This summer, we Digital Scholarship interns embarked upon a critical reexamination of the life and legacy of one of Amherst’s best-remembered presidents: geologist and minister Edward Hitchcock. Hitchcock’s impact and importance to the college can be seen on campus even today, from the dorm that bears his name to the contents of the Beneski Museum to the very presence of the geology department itself. Drawing from Archives & Special Collections’ Edward and Orra White Hitchcock Papers and a breadth of digitally-based research methodologies and tools, we engaged in an intimate exploration of what Edward Hitchcock left behind, both tangibly and intangibly.
From the personal—an account of the contents of Hitchcock’s will—to the global—mapping the reach and reception of his intellectual conversations—this project is an exploration of a man’s legacy in the spirit of Hitchcock himself, who spent his life consumed with questions of time and infinity in his roles as both geologist and man of God.
Darya Bor’s project is interested in the tangible aspect of Hitchcock’s legacy – how much did he leave behind that students, faculty, and members of the college still need to interact with to this day? When she is not investigating the tension between the tangible and digital world, she draws, writes, breathes, and lives.
Marie Lambert graduated from Amherst College in May 2015 but has been fortunate enough to have been allowed to remain for the summer. A life-long lover of the humanities, she has taken a recent foray into the digital aspects of scholarship. She reluctantly leaves Amherst for New York at the end of the summer, to pursue a career in publishing.
Seanna’s project “The Cross in Nature” uses data visualization to show the conversations around the relationship of scientific inquiry and biblical scripture during Edward Hitchcock’s time and who was involved in these conversations, as Hitchcock himself was a trained geologist and theologian who dedicated his time to reconciling the two fields which he loved.
Daniel Paul Rivera is the author of “A Day In the Life” (the project, not the Beatles song), his venture into text encoding as a practice of The Digital Humanities—with a nod to Edward Hitchcock, of course. When he is not referring to himself in the third person, he engages in a variety of hobbies that range from sometimes-unadvisable tree climbing to French-informed cooking, among others that he could if necessary expound on to fill up space, time.
† The project’s subtitle derives from the epitaph etched onto the granite obelisk that marks the burial plot of Edward Hitchcock himself (located in the West Cemetery of Amherst, Massachusetts). That inscription has been reproduced in full below:
Pastor in Conway,
President and Professor in Amherst College.
A Leader in Science,
A Lover of Man,
“The Cross in Nature,
Nature in the Cross.”