Spillers is an American literary critic, Black feminist scholar, and the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in English at Vanderbilt University. Her research addresses literary criticism, race and gender; linguistics; the African diaspora; Black culture; and sexuality. She is best known for her 1987 article, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book,” one of the most cited essays in African-American literary studies today.
The Hortense J. Spillers papers include handwritten diaries and journals on topics ranging from critical race theory and Moby Dick to the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Spillers’ first trip abroad in 1968. The collection also includes personal and professional correspondence with scholars such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Gayatri Spivak; and drafts of her talks, articles, and books, including “Isom,” “Conjuring,” and “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe.” Materials in this collection date from 1966 to 1995.
Spillers contributed her papers to the Feminist Theory Archive in the name of the Black Feminist Theory Project, established by the Pembroke Center in 2016.
Speeches by Civil Rights leaders and other renowned public intellectuals will be preserved and made available for scholarship.
Providence, R.I. [Brown University] The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has awarded the Brown University Library $23,215 from its Recordings at Risk program. One of 13 projects selected out of 34 to receive grants from the program, the Library’s proposal, “Brown University Archives Audio-Visual Collection: Global Perspectives from Campus Speeches,” will allow us to digitize and make available to the public a large selection of audio and video recordings of speeches by leading public figures invited to Brown between 1950 and 1995.
103 cassette tapes, 198 film reels, and 44 VHS tapes–345 items total–will be digitized through use of the funding. This substantial set of materials document changing intellectual and social currents across the United States and the world on topics including social justice, politics, education, and the media–all of which still resonate today. There is a particularly fascinating set of recordings from Civil Rights leaders, notably Ralph Abernathy, Shirley Chisholm, Martin Luther King, Jr., and A. Philip Randolph.
Over the next nine months, outside vendor George Blood LP will convert the media into digital files. A team of Special Collections staff and students will review the digitized files and create accurate and complete descriptive information. The final content will be uploaded into the Brown Digital Repository, where it will be available for research in October 2020.
The Library is pleased to announce the acquisition of books and manuscripts from the personal library of Daniel G. Siegel ’57, a member of the Library Advisory Council, a board member on the Friends of the Library, and a long and dedicated supporter of special collections at Brown. Mr. Siegel has twice received the Library’s highest honor, the William Williams Award–once as an individual for his generous gifts to special collections and once as a 2012 member of the Library Advisory Council for its support of the renovation of the John Hay Library.
Comprising over 3,000 books and 100 manuscripts, the items included in this recent gift focus mainly on American literature, American history, and the history of science, but also encompass a broad range of other subjects. The gift is particularly strong in association copies, which document the various ways in which intellectuals and activists interacted with ideas and with one another.
Outstanding Highlights of the Gift
Highlights of the gift include:
A first edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass inscribed by Whitman and Oscar Wilde
Lydia Maria Child’s Letters from New York inscribed to Margaret Fuller
King George III’s copy of Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s copy of the report on the Dred Scott case
Typescript of Philip Roth’s early short story “The Conversion of the Jews”
A letter from Albert Einstein discussing the Rosenbergs’ trial and Stalinist purges
A draft of the constitution of the Confederate States of America with annotations and corrections by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stevens
First editions of 19th century Russian novels
A complete set of pamphlets by visionary rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
The gift expands on the existing holdings in Special Collections in nearly every direction, adding works of significant interest to alcohol and addiction studies, the development of the American West, the history of technology and its uses, natural history and materia medica, the Civil War era, women’s rights, religion, and social reforms of all kinds.
The materials in this gift reflect Mr. Siegel’s expansive vision of collecting and are an invaluable addition to the John Hay Library’s resources for research and teaching. The items in this gift join those from previous gifts from Mr. Siegel, which include the only surviving manuscript of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and foundational works in the history of science.
Daniel G. Siegel ’57 Fellowship
To honor Mr. Siegel’s breathtaking generosity and the impact of his giving on special collections at Brown, the Library has established the Daniel G. Siegel ’57 Fellowship, a specialized component of the John Hay Library Undergraduate Fellowship Program.
The fellowship review committee will select one John Hay Library Undergraduate Fellow to be the Siegel Fellow, whose research focuses specifically on the collections of American literature and/or history at the Hay. Like the other fellows in the cohort, the Siegel Fellow will spend ten weeks in the summer building research skills using primary sources to develop an original project. Projects can take the form of a traditional research paper or may be creative or digital in format. Projects do not have to be completed by the end of the summer; the fellowship can serve as a start for a senior thesis, be a further exploration of work begun during a course, or allow a student a non-evaluative framework within which to explore a new topic. Fellows will work primarily in the Hay’s Gildor Family Special Collections Reading Room and will participate in a wide range of relevant workshops, with topics such as the history of the book and letterpress printing. All fellows will present their projects at a showcase in the fall.
The John Hay Library is now home to renowned recording artist, writer, and activist Janis Ian’s collection of personally inscribed works of science fiction and fantasy, many by women and LGBTQ authors.
Providence, R.I. [Brown University Library] The John Hay Library at Brown University is delighted to announce the acquisition of Janis Ian’s personal library, including collections of books of contemporary science fiction and fantasy authors inscribed to her. Among these authors are Anne McCaffrey, George R. R. Martin, Mercedes Lackey, Mike Resnick, Nancy Kress, Neil Gaiman, Connie Willis, Harlan Ellison, Jane Yolen, Tanith Lee, Diane Duane, and many others. In all, the Library received approximately 200 volumes from Ms. Ian’s collection.
The John Hay Library is the Brown University Library’s repository for rare books, manuscripts, archives, and other special collections. Its holdings of U.S. and Canadian poetry, plays, and vocal music dating from 1609 to the present day are considered to be among the largest and most comprehensive of their kind in any research library, including significant clusters in women’s writings, LGBTQ literature, science fiction and fantasy, and modern first editions.
The Janis Ian Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy will take its place alongside unique items like the only surviving manuscript of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the preeminent collection of H. P. Lovecraft’s papers, and a robust array of writings by more recent masters of speculative fiction such as Caitlín Kiernan and Samuel Delany.
Heather Cole, Curator for Literature and Popular Culture at the Hay Library observed, “The Janis Ian Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy substantially increases our holdings of women science fiction and fantasy authors. In addition, the fact that the books were owned by Ms. Ian—most with inscriptions—provides a wonderful record of a network of women writers and readers, something that is not always easily captured in library collections. Already a broad area of strength at the Hay, our materials in the science fiction and fantasy genres are significantly enhanced by this exciting acquisition. Brown students and researchers are certain to make great use of these materials, furthering scholarship in the many important areas of inquiry that are supported by this collection.”
A Grammy Award-winning singer and musician, Janis Ian has been writing and recording music for five decades with a total of ten Grammy nominations in eight different categories. She has been at the forefront of numerous social movements, using music as a force of change, and has impacted the lives and works of artists from Nina Simone to Johnny Cash to Joan Baez. Artists including Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Trevor Sewell have recorded duets with her.
Janis and her wife Pat are currently downsizing while Janis continues to make music and write children’s books, the first of which is the recently published The Tiny Mouse.
Ms. Ian’s library was cataloged by Mary Jo Duffy of Temporary Culture (Upper Montclair, New Jersey), who acted as Ms. Ian’s representative in the sale. Proceeds will benefit the Pearl Foundation, which endows scholarships for returning students.
Brown University Library and The Wall Street Journal
Brown University Library and The Wall Street Journal have partnered to provide school-sponsored WSJ memberships to all Brown University students, faculty, and staff. Through the partnership, readers have complete and personalized digital access to The Wall Street Journal and the WSJ app.
How to activate your complimentary WSJ membership:
Students, faculty, and staff at Brown University can activate their complimentary memberships by visiting WSJ.com/Brown, logging into their school portal, and creating an account on the registration page. Those who currently pay for an existing membership may call 1-800-JOURNAL, and mention they are switching to their subscription provided by Brown University. Partial refunds will be dispersed.
About The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is a global news organization that provides news, information, commentary, and analysis. Published by Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal engages readers across print, digital, mobile, social, and video. Building on its heritage as the preeminent source of global business and financial news, the Journal includes coverage of U.S. & world news, politics, arts, culture, lifestyle, sports and health. It holds 38 Pulitzer Prizes for outstanding journalism.
From humble beginnings as a studio space rented by four RISD guys in the fall of 1995, rose the now mythic Fort Thunder collaborative, located in a dilapidated mill building on the west side of Providence. While there were other decrepit mills nearby, with funky names like Munch House, Box of Knives, & Pink Rabbit, also filled with RISD & Brown students who hosted concerts, Fort Thunder is the one that lives on in popular memory. Its young residents put Providence on the map with their unique underground art & music scene, and inadvertently inspired lasting changes in the city’s preservation community, when they fought the redevelopment of the historic property in Eagle Square that they had called home for almost 7 years.
The display features multi-media options with reproductions of Fort Thunder concert posters & handouts from the collection of Shawn Greenlee, RISD ’96, Brown MA ’03, PhD ’08, as well as recordings by some of the Fort’s bands, like Lightning Bolt & Forcefield. There are also images, maps, ephemera & photos related to the mill building (formerly the Valley Worsted Mills/American Woolen Co.) & the “Save Eagle Square” movement.
This exhibition participates in Year of the City: The Providence Project, a year-long exploration of the history, life and culture of Providence’s 25 neighborhoods through exhibitions, performances, walks, lectures and conferences produced by more than 50 different curators. https://yearofthecity.com/
Dates: April 29 – November 3, 2019 Time: Library Hours Location: Orwig Music Library, 1 Young Orchard Avenue, Providence
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Brown University Library has acquired access to the database, Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century, a compilation of rare and unique archival collections covering a wide range of fringe political movements from the 1900s – 2010s. This archive is one of the first digital archives covering such a broad assortment of both far-right and left political groups. It offers a diverse mixture of materials, including periodicals, campaign propaganda, government records, oral histories, and various ephemera.