An annotated page attributed to Roger Williams in The John Hay Library's Eliot Bible
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – In commemoration of Providence’s 375th anniversary, Brown University Library, The John Carter Brown Library, The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology and The Rhode Island Historical Society will host three concurrent exhibitions exploring early colonization of Rhode Island and the legacy of Roger Williams.
September 26, 2011 through November 30, 2011, The John Carter Brown Library’s MacMillan Reading Room will feature A Key into a 17th-century Mystery: Investigating Roger Williams’ Shorthand, an exhibition around a mysterious 17th century book in the Library’s collection and its shorthand annotations. The book in question is a bibliographic enigma: lacking a title page and imprint information, scholars have been unable thus far to identify it. Subtitled, “An Essay Concerning the Reconciling of Differences among Christians,” it has been in the collection since the beginnings of the Library, accompanied by a letter asserting that the shorthand on nearly every page is Roger Williams’. Williams was a known expert in shorthand, having learned “the art of stenographie” as a young legal clerk.
Then, October 18, 2011 through April 2012, The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology and The Rhode Island Historical Society will present Customes, Manners, and Worships – Rhode Island Begins, an exhibition of rare, early Rhode Island artifacts in Manning Hall. The native peoples of Rhode Island, and the Englishmen who arrived in the 17th Century, made beautiful, useful and ingenious things. Roger Williams’ dictionary of the Narragansett language describes the meaning and use of these objects, and provides a glimpse into the lives and worldviews of cultures on the cusp of irrevocable change.
And, November 8 through December 30, 2011, the Gammell Gallery, in Brown University’s John Hay Library, will host The Art of Roger Williams: Providence at 375, featuring three hundred years of Williamsonia from the John Hay’s Special Collections, the personal collections of Al Klyberg, and other local collections. Among the objects on display will be a rare and significant Eliot Bible, a Bible translated into the Natick dialect of the region’s Algonquin tribes to aid in the propagation of the scriptures. This particular Bible is likewise believed to have belonged to Roger Williams, and is inscribed with shorthand attributed to him. A talk entitled, “Picturing Roger Williams: The use of pottery and porcelain to convey an icon of Rhode Island identity” by Al Klyberg, former Executive Director of the Rhode Island Historical Society, will be held at the 5:30pm opening on November 8th. The Art of Roger Williams: Providence at 375 is funded by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.
The Brown University Library is home to more than 6.8 million print items, plus a multitude of electronic resources and expanding digital archives serving the teaching, research, and learning needs of Brown students and faculty, as well as scholars from around the country and the world.
The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology is Brown University’s teaching museum. A resource across the University, we inspire creative and critical thinking about culture by fostering interdisciplinary understanding of the material world.
The John Carter Brown Library is an independently administered and funded center for advanced research in history and the humanities, founded in 1846 and located at Brown University since 1901. Housed within the Library’s walls is an internationally renowned, constantly growing collection of primary historical sources pertaining to the Americas, both North and South, before ca. 1825. For 150 years the Library has served scholars from all over the United States and abroad.
The Rhode Island Historical Society, believing that a sense of history is fundamental to understanding human experience, collects, preserves, and shares materials from Rhode Island’s past, so that present and future generations can comprehend more fully their predecessors, their communities, and themselves. Pursuing the highest standards of collection, preservation, presentation, and management, the Society encourages and assists people of all backgrounds and interests to learn more about Rhode Island’s varied history.
Contact: Jennifer Braga | 401-863-6913