Exhibit | Fort Thunder & Lightning Bolt: Old Mill / New Music

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
TimeLibrary Hours
Location: Orwig Music Library, 1 Young Orchard Avenue, Providence

Announcement | Application for Rockefeller Library Faculty Study Rooms

The application for use of Rockefeller Library faculty study rooms opened on April 9, 2019. Applications will be accepted through May 7, 2019.

Apply here

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.

Workshop | Sustaining DH

Sustaining DH

On April 4 – 5, 2019, the Library hosted a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) workshop entitled, Sustaining DH: An NEH Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities. Brown is one of five sites in the US to host the two-day workshop.

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.

Modernist Journals Project

Among the projects was the Modernist Journals Project, which was initiated at Brown by Professor Bob Scholes in 1994 and is jointly hosted by Brown and the University of Tulsa. It is currently supported by the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage with help from the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS).

Sustainability

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’s Journey through Special Collections and the Creation of “Fields of Hay”

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 behind it.

“Howard terrace, Pembroke College, Providence, R.I.” (1960). Landscaping directed by Mary Elizabeth Sharpe. Images of Brown. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.

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.

John Hay Library’s copy of Shakespeare’s first Folio. Photo by Shira Buchsbaum.

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 shira_buchsbaum@brown.edu.

Announcement | New Database: Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century

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.

Includes materials from the Hall-Hoag Collection of Dissenting and Extremist Printed Propaganda from the John Hay Library here at Brown University.

Exhibit | Music Publishers Association (MPA) Paul Revere Award exhibit

The Orwig Music Library is hosting a traveling exhibit: Winners of the Paul Revere Awards for Graphic Excellence, awarded by the Music Publishers Association of the United States. The MPA gives prizes in several categories of music publishing, including different types of notesetting, design in folios, and cover design.

For more information about the Music Publishers Association and the Revere Award, please visit: https://www.mpa.org/paul-revere-awards/


Dates
: December 1, 2018 – January 25, 2019
TimeLibrary Hours
Location: Orwig Music Library, 1 Young Orchard Avenue, Providence

Exhibit | Entwined: Botany, Art and the Lost Cat Swamp Habitat

The exhibit showcases the rich history of art and science in Providence and provokes you to consider the consequences of environmental change on local biodiversity.  Premiering original watercolors of plants by Edward Peckham together with matching specimens from the Brown University Herbarium, collected by William Bailey and others, explore the lost Cat Swamp habitat of the Wayland and Blackstone neighborhoods on the East Side.

This exhibition is the collaborative work of the Brown University Herbarium, Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS), Rhode Island Wild Plant Society (RIWPS), and John Hay Library.

Opening reception:  Thursday, January 10th, 4-6 PM

Dates: January 10 – April 30, 2019
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

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