AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Nathaniel Lewis Goodrich, 1880-1957



Mr. Goodrich was born in Concord, N. H., February 9, 1880 and died in Boston, April 30, 1957. He was the son of Arthur Lewis and Mary (Bachelder) Goodrich. On July 30, 1908 he married Alice Lyman, who survives him. He was graduated from Amherst in 1901 and received their honorary LL.D. in 1941. He took a B.L.S. degree from New York State Library School in 1904.

Goodrich served as chief of the order section, New York State Library, 1906-07; librarian of the University of West Virginia, 1907-09; and librarian of the University of Texas, 1910-12. He went to Dartmouth College as librarian in 1912 and directed the move, sixteen years later, into the new Baker Library, his greatest memorial. At Dartmouth he was awarded the honorary faculty M.A. in 1916 and was made a full professor in 1943. During World War I he served as captain with the map department of the Army military intelligence branch, and later developed the outstanding map collection of Dartmouth. At the time of his retirement in 1950, his portrait was painted for the Baker Library.

In the 1941 degree citation, Goodrich, among other qualifications, was mentioned as an “alpinist,” referring, of course, to his avocation as climber, skier, and outdoor enthusiast. He joined A.A.C. in 1926. He was also a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, Alpine Club of Canada, Ski Club of Great Britain, the National Ski Association, and Kandahar. He was editor of the American Ski Annual (1934-40), a contributor to Appalachia, and was the author of a small volume, The Waterville Valley (1952), expressing his lifetime familiarity with this area of the White Mountains. In his early years at Hanover he served on the Council of the Dartmouth Outing Club. His extensive climbing record (1923-38) includes important peaks in the United States, Canada, Alps, and Pyrenees.

J. Monroe Thorington

Nat Goodrich was born into the love of the mountains and the woods, and of books. There is a secluded spot in the heart of the White Mountains of New Hampshire known as The Waterville Valley. Through it runs Mad River, a tributary of the Pemigewasset. To this little summer resort members of the Goodrich family came as early as 1864, and here Nat’s father, Arthur L. Goodrich, acquired a cottage in the 1880’s. Nat spent his boyhood summers in the birch and balsam woods, walking the trails—and improving them—and climbing the mountains: Osceola, Tecumseh, Tripyramid, and faraway (eight miles) Whiteface—small, but beautiful ones. Books, too, were a part of life here. Longfellow once came to Waterville and wrote a poem about Mad River; Arthur Hadley of Yale and William North Rice of Wesleyan were a part of the summer community, as were such contrasting figures as novelist Robert Chambers and the author of Peloubet’s Select Notes on the International Sunday School Lessons. And here begins a family interrelationship: one of Dr. Peloubet’s grandsons married Nat Goodrich’s sister; and one of Dr. Peloubet’s daughters married David W. Farquhar—and that is where I come in. So the families came to go around together. In 1905 Nat, his brother Hubert, and I took a week’s knapsack trip to Mount Washington, climbing all the Presidential peaks. That began a firm friendship that has lasted throughout our lives. Nat was a good campmate—competent, quiet. He was not so much concerned with “getting there” as with the process and the accompaniments. Let us leave him with a pleasant memory evoked by his own words from “The Attractions and Rewards of Trail Making” (Appalachia, June 1918): “As I straightened from the pool a stirring of cool air drew down the ravine. Above the faint rustling of leaves a sound passed, and came again, a distant fluting, dimly heard. Floating nearer, the muted elf notes answered from dimness to dimness among the birches. Still singing they passed, rarest and most haunting of mountain singers, the Bicknell thrushes: and so dusk fell. At camp a small fire snapped.”

Francis P. Farquhar