Exhibit | Mail carried by Murier, an enslaved person

Letter from Christopher Scott to Nathan Nield, December 31, 1792
Brown University Library, Special Collections

This piece of paper, sent from Christopher Scott of Petersburg to Nathan Nield of Mercer County, served as both letter and, when folded, as envelope, with a red wax seal.

Known today as “slave carried mail,” this letter was carried by “a Negro woman Murier” and contains information about an exchange of Murier for another enslaved female named Christian.

The Library invites you to parse the contents of the letter. What does this artifact tell us about the history of the country? Of commerce in the U.S.? What does it tell us about the struggles women have faced as well as the fraught nature of relationships? Why is preserving items like this so important to contemporary research?

Dates: October 2 – 31, 2018
TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Victory Won Pro-Life Bumper Stickers (1991–5)

Explore bumper stickers from the Hall-Hoag Collection produced by Victory Won from 1991-5, in support of the anti-abortion/pro-life/right-to-life movement. The movement in general terms seeks to prevent legal abortion and recriminalize the procedure, which was legalized, based on a woman’s right to privacy, in the 1973 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade.

The Gordon Hall and Grace Hoag Collection of Dissenting and
Extremist Printed Propaganda
The Hall-Hoag Collection exceeds 168,000 items emanating from over 5,000 organizations. It constitutes the country’s largest research collection of right- and left-wing U.S. extremist groups from 1950 to 1999.  Largely comprising pamphlets and leaflets, with smaller numbers of photos, audiovisual items, manuscripts and monographs, the unrivaled collection contains printed organizational literature meant for circulation among adherents and items used to proselytize. Materials represent the broad categories of culture, education, environment, gender, international relations, government, labor, media, non-extremism, politics, publishing, race, religion, sexuality, social issues, students and violence/militarism.

Dates: August 1 – 31, 2018
TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Black Panther Comics

Marvel Comics Black Panther #31, 2001

“T’Challa is the Black Panther – a righteous king, noble Avenger, and fearsome warrior. Under his leadership, the African nation of Wakanda has flourished as one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. And though he’s a card-carrying member of the Avengers, his first loyalty lies with his people, and he will defend them to his last breath.”  – Marvel

Black Panther, 1977, 1978, 2001
New York, New York: Marvel Comic Groups
Brown University Library, Special Collections

The Black Panther (T’Challa) made his comic strip debut in Fantastic Four: “The Black Panther” (Vol 1 #52) in July 1966. The superhero character premiered in his first solo series in 1977, followed by periodic runs through 2016.

Originally created by Stan Lee (writer) and Jack Kirby (penciler) during the era of the civil rights struggle, the comic addressed the lack of black superheroes in the broader American narrative.  The Black Panther’s significance is multilayered and includes anti-stereotypical representation, self-empowerment, and connectivity to Africa. T’Challa is as relevant today as when first created, as witnessed by the record-breaking box-office sales for the Black Panther movie and the character’s popularity on social media.

The Michael J. Ciaraldi Collection

Michael J. Ciaraldi began collecting in the early 1970s. The collection consists of 60,000 comic books, published from the 1970s to 1995. The most significant sections are comprised of magazine-format comics; graphic novels; fan and collector’s journals; reissues of classic “golden age” comics and newspaper strips; translations of Japanese “manga” and “anime” comics and European comic art; compilations of the work of comic artists; advertising ephemera; role-playing game materials; and adult erotica.

Dates: April 3 – 30, 2018
TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Greek Life – A Brief History of Phi Beta Kappa at Brown

Greek Life – A Brief History of Phi Beta Kappa at Brown
Selected Items On View From the Brown University Archives

For over 200 years Phi Beta Kappa has celebrated academic achievement and advocated for freedom of thought.  It is the oldest and most prestigious academic honors society in the United States.

The Rhode Island Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was founded at Brown University in 1830. Brown students elected to Phi Beta Kappa join a tradition that exemplifies the Phi Beta Kappa motto “Love of learning is the guide of life,” symbolized in the gold key.  Membership is diverse, connecting U.S. Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, Nobel Laureates, authors, diplomats, athletes, researchers, actors, and business leaders.

Dates: February 6 – March 30, 2018
TimeJohn D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library Hours
Location: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Works from Modern Architecture

Works from Modern Architecture: A Course with Dietrich Neumann 
On view, architectural models created by students in Professor Dietrich Neumann’s lecture course, “Modern Architecture,” which surveys the “classic” period of European and American modern architecture from the turn of the century to the 1950s.  Works are based on a building or industrial design object from the time period.
                                                                                                                                            Dates: December 20, 2017 – April 6, 2018
TimeJohn D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library Hours
Location: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Scenes from Cuba’s War of Independence, 1895–1898

Chocolates E. Juncosa Advertising Cards
Scenes from Cuba’s War of Independence,1895–1898.

These advertising cards for the firm Chocolate E. Juncosa, in Barcelona, depict scenes from Cuba’s War of Independence, 1895–1898. Founded in 1835, the company offered cocoa and sugar of the finest quality. This set contains 36 numbered chromolithography cards with color illustrations and caption titles. The reverse of each card contains text advertisement for the company.

Dates: October 5 – October 31, 2017
TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | H.P. Lovecraft on the Road & Caitlín R. Kiernan Papers

Greetings and Salutations: Lovecraft on the Road  &  Caitlín R. Kiernan Papers @ Brown University on view at John Hay Library, exhibition gallery from August 16 – December 15, 2017.

Greetings and Salutations: Lovecraft on the Road

Journey from Providence, Rhode Island, to St. Augustine, Florida, during the spring and summer of 1934 with one of America’s most influential fantasy and horror fiction writers. Explore the life, past and places of Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890–1937) through his correspondence, postcards and related drawings from the Brown University Library, Special Collections.

Caitlín R. Kiernan Papers @ Brown University

With novels, chapbooks, comics and more than 250 short stories to her credit, science fiction and dark fantasy writer Caitlín R. Kiernan (b. 1964) is a prolific and independent force reflecting the formative influences of her youth, including H. P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, William S. Burroughs and Angela Carter.

The Brown University Library recently acquired the Caitlín R. Kiernan Papers, gifted by the author, consisting of personal papers, manuscripts, books, related artwork and objects. The collection represents both early and current works by the multiple award-winning author and published paleontologist. Additions to the collection will be made regularly by the author.

Retweets, Shares, and Likes: Increasing the Impact of Research Through the Preservation and Sharing of Data

Justine Allen, Derya Akkaynak (from http://news.brown.edu/articles/2017/05/cuttlefish)

Last week, an article co-authored by Dr. Justine Allen appeared in the scientific journal The American Naturalist. Dr. Allen received her Ph.D. from Brown University in 2014, completing her graduate work under Professor Roger Hanlon at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. The article describes the behaviors of two male cuttlefish fighting over a female mate, behaviors that were recorded on video and in photographs taken by the authors while on a dive off the coast of Turkey. The video has since been seen tens of thousands of times, demonstrating the impact of research through the preservation and sharing of data.

To view Dr. Allen and her co-authors’ data in the BDR please visit:

Akkaynak, Derya, and Allen, Justine J., “Dramatic fighting by male cuttlefish for a female mate” (2011). Data for Publications. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.https://doi.org/10.7301/Z0PR7SX4.

In order to analyze the recorded behaviors, the researchers created a scoring guide to document the types and characteristics of the organisms involved and their actions and the duration of the actions at certain timestamps in the film footage and on each still image. Before Dr. Allen and her co-authors submitted their manuscript for peer review and publication, they reached out to Hope Lappen, Biomedical and Life Sciences Librarian, and Andrew Creamer, Scientific Data Management Librarian, to get help with their questions about copyright and licenses for publishing and distributing their data, and for assistance with curating and depositing the files (the video, images, and analysis data underlying their paper’s findings) into an online collection in the Library’s Brown Digital Repository (BDR).

The BDR is the Library’s platform for making digital collections available online. The BDR has a collection called “Data for Publications,” which is an online gallery for Brown researchers to preserve the supplementary materials accompanying their published articles or the data underlying their results and conclusions. The BDR also allows researchers to cite these materials and data in their publications and to make these files available to other researchers and the public online.

Andrew worked with Ann Caldwell, the Library’s Metadata Librarian and Head of Digital Production Services, to plan out the descriptive information for each catalog record associated with their data set and the minimum documentation necessary to interpret the data. This process is iterative and involves collaborating with the authors to collect these details and create their records in the BDR with the aim of facilitating search, discovery, access, and citation of these materials online. Ann’s staff also helped to convert the film and image file formats into ones that are appropriate for long-term preservation.

Upon deposit of the files in the Library’s BDR, Andrew and Ann work with Joseph Rhoads, the BDR’s Manager, and Ben Cail, the BDR’s programmer, to display the files according to the wishes of the researchers. For the cuttlefish paper, the authors wanted to be able to not only preserve the original video and image files in the BDR, but also to stream the video so that readers could view the video from its record the BDR.  After files are uploaded, Joseph and Ben provide the researchers with a URL and a unique identifier, called a digital object identifier (DOI), that they can use to cite these materials within their article so that reviewers of their paper or interested readers can have access to them. By depositing the data in the BDR and citing the data within the paper, the authors allow readers to learn more about the science and judge the rigor and validity of their published findings. This transparency can help move science forward.

So what is the big deal about making these materials public? In short, the answer is impact. Scientists want to spread knowledge and know that their research can resonate with the public. By depositing their video with the Library and citing and sharing their video, Dr. Allen and her co-authors were able to reach more people than they would have through the publication of their article alone. How many more people? One week after publication of the article, their cuttlefish video had been viewed by over 140,000 people online! In addition, the video had been reported on the websites and social media feeds of the New York Times, National Geographic, and Science and reported on the websites and on the Facebook and Twitter and similar social media feeds of media outlets in several countries, including Germany’s Der Spiegel. These posts have been shared, liked, and retweeted by people fascinated with the dramatic events the research team captured on film.

Dr. Allen and her co-authors are not alone. A team of Brown undergraduates led by Dean Adetunji, Associate Dean of the College for Undergraduate Research and Inclusive Science, have deposited the file of a video in the Library’s BDR on the science of seeing color that has also has had over 100,000 views. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the National Science Foundation including broader and societal impact among the review criteria it uses to evaluate grant proposals submitted by researchers. The Library’s BDR plays a crucial role in helping to preserve and disseminate the digital outputs of Brown’s research community, including their broader impact materials that they have created for educating students or the public about their research. Videos, images, software, and documents that could easily be lost after the publication of an article now get cataloged by the Library and put online and discovered, accessed, and cited by other researchers and the public.

Research Consultations at the Writing Center

The Library and the Writing Center are teaming up to help you jump start your research project!

You can drop into the Writing Center on the 5th Floor of the SciLi on these
Fridays from 12 – 3 p.m.:

  • April 21
  • April 28
  • May 5
You can talk about your work, ask questions, and get advice from librarians and writing associates. No appointment is necessary. Consultations are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Dissertation Writing Retreat January 9-13 from the Writing Center, Graduate School and University Library (Deadline 12/28)

faure_-_dissertation_decouverte_et_demonstrations_de_la_quadrature_mathematique_du_cercle_1747_-_1515965

Advanced PhD students are invited to apply now to participate in a Dissertation Writing Retreat in January 2017. The writing-intensive retreat, to be held January 9-13, will provide 16 participants with space, time and encouragement to make progress on their dissertations. Stacy Kastner, Associate Director of the Writing Center, will lead the retreat, which pools the resources and support of the Graduate School, Sheridan Center and Libraries.

The deadline for submitting the electronic form is Wednesday, December 28, 2016. See details, including eligibility, here.

During the retreat, students will meet in the morning to set writing goals over coffee and tea, spend two hours writing, and then break for an informal lunch talk peppered with energizing advice and anecdotes about how to successfully navigate the dissertation writing process. In the afternoon, they will spend another three hours writing, with one-on-one support available from Writing Associates and Research Librarians. The group will close the day at 4 p.m., regrouping to check-in about writing goals and to celebrate progress made.

This offering is a response to the Graduate Student Council’s request for increased writing support for graduate students.