Special Collections Hours during Intersession 2015

The Special Collections Reading Room of the John Hay Library will be closed from December 24, 2014, thru January 9, 2015. From January 12 to January 20, 2015, the Special Collections Reading Room will be available by appointment only from 10am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. To request an appointment, please e-mail Hay@brown.edu prior to 12 noon on Friday, January 9. Please specify the date(s) and time(s) you plan to arrive at the reading room to work with Special Collections materials.

Please note that the John Hay Library will be closed on Monday, January 19, 2015, for the Martin Luther King Day holiday.

Movie with a Curator | The Name of the Rose


Need a study break?

Sunday, December 7 from 2 – 4 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library, enjoy a couple of hours immersed in the world of medieval manuscripts, both on film and in the original vellum, as we watch feature film The Name of the Rose, based on the novel of the same name by Umberto Eco.

Medievalist Bill Monroe, Curator of Humanities and the Ancient World at the John Hay Library, will be your guide for this tour of the manuscript tradition and early printing. Some choice works from the Annmary Brown Collection will be shown.

This event is sponsored by the John Russell Bartlett Society, a group of Rhode Island book collectors, book crafts-people, and book readers who meet periodically for the purpose of engaging in good talk about books as objects.

Date: Sunday, December 7, 2014
Time: 2 – 4 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Library Extends Hours through Exam Period


In response to students’ requests and the Library’s desire to provide students with safe, comfortable, and functional study spaces, three of the Brown University libraries will be open for extended hours during the upcoming reading and exam period at the end of fall semester.

Beginning Saturday, December 6, the Rockefeller Library will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 3 a.m. everyday through Friday, December 19. On Saturday, December 20 (the last day of exams), the Rock will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Similarly, the John Hay Library will be open from 10 a.m. until 3 a.m. everyday from Saturday, December 6 through Friday, December 19. On Saturday, December 20, the Hay will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The Friedman Study Center at the Sciences Library (as well as the 4th floor study area) will be open 24 hours everyday beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 6 and will close on Saturday, December 20 at 5 p.m.

The hours for the Orwig Music Library will remain the same during this period, closing at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and closing at 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

A complete list of hours during the reading/exam period is available at:

The hours for all libraries are available at:

Don’t forget PIZZA NIGHTS!

Take a break and eat some pizza at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, December 9 at the SciLi and Wednesday, December 10 at the Rock. Sponsored by an ever true Brown family, the Library, and Campus Life.

Lecture | Wayland and Magaziner and (Much) More: The Brown Curriculum through the Years | Luther Spoehr


On Thursday, December 4 at 5:30 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library, Luther Spoehr, Senior Lecturer in Education, will give a talk, “Wayland and Magaziner and (Much) More: The Brown Curriculum through the Years.”

Has Brown always been a place of curricular innovation? Did Francis Wayland’s mid-19th century reforms foreshadow the New Curriculum of 1969? For 250 years, Brown’s undergraduate curriculum has sometimes stayed in step with its peers and sometimes struck out on its own. Spoehr’s talk will track the trajectory of this complex story of tradition and innovation.

This lecture is part of a series at the John Hay Library celebrating the University’s 250-year history. All lectures in the series highlight the University Archives’ “Elements of Tradition and Change” exhibit.

Please note, this lecture was originally planned for November 18. 

Date: Thursday, December 4, 2014
Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library
Time: 5:30 p.m.

Wilmeth Lecture | Oskar Eustis, “The Non-Profit Theatre in a Market Society”

OskarEustis2_Brigitte Lacombe (1)

On Monday, December 8 at 7 p.m. in Stuart Theatre, Oskar Eustis will deliver the 11th Annual Don Wilmeth Endowed Lectureship in American Theatre, entitled, “The Non-Profit Theatre in a Market Society.” A reception will follow the lecture. This event is free and open to the public.

Artistic Director of The Public Theater since 2005, Oskar Eustis has enjoyed a distinguished career in the arts in Rhode Island and beyond. Prior to his work at The Public, Eustis served as Artistic Director at Providence’s Trinity Repertory Company from 1994 – 2005, Associate Artistic Director at Los Angeles’s Mark Taper Forum, and Resident Director and Dramaturg at San Francisco’s Eureka Theatre Company.

Eustis is currently a Professor of Dramatic Writing, Arts, and Public Policy at New York University, and he has held professorships at UCLA, Middlebury College, and Brown University, where he founded and chaired the Trinity Rep/Brown University Consortium for professional theatre training.

Throughout his career, Eustis has been dedicated to the development and production of new plays. At The Public, Eustis directed the New York premieres of Rinne Groff’s Compulsion and The Ruby Sunrise and Larry Wright’s The Human Scale. At Trinity Rep, he directed the world premiere of Paula Vogel’s The Long Christmas Ride Home and Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul, both recipients of the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Production.

His production of Julius Caesar won a Bay Area Critics Circle Award in 1988, and in the quarter century since then he has directed and produced Shakespeare across the United States, in venues ranging from prisons to Broadway.

Eustis has received honorary doctorates from Rhode Island College and Brown University.

The Don Wilmeth Endowed Lectureship was established in honor of Professor Don Wilmeth and his monumental contribution to the study of theatre at Brown. The lectureship supports an annual lecture series on American theatre. Past visiting lecturers have included Laurence Maslon (2005), Jim Steinmeyer (2007), Christopher Bigsby (2008), Laura Linney (2008), Lynn Nottage (2010), and Bill Irwin (2011).

This event is supported by Brown University Library and Friends.

Date: Monday, December 8, 2014
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Stuart Theatre, 75 Waterman Street, Providence (Within Faunce House)

Exhibit | Christmas Seals


Christmas 2014 Seals

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 December 18, 2014.

The seals shown above are the Great Britain Smiler Sheets, which were started in the year 2000 in conjunction with the International London stamp Show. The idea behind them was to try to inspire people to abandon faxes and email and return to the use of personal postal social mail instead. Hopefully, looking at them will make you smile.

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 19, 2014 – December 18, 2014
Location: Anne S. K. Brown Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

50th Anniversary of the Rock

“We students have adopted it as our own.”

–Nancy L. Buc ’65, President, Student Government Association,
Pembroke College, November 1964


Since its opening in November 1964, Brown students have embraced the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library. Designed by the architectural firm of Warner, Burns, Toan, and Lunde, the “Rock,” at the time of its opening, was considered a “marvel of modern design and ingenuity” containing “every practical technical advancement…for the advantage of the bibliophile.” Among its state-of-the-art innovations in 1964 were:

Heating coils under the Rock steps to melt snow.

Pneumatic tube system of book request and retrieval.








Custom-built, “wired” card catalog that included phone jacks to enable librarians to answer questions about library holdings.

CatalogPhone1 CatalogPhone2








SlantedPeriodicalsSlanted shelving for periodicals and roll-out shelves in the reference stacks.

Today’s Rockefeller Library continues the tradition of providing innovative, state-of-the-art services to meet the needs of 21st century library users. The Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab on the first floor of the Rock, with its 7´ x 16´ high-definition “video wall,” offers students and faculty a technology-rich environment for discovery, analysis, and collaboration. Hi-tech collaboration spaces in the Sorensen Family Reading Room facilitate group work by allowing a number of students to display and share their work on large computer screens. Group study rooms in the Laura and David Finn Reading Room and the Sorensen Family Reading Room provide students with spaces to work together in small groups or on team projects. And the Digital Studio, an upcoming renovation planned for summer 2015, will create a unique space on campus, offering a range of high-end collaborative environments with the latest interactive technologies, that will enable innovation in the humanities and interdisciplinary scholarship across the campus community.


Rock at the Rock


On Friday, November 14 from 7:30 – 10 p.m., the Rock will rock with live band Diamond Doves as the Brown University Library celebrates the 50th anniversary of the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library.

The Rock will close at 5 p.m. on the 14th to allow for event preparations. No library services will be available after 5 p.m. There will also be furniture removal throughout the day on Friday, and furniture return throughout the day on Saturday the 15th. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and hope you can join us at 7:30 p.m. when we Rock at the Rock.

Click here to visit the Rock at the Rock website, which has more information about the event and the band Diamond Doves.

Click here to RSVP to the event on Facebook!

Date: Friday, November 14, 2014
Time: 7:30 – 10 p.m.
Location: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Lecture | Letters Home: Brown Alumni at War | Beth Taylor

Brown Town, 1946. Temporary housing for veterans of World War II erected near Marvel Gymnasium on the city-owned Sessions Street playground at the corner of Elmgrove Avenue and Sessions Street, Providence, RI

Brown Town, 1946. Temporary housing for veterans of World War II erected near Marvel Gymnasium on the city-owned Sessions Street playground at the corner of Elmgrove Avenue and Sessions Street, Providence, RI

On Wednesday, November 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library, Beth Taylor, Senior Lecturer in English, will give a talk, “Letters Home: Brown Alumni at War.” Taylor, who is co-director of Brown’s Nonfiction Writing Program, has been collecting oral histories, documents, photographs, memorabilia, and letters home from veterans or widows of veterans.

This lecture is part of series at the John Hay Library celebrating the University’s 250-year history. All lectures in the series highlight the University Archives’ “Elements of Tradition and Change” exhibit.
The next lecture in the series will take place on Thursday, December 4 at 5:30 p.m. in the Lownes Room, with Luther Spoehr, Senior Lecturer in Education. Spoehr’s talk is entitled, “Wayland and Magaziner and (Much) More: The Brown Curriculum through the Years.”

Date: Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library
Time: 5:30 p.m.