Event | Laura Stokes on Composer Fanny Hensel

On Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Laura Stokes, Performing Arts Librarian and Head of Orwig Music Library at Brown, will give a talk based on her book Fanny Hensel: A Research and Information Guide.

Free and open to the public. Q&A and reception to follow the talk.

Laura Stokes

Laura K. T. Stokes is the Performing Arts Librarian at Brown University, where she has also been a Lecturer in Music. She holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Indiana University. Her scholarly work examines music and cultural politics in the nineteenth century, including music for public ritual, opera, sacred music, gender and composition, and music publishing history. Her current projects are on the composers Fanny Hensel, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, and Giacomo Meyerbeer, as well as music and politics, historiography, and nineteenth-century medievalism. From 2012–2018, she was an Assistant Editor of the journal Notes.

Fanny Hensel

Drawing of Fanny Hensel by Wilhelm Hensel

Fanny Hensel née Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1805–1847) was one of the most prolific female composers of the nineteenth century. The sister of the famous composer and conductor Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and granddaughter of the Jewish Enlightenment philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, she was educated alongside her brother, including in music composition. Upon reaching maturity, however, she faced restrictions on the pursuit of a public career—restrictions based on gender and social status. Hensel nonetheless continued to compose, with an output of over 450 musical works, and she became the organizer and hostess of a famous salon/private concert series.

After her death, Hensel’s work as a composer and musician was largely forgotten or dismissed; however, inspired by the field of women’s history, new research from the 1980s to the present day has promoted awareness of Hensel’s life and work. Fanny Hensel: A Research and Information Guide helps researchers navigate the vast world of research on Hensel. The author will talk about Hensel and her music as well as challenges and conundrums in this research area.

Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect St, Providence

Event | Renée Ater: Monuments, Slavery, and the Digital Humanities

Contraband and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial

On Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 4 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Renée Ater will give a talk entitled, “Monuments, Slavery, and the Digital Humanities.”

Free and open to the public. A reception will follow the talk.

Monuments, Slavery, and the Digital Humanities

In this public lecture, Renée Ater discusses the processes and challenges of creating a digital project/publication about the memorialization of slavery. Her project, Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past: Race, Memorialization, Public Space, and Civic Engagement, investigates how we visualize, interpret, and engage the slave past through contemporary monuments created for public spaces. Through an examination of twenty-five monuments in the South, Midwest, and Northeast, she tells a diverse and multi-layered story about our engagement with slavery in the present. Arranged thematically, she considers six digital case studies that include monuments to the Transatlantic slave trade and the Middle Passage, slavery and the university, resistance to enslavement, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, black soldiers and the Civil War, and emancipation and freedom.

Renée Ater

Renée Ater is Associate Professor Emerita of American Art at the University of Maryland. She holds a B.A. in art history from Oberlin College (1987); a M.A. in art history from the University of Maryland (1993); and a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Maryland (2000). Her research and writing have largely focused on the intersection of race, monument building, and national identity. Renée is currently a Senior Fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, working on her digital publication project: Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past: Race, Memorialization, Public Space, and Civic Engagement.

Date: Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Announcement | Recipients of Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research 2019

Each year, in partnership with the Office of the Dean of the College, the Brown University Library recognizes one or two undergraduate students for outstanding research projects that make creative and extensive use of the Library’s collections, including, but not limited to, print resources, databases, primary resources, and materials in all media. The project may take the form of a traditional paper, a database, a website, or other digital project. The prize winners receive $750 each.

2019 Prize Recipients

Maya Omori ’19 created “Hidden Portraits at Brown,” a Brown-focused walking tour for the statewide Rhode Tour mobile app. The walking tour examines overlooked or underrepresented people associated with Brown and offers closer inspection of some of Brown’s famous landmarks and traditions. Maya incorporated interviews with Brown faculty, curators, and staff with extensive research using our online databases and primary sources.

Maya Omari receives award certificate
Maya Omori ’19 receives award certificate from Joseph Meisel, Joukowsky Family University Librarian

GUsing primary sources from the John Hay Library as well as numerous secondary sources from Brown’s physical and online collections, Gabriela Gil ’20 wrote a research paper, “First Aid in South African Gold Mines,” which explores the rationale for European mining corporations to create first aid programs specific to Black laborers. The paper provides an in-depth discussion of a first aid manual (“Ikusiza Aba Limele”) in order to better understand how mining officials construed the roles and responsibilities in the provision of first aid in these settings, and how they evaluated the significance of these attitudes and policies for Black labor.

Gabriela Gil Skype image
Gabriela Gil ’20 connects to the ceremony remotely to present her project and receive the award

Congratulations to Maya and Gabriela!

Thank you to this year’s judges:

  • Heather Cole, Curator, Literary & Popular Culture Collections
  • Carina Cournoyer, Scholarly Resources Librarian for the Social Sciences
  • Claudia Elliot, Associate Director of the International Relations Program and Senior Lecturer in International Studies
  • Jessica Metzler, Associate Director of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Sheridan Center

More information about the Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research and past winners.

Event | Dr. Lindsey Jones: A database project on the education and incarceration of black girls in Jim Crow Virginia

On Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 4 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Dr. Lindsey Jones will give a talk about the database she is creating about the education and incarceration of black girls in Virginia during Jim Crow.

This event is free and open to the public. A Q&A and reception will follow the talk.

Dr. Jones is collecting information about the girls who were committed to the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls, the state of Virginia’s reformatory for black girls, operational between 1915 and the 1950s, after the courts across the state labeled them “delinquent.” The reformatory was designed by a statewide network of black women activists to protect and educate troubled black girls rather than punishing them for adolescent misbehaviors.

Lindsey Jones

Dr. Lindsey Jones, Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Education at Brown, is working on a book project that explores the education and incarceration of black girls in Jim Crow Virginia, focusing specifically upon the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls. As part of this project, Dr. Jones is designing a relational database to collect information about the individual girls who were committed to this reformatory.

This event is part of the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship dSalon series.

Date: Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect St, Providence

Events | Pizza Nights

slice of gooey pizza

Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?

It’s pizza!

Technically, Dominos is cooking the pizza, but you can definitely eat it at the Rock. And the SciLi.

On May 8 and 9, 2019 at 9 p.m., the Library invites students to take a break from studying for finals to fuel up on some saucy, doughy goodness.

  • Tuesday, May 7 at the Rock (lobby)
  • Wednesday, May 8 at the SciLi (Friedman Study Center)

Pizza nights are brought to you by the Library and Campus Life.

Best of luck with finals! We’re here for you.

Events | Smith Magic Collection Performances with Joshua Jay

On Tuesday, April 16, 2019, master magician Joshua Jay will offer two separate engagements.

Both events are free and open to the public with general seating provided on a first come, first served basis. No tickets are required.

Office Hours with a Magician

At 3 p.m. in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Jay will answer questions, offer inspiration, and provide attendees with the inside scoop on the world of magic. Ask Joshua all the juicy questions about the craft of magic. You’ll even have a chance to experience close-up magic right before your eyes. Children are welcome.

Tragic Magic

At 6 p.m. in List Art 120, Jay will present, Tragic Magic, a riveting lecture on all the magicians, spectators, and assistants who were killed in the act of magic. You’ll hear true stories of murder, botched escapes, and–with new scholarship–the real cause of Houdini’s untimely death. Told with passion and theatrics by master magician Joshua Jay, this presentation will even include a touch of the impossible. A Q&A will follow the presentation, and all questions on the craft of magic are welcome.

Joshua Jay

Joshua Jay is a former world-champion of close-up magic and the bestselling author of MAGIC: The Complete Course and several other titles. Joshua has performed and lectured in over 100 countries and helped design illusions for Game of Thrones. He has headlined at the Magic Castle in Hollywood and recently appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Joshua fooled Penn & Teller on their hit show, Fool Us. Last year Joshua consulted with the US Postal Service on the magic postage stamps series released in the summer of 2018. 

H. Adrian Smith Collection of Conjuring and Magicana

The H. Adrian Smith Collection of Conjuring and Magicana at the Brown University Library, long considered one of the finest private libraries on conjuring and magic, includes 16th century titles on natural magic, alchemy, astrology, religious rites, and witchcraft. Later holdings include sections on conjuring, card tricks and games, magicians as performers, magic periodicals and other works intended for practicing magicians, such as posters, ephemera, and realia. The Collection is the gift and bequest of the collector, H. Adrian Smith, class of 1930, who as an undergraduate put himself through Brown by giving magic performances.

Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Times: 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Locations: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect St, Providence & List Art, 64 College Street, Providence

Announcement | Application for Rockefeller Library Faculty Study Rooms

The application for use of Rockefeller Library faculty study rooms opened on April 9, 2019. Applications will be accepted through May 7, 2019.

Apply here

The following categories of need will receive priority:

  • Current Faculty engaged in research requiring intensive use of library resources, programs, and services that is best served on-site within the Library
  • Collaborative Research Projects making use of library materials and requiring shared workspace. Such projects — potentially involving visitors, postdocs, and students — must have a faculty lead overseeing the work and who is responsible for submitting the request.
  • Emeritus Faculty actively engaged in research for whom departmental space is not available
  • Other scholarly needs that fall outside these categories will also be considered, but should be justified with reference to the need for proximity to library resources, programs, and services.

We will continue the practice of assigning studies for a maximum period of one year, with possibility for renewal.

Workshop | Sustaining DH

Sustaining DH

On April 4 – 5, 2019, the Library hosted a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) workshop entitled, Sustaining DH: An NEH Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities. Brown is one of five sites in the US to host the two-day workshop.

Taught by University of Pittsburgh Professor Alison Langmead (Clinical Associate Professor and Director, Visual Media Workshop; Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences) and Chelsea Gunn (PhD candidate, Information Culture and Data Stewardship; research assistant Sustaining DH), the workshop is designed to help archivists, librarians, and digital humanities practitioners create sustainability plans and address preservation concerns at any point in the life of a digital humanities project.

Over the course of the two-day workshop, 35 attendees representing eight project teams from New England, New York, Canada, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania, critically examined their respective projects, creating detailed plans for sustainability and preservation.

Modernist Journals Project

Among the projects was the Modernist Journals Project, which was initiated at Brown by Professor Bob Scholes in 1994 and is jointly hosted by Brown and the University of Tulsa. It is currently supported by the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage with help from the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS).

Sustainability

In addition to creating sustainable plans for their own projects, the attendees are also encouraged to become trainers in these sustainability practices moving forward, and they can avail themselves of support as trainers through the Sustaining DH initiative. Members of the Brown community can make use of the resources and expertise available in the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship, which performs and promotes the use of digital technology for scholarship at Brown. The staff within CDS advise, design, and carry out projects and workshops for every discipline on campus.

Exhibit | Learning through Play: British and French Tabletop Games from the 18th and 19th Centuries

“The cottage of content: or, the right roads and wrong ways” (London, 1848)

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: BRITISH AND FRENCH TABLETOP GAMES FROM THE 18th AND 19th CENTURIES

Georgian & Victorian Games, Gift of Ellen Liman ‘57, P’88, and Early French Games, Loan from Doug Liman ‘88
May 21 – October 11, 2019
John Hay Library, Brown University

The exhibition will be on display in the John Hay Library’s main gallery from May 21 through October 11, 2019; the exhibition is free and open to the public during the library’s regular hours: from May 28 through Labor Day, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; before May 28 and after Labor Day, Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Ellen Liman and Doug Liman are available for an interview or a lecture. For more information and images of the collection, please contact Heather Cole, Curator for Literary & Popular Culture Collections, heather_cole@brown.edu, or by phone, (401) 863-1512.

The Brown University Library is pleased to announce an exhibition featuring 18th and 19th century board games collected by the Liman family. Twenty-three Georgian and Victorian board games, along with jigsaw puzzles and other related items were given to the library by Ellen Liman ’57, P’88. A collection of 19th and 20th century French board games is on loan from the Limans’ son, filmmaker Doug Liman ‘88.

Joseph Meisel, the Joukowsky Family University Librarian, noted his enthusiasm for the Limans’ gift: “This is a wonderful addition to our extensive collection of popular culture materials and significantly extends the range of our holdings in the important area of games and play. As a historian of 19th-century Britain, I am particularly fascinated by how these games serve as documentary sources for deeper understanding of the complex concepts and values that the dominant segments of society sought to impart to their young as future leaders at home and in the world.”

Arthur and Ellen Liman began collecting vintage board games when their son Doug found an old game at a yard sale as a child. This first acquisition sparked an enchantment with games and their depictions of British culture, and the couple spent decades enthusiastically and meticulously building this and other related collections. The late Arthur Liman, a prestigious attorney, was attracted to these games for the historical record: games such as Wallis’s Picturesque Round Game of the Produce and Manufactures of the Counties of England and Wales (ca. 1840) serve as a lesson in how to be an informed citizen of a powerful empire, while others, such as The Railway Travellers (undated) show off new technologies. Other games, such as Every man to his station (1825) provide moral instruction for children. Ellen Liman, a gallerist, author, and painter, valued the games for their artistry, and “appreciated their design, their excellent engraving and later lithography, the delicacy of the hand-coloring, not to mention the charm and ingenuity of every game.” Considering where this collection should ultimately reside, Ellen recalled her formative arts education experiences at Pembroke College, where she majored in art and took courses at RISD, and explains, “Brown was influential to this collection. Since these games are not only educational but rare small works of art, I naturally gravitated to them.” Ellen and Arthur continued to engender an appreciation for antique board games in their son Doug, who has loaned part of his collection of 19th– and early 20th-century French games to this exhibition. Doug, who during his first year at Brown created BTV, Brown’s student-run television station, said: “As a filmmaker of movies and television series, I think of these old French games as early movies or plays, telling stories in a beautiful, artistic, and concise visual format.”

As the turn from the 18th to the 19th century approached in Great Britain, parents and teachers embraced a suggestion from the philosopher John Locke that “learning might be made a play and recreation to children.” A market for board games for instruction and delight flourished, but very few examples survive today. Those that have survived open a window onto the time period in which they were created, reflecting its social and moral priorities as well as a wide range of educational subjects. The games themselves are beautifully detailed: produced by a handful of the best-known publishers of the era, the hand-color engraved games look as vibrant and colorful as they did two centuries ago. Many of the games in the Limans’ collection include not only a game board, but original cases and instruction booklets as well.

The games join the John Hay Library’s rich collections of material on popular culture, and will be available online in May, and in the John Hay Library special collections reading room following the exhibition.

Dates: May 21 – October 11, 2019
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

A Student’s Journey through Special Collections and the Creation of “Fields of Hay”

A student-driven project led by undergraduate Shira Buchsbaum ’19, the recently launched website Fields of Hay offers students a guide for making use of the John Hay Library and Brown’s special collections resources.

Written by Shira Buchsbaum ’19

Mary Elizabeth Sharpe and My First Foray into Special Collections

My journey to the John Hay Library was meandering and inconsistent. My first semester at Brown, my writing professor, Kate Schapira, assigned a piece that required drawing from any archive in Brown’s libraries. I picked the Mary Elizabeth Sharpe collection, which ended up being 20 boxes of letters, blueprints, photographs, contracts, and designs from Sharpe’s life.

Mary Elizabeth Sharpe was married to Henry Dexter Sharpe, the Chancellor of Brown from 1932-1952, and she was a go-getter. Sharpe designed much of the landscaping on campus, including for the then-new Sharpe Refectory and, later, the Sciences Library. She was a critical player in establishing India Point Park and fighting oil money in Providence.

I learned all of this about Sharpe in a few afternoons at the Hay, sitting with her papers and imagining the fierceness of this lady who took meticulous notes about trellises and leaf piles on our campus greens. I kept Mary Elizabeth Sharpe in the back of my head throughout my first two years at Brown, marking the John Hay Library as the place where I learned about our highly manicured campus and the woman behind it.

“Howard terrace, Pembroke College, Providence, R.I.” (1960). Landscaping directed by Mary Elizabeth Sharpe. Images of Brown. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.

A Reintroduction: Shakespeare’s First Folio and Working at the Hay

My junior fall, I stumbled back into the building during a reception and met William Shakespeare’s first Folio on the second floor of the John Hay Library. Brought to tears as I turned the pages of this nearly 400-year-old volume, I asked the lady behind the table, “Do students, like, work here?” The serendipity of that moment landed me in the midst of archives and collections once again, this time as a collections assistant.

John Hay Library’s copy of Shakespeare’s first Folio. Photo by Shira Buchsbaum.

Fields of Hay: An Undergraduate Research Guide to the John Hay Library

In our first conversation, Heather Cole, my new boss, and I discussed creating a guide for undergraduates to access the John Hay Library with more ease. I spent the next 18 months chatting with curators, requesting materials, conducting research, and honing how to convey the richness and variety of the materials here and their availability for student scholarship.

On March 7, 2019, World Book Day, we launched Fields of Hay, the undergraduate research guide to the John Hay Library. On Fields of Hay, students can learn about materials housed at the Hay, read about standing collections, find information on how to request materials, see featured projects by other students, and register student academic or activity groups for programs at the Hay. Fields of Hay aims to demystify the Hay by demonstrating its accessibility and breadth of materials to all students. It also seeks to promote student scholarship by showing that working with primary resources need not be an elite, selective process: it is as simple as finding one compelling item and spending time with it. The website aims to transform haphazard, wayward discoveries of the Hay into a far-reaching, common experience for Brown students. Fields of Hay is home base.

The Impact of Special Collections and an Invitation

I wish I hadn’t treated my interaction with Mary Elizabeth Sharpe as a one-off experience designed for a single class with no lasting implications on my life at Brown. Had I been able to return to the Hay through mechanisms designed for me – through a website that clarified how I could ingratiate myself with these materials – I would have returned sooner. As soon as students arrive at Brown, Fields of Hay can guide them to original, exciting research, or simply enjoying items connected to their interests – no strings or requirements or assignments necessary. Come on in and get started.

Shira Buchsbaum ’19 studied Anthropology and English Non-Fiction Writing and was the primary creator of Fields of Hay, under the advisor-ship of Heather Cole. She wrote her senior thesis about curatorial decision-making for the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays as reflective of changing conceptions of American literature. Any inquiries about Fields of Hay and materials or programming at the Hay can be sent to shira_buchsbaum@brown.edu.