Exhibit | Christmas Seals


Christmas Seals 2015

The Brown University Library is celebrating the holiday season with an exhibit of Christmas Seals, installed in three cases in the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection Gallery at the John Hay Library. The exhibit will be on display through January 6, 2015.

The seals shown above are the Christmas Seals from 2006, 2007, and 2008. They are included in the exhibit.

The first issue of the U.S. Christmas Seal, designed by Emily Bissell (1861-1948), a Red Cross volunteer, was intended to save a small tuberculosis sanatorium on the Brandywine River near Wilmington, DE. Her cousin, Dr. Joseph Wales, was one of the staff physicians at the “Brandywine Shack,” an open-air tuberculosis sanatorium, and he asked for her help. The goal was to raise $300 through the sale of a special Christmas stamp that could be purchased for a penny at the local post office in Wilmington and attached to regular mail. Her inspiration for the fundraiser came from an article by journalist and social worker Jacob Riis, who wrote about the successful sale of Christmas Seals in Denmark in 1904.

Bissell was a member of the Delaware Chapter of the American Red Cross and received permission from the national organization to use the Red Cross emblem in her design, to which she added a wreath of holly and a “Merry Christmas” greeting. To finance the printing of the 1907 Christmas Seal, she borrowed $40 from a friend and arranged for credit from the Theodore Leonhardt and Son printing company of Philadelphia to print 50,000 stamps. The Christmas Seals were placed in small envelopes imprinted:

25 Christmas Stamps one penny apiece issued
by the Delaware Red Cross to stamp out the
White Plague.
Put this stamp with message bright
on every Christmas letter;
help the tuberculosis fight,
and make the New Year better.
These stamps do not carry
any kind of mail
but any kind of mail will
carry them.

On December 7, 1907, the first Christmas Seals were offered for sale at a table in the Wilmington Post Office and Emily Bissell herself purchased the first seal sold. However, overall sales were slow until the editor of the Philadelphia newspaper, the North American, became convinced of the importance of the fundraising campaign. He authorized columnist Leigh Mitchell Hodges to begin a series of daily articles under the heading, “Stamp Out Tuberculosis.” The rest of the 50,000 seals quickly sold and a new printing of 250,000 was ordered. Because it was late in the season, the second printing added the words, “Happy New Year.” By the end of the holidays, all 300,000 seals had been sold, raising $3,000 – ten times Emily Bissell’s original modest goal.

The Christmas Seals are part of the George S. Champlin Memorial Stamp Collection, which is the centerpiece of the John Hay Library’s extensive collections of stamps. Click here for more information about Special Collections at Brown, including the stamp collections.

Dates: November 24, 2015 – January 6, 2016
Location: Anne S. K. Brown Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Extended Hours through Exams


The Library is extending its hours of operation through exam period to accommodate student study needs.

The Rock: 

  • Opens 8 a.m. on Monday, December 7
  • Open 24 hours a day until closing at 9 p.m. on Monday, December 21

Friedman Study Center in the SciLi: 

  • Opens 8 a.m. on Sunday, December 6
  • Open 24 hours a day until closing at 9 p.m. on Monday, December 21

John Hay Library: 

  • Open until 10 p.m. every night from Sunday, December 6 through Sunday, December 20
  • Includes Saturdays

See complete schedules for each Library building here:


Best of luck with exams!


Construction at the Rock | Normal Operations, New Café Location

The Rock is undergoing several projects to update key spaces and improve the Library’s overall functionality and safety. All core services and operations will proceed as normal during all phases of the work. Library hours will remain the same and can be viewed here.

Current lobby cafe

Current lobby cafe

As most of the exterior work on the building is complete, activity is shifting to the inside of the building. Renovations on the Rock lobby will begin shortly and are expected to be completed by the start of second semester. The renovation will include a new café area and enhanced lounge areas.

Current lobby lounge

Current lobby lounge

By Thanksgiving, furniture from the lobby and café areas will be removed. The lobby café will close at 6 p.m. on Friday, November 20. It will reopen in the lobby in a reduced capacity on Monday, November 30 and will remain open through exams. The new lobby café is projected to open at the beginning of the second semester.

Lobby exhibit cases, under the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Credo

Lobby exhibit cases, located under the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Credo, will be moved to level A during the week of November 16

During the week of November 16, the exhibit cases that have been located under the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Credo in the lobby will be moved to level A under the chandelier. The cases currently contain the exhibit “’Trash of the Veriest Sort’: Challenges to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

The Periodicals Reading Room before undergoing construction to become the Digital Studio

The Periodicals Reading Room before undergoing construction to become the Digital Studio

Work on the Rock’s new Digital Studio (adjacent to the Digital Scholarship Lab) is also beginning, with the expectation that this space will be open near the beginning of the second semester, 2016. As this project moves forward, there will be some construction noise in the area. Please bear this in mind if you have or are thinking of having a class or event in the DSL.


Digital Studio construction area

Facilities Management and the contractors are making every effort to minimize the impact of these projects on library users (e.g., scheduling the noisiest work during early hours before the library opens). Nevertheless, much of this work must be performed during hours when the building is occupied. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and ask that you bear with us during the construction phase as we work to improve the condition of the building and the facilities and operations within the Rock.

Event | Publishers Address the Academic Book of the Future

Book in Case

Brown University is pleased to participate in an international, multi-centered conversation regarding the future of the academic monograph to be held during Academic Book Week, November 9-16, 2015. The panel discussion, entitled “The Academic Book of the Future,” will take place in the Pembroke Hall third floor event space (PH305) on Monday, November 16, 2015 from 4 – 5:30 p.m. followed by a reception. This event is free and open to the public.

The discussion will be moderated by Sheila Bonde, Brown University Professor and Chair of History of Art and Architecture and Professor of Archaeology and the Ancient World.

The publishers and editors participating in the panel discussion are:
  • Amy Brand, Director of the MIT Press
  • Anne Brackenbury, Executive Editor, Higher Education Division, University of Toronto Press
  • Robert Harington, Associate Executive Director for Publishing, American Mathematical Society
  • Sarah Lippincott, Program Director, Educopia Institute

The panelists will discuss how today’s technological, social, and intellectual changes are leading to a more permeable, digital model of publication. This event is part of the University’s 2015-2016 lecture series, “New Directions in Scholarly Publishing and the Challenges of Evaluation,” co-sponsored by the Cogut Center for the Humanities and the Brown University Library.

The idea for the Academic Book Week debate was initiated by Oxford University and the Academic Book of the Future Project. Each panelist will present a 10-15-minute position statement followed by responses and conversation among the panelists. After the panelists’ initial statements and responses, Dr. Bonde will open the discussion to all attendees.

Speaker information:

Amy Brand:

Amy Brand photoAmy Brand was named Director of the MIT Press in July 2015. Previously, she served as Vice President of Academic and Research Relations and Vice President for North America at Digital Science. From 2008 to 2013, Brand worked at Harvard University, first as Program Manager of the Office for Scholarly Communication and then as Assistant Provost for Faculty Appointments and Information. Before moving to Harvard, she held long-term positions as an Executive Editor at the MIT Press and as Director of Business and Product Development at CrossRef. Brand serves on the Duraspace Board of Directors, was a founding member of the ORCID Board, and regularly advises on key community initiatives in digital scholarship. She holds a B.A. in linguistics from Barnard College and a PhD in cognitive science from MIT.

Anne Brackenbury:

BrackenburyAnne Brackenbury is Executive Editor in the Higher Education Division of the University of Toronto Press. Anne has over 20 years of experience in the academic end of the book industry and has played a variety of roles: bookseller, publisher sales representative, copy editor, Acquiring Editor, and Executive Editor. While Anne believes in the enduring power of books, she sees plenty of new opportunities for academics to both complement and extend their reach by engaging in new collaborative models of scholarly communication.

Robert Harington:

RMH-picRobert M. Harington is the Associate Executive Director of Publishing at the American Mathematical Society (AMS). Robert has the responsibility for driving strategic growth and management of the AMS Publishing Program for books, journals, and electronic products. Robert also serves on the MathJax Steering Committee. Robert came to the AMS from the American Institute of Physics (AIP), where he served as Publisher, successfully leading AIP’s move away from its traditional role as a provider of publishing services, moving on to focus on serving the publishing needs of its member societies and AIP’s own journals. He has forged an international career working in both non-profit and commercial settings, with rich experience across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Robert holds a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Oxford, and a first-class honors degree in chemistry from the University of London.

Sarah Lippincott:

lippincott_headshot_2015Sarah Lippincott is the Program Director for the Library Publishing Coalition, a community-led membership association whose mission is to support a broad range of publishing activities in academic and research libraries. She is a librarian with a background in scholarly communications and the humanities. She received her MSLS from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her BA in the College of Letters and French Studies from Wesleyan University. Before joining the LPC, she worked as an independent communications consultant for ARL, SPARC, and the open access journal eLife. Her professional interests include the intersection of scholarly communications and undergraduate teaching and learning; digital scholarship; and how librarians can facilitate new forms of scholarly inquiry.

Sheila Bonde, Moderator:

sbonde_photo__thumbnailSheila Bonde an archaeologist and architectural historian specializing in the study of medieval sites and their representation. She is currently Professor of the History of Art and Architecture, and Professor of Archaeology. Sheila has excavated in England, France and Israel, and currently directs the MonArch excavation and research project in northern France at the Augustinian abbey of Saint-Jean-des-Vignes in Soissons, the Carthusian house at Bourgfontaine and the Cistercian monastery at Notre-Dame d’Ourscamp.

Date: Monday, November 16, 2015
Time: 4 – 5:30 p.m. discussion, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. reception
Location: Room 305, Pembroke Hall, 172 Meeting Street, Providence

Event | “What If We Design a Digital Edition and Invite Everyone?: Infinite Ulysses, Participatory Literature, and the Public Digital Humanities” with Amanda Visconti

AmandaVThe Library and the Cogut Center for the Humanities are pleased to welcome Amanda Visconti, Digital Humanities Specialist and Assistant Professor in the Libraries at Purdue University, who will present a talk entitled, “What If We Design a Digital Edition and Invite Everyone?: Infinite Ulysses, Participatory Literature, and the Public Digital Humanities,” at 10 a.m. on Thursday, November 12, 2015 in the Digital Scholarship Lab on the first floor of the Rockefeller Library. The talk will be followed by a question and answer period along with a reception in the DSL.

An early promise of digital humanities—radically increased public access to human culture past and present—has largely been kept, but making projects publicly accessible doesn’t in itself realize a public humanities. DH projects increasingly push beyond public access, designing for public participation by prioritizing inclusion, recognition of participants, and intuitive interface use. This talk will use the design and usertesting of the Infinite Ulysses participatory digital edition (InfiniteUlysses.com) to explore what designing for participation can mean for a digital humanities project.

Infinite Ulysses is a digital edition inviting participatory social annotation of Joyce’s challenging but rewarding novel Ulysses. Drawing on mechanics tested and refined by non-academic online communities like Reddit and StackExchange, the interface experimented with social curation and moderation, attempting to personalize which annotations a given reader sees to their background and interests. From early use data for this proof of concept, we’ll think about ways to increase meaningful public participation in the digital humanities through participatory design, usertesting, and diverse research applications for social annotation data.

Dr. Amanda Visconti designs, codes, and analyzes user and site data toward helping the humanities grow more open: not just publicly accessible, but inviting and supporting public participation. She is the Digital Humanities Specialist and an assistant professor in the Libraries at Purdue University. An active maker and member of the digital humanities community, Visconti’s recently completed University of Maryland Literature Ph.D. consisted of the design, code, and user-testing of an experimental social reading interface (InfiniteUlysses.com) instead of a proto-monograph. Visconti holds an Information M.S. with a specialization in digital humanities HCI from the University of Michigan, where she worked with public humanities enthusiasts to identify small design changes that could open scholarly websites to public use.

A professional scholarly web developer for over eight years, Visconti has worked since 2009 in various roles at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH, mith.umd.edu), one of the world’s top digital humanities R&D centers. She tweets @Literature_Geek, blogs her design research at LiteratureGeek.com, runs the Digital Humanities Slack team (http://bit.ly/1jI8VUx), and maintains a project portfolio at AmandaVisconti.com.

Professor Visconti’s talk is co-sponsored by the Cogut Center for the Humanities and the Brown University Library’s lecture series, New Directions in Scholarly Publishing and the Challenges of Evaluation.

Date: Thursday, November 12, 2015
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Event | The Spatial History Project at Stanford University with Erik Steiner


The Brown University Library is proud to be a co-sponsor of the Spacial Humanities Lecture Series, along with Spacial Structures in the Social Sciences (S4) and the M. B. Mandeville Lectureship Fund.

On Friday, November 13, 2015 at 12 p.m. in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab in the Rockefeller Library, Erik Steiner will give a talk about the Spatial History Project at Stanford University.

This talk will be an open reflection on the experience of developing spatial/digital/geo humanities projects at the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) at Stanford. Erik will elaborate on projects CESTA has undertaken, focusing on the practical details of how such projects operate. He will also discuss how (and whether) creative practices in data visualization and cartography are contributing substantively to collaborative research.

Erik helped found the CESTA Lab in 2007, serving as the first Lab Director until 2010. He now serves as the Creative Director of the Spatial History Project. Before coming to Stanford, Erik worked at the InfoGraphics Lab in the Department of Geography at the University of Oregon. Erik has fifteen years’ experience in leading the design and development of print and interactive information visualizations, including CD-ROMs, atlases, websites, and museum kiosks. He is also a former president of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS). A designer at heart, Erik is passionate about building deep creative partnerships that cut across disciplines and expertise.

Upcoming lectures in the series:

March 25, 2016
Tom Elliott, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU

April 8, 2016
Bill Rankin, History of Science, Yale University

Date: Friday, November 13, 2015
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Opportunity | Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research

Beatrice Senocak ’15 receives the 2015 Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research

Beatrice Senocak ’15 receives the 2015 Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research

Are you an undergraduate who is working on an interesting research project? Consider submitting it to this prize contest.

In partnership with the Office of the Dean of the College, the Brown University Library sponsors the annual Undergraduate Research Prize. The purpose of the prize is to recognize excellence in undergraduate research projects that make creative and extensive use of the Brown University Library’s collections, including, but not limited to, print resources, databases, primary resources, and materials in all media. The project may take the form of a traditional paper, a database, a website or other digital project.

Deadline: April 1, 2016

Up to two prizes of $750 each may be given. Prize recipients will be honored at a Library reception and will be asked to give a short presentation on their research projects.

Prize winning projects will be honored on the Brown University Library website and added to the Brown Archives.


Applicants must be a current full-time student working towards a Brown University undergraduate degree.

Eligible projects:

  • Need to have been completed during 2015.
  • Can be submitted by an individual or by a team.
  • Can be either an independent research effort or an assignment for a credit class.
  • Can not be a senior honors thesis.
  • Multimedia/digital projects are encouraged.

Winners will be announced on April 15, 2016.

Visit the website for the Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research for more information and to view past winning projects.

Leah Jones ’17 and Richard Salamé ’16 receive the 2014 Library Innovation Prize

Leah Jones ’17 and Richard Salamé ’16 receive the 2014 Library Innovation Prize

Event | Carberry Day, Carberry Talk, Carberry Dinner, Carberry Cookies, Carberry Everything!


Each Friday the 13th and February 29th, Professor Josiah S. Carberry celebrates his birthday, and the Brown University Library celebrates with him.

On Friday, November 13 at 4 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Professor Peter H. Schultz will talk about the geo-impact of Carberry on his own career in his talk, “From my little Red Flyer to a Rendezvous with a Comet – Journey with Carberry.” The talk is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Join us for dinner with Professor Carberry in the Portrait Room of the Brown Faculty Club that night. Cash bar cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner at 6:45 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., Professor Schultz will recap his talk from earlier. Dinner is $40 per person. The menu will feature recipes from the Carberry Cookbook. Click here to make a required reservation.

Can’t make the dinner? Enjoy cookies on Professor Carberry in the lobby of the Rockefeller Library and in the Friedman Center at the Sciences Library.

Date: Friday, November 13, 2015
Time: 4 p.m. for the talk; 6 p.m. for cocktails and dinner; all day for cookies
Locations: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence; Brown Faculty Club, One Magee Street, Providence; Friedman Center, Sciences Library, 201 Thayer Street, Providence

Event | “The Sophisticated Silliness of S. J. Perelman ’25” with Sean Kelly ’84

S. J. Perelman / Life Magazine

S. J. Perelman / Life Magazine

The Library is pleased to welcome Brown alumnus Sean Kelly ’84, who will deliver a talk entitled, “The Sophisticated Silliness of S. J. Perelman ’25,” on Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library. The talk will be followed by a Q&A period and a reception.

PerelmanBookImageThe event will also highlight S. J. Perelman, the newest release from the Brown Ziggurat Press. Part of the Brooke Hunt Mitchell Distinguished Author Series, the book consists of an essay by Daniel Asa Rose ’71, P ’17 and a surprise pop-up on the last page that depicts Perelman’s famous portrait by his friend Al Hirschfeld. For more information about the handmade book, including how to purchase it, please click here.

One of the preeminent humorists in American literature and film, S.J. Perelman, Brown Class of 1925, wrote hilarious essays for The New Yorker, comedies for the Marx Brothers, short story collections, Broadway plays, and an Oscar-winning film. It all began at Brown with his cartoons for the student humor magazine.

Sean Kelly '84

Sean Kelly ’84

In this multi-media presentation, Mr. Kelly, an illustrator, will share Perelman’s highly original college work, trace his influence on today’s top comedy writers — including many Brown alumni — and reveal the genius’s creative process through rare documents from the S. J. Perelman collection at the John Hay Library.

Sean Kelly has produced thousands of illustrations for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, and The Atlantic, among other publications. His work has received awards from the Society of Illustrators and the National Cartoonists Society.

Date: Thursday, November 5, 2015
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Event | “Space, Place, and the Humanities: The Emergence of the GeoHumanities” with Tim Cresswell


The Brown University Library is proud to be a co-sponsor of the Spacial Humanities Lecture Series, along with Spacial Structures in the Social Sciences (S4) and the M. B. Mandeville Lectureship Fund.

On Friday, October 23, 2015 at 12 p.m. in the Population Studies and Training Center within Mencoff Hall, Tim Cresswell will deliver the lecture, “Space, Place, and the Humanities: The Emergence of the GeoHumanities.”

Tim is Professor of History and International Affairs at Northeastern University and associate director for public humanities at the Northeastern Humanities Center. He is co-editor of the new journal GeoHumanities published by the American Association of Geographers.

In his talk, Tim will outline the development of the new interdisciplinary field of the GeoHumanities, linking relatively recent developments in the digital humanities and GIS to ancient concerns for space, place, and ways in which we inhabit the world, the flowering of spatial theory since the 1970s in geography, and the spatial turn across the humanities and social sciences of the last few decades. In addition, he will link the fusion of all of these histories with the embrace of “geo” themes in the creative arts, ranging from geo-poetry to conceptual art. While the emergence of GeoHumanities is not without problems and dangers, Tim will argue that the new field presents many theoretical, creative, and strategic opportunities for scholars across the humanities and social sciences.

Upcoming lectures in the series:

November 13, 2015
Erik Steiner, Spatial History Project, Stanford University

March 25, 2016
Tom Elliott, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU

April 8, 2016
Bill Rankin, History of Science, Yale University

Date: Friday, October 23, 2015
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Population Studies and Training Center, Mencoff Hall, 68 Waterman Street, Providence