Exhibit | Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God (“Eloit Indian Bible”)

The Holy Bible: containing The Old Testament and the New. Translated into the Indian Language, and Ordered to be Printed by the Commissioners of the United Colonies in New-England, At the Charge, and with the Consent of the Corporation in England for the Propagation of the Gospel amongst the Indians in New-England
John Eliot (1604–1690)
Massachusetts: Printed by Samuel Green and Marmaduke Johnson, 1663
Brown University Library, Special Collections

Wôpanâôt8âôk, pronounced, womp a naa on too aah onk, has been referred to by various names throughout history such as Natick, Wôpanâak, Massachusett, Wampanoag, Massachusee and Coweeset, as well as others. The language is but one in some forty languages that comprise the Algonquian language family–the largest geographical distribution of languages in the Western Hemisphere.

The first Bible produced on a printing press in North America was printed in Wôpanâôt8âôk in 1663 on the printing press at Harvard University.  Today this Bible, as well as all of the other documents in the language, are the foundation of the Wampanoag language work that has earned critical acclaim through the Makepeace Productions film “We Still Live Here: Âs Nutayuneân,” and the work of Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project, a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded in 1993 and governed by four tribes of the Wampanoag Nation (Mashpee, Herring Pond, Gay Head Aquinnah, and Assonet Band). 

The bible currently on view was owned by Roger Williams, Protestant theologian who established the colony of Rhode Island in 1636.

Exhibit Dates: April 15 -May 10, 2019
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Announcement | The Harriette Hemmasi Exhibition Gallery and the Library Exhibitions Program

The Brown University Library is home to a robust exhibition program, with nine exhibit spaces throughout four buildings that present a mix of permanent, temporary, and traveling exhibits, many of which are also featured online through digital exhibition. Showcasing items from the Library’s collections as well as items created by students in Brown courses, Library exhibits offer viewers a closer look at remarkable material presented through a scholarly lens.

Harriette Hemmasi Exhibition Gallery

In recognition of the importance of a library exhibition program and in honor of Harriette Hemmasi, Joukowsky Family University Librarian from 2005 – 2018, the Brown University Library Advisory Council gave a generous gift of $300,000 to name the John Hay Library main exhibition space the Harriette Hemmasi Exhibition Gallery. These funds will provide support for Library exhibitions, including conservation, preservation, and collections care and management as well as design, outreach, publicity, and technology for exhibits. According to Tiffini Bowers, Library Exhibitions Curator, “This gift will allow for greater technological enhancements, enabling us to streamline behind-the-scenes processes, engage with broader public audiences, and foster deeper digital connections between people and our stellar collections.” The Library is profoundly grateful to the Library Advisory Council for supporting this fundamental facet in the academic life of the University.

Growing Exhibition Program

Over the past three years, the number of Library exhibits has increased along with their quality and diversity. Exhibits are now more connected to the academic pursuits and priorities of students and faculty at Brown, as well as to local, national, and international academic institutions and cultural organizations. During the 2017 – 2018 academic year, the Library mounted 29 exhibitions in nine spaces, a feat which required exemplary planning and management in addition to creativity; awareness of collections, disciplinary interest, and areas of academic focus; and attention to issues of diversity, inclusion, and access.

A Practice of Partnering

Iris versicolor L. Herbarium. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.

Part of the Library exhibition program includes establishing and fostering partnerships with other campus entities and local community organizations. Recently, we collaborated with the Brown University Herbarium, the Rhode Island Wild Plant Society, and the Rhode Island Historical Society to mount the exhibit, Entwined: Botany, Art, and the Lost Cat Swamp Habitat, which has garnered positive media attention and keen interest from members of the Providence community. (The exhibit runs through April 30, 2019 in the Harriette Hemmasi Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library.)


In addition to our own exhibits, the Library also loans items from the collections to other organizations at Brown and beyond, nationally and internationally. Currently, we have a loan out to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC for an exhibition entitled, Americans and the Holocaust, which features objects and digital images from the Martha and Waitstill Sharp Collection. (The exhibit runs through October 11, 2021.) We have also loaned two letters between Sarah Helen Whitman and Stéphanie Mallarmé plus a framed lock of Edgar Allan Poe’s hair to the Providence Athenaeum for its exhibit, Ravenous: The Enduring Legacy of Poe (running through April 30, 2019).

“Group of children gathered in a street holding American flag” (1940). Martha and Waitstill Sharp collection. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.

The Exhibition Lifecycle

The Library’s exhibition program encompasses the entire lifecycle of exhibitions, conducted at professional, museum-quality standards. Tiffini, who came on board as the Exhibition Curator in 2016, manages Library exhibits from idea submission through preparation, installation, and programming. She works with Brown students, faculty, and Library staff as well as experts at external organizations to curate exhibits, providing the guidance and planning framework essential to mounting exceptional exhibits on a complex timetable.

Tiffini Bowers, Exhibition Curator, recipient of the 2018 Brown University Excellence Award: Rising Star

Exhibition Expertise at the Library 

Many Library staff members play an essential role in exhibitions. Librarians and Library Curators often conceptualize, research, and curate exhibits and provide research support to students and faculty who create exhibits. Michelle Venditelli, Head of Preservation, Conservation, and the Library Annex, oversees the physical care of Library materials. She and her staff determine whether items are suitable for display and if they require repair or other treatment, the majority of which is conducted in-house.

Prior to exhibition, Preservation staff members Erica Saladino and Marie Malchodi engineer mounts for the objects, which can range from books to images to three dimensional ephemera. Shashi Mishra and Lindsay Elgin in Digital Production Services take high resolution photographs of the items for use in exhibition graphics, publicity, and website content.

Michelle Venditelli (far left) and Erica Saladino (far right) review textiles from the archives of Rush Hawkins and Annmary Brown.

Physical and Digital Exhibits

In some cases, online exhibits or collection websites are created to accompany the physical exhibit. These digital iterations, along with brochures and other print materials, extend the reach and impact of the exhibit’s selection of materials and scholarly insights while also providing a durable record into the future.

How Old Is Your Oldest Book? Exhibitions and Academic Discovery

How Old is Your Oldest Book? 4,000+ Years Old. Exhibition of cuneiform tablets in the Rockefeller Library Cases.

In Spring 2002, two seniors in Visiting Professor Alice Slotsky’s class, “Ancient Scientific Writings: Akkadian,” undertook an elective project to decipher two of the Library’s 27 cuneiform tablets and cones from ancient Mesopotamia. Considered the Library’s oldest books at 4,000+ years old, none of the tablets had been translated until these students took on the project, which resulted in the translation of four of the tablets and an exhibition using those translations at the Rockefeller Library in 2018. (Brown Students “Crack” Cuneiform Tablets.) Written in Sumerian, not Akkadian, the translated tablets were discovered to be economic texts, recording commercial transactions.

Label from the exhibit, How Old is Your Oldest Book? 4,000+ Years Old.

The exhibition of collections provides a unique opportunity to engage students, faculty, staff, and community members with Library materials and intriguing perspectives, enhancing academic learning and offering original ways of thinking about objects and questions old and new. The promise of exhibits to complement and deepen study in the University’s areas of academic priority is truly exciting, and the Library looks forward to continuing development in its exhibition program under Tiffini’s guidance and through the expertise of Library staff, with valuable support from donors, in partnership with departments at Brown, and through collaboration with local and global academic and cultural organizations.

More information about Library exhibits is available at Exhibits at Brown University Library.

Announcement | Brown Library Staff Recognized for Service Milestones on BEAR Day

On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, Brown University staff gathered for the annual Brown Employee Appreciation and Recognition (BEAR) Day, at which staff are recognized for milestone years of continuous service. With so many employees with impressive longevity, the Library is always well represented at BEAR Day.

Here are the Library staff members who were recognized this year:

5 Years of Service

  • William Buzzell

10 Years of Service

  • Adam Bradley
  • Erika Sevetson

15 Years of Service

  • Holly Snyder

20 Years of Service

  • Patrick Hutchinson

 25 Years of Service

  • Thomas Allen
  • Alison Bundy
  • Suzan Gervais
  • William Monroe
  • Russell Tandy

30 Years of Service

  • John Boylan
  • Paula Kojian
  • Linda Peterson

 30+ Years of Service

  • Karen Bouchard
  • Raymond Butti
  • James Chapin
  • Stephen Conlon
  • Paul Cormier
  • Linda DePalma
  • Ann Dodge
  • Patricia Dumin
  • Peter Harrington
  • Joanna Katsune
  • Andrew James Moul
  • Andrew Pereira
  • Patricia Putney
  • Jean Rainwater
  • Robert Rosa
  • Joanne Tandy
  • Virginia Twomey
  • William Wood

40+ Years

  • Charles Flynn
  • Linda Gesualdi
  • Sheila Hogg
  • Debra Nelson

Excellence Award

Tiffini Bowers

In addition, the BEAR Day celebration also recognizes recipients of the Excellence Awards. Tiffini Bowers, Library Exhibition Curator, received her award for Excellence in the Rising Star category.

The Library congratulates all of our staff members for your many years of service and thanks you for all of your valuable contributions. We are fortunate to be an organization with so many longterm employees, and we appreciate the dedication and wealth of institutional knowledge you bring to the Library each day.

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

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

New Workshop | Research Photo Management with Tropy

If you’ve ever returned from the archives with interesting images, but no plan as to where to preserve those images and write the proper metadata for them, Tropy is a new resource that may interest you. Tropy is free, open source software that allows you to easily import, preserve, edit, and describe your photographs and primary source documents. The Brown University Library is hosting the first Tropy workshop on the Brown University campus on January 31, 2019 from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab in the Rockefeller Library. The workshop will be led by Ashley Champagne, Ph.D., Digital Humanities Librarian at the Brown University Library and  Jim McGrath, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Public Humanities at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage

In this interactive workshop, we’ll offer an overview of the software and present a case study on how you might use the software for your own research. In short, here are a few things that you can do with Tropy:

  1. Easily import your photos into Tropy
  2. Organize your photo collections into folders
  3. Add and edit metadata in bulk (or individually). For example, when you return from a given archive, you can add one location and the data of access across the entire image collection.
  4. Allow the metadata categories guide your own research needs.

To demonstrate some of Tropy’s features, we’re providing a walkthrough of a particular research project involving archival materials in the Michael J. Ciaraldi Comics Collection at the John Hay Library. (Thanks to Heather Cole and the staff at the John Hay Library for helping us access these materials.)

Many of us use cameras on our smartphones to create images of what we’re reviewing in archives or documenting on field research. We then look at these photos on our laptops or desktops, especially when we need to consult these images while writing or when conducting additional research. While storing copies of files in cloud-based storage services like Dropbox or Google Photos has its advantages (and might be part of your research workflow in some capacity for the purposes of creating backup files, among other reasons), saving research images locally on your hard drive allows you to take advantage of Tropy’s capabilities including metadata creation and management, transcription, and organization. Importing batches of files into Tropy is pretty easy: you can even quickly drag and drop materials into your virtual workspace.

The 29 image files you see above are related to two issues of the 1990s comic book anthology series Dark Horse Presents. There are images of various story installments, front and back covers, advertisements, letters, columns, and editorial commentary. While this collection includes extensive photos (there are duplicates in cloud storage just in case something is blurry or cropped!), the researcher might not want to wait too long to revisit the material. Even though cloud storage allows us to quickly migrate images from our phone to spaces that can be accessed by a range of devices, the convenience of these features can also make it easy for us to forget important contextual information related to our research. And sometimes, even when we take extensive notes by hand or on digital devices, that material can get lost or be difficult to retrieve if we’re not careful.

Tropy makes it easy to connect contextual materials directly to research files through its notes, metadata, and tagging capabilities. (You can even get this work started in Tropy right in the Special Collections Reading Room at the Hay, if you’ve got a camera, a laptop, a wifi connection, and enough time!)

Tropy allows you to use metadata in the way that works best for your particular research projects and workflows: it offers generic categories and Dublin Core fields, but you can also import templates or create customized templates with fields most relevant to your work. You can export metadata created in Tropy to use elsewhere. Whether you’re interested in documenting context for the purposes of searching and later citation, or you’d like to create organized data for use in Omeka S or other contexts, Tropy can help keep your work organized in the present and the future.

As you organize, it’s important to keep in mind the terms Tropy uses. A “Project” refers to the larger research project (in this case, research into the Dark Horse Presents publication). Items only live in one project. “Lists” allow you to further organize the various parts of your project: in this case, we’re using this feature to organize images related to individual publications (issues of Dark Horse Presents), stories (Sin City: The Hard Goodbye, a serial that appears across several issues of DHP), and particular content we’ll be focusing our research on more generally (advertisements, letters columns, and company editorials). “Tags” are ways to link items by particular people, themes, or other keywords. We’re using tags to track names of artists and editors of interest, names of characters and franchises, and kinds of artwork. You can edit, rename, reorganize, and revise lists and tags as you go. We’ve already tweaked our organizational habits a few times this week as our research has developed and we’ve grown more comfortable with Tropy.

As you can see, we’ve come a long way to organizing our material. There’s detailed documentation on what Tropy can and can’t do over at the project’s web site, and we’ve highlighted a few features that seem of particular interest to general users. You can register for the Tropy workshop here. We hope to see you there!

Date: Thursday, January 31, 2019
Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
LocationPatrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence, RI
Workshop Leaders: Ashley Champagne, Jim McGrath

Exhibit | Music Publishers Association (MPA) Paul Revere Award exhibit

The Orwig Music Library is hosting a traveling exhibit: Winners of the Paul Revere Awards for Graphic Excellence, awarded by the Music Publishers Association of the United States. The MPA gives prizes in several categories of music publishing, including different types of notesetting, design in folios, and cover design.

For more information about the Music Publishers Association and the Revere Award, please visit: https://www.mpa.org/paul-revere-awards/

: December 1, 2018 – January 25, 2019
TimeLibrary Hours
Location: Orwig Music Library, 1 Young Orchard Avenue, Providence

Exhibit | Works from “A Global History of Art & Architecture”

A course with Professors Sheila Bonde and Lindsay Caplan

Examine models and artwork created by students in Sheila Bonde’s and Lindsay Caplan’s lecture course, “A Global History of Art and Architecture”, which presents art, architecture, and material culture from cave paintings to installation art.  The works exemplify forms studied in the class.

Dates: December 20, 2018 – May 31, 2019
TimeJohn D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library Hours
Location: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Entwined: Botany, Art and the Lost Cat Swamp Habitat

The exhibit showcases the rich history of art and science in Providence and provokes you to consider the consequences of environmental change on local biodiversity.  Premiering original watercolors of plants by Edward Peckham together with matching specimens from the Brown University Herbarium, collected by William Bailey and others, explore the lost Cat Swamp habitat of the Wayland and Blackstone neighborhoods on the East Side.

This exhibition is the collaborative work of the Brown University Herbarium, Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS), Rhode Island Wild Plant Society (RIWPS), and John Hay Library.

Opening reception:  Thursday, January 10th, 4-6 PM

Dates: January 10 – April 30, 2019
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Transcultural by Design: Iranian Ceramics

Transcultural by Design: Iranian Ceramics from the Minassian Collection
Curated by Rhodes Scholar Rhea Stark ‘18.5.

From where exactly do the Islamic arts originate is the question at the center of this exhibition. While the answer perhaps seems intuitive— the Islamic Middle East—the reality is far more complex. The Islamic arts have from their beginnings existed in circulation and conversation with an array of work originating in China, India, and Europe.

Explore Iranian ceramics from the Joukowsky Institute of Archaeology’s Minassian Collection and learn about their transcultural aesthetic references.

Exhibit Lecture

Expanding the Field, Disrupting Canons:
Iranian Ceramics, Trade, and Collecting Practices

Martina Rugiadi, Associate Curator of Islamic Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art will explore the historical techniques and trading practices of Iranian ceramics.

Please join us for the talk and Q&A. The lecture and exhibit are free and open to the public.

Exhibit Dates: December 14, 2018 – December 16, 2019
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Willis Reading Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Lecture Date: Friday, December 14, 2018
Lecture Time: 5 – 6:30 p.m.
Lecture Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence