Ever True: A History of the Brown Band

The historians of the Brown University Band present an exhibition on the band’s long and great history, currently on display at the Orwig Music Library.  Since 1924 the Brown University Band has entertained on the field at football games, on ice at the hockey games, and in locations all over the country. On view are the musical “BU” sweater worn by the band’s founder, photographs, world famous buttons, as well as an iPad containing sound recordings from 1927-2000 and videos of the band.

Curated by Sean Briody, Greer Christensen-Gibbons, Ingrid Mader, and Gaby Usabal

Dates: October 12 – December 21, 2017
TimeLibrary Hours
Location: Orwig Music Library, 1 Young Orchard Avenue, Providence

 

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

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.

Exhibit | Schwedischen Fewerwerks. Anno 1650

Schwedischen Fewerwerks. Anno 1650 (1652).

Schwedischen Fewerwerks. Anno 1650, on display at  the John Hay Library, 2nd Floor Landing from July 1 – July 31, 2017.

A depiction of the Swedish fireworks at Nuremberg in honor of the Swedish plenipotentiary in Germany, Count Palatine Carl Gustav (the future king of Sweden, Charles X Gustav).

Dates: July 1 – July 31, 2017
TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Mobile Verse: Bus and Subway Poetry

“Reflective” A. R. Ammons (1926–2001), Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York, NY), ca. 1992–1996

The Mobile Verse: Bus and Subway Poetry from the Harris Broadside Collection is now showing at John Hay Library, exhibition gallery from June 26 – July 26, 2017.

Explore poetry from the United States and Great Britain that was designed to be enjoyed on buses and subway cars from the 1970s through the 1990s. Growing in popularity, public- and private-sector programs such as these continue to link literary arts and transportation as a way to communicate, influence and curate through our communal environments. Selections from more than 300 examples highlight the young, mature, novice and experienced poets of diverse backgrounds and locations as they share on various topics.

Dates: June 26 – July 26, 2017
TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Location: Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

New Fellows to Further Research at the John Hay Library in 2017-2018

The John Hay Library will host two research fellows in the coming academic year, with support from the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium. While at the Hay Library, these scholars, whose projects are described in more detail below, will be using little known materials in the holdings of Special Collections in order to further their scholarly research.

Detail from St. Augustine of Hippo, De Ciuitate Dei (1467), Annmary Brown Memorial Collection 203, John Hay Library, showing printed text with hand applied rubrication and illuminated capitals

Renzo Baldasso, an Assistant Professor in the School of Art at Arizona State University, is currently at work on a study of printers in the early decades of the printing press (1453 to 1503 C.E.) — a period commonly known among historians as the incunabula era.  Baldasso’s research aims to discover how these printers “became masters of the page…to develop an independent print aesthetic” that differed from the aesthetic approaches used to produce the handwritten illuminated manuscript. With expertise in both Renaissance art and the history of science, Baldasso is uniquely qualified to undertake this intensive study of rare volumes. He will be focusing his work at the Hay Library on the 600 incunabula in the Annmary Brown Memorial Collection, for which Richard Noble, the Library’s rare books cataloguer, has been diligently working to enhance existing descriptive information.

Selected pages from the papers of Jean Bethke Elshtain (Ms. 2011.039), Feminist Theory Archive, John Hay Library

Alexander Jacobs, a recent PhD and current postdoctoral lecturer in History at Vanderbilt University, works on “the tangled histories and multiple meanings of liberalism and conservatism in modern American thought and politics” — a topic that formed the nucleus of his 2016 doctoral dissertation, Pessimism and Progress, a study of Conservatism within the political Left. While at the Hay Library, he will be looking at manuscript material in the Feminist Theory Archive, focusing in particular on the papers of Jean Bethke Elshtain.

The New England Regional Fellowship Consortium (NERFC) is a growing body of New England cultural institutions which seek to enhance scholarly access to their collections by offering grants for 8 weeks of study in the holdings of at least three of the participating institutions. The program is competitive and attracts scholars working on a broad range of topics. The John Hay Library, a NERFC member since 2014, has previously hosted fellows working on topics such as the fear of nuclear explosion during the Cold War, 19th century panoramic spectacles, and humor in the gay liberation and feminist movements.

Symposium | Bamboula! Black Music Before the Blues with John Davis ’79

The Bamboula! Symposium has been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 11 from 2 – 3:30 p.m. in Petteruti Lounge, second floor, Robert Campus Center/Faunce House. A reception will follow in the lobby of the John Hay Library.

The exhibit, Bamboula! Black Music Before the Blues, was conceived and curated by Brown graduate, pianist John Davis ’79. It will run from March 21 to May 5, 2017.

Symposium

Organized and moderated by Tony Bogues, Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and Critical Theory and Director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown, the symposium will feature panelists John Davis ’79 and Brandy Monk-Payton AM’12, PhD’16, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Film and Media Studies and the Leslie Center for the Humanities at Dartmouth College.

Update: Eric Lott is unable to attend the symposium.

John Davis

John Davis; photo by John Halpern

With Bamboula! Black Music Before the Blues, the exhibition he has now conceived and curated at Brown University’s John Hay Library, pianist John Davis continues to define, excavate, and disseminate a previously-unacknowledged African American roots music. Davis is most associated with his frequent concerts in the United States and abroad stemming from three critically-acclaimed recordings on Newport Classic: John Davis Plays Blind Tom [2000], a top-ten seller in Classical Music at Tower Records and Amazon.com; Marshfield Tornado: John Davis Plays Blind Boone [2008], a repeat No. 1 seller on the Ragtime chart at Amazon.com; and Halley’s Comet: Around the Piano with Mark Twain & John Davis [2010], a CD of Twain-related compositions “played powerfully and with a rich palette,” according to The New York Times. At the core of Davis’ grassroots pursuit of forgotten black culture is the pianist’s personal archive of rare 19th– and early 20th century printed African Americana that is the source for many of the ideas and materials that have filtered into his concerts, recordings, and literary contributions to African American Lives, the African American National Biography, and Stress and Coping in Autism, all published by Oxford University Press. Mr. Davis’ cutting-edge career has been featured on CNN; CNN-International; ABC Radio National (Australia); the BBC World News; NPR’s All Things Considered, Performance Today, and On Point, with Tom Ashbrook; PBS’ Life 360; The Today Show on NBC, ABC’s Good Morning America; and in a program-long interview of him on ABC’s Nightline Up-Close. Among the countless print publications in which he has been profiled are The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Oxford American, The Independent (London), and Scientific American.

Brandy Monk-Payton

Brandy Monk-Payton, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Leslie Center for the Humanities, Dartmouth College

Brandy Monk-Payton is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow associated with the Department of Film and Media Studies and the Leslie Center for the Humanities at Dartmouth College. She obtained her Ph.D. in Modern Culture and Media at Brown University where she was a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow and a Graduate Fellow at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America. Her work on race and representation has been published in the edited collection From Madea to Media Mogul: Theorizing Tyler Perry as well as the journals The Black ScholarReconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, and Feminist Media Histories (forthcoming). She is currently working on her first book project Dark Optics: Blackness, Exposure, and Celebrity in Media Culture. In Fall 2017, she will begin a position as Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University.

Event: Symposium
Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Time: 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Location: Petteruti Lounge, Second Floor, Robert Campus Center/Faunce House, 75 Waterman Street, Providence

Previous Related Events

On Tuesday, March 21, 2017, the Brown University Library and the Music Department also hosted two events related to the exhibition.

Exhibition Opening & Reception

The exhibit opening and reception took place in the Exhibition Gallery of the John Hay Library from 4 – 5:30 p.m. The exhibit, Bamboula! Black Music Before the Blues, is an in-depth survey of the African American roots of popular music and show business in the United States. The exhibition includes significant and visually arresting printed artifacts of the shared African- and European-based musical tradition established in colonial America, a cultural synthesis that continues to shape our nation’s identity. The 19th- and early 20th-century books, sheet music, and ephemera included in the exhibition are drawn primarily from the personal collection of John Davis (Exhibition Curator) and the holdings of the Brown University Library. Mr. Davis’ archive of rare 19th-century printed musical African Americana, widely respected in the antiquarian book and ephemera world, is the bedrock of his career as a concert pianist devoted to works influenced by black culture of the American South.

Concert

Drawing from materials on display in the exhibition, Mr. Davis gave an extraordinary, multi-media concert performance entitled Bamboula! Black Music Before the Blues: A musical journey with pianist John Davis at 7 p.m. at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. The concert, organized with the Brown Music Department, included special guests Harmonizing Grace, with Hance Phillipe, director, and the Old-Time String Band–both Brown student music groups.

The exhibition and all related events are free and open to the public. No registration or ticketing is required.

Exhibit | Court Documents from the State vs Frances Leach, 1833

Report of the Examination of David Gibbs, Fanny Leach and Eliza P. Burdick, for the Alleged Murder of Sally Burdick, at Coventry, R. I., on 18th Feb. 1833 (Hartford: Hanmer and Comstock, 1833). With signature and manuscript annotations in the hand of Thomas Wilson Dorr.

The John Hay Library has two new acquisitions on display in the second floor landing case: manuscript trial notes and a report related to the State vs Francis Leach, 1833. They will be on display until April 3, 2017.

In February 1833, forty-eight-year-old Frances (nicknamed “Fanny”) Leach of Providence was called on to attend Sally Burdick, a young woman in Coventry, Rhode Island, who was found to be pregnant. The unmarried Sally resided in the home of her deceased brother’s father-in-law, David Gibbs. A witness named Mary Ann Briggs later testified that upon discovering Sally’s pregnancy, David Gibbs sought to contract Leach to “doctor off” the fetus. Accordingly, Leach borrowed a pair of forceps from Dr. William A. Hamilton in Providence and went down to Coventry to perform the procedure she had been asked to do. Sally, however, was not inclined to terminate her pregnancy in this way, and the operation went horribly wrong. Leach attempted to abort the child while Sally’s sister-in-law held her down, but the result was that Leach only perforated Sally’s uterus. When Sally died of gangrene after six days of acute suffering, Leach and Gibbs were indicted for her murder. Leach’s case was tried at the Superior Court for Kent County in October 1833 and, after a 9-day hearing before two judges and 13 magistrates, resulted in a conviction for manslaughter. Leach received a two-year prison sentence. According to the Niles Weekly Register of 30 November 1833, it was believed to be the second-longest trial ever held in Rhode Island, and “the first of the kind ever tried in New England.”

Prosecution of the case on behalf of the State of Rhode Island was undertaken by State Attorney General Albert C. Greene and his law apprentice, Thomas Wilson Dorr. Although they succeeded in the goal of obtaining justice for Sally Burdick, they could not bring Sally, or her baby, back to life. The case remains a reminder of a time when a woman’s reproductive choices were sharply limited by both social mores and available medical care, and when decisions about childbearing were often outside of a woman’s control under the law.

Dates: March 19 – April 3, 2017
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

EVENT | Annual S. T. Joshi Fellow Presentation : Matthew Beach and “Lovecraft’s Consolation”

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On Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. at the John Hay Library, S. T. Joshi Endowed Research Fellow Matthew Beach will give a presentation entitled, “Lovecraft’s Consolation.” Beach is the second recipient of the Joshi Fellowship, which supports research relating to H.P. Lovecraft, his associates, and literary heirs. Working with the H. P. Lovecraft papers at the John Hay Library, Beach investigated Lovecraft’s theories on weird fiction and time in support of his dissertation research. Over the course of the two-month fellowship, Mr. Beach also became interested in a series of letters that he identified as “consolation letters.” Conversation and refreshments to follow.

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Matthew Beach

Matthew Beach is a doctoral candidate in the English Department at Brown University. His research focuses on time, affect, and the body in American literature, particularly in popular genres such as pulp and sentimental fiction.

The S. T. Joshi Endowed Research Fellowship for 2017 is now open. Additional information is available online: http://library.brown.edu/joshi/

Date: Thursday, December 8, 2016
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Tricks and Illusions : Selections from the H. Adrian Smith Collection of Conjuring and Magicana

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Magician H. Adrian Smith (Class of 1930) never achieved the fame enjoyed by some of his contemporaries, but his contributions to the world of magic were significant. Smith spent his life studying the history of magic and practicing its art, using the money he earned from his performances to help pay his tuition at Brown University. Spoken of highly by those who knew him, Smith practiced small magic, and was known for his ability to memorize an entire deck of cards almost instantly. He was heavily involved in magic societies, at one point holding the office of President of the Society of American Magicians. Perhaps his most significant legacy, though, is his vast collection of magical memorabilia. Smith assiduously collected anything and everything to do with magic, from rare texts on the subject of witchcraft to modern magic kits and games.

Upon his death, Smith bequeathed his immense collection to his alma mater, including the homemade props used in his performances (which are especially interesting, as many of their functions are still not understood), wands, ready-made tricks, and mementos of any kind. A number of the items are still in almost-new condition, purchased solely to expand his collection. He owned busts of Houdini, commemorative coins and buttons, statuettes featuring magicians and rabbits, and items that had been owned by other magicians.

A small exhibition in the Rockefeller Library features some of the highlights of his collection, including several stage props and tricks, as well as the fake head used by magician Harry Kellar in his famous Blue Room illusion.

Date: October 24 – December 23, 2016
TimeRockefeller Library Hours
Location: Finn Reading Room Cases, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence