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Suzuri-bako (writing case), late 17th–early 18th century

This Japanese writing case comprises a brush compartment, a stone for grinding and mixing ink, and a small pot for water. During the Edo Period (1603–1867), most literate people in Japan owned a writing case, though the quality of the craftsmanship would vary according to the socioeconomic standing of the owner. Ogata Korin, one of […]

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Wedgwood & Sons Pitcher, ca. 1880

Born in Portland in 1807, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Bowdoin class of 1825, returned to teach French, Spanish and Italian languages in 1829. A young and successful professor, Longfellow soon accepted a professorship at Harvard College in 1834. By the mid-nineteenth century Longfellow retired from teaching, becoming one of America’s first self-sustaining authors. With the publication […]

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Saracen Armor, seventeenth century

Syrian Saracen Armor: Shield with Bosses, seventeenth century steel with inlaid silver Gift of the Misses Harriet Sarah and Mary Sophia Walker 1894.84.2 This densely ornamented shield interweaves elements of language and weaponry, communication and conflict. The calligraphy around its rim invokes Allah (“God”), addressed as kafani (“is sufficient to me”); other portions are highly […]

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Winslow Homer’s Watercolor Box and Brushes, ca. 1900–1910

Winslow Homer’s Watercolor Box and Brushes, 1900–1910 Gifts of the Homer Family 1964.69.191 and 1964.69.193.a–.b In anticipation of Winslow Homer’s birthday on February 24, seen here  are some tools of his trade: two paintbrushes and his watercolor box. The acclaimed American artist (1836-1910) is best known for marine landscapes depicting both rugged work and quiet leisure, […]

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s copy of the Laws of Bowdoin College

The Laws of Bowdoin College were published for two purposes: to publicize the rules and regulations for administering the College, and to convey to students how they were expected to conduct themselves within the College community. As such, the Laws served both as a summary of the College by-laws and as a student handbook. Although […]