Exhibit lecture | Behind the Scenes of Elements of Tradition and Change with Rachel Shipps and Abigail Ettelman

Join Rachel Shipps AM’14 and Abigail Ettelman AM’14, both graduates of the Public Humanities program at Brown, for a behind the scenes tour of the exhibit “Elements of Tradition and Change: Brown University’s First 250 Years.” Ms. Shipps and Ms. Ettelman, who curated the exhibit under the direction of University Archivist Jennifer Betts, will highlight some of the the challenges involved when creating an exhibit that encompasses many years and topics. In addition, both will discuss their favorite aspects of Brown University history. This event is free and open to the public.

Date: September 18, 2014
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room | John Hay Library

Lincoln’s Birthday


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

Brown University, National Archives and Records Administration, and National Archive of Brazil Forge Partnership

The group meets with Professor James N. Green in Washington, D.C. at the National Archives to speak with Janaina Telles, whose parents were political activists and were tortured during the military dictatorship, and Peter Kornbluh, Director of the National Security Archive's Chile documentation project and Cuba documentation project.

The group meets with Professor James N. Green in Washington, D.C. at the National Archives to speak with Janaina Telles, whose parents were political activists and were tortured during the military dictatorship, and Peter Kornbluh, Director of the National Security Archive’s Chile documentation project and Cuba documentation project.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A unique, student-led project is the foundation for a partnership between Brown University, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the National Archive of Brazil, and the State University of Maringá (UEM). “Opening the Archives” is designed to provide online public access to the NARA-held State Department of Political Affairs and Relations declassified documents pertaining to U.S.-Brazilian relations from the turbulent 1960s, 70s and 80s.

To prepare to participate in “Opening the Archives,” Brown students studied Brazil’s history with renowned scholar, Professor James N. Green, and were trained by Brown University Library staff in the standardized modes of organization, indexing/description, and digitization.  Directly engaged with rarely seen historical documents at the NARA in DC, Brown students are now working alongside students from Brazil’s State University of Maringá to organize and provide indexing terms to these distinctive documents as they are digitized and made accessible through the Brown Digital Repository (BDR). Created by Brown University Library, the BDR is an online service for collecting, preserving, and disseminating intellectual output. Once in the repository, the NARA documents will be accessible via the internet to scholars around the world.

The “Opening the Archives” project reinforces President Rousseff’s promotion of public access to government information, her establishment of the National Truth Commission, and examination of the abuses of the former military dictatorship. And, the project has the potential to become a model for future collaborations between NARA and other universities, enabling NARA to make its historic records more widely available while also providing invaluable learning and research opportunities for students and faculty.

The mission of Brown University is to serve the community, the nation, and the world by discovering, communicating, and preserving knowledge and understanding in a spirit of free inquiry, and by educating and preparing students to discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation.

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. http://library.brown.edu/

Contact: Jennifer Braga |  401-863-6913


Student Life exhibit at Maddock Alumni Center

Faunce (e)In a continuing effort to showcase student life at Brown University, the University Archives has created an exhibit of photographs and museum objects in the lobby of the Maddock Alumni Center.

Since Brown University was founded in 1764, student life has undergone dramatic social, academic, cultural, and political changes. The exhibit provides a glimpse of student life through a variety of photographs, a fan and dance card from 1914, a mug from 1942, a freshman beanie from 1958, and a commemorative Faunce House mail box.

Collecting and preserving a diverse and fascinating student history is part of the mission of the University Archives. The University Archives welcomes donations from alumni who have historical materials on student life that can be preserved and made available to future students and researchers. Please contact the University Archives at archives@brown.edu or (401) 863-2148 for additional information.

Special Collections Senior Open House, May 22, 3 pm – 5 pm

Bicycle club 1886The John Hay Library will host a Senior Open House on May 22, 3 pm – 5 pm. On display will be Orwell’s 1984, The Great Gatsby (first-edition), Vesalius (first-edition), Copernicus (first-edition), Shakespeare’s First Folio, Kelmscott Chaucer, Eliot’s Bible, Newton’s Principia (first-edition, first printing), Double Elephant folio volume of Audubon’s The Birds of America, Dance of Death bound in human skin, and artists books. University Archives will feature photographs of dorms, classes, buildings, and athletics, and humor publication the Brown Jug. The Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection will display 6,000 miniature soldiers.

The Hay’s Senior Open House follows on the heels of Professor Jane Lancaster’s 2 pm lecture on the history of Brown students’ college experience. The lecture will be in the Petteruti Lounge, Faunce House.

Hannah Gribetz ’15 Receives Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Library Research

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University Library is pleased to announce that Hannah Gribetz ’15 is the recipient of the seventh annual Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Library Research, generously funded by Douglas W. Squires, ’73. This award, established in partnership with the Office of the Dean of the College, recognizes undergraduate projects that make extensive and creative use of the Brown University Library’s collections, including print and primary resources, databases, and special collections.

Hannah is a Classics concentrator from New York City and a sister of the Alpha Delta Phi Society. Her paper, “Clock-keeping Guide to the Maintenance of the Grandfather Clock of the Brunonian Chapter of Alpha Delta Phi: Including a History of the Clock, and of Eli Whitney Blake III, in Whose Memory it Was Given,” began with a simple inquiry into the dedication attached to a grandfather clock that sits on the stairwell landing in Goddard House. This led her to the University Archives where she began an in-depth study of Eli Whitney Blake III, Class of 1888, his family, and his connections to Brown.

As Hannah’s instructor, Joseph Pucci, explains, Hannah has “…an ability to read humanistic texts creatively, and an equal ability to speak and to write about them in cogent ways…The paper is beautifully written and takes full advantage of Hannah’s skills in hunting down sources, both archival and living, in order to articulate an innately interesting life betokened now by a beautiful clock.”

A PDF of Hannah’s paper is available for download and reading here. The Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Library Research is awarded every spring. Information about the 2014 award contest will be available in fall 2013.

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.

Contact: Jennifer Braga |  401-863-6913


Posted in Hay

World-Famous Thriller Writers Coming to Brown!

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] —At 6:30pm on November 15, 2012, Brown University Library will host a panel discussion featuring several of America’s most successful and renowned thriller writers. Author Jon Land ’79, will moderate the discussion between David Baldacci, Steve Berry, Neslon DeMille, Lisa Gardner, and R.L. Stine in Salomon Hall.  A book signing and reception will follow in Sayles Hall. The Thriller Panel is supported by Friends of the Library, Brown University Library, Brown University Bookstore, and Brown’s Office of University Event and Conference Services.

The program, book signing, and reception are free and open to the public. No registration required. Doors open at 5:45pm. Brown University Bookstore will sell books by all authors at the reception in Sayles Hall.

Thanks to the work of Jon Land, author, Friends of the Library board member, Providence resident, and Vice-President of Marketing for the International Thriller Writers, Brown University is currently establishing a Thriller Archive. Land wrote his first thriller as a senior thesis in English at Brown. Today he is a critically acclaimed and bestselling author of 32 books. Land has already donated his manuscripts to the Hay, and more donations will follow.

Land spearheaded the planning for the Thriller Panel as a kick-off for the archive. As he explained, “These incredibly successful authors represent an amazing range of thrillers from action, to political, to psychological suspense to young adult and even children’s.  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the thriller genre in general, and the collection to be housed at our own John Hay Library in particular.”

David Baldacci
David Baldacci made a splash on the literary scene in 1996 with the publication of his first novel, Absolute Power. A major motion picture adaptation followed, with Clint Eastwood as director and star.  Baldacci has published 24 novels, all of which have been national and international bestsellers.  His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print worldwide. Baldacci has also published two children’s books.  Most recently, he was inducted into the 2011 International Crime Writing Hall of Fame and received the 2012 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award. Baldacci is involved with several philanthropic organizations. His greatest efforts are dedicated to his family’s Wish You Well Foundation®. Established with his wife, the Foundation supports family and adult literacy in the United States by fostering and promoting the development and expansion of new and existing literacy and educational programs. In 2008 the Foundation partnered with Feeding America to launch Feeding Body & Mind, a program to address the connection between literacy, poverty, and hunger. Baldacci and his wife are the very proud parents of two terrific teenagers, and the generally proud owners of two not-so-well-behaved Labradoodles. They live in Northern Virginia.

Steve Berry
Steve Berry’s books have been translated into 40 languages with more than 14 million printed copies in 51 countries.  His work consistently appears in the top echelon of The New York Times, USA Today, and Indie bestseller lists. History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel, a passion he shares with his wife, which led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009, the couple has crossed the country to save endangered historic treasures, raising money via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners, and their popular writers’ workshops. In 2012, the American Library Association recognized Berry’s devotion to historic preservation naming him the first spokesman for National Preservation Week.  Berry is also a recipient of the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award, and a founding member of International Thriller Writers—serving three years as its co-president. Berry’s best-selling novels include: The Columbus Affair, The Jefferson Key, The Emperor’s Tomb, The Paris Vendetta, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Venetian Betrayal, The Alexandria Link, The Templar Legacy, The Third Secret, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Amber Room.

Nelson DeMille
Nelson DeMille is a former U.S. Army lieutenant who served in Vietnam and is the author of sixteen acclaimed novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Night Fall, Plum Island, and The Gate House. His other New York Times bestsellers include The Charm School, Word of Honor, The Gold Coast, Spencerville, The Lion’s Game, The Lion, Up Country, Wild Fire, and The General’s Daughter, which was a major motion picture starring John Travolta. He co-authored Mayday with Thomas Block and has also contributed short stories, book reviews, and articles to magazines and newspapers. DeMille is a member of The Authors Guild, the Mystery Writers of America, and American Mensa. He has three children and lives on Long Island.

Lisa Gardner
The New York Times #1 best-selling suspense novelist Lisa Gardner began her career in food service. After catching her hair on fire, she focused on writing instead.  Over 16 million copies of Gardner’s books are now in circulation, along with four movies. In 2010, Gardner’s The Neighbor received the award for Best Hardcover Novel from the International Thriller Writers and was named to the American Library Association’s “Best Adrenaline Novel Reading List.” Her latest novel, Catch Me, is the most recent addition to her Detective D.D. Warren series, set in Boston, MA. Gardner’s other works include the FBI Profiler Series, The Other Daughter, The Survivors Club, and I’d Kill For That.  A one-time Rhode Island resident, Gardner now lives in the mountains of New Hampshire with her race-car driving husband, speed-skiing daughter, two extremely barky dogs, and one incredibly hostile cat.

R.L. Stine
R.L. Stine is one of America’s best-selling authors and is cited in The Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling series author in history. Over the past 20 years, Stine’s Goosebumps series has sold over 300 million copies in the United States alone and has become a publishing phenomenon in 32 languages around the world. Stine’s other popular children’s book series include Fear Street, Mostly Ghostly, The Nightmare Room, and Rotten School. In 2012, R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, an anthology TV series of horror stories for the whole family, began its third season on The Hub TV Network, while the original Goosebumps TV episodes continue to air daily. In October 2012, Stine will publish Red Rain through Touchstone Books, a horror novel aimed at adult readers. Stine’s previous adult novels include: Superstitious, published by Warner Books, and The Sitter and Eye Candy, published by Ballantine Books. Stine lives in New York City with his wife Jane, an editor and publisher.

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. http://library.brown.edu/

Contact: Jennifer Braga |  401-863-6913


New Exhibit on View: Geoffrey Hill and His Books

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – Geoffrey Hill and His Books, an exhibit curated by Kenneth Haynes, Professor of Comparative Literature and Classics at Brown University, in honor of poet and former colleague Geoffrey Hill on the occasion of Hill’s 80th birthday, is on view in the North Gallery, John Hay Library, now through October 1, 2012.

The exhibit includes materials from the Library’s General and Special Collections as well as books from the private collection of Haynes (including works that formerly belonged to Hill). The exhibit is organized around fifteen published books of poetry, from For the Unfallen (1959) to Odi Barbare (2012). A few works have been chosen to accompany each of these books, to illustrate the different kinds of publications that have influenced Hill’s writing (children’s books, fantasy tales, poetry, art books, historical scholarship) and the different ways they have influenced it (in visual layout, in dramatizing the physical act of reading, in allusion and quotation, and in other ways). Drop in the Hay and take a look!

Brown Receives Works of John Jay Chapman from Daniel Siegel ’57

John Jay Chapman

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – Brown University has received a collection of works by John Jay Chapman (1862-1933), noted man of letters, dramatist, and political reformer, as a gift from longtime Library supporter, Daniel Siegel ’57. 

Born in New York City, the son of Henry Grafton Chapman, one-time president of the New York Stock Exchange, and Eleanor Jay Chapman, the great-granddaughter of John Jay, the first chief justice of the United States, John Jay Chapman’s writings, like his interests, were varied.  Author of twenty-seven books and numerous articles, Chapman wrote on Shakespeare, Dante, Greek literature, and authored plays for children and adults. He is probably best known for his early reform work, namely, Causes and Consequences and Political Agitation. Chapman, who lived in New York City and later Poughkeepsie, New York, was a fierce advocate of reform, especially in the realm of politics.  He edited and privately published a monthly periodical, The Political Nursery, which served as a fierce critic of Tammany Hall and a promoter of good government.

Daniel Siegel has been collecting the writing of Chapman for many years and published Chapman’s works in twelve volumes in 1970.  Thanks to Mr. Siegel’s generosity, Brown now owns a virtually complete set of Chapman’s writings.

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. http://library.brown.edu/

Contact: Rosemary Cullen | rosemary_cullen@brown.edu | 401-863-1514