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.

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

Waterloo 1815: A Bicentennial Exhibition

Battle of Waterloo Exhibit

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, fought on Sunday, June 18th, 1815 in a village in present-day Belgium. A pivotal moment in history, this battle marked the end of both the Napoleonic Empire and France’s domination of Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Waterloo was the closing event of more than a quarter century of global conflict from the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, ushering in nearly fifty years of peacetime in Europe. The decisive battle has maintained a prominent place in public consciousness long after the final moments of combat.

This exhibition, drawn from The Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, visualizes the history of this momentous event. It covers the major actors, precursory battles, public reactions, tourism and commemorations, as well as the details of the battle itself and its grim aftermath. The items on display range from texts and images that are contemporary with the battle to those created as retrospectives.

Location: Hay Exhibition Gallery
Dates: February 16th, 2015 – May 25th, 2015

The Killing Field that was Omaha Beach

On this 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on the Normandy coast, it is worth pausing to reflect on the sacrifice of the soldiers who died on Omaha and Utah Beaches along with their allied comrades on Gold, Juno and Sword Beaches. Flags

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 was a bright sunny day as the tour bus turned the corner onto the Avenue de la Liberation that parallels Omaha Beach. The previous evening, I had presented an illustrated talk to various alumni on a cruise along the coasts of western Europe, about three artists who covered the preparations and landings. Their pencil sketches and water-colors were still fresh in my memory as we disembarked the bus near the old war memorial adjacent to the new stainless steel monument known as “Les Braves” dedicated in 2004 on the beach itself, yet the contrasts could not have been greater. As I walked towards the water’s edge across the beach it was impossible to visualize the horror of June 6, 1944. Omaha Beach is a vast strand of firm, level sand, hence its choice as a landing beach. As the tide was out, it took several minutes to reach the water’s edge but as I turned around, the realization came upon me. I had walked several hundred yards and as I looked inland towards the bluffs edging the beach, I imagined what an impossible task it had been for the thousands of soldiers to navigate the dead zone with little protection other than the obstacles that had been erected by the Germans. Many never made it beyond a few yards. Eye-witnesses spoke of the sea flowing red with bodies floating by. Combat engineers who landed later in the day as the darkness set in kept stumbling over objects – the bodies of their fallen countrymen.

Burying the dead in the low land behind the beachOne of the artists, the late William Bostick, USN, who donated several water-colors to the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection back in the 1990’s, also sent a copy of a sketch he had made shortly after the initial landings. As he moved inland from the landing craft that had delivered him to the beach, he passed rows of dead soldiers covered with sheets.

Another artist, Manuel Bromberg, USA, who covered the landings in an official capacity, arrived three days later and observed the aftermath. He was met with a scene of utter devastation. Pulling Bromberg study for D Dayout his pocket notebook, he made quick pencil sketches. One of these showed a dead soldier being pulled away to the makeshift cemetery. He observed German prisoners forced to remove the dead and dying. These sketches are now in the Military Collection. By close of day on June 6, over 2,000 Americans had been killed, wounded or were missing, and many others were to die in the coming days and weeks ahead. Today, the scars of battle have been removed but it is in the nearby American Military Cemetery at St. Laurent that the stark reality of D-Day hits home.