Exhibit | Blooming in the Noise of the Whirlwind & Puerto Rico en mi corazón

Blooming in the Noise of the Whirlwind & Puerto Rico en mi corazón on view at John Hay Library, exhibition gallery.

Blooming in the Noise of the Whirlwind

This exhibition focuses on a small selection of the many extraordinary women poets represented in the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays. From women writing in the colonial period, to nineteenth-century working-class women documenting their everyday lives, to young activists writing in the aftermath of the 2016 election, through four centuries these poets have all used their work to celebrate their identity, express desire or anger, preserve memory, and amplify a message.

Puerto Rico en mi corazón

Puerto Rico en mi corazón is an anthology collecting forty-five contemporary Puerto Rican poets, both emerging and established, writing in both English and Spanish, living both on la isla and in the diaspora, afro-boricua, white, mixed, indigenx and of all genders. Organized by poet, printer and Brown faculty member Erica Mena, the fifteen displayed bilingual broadsides demonstrate collaborations between poets, translators and letterpress printers across the continental United States.

Dates: November 7 – December 14, 2018
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Prayer (1934) by Princess Red Wing of Seven Crescents

Prayer, World Day of Prayer for Peace, February 16, 1934
Princess Red Wing of Seven Crescents
Brown University Library, Special Collections


The item on display is a written prayer delivered at an observance of the World Day of Prayer at the Westminster Church, Yonkers, New York, by Princess Red Wing of Seven Crescents, a Narragansett and Pokanoket Wampanoag Indian, speaking on behalf of the Indian women of America. The principal element of the prayer charts the quest of a young boy and leads to a call for reconciliation and peace based on a syncretistic Christian faith.

Princess Red Wing, or Mary E. Glasko (1896–1987), was an internationally known activist, “preserver of Eastern Native American traditions,” and lecturer who co-founded the Tomaquag Museum, the first and only Native American Museum in Rhode Island. She was awarded numerous distinctions and honors during her lifetime, including induction into the Rhode Island Hall of Fame in 1978.

Exhibit Lecture

On Monday, November 19, 2018 from 12 – 1 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Lorén Spears (Narragansett), Executive Director of Tomaquag Museum, will discuss the life and legacy of Princess Red Wing who was, in addition to being a Narragansett/Wampanoag leader, a culture bearer, author, and educator.

Please join us for the talk and Q&A, we also invite you to view the exhibit across the street at the John Hay Library. The lecture and exhibit are free and open to the public.

Exhibit Dates: November 6 – 30, 2018
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Lecture Date: Monday, November 19, 2018
Lecture Time: 12 – 1 p.m.
Lecture Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Visitors Enjoyed Brown’s East Asian Collection Open House

EAC work team and two Brown students (Left to right: Sam Chowning, Benjamin Davis, Toshiyuki Minami, Dr. Li Wang, Whitney Su, Milanca Wang, and Yanhoo Cho) Photo: Jenny Li

On Friday, October 19, 2018, as part of Family Weekend activities at the Rockefeller Library, the East Asian Collection (curated by Dr. Li Wang) hosted its Open House event. Many of the collection’s rare books, albums, and replications of famous calligraphic scrolls and traditional-style paintings were on display. The event was a major success, attracting large crowds of parents, faculty members, students, and those with an interest in the region’s rich cultural heritage. Visitors were enthusiastic to inspect the original Chinese ancient texts housed in the unique traditional-style cabinets of the Gardner Room of the East Asian Collection. Various beautifully bound texts from China, Korea, and Japan also captured the attention of visitors. The books covered a wide variety of topics such as Chinese printing culture, Tang and Song Dynasty poetry, Korean gardens, and Japanese children’s art.

Benjamin Davis, a 5th year master’s student in electrical engineering, when asked about his impression of the event, responded, “I originally came to the Open House event just because my friend who works there told me to, but being here, I’m really enjoying everything. I found this circular book on traditional Chinese currency, and even though I can’t read what it says, now I know what ancient Chinese money looks like, which is something I wouldn’t have known if I did not come here today!”

The East Asian Collection, a branch library located on the third floor of the Rockefeller Library, was developed from the original 30,000 volumes (the vast majority of which were Chinese texts) of “the Gardner Collection.” Now the Collection holds nearly 200,000 volumes of East Asian language print books, in addition to a good amount of print serials, audio-video materials, electronic resources (e-books, e-journals, and databases, etc.) and other formats. It has been recognized as one of the most distinguished mid-size East Asian libraries in North America.

Prof. Charles S. Gardner (1900-1966 Source: Gardner family

The Gardner Collection was donated to the University by the renowned Harvard Sinologist, Charles Sidney Gardner, who lived in China during the 1920s and 30s and specialized in the study of Qing Dynasty history. Gardner not only collected a large number of ancient Chinese books, he also cultivated close relationships with many renowned Chinese scholars, including Hu Shih and Yang Lien-Sheng. There were items displayed regarding Gardner’s personal life, his publications, and letter correspondence with Chinese scholars at the Open House event. Some of these works were on display to the public for the first time, including Gardner’s family pictures, which were donated by his granddaughter, Professor Sarah Beckjord at Boston College, and some other materials recently discovered by East Asian Collection Curator, Dr. Li Wang.

The session concluded with a reading of a passage by Gardner on the importance of understanding China’s past and present to understand the power, presence, and influence it has in today’s world. In an article published in 1944, “The future of Chinese studies in America,” Prof. Gardner writes:

Whatever of evil has emerged from the present world conflagration, one good at least may be set against it: a new and rather startled awareness on the part of multitudes of Americans of certain fundamental similarity of outlook shared by the Chinese and ourselves. That bond may be in part expressed in terms of self-restraint, moderation, practical common sense, and respect for individual human dignity. There has come too a new awareness of our national ignorance, our insularity, provincialism; and with it a desire for light, for study of the Chinese civilization which we now increasingly see is superficially strange, but underneath so basically like our own. It is becoming clear that tomorrow will bring ever more insistent demands for those who can speak the national language of China, for those who can read her new living written tongue, and for those who possess the science to translate with precision her vast traditional literary heritage of twenty-five centuries’ growth. Against such demands of the morrow it is prudent to take thought and prepare today. The Chinese Library of the University will be the indispensable instrument of scholarship.

The East Asian Collection Open House event was a delightful experience for all. The room was abuzz with activity and excitement throughout the afternoon as people came in and out. The East Asian Collection is truly a valuable campus resource for anyone who wishes to learn more about all things related to East Asian culture.

Whitney Su ’22

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

Event | Ungerleider Haggadot Symposium

On Friday, October 19, 2018, the Brown University Library will host the Ungerleider Haggadot Symposium, drawing on material from the Dr. Steven Ungerleider Collection of Haggadot. Free and open to the public, the symposium will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library. A kosher reception will follow the discussion.

Whether artistically elegant or plainly made, the Passover haggadah encapsulates much more than the simple retelling of the Biblical story of Moses leading the Hebrew people out of Egypt to the Promised Land. In its inculcation of scholarly commentary and its embodiment of ritual performance, it has provided a “mirror to Jewish history” for generation upon generation of Jews, all within the context of familial life. In this symposium, moderated by Adam Teller, Brown University Professor of History and Judaic Studies, three renowned scholars of Judaism and material culture will discuss aspects of the haggadah and how it was shaped to respond to the varied needs of ritual life across time and the Jewish diaspora:

  • Jonathan Sarna, Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University
  • David Stern, Harry Starr Professor of Classical and Modern Jewish and Hebrew Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University
  • Marc Epstein, Professor of Religion on the Mattie M. Paschall Davis and Norman H. Davis Chair at Vassar College

The Dr. Steven Ungerleider Collection of Haggadot was given to the Library by Dr. Steven Ungerleider, in memory of his father Samuel Ungerleider, Jr., Class of 1939. This collection of Haggadot–the text recited on the first two nights of the Jewish Passover–is remarkable for its geographic, linguistic, and temporal diversity. The collection comprises haggadot from Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and the Near East. It incorporates a wide range of Jewish vernacular languages, from Yiddish and Ladino to Judeo-Italian and Judeo-Arabic in representative exemplars from Jewish communities across the globe, many long since dispersed. The collection covers more than four hundred years of Jewish culture, from the Ottoman Empire in 1505 to the State of Israel in the 1950s.

Jonathan Sarna

Jonathan D. Sarna is University Professor and the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, where he directs its Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. He also is the past president of the Association for Jewish Studies and Chief Historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.  Author or editor of more than thirty books on American Jewish history and life, his American Judaism: A History – soon to appear in a second edition —  won six awards including the 2004 “Everett Jewish Book of the Year Award” from the Jewish Book Council. Sarna is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Academy of Jewish Research. His most recent books are When General Grant Expelled the Jews and Lincoln & the Jews: A History (with Benjamin Shapell).

David Stern

David Stern joined the Harvard faculty in July 2015, after teaching at the University of Pennsylvania for many years. He has also been a visiting professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Princeton University, the University of Washington, and Nanjing University. The main topic of Stern’s scholarship is the nature of Jewish literary creativity within its larger historical and cultural contexts, and he has written articles, essays, and books on virtually every period of Jewish literary history from the early post-Biblical to the contemporary. The brunt of his work has focused on two areas: (1) Classical Rabbinic and Medieval Hebrew literature with a special interest in Biblical interpretation (Rabbinic midrash in particular) and its intersection with contemporary literary theory; (2) the history of the Jewish book as a material object, and specifically the histories of the four classics works of Jewish literary and religious tradition: The Hebrew Bible, the Babylonian Talmud, the Prayerbook, and the Passover Haggadah.

Marc Epstein

Marc Michael Epstein has been teaching at Vassar since 1992. He is a graduate of Oberlin College, received the PhD at Yale University, and did much of his graduate research at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has written on various topics in visual and material culture produced by, for, and about Jews. His most recent book, The Medieval Haggadah: Art, Narrative, and Religious Imagination (Yale, 2011) was selected by the London Times Literary Supplement as one of the best books of 2011. During the 80s, Epstein was Director of the Hebrew Books and Manuscripts division of Sotheby’s Judaica department, and continues to serve as consultant to various libraries, auction houses, museums and private collectors throughout the world, among them the Herbert C. and Eileen Bernard Museum at Temple Emanu-El in New York City, for which he curated the inaugural exhibition.

Adam Teller

Born in London and educated at Oxford University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Adam Teller specializes in the history of the Jews in eastern Europe. He has published widely on the history of the Jews in early modern Poland-Lithuania. His book, Money, Power, and Influence in Eighteenth Century Lithuania: The Jews on the Radziwiłł Estates, was published by Stanford University Press in 2016. Professor Teller was a member of the core academic team which created the exhibit at the award-winning POLIN Museum for the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, where he was responsible for two of the Museum’s eight galleries. He is currently a member of the museum’s Academic Advisory Council. Professor Teller is on the editorial board of Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry and is associate editor of Gal-Ed: On the History and Culture of Polish Jewry, published in Tel Aviv.

Date: Friday, October 19, 2018
Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Chew on This! Early Dental History & Library Collections

Chew on This! Early Dental History and Library Collections

Whether functional or cosmetic, concern for and care of teeth have long been a part of the human condition. Written accounts of dental practices and practitioners can be found in numerous cultures around the globe as early as 5000 BC, and the first identified book on the subject was published in 1530. The era of “modern” dentistry is marked by the publication of Le Chirurgien Dentiste (The Surgeon Dentist, A Treatise on Teeth) by French surgeon Pierre Fauchard in 1723. Since then, the care and treatment of teeth have continued to grow in distinction and professionalization.

Discover dental history of the 1800s through the Rhode Island Medical Society papers and collections at the Library, and examine some of the tools and text involved in the ever-evolving medical art of dentistry.

Dates: September 5 – 30, 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 | Japanese Ceremonial and Other Vehicles, 1890

Japan: Unknown, 1890
Brown University Library, Special Collections

Selected 19th Century prints with captions from a collection of 28 double-page wood engravings of two-wheeled ceremonial and other vehicles.

Dates: July 9 – 31, 2018
TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Stamps of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)

“The DPRK is an independent socialist state representing the interests of all the Korean people. The Republic is the Juche-oriented socialist state which embodies the idea and leadership of Comrade Kim Il Sung, the founder of the Republic and the father of socialist Korea. His idea and the achievements made under his leadership are the basic guarantee for the Republic’s prosperity.

The socialist system of the Republic is a people-centred social system in which the masses of the working people are the masters of everything and everything in society serves them. In accordance with the nature of its socialist system, the Government of the Republic defends and protects the interests of workers, peasants and intellectuals and all other working people who have become masters of state and society, free from exploitation and oppression.”  –  Official webpage of the DPRK

Learn about the people, artistry, doctrines and culture of the 72 year-old Democratic People’s Republic of Korea through postage stamps made for circulation. Examine selections from the Brown University Library stamp collections up close while expanding your understanding of what CNN recently described as “one of the most secretive societies still under nominally communist rule.”

Stamps on view include:  Order of the National Flag, 1950; Korean Paintings, 1974; Declaration of Human Rights, 1998 and Anti-Imperalism Posters, 2010.

Dates: June 1 – 30, 2018
TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence





Alumni Reunion Forum | Taking Action in the Public Square

Were you first engaged in organizing for change at Brown?  Are you engaged now? Join fellow Brown alumni to discuss the gratification and challenges of public engagement. Share your story about your participation in efforts to make your community a better place through social change, greater diversity, higher standards, and equitable structures.

Join the Brown University Library and the Brown Alumni Association for an Alumni Reunion Forum entitled, “Taking Action in the Public Square,” on Saturday, May 26, from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library.


  • Jane Beckett (Class of 1968), Jane Beckett & Associates
  • Bob Cohen (Class of 1968), Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission
  • Katie Cohen (Class of 2013), North Shore (Massachusetts) Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  • Jim Dickson (Class of 1968), American Association of People with Disabilities
  • Ken Galdston (Class of 1968), InterValley Project
  • Rinku Sen (Class of 1988), Race Forward

Date: Saturday, May 26, 2018
Time: 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Location: John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence