for the first time. I couldn’t stop listening to this conversation about what foods to eat before practice and when to do homework between workouts—not because of the oh-so-gripping content of the conversation but because of the bravery of the first-year student. She was unashamed, unabashed. She asked questions and she got answers. She found valuable resources in her upperclassmen teammates and, by taking advantage of that, wasted no time in finding her footing.

Because of her willingness to ask questions, she could focus on more important first-year matters and relax.

As a newbie in the Villanova world, Anonymous Student-Athlete inspired me. She has me thinking, too, about the importance of asking questions. It’s not always easy, but it can be learned, and it is probably the most invaluable tool you can learn in college—for research, especially, but also for life.

I’m no Maimonides, but here are my top three realizations about asking questions:

1) When a fellow human offers their guidance, they typically do want you to take advantage of it.

Helping Hands

… and Falvey Memorial Library is staffed by incredibly kind, incredibly smart librarians who want to help you. 

2) Asking questions in class, or asking questions of your support system, is smart.

Questioning

… and the sillier your question feels, the more important it is. The basics are your base. Make them concrete right away by reaching out with questions, and then you can start building on your real goal. Plus, by formulating a question, you’re bettering your understanding of whatever you’re asking.

3)  Asking questions lets you inhabit other people’s brains, and that’s where magic happens.

Brain

… that magic being mind control. Mua-ha-ha—just kidding. Sharing perspectives, whether it be the best place to get pizza in Ardmore (Jules Thin Crust!) or whether chaos is the natural state of the universe, is the one of the most exciting aspects of being part of a scholarly community like Villanova University.

I didn’t ask anyone how to log into mobile WiFi. I could have asked any one of the hundreds of students I’d been passing all afternoon, but instead I wasted time with a basic question. Lesson learned.

Here’s to you, Anonymous Student-Athlete. Cheers!

 


Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.

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First Week Survival Tips for First-Year Students (& free Get It Started desktop wallpaper!)

CLASS18-WALLPAPER2T

Hi, first-year students! Welcome to Villanova! Orientation is now over and we know your OC’s (Orientation Counselors) have done most of the “heavy lifting” by providing the Class of 2018 with a wealth of information and activities designed to acclimate you to life at Villanova. Your excellent professors will continue the job from here, including introducing you to the vast resources available at Falvey Memorial Library. Until then, we have a few things you may want to keep in mind for the first week or two of the semester – a critically important time that can impact your grades in the months to come.

Don’t skip class, bring a pen and take scrupulous notes, even on the first day. While the information the professor imparts the first day might not be the Most Important Thing you’ll ever learn from him or her, you may learn equally germane things, such as what books you need, any changes to the schedule, project due dates or late paper and attendance policies. Take note – this is the day you may learn what can get under their skin! Check your email frequently, too – sometimes there are ‘pre’ first day assignments. You’ll want to be prepared if the class suddenly jumps into a discussion of a reading the professor sent ahead of time. It’s not fun sitting there, conjuring all your psychic energy just to not be called on! #beenthere.

Scrutinize the syllabus. Ask questions now. Find out your professor’s office hours and—more importantly—location. Take his or her advice on how best to approach what you’re being asked to do – sometimes, they’ll give you the “answers” ahead of time! While it may be boring to sit through a long read-through of a three or four page syllabus, it’s also the time the prof imparts a lot of offhand, administrative info that if you don’t catch now, he or she might never repeat. Then you’ll have to get it down the road, during crunch time, and second or third hand from a classmate – who might not be reliable. This is not a good combo. (Remind me to tell you about the time I missed my astronomy final exam due to secondhand information.) Another good tip: photocopy each of your syllabi and pin them to your bulletin board – you’ll be glad you did!

Arrive ten minutes early – and get a good seat down front. Sitting in the front helps you focus, helps you resist playing with your phone and ensures that you’ll be one of the students the prof remembers – an awesome thing when she’s putting together your participation grades. And arriving a bit early each week allows you to get the seat where you’re most comfortable, and with students you may want to study with. Relatedly, take a good look at your schedule and plot it out with a campus map. Give yourself enough time to make those cross-campus treks if need be. That walk from Bartley to St. Mary’s can take a good fifteen minutes – 30 if you stop at Falvey’s Holy Grounds for a latte. Better yet, pack a water bottle and a Quest bar in your backpack – hunger and thirst does nothing for your concentration levels. Inner mom speaking here.

Scope out the good study spots. The Library has plenty. You may recall from your campus tour that the library’s third and fourth floors get the best press for getting progressively quieter as you go up. There are also group study rooms up on those floors with nice, big chalkboards and lots of outlets. But you can find many other perfect places, too. The 24/7 Holy Grounds lounge, for example. It may be noisy during the day, but there’s plenty of java and goodies, and no one will ever. make. you. leave. But other, less obvious places abound. The section of the second floor Learning Commons near the back staircase is funky, well-lit and very quiet with quick access to the Writing, Math and Learning Support Centers. These centers themselves are beautifully furnished with cushy nooks and are great resources for when you need extra help in those areas.

Also, don’t forget to venture into “Old” Falvey Hall, which has two 24/7 Wildcard accessible outside entrances on the path adjacent to Mendel Field. The lounge directly outside the director’s office is extremely quiet and quite handsome, with bright inviting furniture and a wall of giant whiteboards for your use. Another best kept secret is the cozy lineup of old, vintage leather couches on the bottom floor of Falvey Hall – often used as much for sleeping as for study. There are seldomly used large restrooms down there, too. And of course, there’s the piece de resistance – the Falvey Hall Reading Room. Vast, vaulted ceilings and flooded with natural light, you’ll love sitting in this quiet space with its large, spacious tables. The only sound you’ll hear will be the pusht pusht of the da Cortona painting conservators’ rags and brushes. Claim your space now before it gets really popular! By the way – did I mention that this gorgeous space is also open 24/7? So clutch!

Get to know your subject librarian early in the semester! They can help you with any assignment – not just the major ones at the end. Did you know that each major has its own subject librarian that specializes in showing you how to find and mine the best resources that the world has to offer in your subject area? They have also prepared amazing subject guides which you will find indispensable. And they can introduce you to awesome apps, electronic style guides, organizers, and citation managers that can make juggling five or six classes a heckuva lot easier! Subject librarians are here exclusively to help you – introduce yourself today! You can reach them via email, live chat or of course, in-person during regular library hours.

library.villanova.edu – your new favorite website. Annd, (you’re already doing this one really well!) continue to follow the Library News blog. You’re going to love the tips we’ll share week after week about the latest and greatest books, databases, e-reference works, apps and more available to you. It’s also the best place to check for updates on hours, library events and policies. And naturally, library.vilanova.edu is your best access point for VUFind – an amazingly robust search and discovery tool – it’s not just a catalogue! It has amazing technologically advanced and customizable features that you can tailor to your needs. VUFind was developed right here at Falvey, and it’s a gold standard in academia, used all over the world! Explore its capabilities and make it your own today!

So, the fun is just beginning, first-year students! Those jitters will go away soon, we promise. Don’t forget to breathe! And, most importantly, don’t forget that you can always come by the Library for advice, help or a smile whenever you need it! Stop by the front desk, log onto live chat (look for the green light on the bottom right of our homepage,) or shoot us an email with your comments, questions, suggestions, etc! Even easier, look for and engage with us on social media – we have active accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr and more! (Or see them all in one place, at Rebelmouse!) Alternatively, hashtag #falvey and we’ll find you! We’ll be looking forward to your likes, follows, comments, and RTs!

Until then, here’s a small welcoming gift – dress up your laptop for the fall semester by downloading your Let’s Get it Started in here wallpaper! We’re excited for a great new year – hope you are too!

Access the graphic here
To change computer wallpaper, open the link and drag the graphic to your desktop, then open your monitor settings to switch wallpapers.


Joanne Quinn is team leader of the Communication & Service Promotion team.

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The World According to the Class of 2018

ELMO2tr

Today is Move-In Day for the Class of 2018! Our incoming first-year students have never lived in a world without wearable cellular telephones, AMBER Alerts, computers that can defeat the world chess champion, or cloned sheep.

Television shows, from their point of view, have always displayed a score from the TV ratings system.

These millennials may have played with a Furby or with Teenie Beanies—miniature Beanie Babies included in fast-food children’s meals. At Christmastime, many of them received a “Tickle Me Elmo” doll.

They may not realize that the “save” icon for Microsoft and other products is an image of a floppy disk. Even if they do, they probably have never used a floppy disk.

Adobe Flash, MP3 (audio format), wikis and JAVA have always existed in their lifetimes, as has Amazon.com.

And the dictionary has always included the terms “alcopop,” “always-on,” “censorware,” “fist bump,” “microbrowser,” and “phishing,” as far as they’re concerned.

Certainly you could add examples not included on this list. Please share your own ideas/observations about the class of 2018 in our Comment section.


Gerald info deskArticle by Gerald Dierkes, information services specialist for the Information and Research Assistance team, senior copy-editor for the Communication and Service Promotion team and a liaison to the Department of Theater. Graphic by Joanne Quinn.

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What’s New with Pietro da Cortona’s “The Triumph of David”?

Intriguing developments about “The Triumph of David” have occurred since our previous blog post about this Cortona painting. The painting has been completely cleaned and, over the Memorial Day weekend, varnished. And, most impressive, Anthony Lagalante, PhD, associate professor, Dept. of Chemistry, received a grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation for technical analysis of the artwork. Dr. Lagalante received the notification and a check for $24,000 at the end of May.

Although varnishing is normally the final step in the creation of an oil painting, the conservator, Kristin de Ghetaldi, explains, “We always put a thin ‘isolation’ coat of varnish on the surface of paintings after we have removed as much of the unoriginal restoration as we are able. This helps to bring back some of the saturation but also serves as a barrier layer between the original surface and any materials that we then add (fills, inpainting, etc.).”

Photo (32)

Areas with gouache viewable on painting’s bottom right.

Currently the interns, volunteers and de Ghetaldi are filling areas of paint loss and toning the fills with red gouache (gouache is opaque watercolor paint) to simulate the original ground of “The Triumph of David.” To observe the conservators in action, visit the Reading Room in Falvey Hall (aka Old Falvey) or watch the live feed. The conservators are happy to answer questions about their work.

For more information about the conservation project – “About the Restoration;” the Kress award; biographies of the conservation team; the chemistry of the painting; a biography of the donor, Princess Eugenia Ruspoli (1861-1951, born Jennie Berry in Alabama); and more – go to projects.library.villanova.edu/paintingrestoration/ or from Falvey’s homepage, click “Projects” and scroll to “Conserving a Giant …”

For more information about the artist, Pietro da Cortona, see “Dig Deeper: About the artist Pietro da Cortona.”


imagesArticle by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. 

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UPDATE: Villanova’s Automatic Virtual Environment

Last fall this blog post informed you of a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment, aka “CAVE,” coming to the Library. This summer construction accelerated, and the Villanova CAVE will open soon.

“It sounds similar to watching an IMAX film in 3D,” a colleague informed me. I explained that it’s much more than observing. It’s more like the holodeck from Star Trek, the television series. The Villanova CAVE allows participants to become virtually immersed in a setting in which they can move about and even circle around the 3D image an object, such as a statue or tree, as though they were in the actual setting. The Villanova CAVE also includes sound.

Funding for the Villanova CAVE comes from a $1.67 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant: “the largest NSF research grant ever awarded to the University.”

 

UntitledThe CAVE—aka the Villanova CAVE—arrives … some assembly required.

 

 

RS7959_1725Formerly Viewing Room 4 in Falvey Hall, this space has been prepared to house the Villanova CAVE.

 

 

RS7973_DSC_2181 copyInstallation begins!

 

RS7981_DSC_0370An installer prepares one of the Villanova CAVE’s many projectors.

 

RS7980_DSC_0369The enclosure begins to take shape.

 

RS8005_DSC_2216Testing the Villanova CAVE

 


Photos by Luisa Cywinski and Alice Bampton.

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O Captain, My Captain

Whitman_Poem_O_Captain_My_Captain_09MAR1887_handwritten

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my captain lies
Fallen cold and dead.

“O Captain! My Captain!” is a poem written by Walt Whitman in 1865. It is an elegy or mourning poem, written to honor Abraham Lincoln. The poem is an extended metaphor with Lincoln serving as the captain of a ship, symbolizing the United States.

The poem was featured prominently in Dead Poets Society, the film that featured Robin Williams‘ Oscar-winning portrayal of John Keating, a teacher at a stuffy boys-prep school. The students show their support for Keating at the end of the film by standing on their desks and reciting the poem, in defiance of the school’s headmaster’s decision to fire their beloved teacher. The poem has been featured in several anthologies, including Whitman’s Sequel to Drum-Taps and later editions of Leaves of Grass. Comedic legend Williams passed away yesterday at the age of 63.

These volumes and the film are available for borrowing at the Library. Falvey also has other films featuring Williams.

 

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Last Modified: August 12, 2014