José Rodrigues Miguéis Papers at the John Hay Library


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.

Lecture | Ted Widmer, “Brown’s DNA”

Please join the John Hay Library as we celebrate the University’s 250-year history with a lecture series by Brown faculty and staff that highlights themes from the University Archives’ “Elements of Tradition and Change” exhibit.

The first lecture will be given by historian Ted Widmer entitled “Brown’s DNA”.  The lecture will incorporate aspects of Brown’s history Dr. Widmer has encountered during research for his history of Brown University.  He currently serves as Assistant to the President at the University.

Dr. Widmer is widely published on topics in American history and politics. His first book, Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City, was the recipient of the 2001 Washington Irving Literary Medal. He is the author of Martin Van Buren and Ark of the Liberties: America and the World and co-author of Campaigns: A Century of Presidential Races.  Widmer earned a Ph.D. in the history of American civilization, an A.M. in history, and an A.B. in the history and literature of France and America from Harvard University.



Date: Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Time: 5:30 pm

Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library

Speakers: Ted Widmer, Assistant to the President: “Brown’s DNA”


Lecture Series | Elements of Tradition and Change: Brown University’s First 250 Years

The John Hay Library celebrates the University’s 250-year history with a lecture series by Brown faculty and staff that highlights themes from the University Archives’ “Elements of Tradition and Change” exhibit.  All of the lectures will be in the Lownes Room, John Hay Library at 5:30 pm:

Ted Widmer, Assistant to the President: “Brown’s DNA”
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rob Emlen, University Curator: “Making a Campus on College Hill: Sacrificing an Historic Neighborhood to Build a Better College”
Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Beth Taylor, Senior Lecturer in English: “Letters Home: Brown Alumni at War”
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Luther Spoehr, Senior Lecturer in Education: “Wayland and Magaziner and (Much) More: The Brown Curriculum through the Years”
Thursday, December 4, 2014 (rescheduled)

Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library
Time: 5:30 pm

Lecture | The Brown Charter: Digital Discoveries

imbr00000004842_02md_WEBBrown University’s Charter manuscript exists as two pieces of water-damaged parchment, with few visible letters. To coincide with Brown’s 250th anniversary, Rachel Lapkin, Library Materials Conservator, began working with Digital Production Services photographer Lindsay Elgin to see if modern imaging techniques could reveal more of the original manuscript. Learn about the characteristics of parchment, and of manuscript ink, and how these traits can be exploited by specialized lighting and processing techniques to allow for closer examination into this object’s memory.

Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Time: 4 pm

Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library


Rachel Lapkin, Library Materials Conservator

Lindsay Elgin, Photographer, Digital Production Services

John Hay Library Open Saturday 9/27 for Fall Celebration


As part of Brown University’s Imagine Brown 250+ Fall Celebration the John Hay Library will be open Saturday, September 27th (10 am – 6 pm).  The Hay Library will be open during its regular hours Sunday, September 28th (noon – 10 pm).

In addition to the ongoing exhibits, Elements of Tradition and Change: Brown University’s First 250 Years and The Great War, 1914–1918, visitors may take part in tours:

2 pm: Curator’s Tour of Elements of Tradition and Change

Engage in a lively exhibition tour with University Archivist Jennifer Betts.  Ms. Betts will discuss the exhibition’s themes as well as the history behind the University Archives collection materials on display. The exhibit highlights the University’s founding, evolving educational curriculum, social transformations, and the expanding campus.

2-2:45 pm and 3-3:45 pm: Tours of the John Hay Library

Join Peter Harrington, Curator, Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, to view various special collections including the display of 5,000 miniature toy soldiers, and the Lincoln and Napoleon Rooms. Following the tour, take the opportunity to view the recently remodeled first floor of the Hay.



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.

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 or (401) 863-2148 for additional information.