Life after Lovecraft

Sonia and Nathaniel Davis, circa 1936.

Sonia Haft Davis (1883-1972) would have lived her life in relative obscurity but for her 2-year marriage to a man named Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937).   Lovecraft was a science fiction and horror writer whose work has created a significant and active fan base.  To preserve her own literary output and the work of her third husband, Nathaniel A. Davis, Sonia donated materials documenting their lives to Brown University.  Those papers are now available for research in the Sonia H. and Nathaniel A. Davis papers (MS.2012.003) at the John Hay Library.

Those looking for information about H.P. Lovecraft in the papers of his ex-wife will be disappointed.  The bulk of the materials in this collection document the life of Sonia Davis from 1930 to 1972, during which time she lived in California and was married to Nathaniel A. Davis. Sonia and Nathaniel were both devoted to the idea of world peace and wrote numerous articles and poems promoting that goal.  Nathaniel founded Planetaryan, a humanitarian organization devoted to world peace, for which Sonia was the chief administrator.  The collection is a good source of documentation for anyone interested in U.S. social, political and religious history, especially around the period of World War II. It is also useful for researchers interested in American literature, especially religious poetry and didactic literature.

To learn more about the life of Sonia Haft Davis contact Christopher Geissler, Librarian for American and British Literary and Popular Culture Collections, or visit the John Hay Library.

Spotlight on Rock’s Backpages Database: B.B. King

BBKingImage courtesy of lyrics.wikia.com.

B.B. King (2002)
Interview by Barney Hoskyns, Rock’s Backpages Audio, October 2002
The Chairman of the Board of Blues Singers looks back at his early days in Memphis, and on the observational nature of his songs, and their universal subject matter.
File format: mp3; file size: 10mb, interview length: 10′ 55″ sound quality: ****

Tempo: B.B. King
Interview by Jim Delehant, Hit Parader, November 1967
B.B. King has been getting some attention lately; still not enough for a great master, but it’s attention anyway. Charles Keil did a chapter on …

Tempo: B.B. King (part 2)
Interview by Jim Delehant, Hit Parader, December 1967
ANYTHING YOU want to sell nowadays, all you’ve got to do is advertise. I think people are just beginning to advertise blues. Aretha Franklin, for …

B.B. King, Fleetwood Mac, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Duster Bennett: Royal Albert Hall, London
Live Review by Max Jones, Melody Maker, May 1969
B.B. KING SPELLS OUT THE BLUES …

Newport Jazz Festival 1969: New Records & Not All That Jazz
Live Review by Ian Dove, Billboard, July 1969
NEWPORT, R.I. — On paper at least the experiment of adding rock music to the Newport Jazz Festival 1969 came from the purest of motives. …

Payin’ Some Dues — Blues at Ann Arbor
Live Review by Miller Francis jr., Great Speckled Bird, The, August 1969
“I’d like for them to hear the real things. I don’t think yet that most of the white people like my music because it’s blues. I …

B.B. King: Background To A Living Legend
Interview by John Abbey, Blues & Soul, June 1971
B.B. KING is the undisputed King of the Blues – fact! Every press release in existence on B.B. will tell you that he is a …

MORE ARTICLES ON B.B. KING IN THE Rock’s Backpages LIBRARY

B.B. King   at The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! Nokia Theatre, Los Angeles, CA. 12-03-08 Image courtesy of unofficial.cc.

New Eresource: Early American Imprints, Series I and Series II: Supplements From the American Antiquarian Society 1652-1819.

The initial release of a major new enrichment to the Evans and Shaw-Shoemaker collections has just occurred. Rare items from the American Antiquarian Society, available for the first time in Readex digital editions of Early American Imprints, are highlighted below.

The Gosport Tragedy (1776)


From Early American Imprints, Supplements from the American Antiquarian Society.

The Gosport Tragedy, or The Perjured Ship Carpenter, is a murder ballad set to the tune of Peggy’s Gone Over Sea. The folk song tells of a young woman lured by her lover into the forest where she is killed and buried in a shallow grave. In this version of the story the woman, Molly, is murdered by a ship’s carpenter, William, who had promised to marry her after she became pregnant. When William returns to sea, he is haunted by Molly’s ghost and confesses to the murder before going mad.

The life of a virgin, sweet William, I prize,
For marriage brings sorrow and troubles likewise;
I am loath to venture, and therefore forbear,
For I will not wed with a ship-carpenter,
For in the time of war to the sea you must go,
And leave wife and children in sorrow and woe.
The seas they are perilous, therefore forbear,
For I will not wed with a ship-carpenter.
But yet all in vain she his suit did deny,
Though he still did press her maker her comply,
At length with his cunning he did her betray,
And to lewd desire he led her away.

In other versions the woman is named Polly and the song is titled Pretty Polly. Some have suggested the ballad is the musical basis for Ballad of Hollis Brown by Bob Dylan who, in his early career, played the song under the title Pretty Polly. Woody Guthrie also used the tune for Pastures of Plenty.



The Solar System Displayed (1789)
By Bartholomew Burges
From Early American Imprints, Supplements from the American Antiquarian Society

Bartholomew Burges dedicated this intricate and surprisingly accurate map of the known solar system to the Academy of Arts and Sciences in the State of Massachusetts and to the Philosophical Society of Pennsylvania. Although this map was created 48 years prior to the discovery of Neptune and only eight years after the official discovery of Uranus, labeled here after its discoverer William Herschel, it includes Saturn’s rings and five of its moons as well as four of Jupiter’s moons. Even more amazing is the accuracy of the table showing the various planets’ distances from the sun.

Fernando Birri: Mi Patria Son Mis Zapatos

Fernando Birri by Wilhelm Reinke

Photo by Wilhelm Reinke

The John Hay Library takes great pleasure in announcing the opening of the Fernando Birri Archive of Multimedia Arts.  It is an extraordinary collection documenting the long and continuing career of Fernando Birri, a celebrated and influential film maker, poet, writer, educator, artist, and theoretician.

Fernando Birri was born in Santa Fe, Argentina in 1925 and is honored as the Father of the new Latin American film movement, described as a form of revolutionary or Third Cinema.  He has been a creative force in 43 films either as the director, actor, or subject. His most well-known films are Tire dié, ORG, and Un señor muy viejo con unas alas enormes. He was instrumental in the founding of 3 film schools: Instituto de Cinematografía de la Universidad del Litoral in Santa Fe, Argentina; Laboratorio Ambulante de Poéticas Cinematográficas in the Universidad de los Andes in Venezuela;  and Escuela de Cine y Televisión de Tres Mundos (EICTV) in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. He has authored numerous books on film theory and taught classes on film making around the world. In addition, he is a prolific artist working in a wide range of media from pencils to computer graphics.

The Fernando Birri Archive of Multimedia Arts contains his films, videos, film scripts, diaries, writings, art work, correspondence, poems, photographs, posters, and audio recordings.  It is a comprehensive archive of his life and work and the essential resource for understanding not only the work of Birri but also the history and evolution of Latin American film during the 20th and 21st centuries.

All of his work and creative energy has been accomplished despite, or perhaps because of, his continual movement from one country to another.  He left his native Argentina in 1950 to study film in Italy.  But he was forced to leave Argentina in 1963 for political reasons.  He kept on moving and has lived and worked in Brazil, Italy, Venezuela, Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Germany, and the United States.  He describes his life this way:

“… I have to become a citizen of the world. And there is a very heart-rending phrase from an Argentinean filmmaker, who was killed by the dictatorship in Paris, Jorge Cedrón, which since then has come to be my motto: “Mi patria son mis zapatos [My country is my shoes]”. Life obliged me to that, so I accept it, I accept it well, and with dreams for the future. Period and enough.” (Interview by Mariluce Moura, 2006)

Kanopy Streaming Available to Brown

Kanopy streaming at Brown

The library is pleased to announce the availability of the Kanopy Video Streaming Service to faculty, staff, and students.  Kanopy offers over 8500 films, documentaries, and training videos at: http://brown.kanopystreaming.com.

Kanopy’s award winning collection includes titles from PBS, the BBC, Criterion Collection, California Newsreel, Kino Lorber, Media Education Foundation, Documentary Educational Resources (DER) and hundreds of leading producers.

In addition to being able to browse the Kanopy website, records for individual films will soon begin appearing in Josiah and the library discovery tool.

Faculty can either link directly to selected films in OCRA, or embed them directly into Canvas courses.

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

migueis_snapshot

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

borrow

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