Friends of the Brown University Library Meeting, c. 1940
On Wednesday, March 23, 1938 at 8 p.m., the Friends of the Brown University Library held their first meeting at the home of Mr. Henry D. Sharpe on Prospect Street in Providence. Twenty-eight members were present as Chairman Carlton Morse gave an outline of the Friends of the Library movement at other institutions, beginning with the Bodleian Library at Oxford in 1925. It was the stated hope for our Friends that the group members “will get abundant pleasure from affiliation, that each man will find what he most enjoys, and that a wise and useful influence will thus strengthen the Library.”
In honor of National Friends of the Library Week, October 19 – 25, 2014, we are sharing a timeline of noted accomplishments. Seventy-six years after the group’s founding, the relationship between the Friends and the Library remains one of fruitful collaboration, as illustrated by the history, and it has indeed provided abundant pleasure through affiliation and strengthened the Library.
A major expansion of Friends of the Library membership begins. A Friends coordinator is appointed for the first time and physical space for the Friends is established in the John Hay Library. A seed gift from the Joukowsky family is given to reorganize and revitalize the Friends.
The Friends celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the John Hay Library.
The Friends begin creating and selling holiday cards.
The Library celebrates acquisition of its two millionth book.
The first William B. Williams Awards, established by the Library and the Friends board of directors, are given to seven individuals who had displayed “broadly based, multi-faceted support to the University Library over a long period of time.”
Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns delivers the annual William B. Williams Lecture. The title of his talk, “Mystic Chords of Memory,” is from Lincoln’s first inaugural address.
The Carberry Cookbook debuts on Carberry Day, November 13, 1992.
Friends member Daniel Siegel ’57 donates the original handwritten manuscript of George Orwell’s 1984.
The Friends sell “Hunks of the Hay” when the John Hay Library steps are replaced.
On February 13, 2004 at Ladd Observatory, Josiah Carberry is honored with his own star and guests celebrate Carberry Day while awaiting arrival of the elusive professor.
Sophie Blistein ‘41 steps down as Membership Chair after growing the Friends membership from a few hundred to over 1,000 members.
Rhode Island Coalition of Library Advocates presents the William E. Reeves Friends Recognition Award to Brown’s Friends of the Library. This is the first time an academic library friends group is given this award.
FOL Board Member Thomas Bryson ‘72 and his wife, Antonia Bryson ‘74, donate their remarkable collection of books, photographs, programs, and ephemera relating to the history of dance to Brown University Library.
Friends of the Library celebrate its 75th anniversary.
The Library and the Friends host the inaugural presentations of the Harris Collection Literary Award to author George R. R. Martin and publisher Tom Doherty.