Exhibit | Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection Loan to The Watercolour World

French Garde Impériale and Garde Nationale during the Hundred Days, 1815. Denis Dighton 1792-1827

UK-based nonprofit organization The Watercolour World has added 93 items from the Brown University Library’s Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection to its online exhibition website, a free database of documentary watercolors painted before 1900.

Visit The Watercolour World and see the works from the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection.

The Watercolour World aims to “not simply preserve the watercolour record but revive it, sparking new conversations and revelations. By making history visible to more people, we can deepen our understanding of the world.”

The Library is pleased to have provided access to our digital archive of material in the Military Collection, which numbers more than 25,000 items. Through partnerships such as this, we are able to share the unique treasures in our collections with scholars and patrons around the world.

Event | #LibraryLove on Valentine’s Day

Response to #LibraryLove 2019

Thank you to all the students, staff, and faculty who took the time to write 103 sticky notes expressing your affection for all things Brown University Library this past Valentine’s Day. We loved reading them! Here are a few of our favorite messages:

  • I love that the library is always there for me when I’m struggling
  • I love the U-FLi Center on the 5th floor and the constant presence of community
  • Love the library and the great people who care for it.
  • Best security guards on campus!
  • I live here.
  • The night guard who is always nice and asks me about my day
  • The SciLi has been like home for me. I’m always here.
  • I love studying with friends in the study rooms!
  • The people are so friendly here! Thank you to all the dedicated staff!
  • I love the wonderful friends turned family I’ve met while studying here.
  • Thank you to everyone who makes the SciLi feel like a home
  • Love all the friendly librarians at the Hay
  • I love my wonderful mentors and friends at the Hay
  • I love the Orwig scanner-copier!
  • I love the secret practice room!
  • I love all the music and love for music in the air
  • I love the power I feel finding books!
  • Love the student workers!
  • Free libraries got me here. Love.
  • Shoutout to the people who work in Interlibrary Loan!
  • Someone was nice enough to leave my glasses at the front desk when I lost them here!
  • To the librarian with the awesome haircut (you know you you are): awesome haircut!
  • Thanks for being so kind. You’re the best.
  • People in Circ are the best!
  • I love libraries and people who love libraries!
  • I love the subject librarians and their diverse knowledge!
  • I love the Rock b/c I live here!
  • Thank you for staying up late with us while we work!
  • So many possibilities in every book!
  • Thanks for such a warm and friendly place to study.

Over 1,000 cookies were eaten and we mailed 111 cards from the Friends of the Library collection.

In addition, people were invited to post messages online.

We hope that the #LibraryLove event brightened your Valentine’s Day as much as it did for us. We love the members of the Brown University community, we stand ready to help you with all your research and study needs, and we look forward to sharing the love once again on Valentine’s Day 2020!

Cookies and Stickies

This Valentine’s Day — Thursday, February 14 — let us know what you love about the Brown University Library, enjoy some cookies, and write a love letter.

There will be cookies in four library locations along with sticky notes and pens. We invite you to write what you love about the Library on a sticky note and put it up on the wall.

Share the Love on Social

We’ll take some photos of the sticky notes and post them to Instagram and Twitter.

  • @BrownUniversityLibrary on Insta
  • @BrownLibrary on Twitter

We’d love to see your photos, too! Be sure to use #LibraryLove and #BrownLibrary so we can like, comment, and share.

Not on campus? Create a virtual love letter to the Library.

Send a Letter

Complimentary greeting cards from the Friends of the Library collections will be available at each location. Please help yourself to a card (or several), write a note, seal and address the envelope (you will need to know the address), and place it in the box labeled “CARDS.” The Library will mail the cards for you!

Date: Thursday, February 14, 2018
Time: All day

  • Rockefeller Library, Sorensen Family Reading Room
  • John Hay Library, First Floor Lounge
  • Sciences Library, Lobby
  • Orwig Music Library, Circulation Area

Event | “Some Favored Nook” Talk with Eric Nathan

Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson and poet Emily Dickinson

On Friday, March 1, 2019 at 5 p.m. in the John Hay Library, Assistant Professor of Music Eric Nathan will give a talk about his most recent set of original songs, “Some Favored Nook.” Nathan will discuss the creation of the songs, which are based on correspondence between poet Emily Dickinson and minister and Civil War Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson. In addition to the talk, original Emily Dickinson manuscripts and Amy Beach scores will be on display.

Free and open to the public. Reception to follow the talk.

On Sunday, March 3, at 2 p.m., the New England premiere of Nathan’s “Some Favored Nook” will usher in Women’s History Month at Brown. The concert, also featuring music by Amy Beach, Samuel Barber and Aaron Copland, is presented by Providence arts organization FirstWorks in partnership with the Brown Arts Initiative and the University’s music department.

More information on “Some Favored Nook” and Professor Nathan’s process during composition of the songs can be found in the article, “Brown, FirstWorks present regional premiere of ‘Some Favored Nook,” on the News from Brown website.

Date: Friday, March 1, 2019
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: John Hay Library, 20 Prospect St, Providence

Exhibit | Spectacular Listening: U.S. Air Guitar

Photo courtesy of Whitney Young via Hidden Darkroom

This exhibit by ethnomusicology Ph.D. candidate Byrd McDaniel displays some of the memorabilia central to air guitar playing in the United States and the U.S. Air Guitar Championships in particular.  Advertised as the “greatest thing you’ve never seen,” the contemporary U.S. Air Guitar Championships stem from a long line of related practices throughout the twentieth century—such as pantomime, musical comedy, and dance—that crystallized in the late 1970s and early 1980s around air band and air guitar competitions. Byrd argues that we should think of air guitar as a type of listening—a practice in animating, translating, and transmitting rock recordings.

Air guitar competitions not only reproduce and revisit some of the classic moments in rock guitar history, but they also revise these moments, sometimes sustaining and sometimes challenging the often racist, sexist, and ableist narratives that litter the genre’s history. It can also undermine these problematic discourses as well, subordinating guitar greats and lofty values (like authenticity or virtuosity) to the tastes and talents of the amateur air guitarist.

Ultimately, air guitar playing reminds us how gesture and listening sustain important aspects of our cultural identities. It calls on us to rethink the origins of our current interactive and haptic technologies, which stem just as much from technological innovations as they do from a desire to take music recordings into our own hands.

Dates: February 12 – April 12, 2019
TimeLibrary Hours
Location: Orwig Music Library, 1 Young Orchard Avenue, Providence

Event | Playing the Past – Archaeology and Video Games Play Well Together

On Sunday and Monday, January 27 and 28, 2019, Eva Mol and Carl Walsh, Postdoctoral Research Associates in Archaeology and the Ancient World at the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, hosted a conference and workshop at the Rockefeller Library entitled, “Playing the Past – Archaeology and Video Games Play Well Together.


On Sunday, speakers discussed the state of the field in gaming and archaeology with a specific focus on how interactive, virtual media function as a differential space for theory-crafting, historytelling, and public outreach. Seven presenters spoke about topics ranging from a case study of Assassin’s Creed: Origins, which is set in ancient Egypt, to the pedagogical uses of games set in ancient time periods, to the participatory creation of historical video games and environments by both experts and the public.

The presentations took place in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, which is equipped with a large-scale, high-resolution video wall comprised of twelve 55-inch high-resolution LED screens, allowing for crisp and responsive visual presentation of video games and other media.


On Monday, Angus Mol and Aris Politopoulos of Leiden University and the VALUE Foundation taught workshop participants, including archaeologists, designers, critics and consumers, how to use Twine, an intuitive and powerful tool for digital storytelling and game design. The group made use of what was learned by building video games in the Library’s Sidney E. Frank Digital Studio. The Studio’s flexible space allowed the attendees to break into smaller groups and collaborate while using the room’s screen and whiteboards.

Date: Sunday and Monday, January 27 and 28, 2019
Time: All day
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab & Sidney E. Frank Digital Studio, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street

Exhibit | Folklore Music Map of the United States

Folklore Music Map of the United States from the Primer of American Music
Dorothea Dix Lawrence (1899–1979)
New York, New York: Hagstrom Company,  Inc., 1946
Brown University Library, Special Collections

This colorful Folklore Music Map of the United States contains period illustrations, musical classifications and a bibliography.  With its visual overlay of music and geography, the map provides useful information about the varied and unique sounds produced nationally and studied by folklorists of the 1940s. Created by opera singer turned folklorist Dorothea Dix Lawrence from her Primer of American Music radio program, the map is an example of her efforts to broadly collect and disseminate music in America.  All of the music samples on the map were later published in a book entitled Folklore-Songs of the United States (1959).

Exhibit Dates: January 30 -Febuary 28, 2019
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Announcement | Dr. Zhuqing Li Appointed Faculty Curator, East Asian Collection

Dr. Zhuqing Li

The Brown University Library is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Zhuqing Li, Visiting Associate Professor of East Asian Studies at Brown, as Faculty Curator, East Asian Collection. Professor Li has taught in the Department of East Asian Studies since 2014. Her role as Faculty Curator began on January 1, 2019.

In this new role, Professor Li will work with the curatorial staff of Brown’s East Asian Collection and other Library experts to explore ways to strengthen the use of these materials for teaching and research on campus, and to increase their visibility to the broader scholarly community through a variety of means including description, exhibits, digital projects, workshops, programs, and publication. Professor Li will also continue to teach in the Department of East Asian Studies.

Zhuqing Li

A linguist specializing in Chinese historical linguistics and dialectology, Professor Li received her Ph.D. in East Asian Language and Literature from the University of Washington and taught at Boston College for 13 years before coming to Brown. Her research has focused on the study of the Chinese language, the historical experiences of Chinese returnees, and the linguistic aspects of Chinese-English translation.

Professor Li’s research began with the study of the phonology and grammar of Fuzhou dialect, which has the most complicated sound-change system in the Chinese language family and is a window into how Chinese sounded in ancient times. Her work on Chinese returnees looks at the social phenomena of Chinese-born citizens who study abroad and return home, reintegrating into Chinese society. She is currently exploring the prosodic and scientific properties of the Chinese language.

Professor Li is the author of four books: Reinventing China: Experience of Contemporary Returnees from the West (Bridge 21, 2016), Minnan-English Dictionary (Dunwoody Press, 2008), The Structure of Fuzhou Dialect (Dunwoody Press, 2002), and Fuzhou-English Dictionary (Dunwoody Press, 1998), as well as numerous academic articles.

Brown’s East Asian Collection

The East Asian Collection, located on the third floor of the Rockefeller Library, holds nearly 200,000 volumes of East Asian language print books in addition to print serials, audio-video materials, and electronic resources. The Collection was developed from an initial gift of approximately 30,000 volumes donated to Brown in 1961 by the noted sinologist Charles Sidney Gardner. Dr. Li Wang, Curator of the East Asian Collection, and Toshiyuki Minami, Senior Library Specialist, offer students and researchers support in their use of the Collection and will be collaborating with Professor Li throughout her work with the Library.

Exhibit | Learning through Play: British and French Tabletop Games from the 18th and 19th Centuries

“The cottage of content: or, the right roads and wrong ways” (London, 1848)


Georgian & Victorian Games, Gift of Ellen Liman ‘57, and Early French Games, Loan from Doug Liman ‘88
May 21 – October 11, 2019
John Hay Library, Brown University

The exhibition will be on display in the John Hay Library’s main gallery from May 21 through October 11, 2019; the exhibition is free and open to the public during the library’s regular hours: from May 28 through Labor Day, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; before May 28 and after Labor Day, Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Ellen Liman and Doug Liman are available for an interview or a lecture. For more information and images of the collection, please contact Heather Cole, Curator for Literary & Popular Culture Collections, heather_cole@brown.edu, or by phone, (401) 863-1512.

The Brown University Library is pleased to announce an exhibition featuring 18th and 19th century board games collected by the Liman family. Twenty-three Georgian and Victorian board games, along with jigsaw puzzles and other related items were given to the library by Ellen Liman ’57 P’88. A collection of 19th and 20th century French board games is on loan from the Limans’ son, filmmaker Doug Liman ‘88.

Joseph Meisel, the Joukowsky Family University Librarian, noted his enthusiasm for the Limans’ gift: “This is a wonderful addition to our extensive collection of popular culture materials and significantly extends the range of our holdings in the important area of games and play. As a historian of 19th-century Britain, I am particularly fascinated by how these games serve as documentary sources for deeper understanding of the complex concepts and values that the dominant segments of society sought to impart to their young as future leaders at home and in the world.”

Arthur and Ellen Liman began collecting vintage board games when their son Doug found an old game at a yard sale as a child. This first acquisition sparked an enchantment with games and their depictions of British culture, and the couple spent decades enthusiastically and meticulously building this and other related collections. The late Arthur Liman, a prestigious attorney, was attracted to these games for the historical record: games such as Wallis’s Picturesque Round Game of the Produce and Manufactures of the Counties of England and Wales (ca. 1840) serve as a lesson in how to be an informed citizen of a powerful empire, while others, such as The Railway Travellers (undated) show off new technologies. Other games, such as Every man to his station (1825) provide moral instruction for children. Ellen Liman, a gallerist, author, and painter, valued the games for their artistry, and “appreciated their design, their excellent engraving and later lithography, the delicacy of the hand-coloring, not to mention the charm and ingenuity of every game.” Considering where this collection should ultimately reside, Ellen recalled her formative arts education experiences at Pembroke College, where she majored in art and took courses at RISD, and explains, “Brown was influential to this collection. Since these games are not only educational but rare small works of art, I naturally gravitated to them.” Ellen and Arthur continued to engender an appreciation for antique board games in their son Doug, who has loaned part of his collection of 19th– and early 20th-century French games to this exhibition. Doug, who during his first year at Brown created BTV, Brown’s student-run television station, said: “As a filmmaker of movies and television series, I think of these old French games as early movies or plays, telling stories in a beautiful, artistic, and concise visual format.”

As the turn from the 18th to the 19th century approached in Great Britain, parents and teachers embraced a suggestion from the philosopher John Locke that “learning might be made a play and recreation to children.” A market for board games for instruction and delight flourished, but very few examples survive today. Those that have survived open a window onto the time period in which they were created, reflecting its social and moral priorities as well as a wide range of educational subjects. The games themselves are beautifully detailed: produced by a handful of the best-known publishers of the era, the hand-color engraved games look as vibrant and colorful as they did two centuries ago. Many of the games in the Limans’ collection include not only a game board, but original cases and instruction booklets as well.

The games join the John Hay Library’s rich collections of material on popular culture, and will be available online in May, and in the John Hay Library special collections reading room following the exhibition.

Dates: May 21 – October 11, 2019
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

Event | Drama at Athens: Some Evidence from Inscriptions with Stephen Tracy ’63

Join the Brown University Library on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library for a talk by Stephen Tracy ’63 entitled, “Drama at Athens: Some Evidence from Inscriptions.”

This event is free and open to the public. A light reception will follow the presentation.

Drama at Athens: Some Evidence from Inscriptions

This illustrated talk is designed for the non-specialist. It will begin with some general comments on the importance of inscribed stones as a source of evidence. Several examples will be given of inscriptions that provide information vital for our understanding of Athenian history and politics. The speaker, who is well-known for his work identifying the hands of ancient inscribers, will then show how the study of hands has enabled a better understanding of the fragmentary inscriptions that record performances of drama at Athens. He will argue that they were created not only to preserve an accurate history of the performances, but also to gain cultural capital as the Athenians sought to maintain their autonomy in the face of foreign powers.

Stephen Tracy

Stephen Tracy took his BA (summa cum laude) from Brown in 1963 and his MA and PhD from Harvard in 1965 and 68. He taught at Wellesley and then for many years at Ohio State.  Toward the end of his teaching career he served as Professor and Director of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. After he returned from Athens in 2007, he took up residence in New Jersey where he continues his scholarly work as a long time visitor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He has written numerous books and articles on Greek epigraphy for specialists; his most recent book, published in 2016 by Walter de Gruyter in Berlin, is entitled Athenian Lettering of the Fifth Century B.C. He has also published two well-received books for general audiences – The Story of the Odyssey (Princeton 1990) and Pericles: A Sourcebook and Reader (Berkeley 2009).

Date: February 5, 2019
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

Announcement | Cody Ross Named Senior Library Specialist – Digital Records

Cody Ross

The Brown University Library is pleased to announce the appointment of Cody Ross to the position of Senior Library Specialist – Digital Records, effective January 2, 2019.

Prior to moving into this position in Special Collections, Cody worked in Circulation as Senior Library Specialist – Gateway Services.

Cody will be performing digital preservation tasks with born-digital and digitized materials to increase access to the digital materials in the Library’s collections. These tasks will include describing digital materials and collections, migrating materials to the appropriate file type, creating metadata for digital materials, assisting in the preservation of websites, and helping to identify, investigate, and resolve issues with digital preservation.

Before to coming to Brown in April 2018, Cody held positions in the Bowdoin College Library, the Maine College of Art Library, and the Portland Public Library in Portland, ME.