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


Event | Li Wang, “Publishing China 2016: A Curator’s Travel Report

img_5324-crop2On Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, East Asian Curator Li Wang, Ph.D., will give a talk, “Publishing China 2016: A Curator’s Travel Report.” This event is free and open to the public. Coffee and cookies will be served.

In recent years, Li has delivered a series of presentations regarding his professional-business trips to China, including “Thinking Globally” (2009), “Touching the Mobile China” (2011), “Tracing Ancient Rarities and Riding Current Trends” (2014), and “Visual China 2015.” This summer he was invited to take three trips to Beijing, China again. The first two trips were for participating in the events in honor of his late father, Professor Wang Zuoliang, a distinguished Chinese scholar in English literature, at Tsinghua University and Beijing Foreign Studies University, respectively. The Brown Library has received newly published 12-volume The Complete Works of Wang Zuoliang, donated by BFSU’s publishing house. Li served in the Expert Committee of this publication, in which a number of his father’s early works, including three English poems discovered from the John Hay Library’s Special Collections, have been incorporated.


2016 Beijing International Book Fair

Li’s third trip was for attending the 2016 Beijing International Book Fair, one of the largest book trade events in the world. Besides selected and acquired new books from the BIBF hosted by the China National Publications Import & Export (Group) Corporation, Li attended conferences, forums, exhibitions and tours in Beijing. This fruitful trip was a good opportunity further contact with book vendors, publishers, and libraries to understand the developments of global publishing and cultural exchanges. Upon his return, Li is going to give a new visual report on these trips, which includes a slide show selected from over 1,000 pictures taken there, a sample gift books exhibit, and several video pieces to demonstrate colorful Chinese cultural heritages and publishing trends.

Date: Thursday, November 3, 2016
Time: 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Event | Writing Race and Education History on the Web: Three Digital Book Projects

On Friday, November 4, 2016, Brown University Library will host a discussion about digital book projects entitled, “Writing Race and Education History on the Web.” The presenters include Esther Cyna (Teachers College, Columbia University), Matthew Delmont (Arizona State University), and Jack Dougherty (Trinity College). This panel is part of the Library’s ongoing series, The Future of Scholarly Publishing, and will take place at 1 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab on the first floor of the Rockefeller Library. A reception will follow the talk. This event is free and open to the public.

This panel contrasts how three historians of race and education are authoring and contributing to digital books on the web.


Esther Cyna, Teachers College, Columbia University

Esther Cyna and her colleagues are producing Educating Harlem, a digital history project in two interconnected parts that mix elements of traditional publishing with web-based, open-access scholarship.








Matthew Delmont, Arizona State University

Historian Matthew Delmont created open-access companion websites to accompany both of his recent books published by the University of California Press: The Nicest Kids in Town and Why Busing Failed.








Jack Dougherty, Trinity College

Jack Dougherty and his contributors are creating On The Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and its Suburbs, a digital-first, open-access book with interactive maps and oral history videos, under contract with Amherst College Press. The panel raises provocative questions about the future of scholarly communication, not just in the history of education, but across the whole of the university.



The Future of Scholarly Publishing series is sponsored in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and its grant to fund digital scholarship at Brown.

Date: Friday, November 4, 2016
Time: 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Event | Anandi Salinas and Tony Martin on The Georgia Coast Atlas


The Georgia Coast Atlas

On Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Anandi Salinas and Anthony Martin of Emory University will give a talk, “Reimagining the Online Monograph: Welcome to the Georgia Coast Atlas.” This event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the talk.

This talk is a part of the Library’s ongoing series, “The Future of Scholarly Publishing,” which presents perspectives from scholars, publishers, and experts in the field of digital scholarship.

In their talk, Dr. Tony Martin and Anandi Salinas will speak about their collaboration on a dynamic digital publication project that explores the ecology and geography of this unique coastal environment. Speaking from the points of view of a researcher and a web developer, Martin and Salinas will share their perspectives on the advantages and challenges of digital publishing in a collaborative, media-rich future.

The Georgia Coast Atlas

As traditional printed manuscripts move online, content creators and technology experts must think creatively about how to balance the demands of user experience, website functionality, accessibility, and aesthetics. Such points must be considered while also highlighting content that forms the foundation of the site. As an example of such balance, the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship and the Department of Environmental Sciences have come together to create the innovative and interactive Georgia Coast Atlas, which seeks to change the way we think of peer-reviewed multimedia content and atlas interactivity online. This talk showcases the Georgia Coast Atlas website prototype and will highlight the user experience and technological considerations that went into creating the site.

The final version of the Atlas will combine long form, multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed multimedia content with multiple map layers, 360 degree panoramas, and video guides to the Georgia-coast barrier islands. The thematic emphasis of the Atlas is to demonstrate the integrated natural and human histories of these places, which have been continually occupied and modified by people for more than 4,000 years. To simulate the exploratory nature of a traditional printed atlas, the team decided to use a map of the Georgia coast as the central navigation avenue of the website, while maintaining traditional menu navigation features, which allows the user multiple nonlinear entry points into the website content. After the prototyping phase, the team will move the website into a WordPress platform to promote efficient and user-friendly publication of peer-reviewed content by an editorial team. The Georgia Coast Atlas will provide users a new interactive atlas experience, but will also provide an avenue for ongoing additional publications and multimedia content publishing without the need for heavy code development.

dndswcir_400x400Anandi Salinas

Anandi Salinas is a Training Specialist at the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship where she manages the Digital Scholarship Internship Program for graduate students at Emory University. Her work at ECDS includes active production in digital publishing and multimedia projects, like the Georgia Coast Atlas. Anandi is also a doctoral candidate in the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory and received her MA at Duke University in Religion. Her dissertation research focuses on the intersection of phenomenology, daily religious practices, and visual anthropology in Hindu traditions of the Southeastern United States and India. Her interests in visual anthropology and its use in the study of lived religion alongside her interest in digital publishing led her to becoming the current Editorial Assistant to the Visual Anthropology Review.

aj-martin-dwb-photoAnthony J. Martin

Anthony (Tony) Martin is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Emory University. He has a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Georgia and is a geologist and paleontologist. His research specialty is ichnology, which is the study of modern and ancient traces caused by animal behavior, such as tracks, trails, burrows, and nests. He has published more than 150 research abstracts and articles on a variety of modern and fossil traces and is the author of six books, including Dinosaurs Without Bones: Dinosaur Lives Revealed by Their Traces Fossils (2014, Pegasus Books) and Life Traces of the Georgia Coast (2013, Indiana University Press). He has conducted research on and taught about the Georgia barrier islands since 1998. In 2014, in recognition of his accomplishments in scientific exploration and public outreach, he was elected a Fellow in The Explorers Club and a Fellow in the Geological Society of America.

Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Time: 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Event | Michael Elliott, “Open Access and the Future of the Monograph in the Humanities”

Michael Elliot

Michael Elliot

On Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Michael Elliott will give a talk entitled, “Open Access and the Future of the Monograph in the Humanities.” A reception will follow the talk. This event is free and open to the public.

The landscape of monograph publication in the humanities is changing, with university and academic presses offering new possibilities for publishing digital, open access monographs. This talk will describe these changes, the kind of faculty support that they will require, as well as the implications for how universities fund research in the humanities. With Brown University, Emory University is participating in an initiative sponsored jointly by the ARL, AAU, and AAUP to support and facilitate this new model of long-form publication in the humanities, and this talk will also discuss how Emory has been facilitating this initiative among the faculty.

Michael A. Elliott is Professor of English and Interim Dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences at Emory University.  A specialist in American literature and culture, he is the author of two books and the co-editor of two others, and he is a member of the editorial board of The Norton Anthology of American Literature.  He is also the principal investigator on a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Landscape on “The Changing Landscape of Publication in the Humanities.”

This talk is a part of the Library’s ongoing series, The Future of Scholarly Publishing, which presents perspectives from scholars, publishers, and experts in the field of digital scholarship.

Date: Thursday, December 1, 2016
Time: 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Annmary Brown Painting on Loan to Centre Pompidou, Paris


“Xeusis Choosing Models for his Painting of Helen of Troy,” Angelika Kauffmann, 1778

Xeusis Choosing Models for his Painting of Helen of Troy

The Annmary Brown Memorial Library has lent the painting, “Xeusis Choosing Models for his Painting of Helen of Troy” (1778) by Angelika Kauffmann to the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France for its exhibition La Trahison des images, dedicated to René Magritte’s work. The exhibit will be held from September 21, 2016 to January 23, 2017.

This painting is one of the most notable in the Annmary Brown Memorial Collection, in part because it was painted by a woman in the 18th century and because it is an excellent work of art. General Rush Hawkins, Annmary Brown’s husband, acquired it in Europe in the 19th century for his and Annmary Brown Hawkins’s house in New York City. He moved it to Providence in 1905 to exhibit in the Memorial.

La trahision des images and René Magritte

The exhibition, La trahison des images (The Treachery of Images), brings together a hundred or so works presented in light of René Magritte’s approach to art that changed from the random tactic of the Surrealist “encounter” to a reasoned “methodology.” The exhibit focuses on Magritte’s questioning of the painted image’s philosophical validity, history, and mythology. Five chapters in the exhibit , each associated with a founding myth of figurative representation, allow for the identification of the emblematic, iconographic figures that people Magritte’s pictorial universe.

The chapter, “The daughters of Crotona,” features the Kauffmann painting. When asked to paint the portrait of Helen of Troy by the citizens of Crotona, Zeuxis created his image of perfect beauty by assembling a collage of the fragments of anatomy deriving from the most beautiful girls of the city. This composite principle of a form made up of assembled fragments is at the heart of René Magritte’s practice.

Click here to view the exhibit’s webpage on the Centre Pompidou’s website.

Installation of the Kauffmann painted at the Centre Pompidou

Installation of the Kauffmann painting at the Centre Pompidou

The Annmary Brown Memorial

The Annmary Brown Memorial houses exhibits of European and American paintings from the 17th through the 20th centuries, the Cyril and Harriet Mazansky British Sword Collection, as well as personal mementos of its founder, General Rush C. Hawkins, and the Brown family. The book and manuscript collections, assembled by General Hawkins and formerly housed in the Memorial, were transferred to the John Hay Library in 1990.

The Hawkins Collection of Art

Selections from the Hawkins Collection of Art are on display in the Memorial’s galleries. The Collection shows the General’s preference for strongly representational paintings. Among the early master works are paintings attributed to Anthony Van Dyck and his school, Angelika Kauffmann, Michelle Marieschi (a follower of Canaletto), Peter Paul Rubens, Andrea del Sarto, Francesco Solimena, Gilbert Stuart, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Benjamin West. The more modern examples include works by Giuseppi Barbaglia, Jacob D. Blondel, Don Jose Casado, Thomas Couture, Thomas Hicks, John Wesley Jarvis, Eastman Johnson, Frederik Kaemmerer, Gari Melchers and Edwin Lord Weeks.

Located at 21 Brown Street, Providence, the Memorial is open Monday – Friday from 1 – 5 p.m.

Click here for more information about the Annmary Brown Memorial and the Hawkins Art Collection. 

Event | In the Mountains of Madness: A Reading with Author W. Scott Poole

In the Mountains of Madness-cv-REV (1)

On Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library, W. Scott Poole will give a reading from his new book, In the Mountains of Madness: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of H. P. Lovecraft. A discussion will follow the reading. This event is free and open to the public. The book will be available for purchase before and after the event.


In the Mountains of Madness interweaves the biography of the legendary writer with an exploration of Lovecraft as a phenomenon. It aims to explain this reclusive figure while also challenging some of the general views held by Lovecraft devotees, focusing specifically on the large cross-section of horror and science fiction fans who know Lovecraft through films, Role Playing Games, and video games directly influenced by his work, but who know little or nothing about him.

From a childhood wracked with fear and intense hallucinations, Lovecraft would eventually embrace the mystical, creating ways in which his unrestrained imaginary life intersected with the world he found so difficult to endure. The monsters of his dreams became his muses. Yet, Poole insists that Lovecraft was not the Victorian prude who wrote “squishy monster stories for boys.” Rather he was a kind of neo-romantic mystic whose love of the 18th century allowed him to bring together a bit of Isaac Newton with a bit of William Blake in a real marriage of heaven and hell.

More than a traditional biography, In the Mountains of Madness places Lovecraft and his work in a cultural context, as an artist more in tune with our time than his own. Much of the literary work on Lovecraft tries to place him in relation to Poe or M.R. James or Arthur Machen; these ideas have little meaning for most contemporary readers. In his provocative new book, Poole reclaims the true essence of Lovecraft in relation to the comics of Joe Lansdale, the novels of Stephen King, and some of the biggest blockbuster films in contemporary America, proving the undying influence of this rare and significant figure.

About W. Scott Poole

Poole, scott (c) Leslie McKellar (1)W. Scott Poole, who teaches at the College of Charleston, has written widely about American history, horror, and pop culture. His books include Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror and his award-winning history Monsters in America, which received the John G. Cawelti prize from the Popular Culture Association and was named among the “Best of the Best” by the AAUP for 2011. Poole is a regular contributor to Popmatters and his work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches, and Killing the Buddha.

Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Dictionarium sinicum and Early Chinese Studies

Excerpt from Chinese-Latin dictionary with notes in Latin by Benjamin Bowen Carter. Dictionarium sinicum, page 608.

by Man Shun Yeung and Caroline Frank

Five years ago John Eng-Wong was looking for art for his office in American Studies, and University Curator Robert Emlen offered him a portrait of Benjamin Bowen Carter. Prompted by the painting, Eng-wong began to look into Carter’s background. A member of Brown University’s class of 1786 and a surgeon trained under Benjamin Rush, Carter was also one of the earliest Rhode Islander’s to sail to Canton as ship’s supercargo. Digging deeper into the archives, Eng-Wong, of Chinese descent himself, learned that Carter was perhaps the first American to make a serious attempt to learn Chinese. His research led him to Brown University Library Special Collections and two oversized eighteenth-century handwritten Chinese-Latin dictionaries—one bound and titled the Dictionarium sinicum, and the other in loose manuscript form.

Investigating this transpacific subject further, Eng-Wong then learned of a scholar in China also researching Carter—Professor Man Shun Yeung of The University of Hong Kong, who has now made two research visits to Brown University. Using rare resources found in both Brown University Library and the Rhode Island Historical Society archives, Professor Yeung intends to shine light on Carter’s role as an American pioneer in Chinese studies. His review of these two Chinese-Latin dictionaries reveals that Brown University is one of the very few special collections libraries in the world to own two different editions of the Hanzixiyi漢字西譯 (“Western Translation of Chinese Characters”) compiled by the Italian Franciscan priest Basile de Glemona (葉宗賢/葉尊教, 1648-1704). Glemona compiled the first edition of his dictionary between 1685-1694 when he was in Guangzhou and Nanjing, and the second edition between 1694-1700 when he was in Nanjing.

The Dictionarium sinicum was originally in Benjamin Bowen Carter’s possession. The “Carter manuscript” was donated by John Carter Brown (1797-1874)in 1844, as noted by his own inscription:

This volume belonged to my maternal uncle Doctor Benjamin Bowen Carter, a graduate of BU class 1786. Dr C. was a fine linguist & particularly versed in the Oriental languages & literature. He died in the City of New York AD 1831, aged 60 years.

It gives me pleasure to deposit this curious book in the College Library for preservation & for the use of those who may desire to consult it. 

Jhn Carter Brown
June 24,

The dictionary also includes notes from Benjamin Bowen Carter. Carter’s remarks provide important information on the transcription of the manuscript and his own instructions for understanding Chinese characters and pronunciation. Taking into consideration that the Chinese characters are arranged according to phonetic order, this manuscript is believed to be a handwritten copy of the second edition of Glemona’s dictionary.

The other Chinese-Latin dictionary now in Special Collections was owned by Samuel Ward (1756-1832). The “Ward manuscript” has an inscription on the front cover which reads “A Chinese Dictionary by Col Saml Ward,” and is described as “Chinese Dictionary with Manuscript Notes in Latin.” During 1788 and 1789, Samuel Ward sailed to China on the vessel General Washington, managing trade for the Providence firm Brown & Francis. It is uncertain when or where he acquired the manuscript. Judging from the fact that the Chinese characters are arranged according to the Chinese radicals 部首 and the Chinese title “漢字西譯” is inscribed at the end of the main contents, this manuscript is believed to be a handwritten copy of the first edition of Glemona’s dictionary. In the first seventeen pages, Guanhua官話 (term for the language of the officials) transliterations and Latin explanations supplement the Chinese characters.

The narrative that these two dictionaries document reshapes our understanding of early Sino-American cultural relations, and offers a glimpse into transpacific connections in the late eighteenth century. The Dictionarium sinicum will be on display on the second floor of the John Hay Library through August 19.

Exhibit | Works from Contemporary Architecture: A Course with Professor Dietrich Neumann



The works displayed in this exhibit were created by students in Professor Dietrich Neumann’s lecture course, “Contemporary Architecture,” which surveys stylistic, technological, and theoretical developments in architecture from the 1960s to the present.


Students were asked to create a model based on a building or industrial design object of this time period.


Date: May 18 – September 30, 2016
TimeRockefeller Library Hours
Location: Finn Reading Room Cases, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence