Laundry – way more fascinating than you thought

Sawyer's Crystal Blue Little Bo Peep puzzle

Puzzle created by Sawyer’s Crystal Blue Company to advertise their bluing product, circa 1900. When added to wash water, the blue dye makes white clothes look whiter. The swastika symbol in this context means lucky or auspicious object.

Laundry.  At its most basic, washing clothes involves water and a scrubbing action, with soap as an added bonus.  Yet, our ancestors would not recognize the process of doing laundry in 21st century America.  We have incredibly sophisticated computerized machines and a dizzying array of laundry detergents and other products to get our clothes clean.  The evolution of washing technology from washboards to top-loaders, and the social implications of that process, is richly documented in the Joe and Lil Shapiro collection of laundry ephemera (MS.2014.002) now available for use at the John Hay Library.

The Joe and Lil Shapiro collection of laundry ephemera consists of ephemera that depict the history, artifacts and materials used to do laundry from 1800 to 2010.  Most of the items in this collection were produced by companies to advertise laundry products such as bluing, clotheslines and clothespins, dyes, soaps, starch, washboards and washing machines. The advertisements depict not only the variety and evolution of laundry tools and techniques but also attitudes towards women, women’s work, and people of African-American and Chinese descent.  The collection as a whole raises the topic of laundry from something to be avoided to something that tells a fascinating story about American history, technology, chemistry, social expectations, race relations, the status of women, and the power of advertising.  Who knew the laundry hamper could be so informative?

This collection was compiled by Joseph S. Shapiro, Brown class of 1957, and his wife, Lilian Shapiro. Joseph Shapiro was the owner of the Lundermac Company, Inc., which managed and supplied self-service laundries in apartments, condos and dormitories across New England. Lundermac was founded in 1940 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, by Lilian Shapiro’s father, Gerard Wolfe. Joseph Shapiro learned the business from Wolfe, beginning as a salesperson in 1961, and rose to become President of the company in 1988.  Joe and Lil collected anything and everything related to the process of doing laundry including washing machines, washboards, wash paddles, soap boxes, etc.  Only the paper-based ephemeral materials were donated to Brown University.

To learn more about this collection and how it can inform your research projects, contact Holly Snyder, Curator of American Historical Collections, or visit the John Hay Library.

José Rodrigues Miguéis Papers at the John Hay Library

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José Rodrigues Miguéis

The papers of José Rodrigues Miguéis, the influential Portuguese writer, educator, illustrator, and jurist, are now available for research at the John Hay Library.

Miguéis was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1901.  He left Portugal in 1935 when his political opinions brought him into conflict with the rising fascist party, Estado Novo.  He moved to the United States and became an American citizen returning to Portugal occasionally.  He was the author of at least 23 works of fiction and numerous essays, newspaper columns, and articles.  The Portuguese government recognized his outstanding service to literature by awarding him the Ordem Militar de Santiago da Espada in 1979.

The Miguéis papers comprise the author’s correspondence, literary manuscripts, interviews, diaries, calendars, notebooks, drawings, photographs, audio recordings and awards. It contains work by others that relate to Miguéis, such as literary reviews and criticism, drawings, and adaptations of his work.  This collection also includes approximately 2,000 books from the personal library of Miguéis which features Portuguese and world literature and related literary criticism.

To enter the world of this important 20th century writer contact Patricia Figueroa, Curator of Iberian and Latin American Collections or visit the John Hay Library.

John Birch Society Records at the John Hay Library

John Birch Society

Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch Society shown in his Belmont (Mass.) headquarters with a painting of U.S. Army Capt. John Morrison Birch for whom the society was named. Birch was a Baptist soldier-missionary who was killed by communists in China in 1945.

A collection of records created by the John Birch Society are now available for research at the John Hay Library.  The records, the bulk of which date from 1965-1989, provide an excellent view into the work of the JBS and its mission “To bring about less government, more responsibility, and — with God’s help — a better world by providing leadership, education, and organized volunteer action in accordance with moral and Constitutional principles.”

The John Birch Society was founded in Indianapolis, Indiana, on December 9, 1958. Robert Welch, Jr. (1899–1985), a retired candy manufacturer, led the organization from its founding until his retirement in 1983. The original twelve founding members included Fred Koch (1900-1967), founder of Koch Industries, and Robert Waring Stoddard (1906-1984), president of Wyman-Gordon, a manufacturer of complex metal components. The Society was named in honor of John Birch, an American Baptist missionary and United States Army intelligence officer who was killed by Chinese communists on August 25, 1945, making him, in the Society’s view, the first casualty of the Cold War.

The Society has local chapters in all fifty states. It uses grassroots lobbying, educational meetings, petition drives and letter-writing campaigns to gain members and influence public policy. The goals of the society include limiting government and blocking an international conspiracy designed to replace Western nations with a one-world socialist government.  Accordingly, the Society has opposed any trade or diplomatic relations with communist countries and American membership in the United Nations. In addition, the Society opposes the federal income tax and the Federal Reserve system, Social Security, the Medicare program, the creation of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the transfer of control of the Panama Canal from the United States to the Republic of Panama, the Civil Rights Movement, sex education in public schools, and efforts to add fluoride to water supplies. While it supports the American military, it has opposed American military intervention overseas. The Society has operated Summer Youth Camps across the United States and produces radio programs, newspapers columns, and films.

This collection of JBS records totals 45 linear feet and dates from 1928-1990 (bulk 1965-1989) and includes correspondence, business files, publications and audio-visual material.  Additional information about JBS can be found in a related collection called the John Birch Society pamphlets (Ms.2014.001) which contains copies of their publications and newspaper articles about their activities.

To learn more about the John Birch Society and related collections consult the LibGuide on American Conservatism.

Brown Users Have Free Access to NYT Now App

nyt now app

NYT Now is a new app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It is the New York Times’s first standalone news product. The new app will offer a curated selection of New York Times content allowing for a fast and engaging news experience. Edited by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Cliff Levy, the NYT Now App is designed for readers to quickly catch up on the most important stories from the New York Times around the clock.  It provides daily morning and afternoon briefings. It also gives provides access to a stream of the best of the rest from the Internet.

And the best part about all of this is that Brown users get FREE, unlimited access to this new app with their New York Times Academic pass. Here’s how to get the app:
  1. If you have not already registered for the New York Times Academic Pass go to nytimes.com/passes and register with your Brown email address.  If you already have the Pass skip to #3.
  2. You will receive a confirming email from the New York Times to which you will need to respond.  Now you have your New York Times Academic Pass.
  3. Go to the App Store on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Download the NYT Now app.
  4. Log in with your Brown email address and start enjoying NYT Now.

Check Out Books From Harvard, Yale, & Others

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Photo by Simon Cunningham (https://flic.kr/p/iqLMQz)

Current Brown students, faculty, and staff will now have on-site library borrowing privileges at:

  • Columbia
  • Cornell
  • Dartmouth
  • Harvard
  • Princeton
  • Yale
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Chicago
  • M.I.T.
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Duke University.

To borrow from one of the participating libraries, you will have to present your Brown ID. For more information: http://library.brown.edu/borrowing/borrowdirect.php#brownID

Lincoln’s Birthday

20140212lincolnsBirthdayHeader

Image Credit: The image on the left and in the center is from George L. Spaulding (comp.), “Days We Celebrate” sheet music for Lincoln’s Birthday, published by Theodore Presser Co. in Philadelphia, 1914 (Lincoln Sheet Music); The image on the right is from “Lincoln’s Birthday” postcard, printed in London by Raphael Tuck & Sons, circa 1909 (Lincoln Graphics)

It may be difficult for anyone now under the age of 30 to imagine, but for most of the twentieth century the birthday of Abraham Lincoln was keenly celebrated in the United States, particularly in those states which had participated in the effort to preserve the Union during the Civil War. In fact, the earliest known commemoration of Lincoln’s birthday dates to 1874 in Buffalo, New York. Buffalo pharmacist Julius Francis took up the mantle of advocating a federal holiday in honor of Lincoln on his birthday, and repeatedly petitioned Congress toward that end. By 1909, when the Lincoln Centennial was celebrated, the idea of commemorating Lincoln’s birthday as a holiday had taken a firm hold on the public imagination.

During the years he served as President, Lincoln’s own birthday celebrations were subdued, as the conduct of the war to preserve the Union, the welfare of Union soldiers and other major problems faced by the nation weighed heavily on his conscience. On February 12, 1864—150 years ago today—Lincoln marked his birthday by assuring that James Taylor, a soldier who had been sentenced to death for desertion by Court Martial, would not lose his life.

Abraham Lincoln to John A. Dix

Image Credit: Telegrams from Abraham Lincoln to Gen. Dix in New York (Lincoln Manuscripts)

Abraham Lincoln to Stephen Cabot

Telegrams from Abraham Lincoln to Stephen Cabot at Boston, February 12, 1864 (Lincoln Manuscripts)

Brown University’s John Hay Library is home to the McLellan Lincoln Collection, one of the largest and most distinguished Lincoln collections held by an academic institution. These holdings document all aspects of Lincoln’s life, his term as President of the United States, and his legacy in American politics and popular culture. A significant portion of the collection is freely available to the public online in the Brown University Library’s Lincolniana at Brown website.

Contact: Holly Snyder |  (401) 863-1515

First-Year Students | Meet Your Personal Librarian

meet the Librarians

On February 11, all first-year students are invited to attend a reception in the Library. First-years, if you haven’t already met your personal librarian this is a great opportunity to do so. The reception will be in the Finn Room of the Rockefeller Library from 4-5 p.m.

The Finn Room is on the first floor of the Rockefeller Library. It is located in the room to the right of the computer cluster. Light refreshments will be served.

Reception Details
What: 
Library Reception for First-Years
Where: Finn Room (Rockefeller First Floor)
When: February 11  |  4-5 p.m.

 

Warren Commission Report available online

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the U.S. Government Printing Office has made the official, digital version of the Warren Commission Report available on the agency’s FederJFK-photoal Digital System (FDsys) web site. The commission was created by President Lyndon Johnson and chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate President Kennedy’s assassination. The 900-page report is available for download (PDF file). It contains numerous photos, maps, and diagrams from the scene in Dallas, Texas. In addition to the final report, the Rockefeller Library holds copies of the 26 volumes of hearings conducted by the Commission and published by GPO in 1964.

The GPO FDsys web site also contains audio files of recordings of conversations that took place on November 22, 1963, after the Kennedy assassination. These include conversations between various individuals in Washington, DC, Air Force One pilots, and officials on board the flight from Dallas to Andrews Air Force Base following the assassination.

In tribute to the memory and legacy of President Kennedy, the JFK Presidential Library and Museum is hosting a series of events and exhibits, as well as providing access to many digital materials via their web site.

 

Contact: Daniel P. O’Mahony  | Brown University  |  401-863-9445  |  Daniel_O’Mahony@brown.edu or dpo@brown.edu

 

Center for Digital Scholarship Launches New Website

CDS Relaunch

The Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) recently launched its newly designed website. Please take a moment and check it out.

The Center for Digital Scholarship, a cross-departmental group in the Brown University Library supports digital scholarship for the Brown community and beyond by supporting scholarly and academic activities that are conducted or enhanced through the use of digital technology or that engage with its effects.

The New York Times Online Comes to Brown

New YorkTimes Online

The University Library, with support from the Office of the Provost, is pleased to announce the availability of The New York Times via a site license for the Brown community.  The site license enables Brown community members (current students, faculty and staff) to access the Times‘ current content without an individual subscription or monthly limits.

To help you access The New York Times through the Brown site license, the Library has created a New York Times at Brown Help Page. This page outlines how to activate your account as well as tips and solutions.

Below are some important details about the The New York Times Academic Pass:

  • All users must do a one-time registration to initiate their access.
  • To activate your pass go to https://nytimes.com/passes
  • Click on “Register” to create a NYTimes.com account using your Brown email address. You must use your Brown email address.
  • At the bottom of the Welcome page, click “Continue.”
  • You will have to “Confirm Your E-Mail Address.” Once the email arrives in your inbox, click the link in the email. This will simultaneously verify your eligibility and grant your first NYTimes.com Academic Pass.
    Important Note: The initial email from the NY Times may state that your pass is good for 24 hours. Please ignore that message; it should be resolved soon. The pass is good for 1 year.
  • Once the initial registration is completed, and a “pass” selected, you will be able to access www.nytimes.com from any location.

The University Library is very pleased to offer this resource to the Brown community.

If you prefer to get your news from a physical object, the Library still offers paper copies of The New York Times at the Rockefeller and Science Libraries.

Contact: eresources@brown.edu