Periodicals Reading Room to Close 8/17 | Collections Moving

Periodicals Reading Room

Periodicals Reading Room

The Periodicals Reading Room in the Rockefeller Library, located on the first floor, will be closed for construction beginning Monday, August 17, 2015. The space will be renovated as part of the Library’s Mellon-funded digital scholarship initiative. The collections housed there have been relocated.

Current print periodicals can now be found on the second floor of the Rockefeller Library in stack ranges 50-51 at the south end of the building.

The “Diversions” popular reading collection has been moved to the Sorensen Family Reading Room on the first floor of the Rockefeller Library.


Sorensen Family Reading Room

A Printed Book Once Owned by Bernardo Bembo

AmB 230--271-inscription

William S. Monroe, Curator of Medieval Manuscripts and Early Printed Books at the Brown University Library, writes about his discovery that one of the Library’s books belonged to Bernardo Bembo:

Cecil Clough once noted that we can learn much about the life and travels of Bernardo Bembo from the books he owned, especially “because of his tendency … to make biographical jottings in his manuscripts.”[1] In another remark in the same article, he states that “interestingly enough there is no printed book that certainly can be associated with Bernardo’s library.”[2] Now, thanks to Bernardo’s well-known habit, we can say that the second statement is no longer true.

The Annmary Brown Collection at the Brown University Library holds a copy of Augustine’s De civitate dei printed in Venice by Johannes and Wendelin of Speyer in 1470.[3] The colophon to this edition notes that the printers come from Speyer. In the margin next to that colophon, is an inscription noting that two persons were passing by Speyer on the Rhine and decided to sign this book. The inscription reads: “D. Justus et B. Bemb. dum é regione Urbis Spire essemus internavigantes M.ccc.lxxi. xviiii. augusti . librum Signavimus.”[4]

The date was 19 August 1471, the year after this book was printed in Venice. B. Bemb. is an abbreviation often used by Bernardo Bembo, who left Venice on 16 July to be the city’s ambassador to the Court of Burgundy.[5] But who was “D. Justus”, and could the book have belonged to this person rather than Bembo? The second question is more easily answered. There are many more marginal notations in the book, mostly taking the form of indexing. These marginalia were made by at least two hands, and one is identical to that in other books (manuscripts) known to have belonged to Bernardo, as are many of the other marks, such as manicules.[6] Moreover, on fol. 59v are the words of Bembo’s motto: Virtue & Honor.

AmB 230--059v

As for D. Justus, I would suggest two possibilities. The most likely is Giusto de Baliis da Lendinara, to whom Bembo wrote some letters, and who was mentioned in others.[7] Another possibility, but less likely, is Justus of Ghent, a contemporary painter. Justus of Ghent (or Joos van Wassenhoven) painted for the Duke of Montefeltro, having left Ghent for Italy in 1469 or 1470, and known to have been in Urbino between 1472 and 1474 working on his masterpiece, the Communion of the Apostles.[8]

At any rate, the volume merits more study, and is available in the John Hay Library at Brown University. To make an appointment to view the book, email

[1] Cecil H. Clough, “The Library of Bernardo and of Pietro Bembo,” The Book Collector 33 (1984): 302-331. This remark is on p. 312.

[2] Clough, p. 313. Clough mentions, in a footnote, that he had earlier believed four printed books to be attributed to Bernardo’s library, but now rejects them. It should be noted, however, that a book published just a year later attributes two other printed books to Bernardo’s library. See Nella Giannetto, Bernardo Bembo, umanista e politico veneziano (Florence: Olschki, 1985), p. 356-357.

[3] Augustine, De civitate dei (Venice: Johannes and Vindelinus de Spira, 1470), John Hay Library, Annmary Brown 230. ISTC: ia01233000.

[4] This inscription was pointed out to me by my student assistant, Caroline Hughes, while assisting me in recording interesting features of the collection.

[5] Giannetto, Bernardo Bembo, p. 27.

[6] For manicules, including the characteristic manicules of Bembo, see William H. Sherman, Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), esp. pages 35-36.

[7] Giannetto, Bernardo Bembo, p. 29, 401-402, 408.

[8] Jacques Lavalleye, Juste de Gand: peintre de Frédéric de Montefeltre (Louvain: Bibliothèque de L’Université, 1936), p 40-50. Would Justus of Ghent have travelled back to the Low Countries in 1471? Little is known for certain of his travels, but he would have been known by humanists such as Bernardo, and they could have travelled together.

Workshop and Forum | China’s Publishing Soft Power


On Friday, August 14, 2015, the Brown University Library will host a workshop and forum about China’s Publishing Soft Power in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library.

The workshop and forum will feature chapter authors from both the U.S. and China of the projected book Embracing China’s Publishing Soft Power: Trends, Resources, and Access.

The keynote speakers will be Sonia Feigenbaum, Associate Provost for Global Engagement at Brown University, Ned Quist, Associate Librarian for Research and Outreach at the Brown University Library, and Zhiqiang Zhang 张志强, Deputy Director of Academy of Publishing Studies, Professor in the Department of Publishing Science in the School of Library and Information Management at Nanjing University.

The forum will be chaired by Li Wang, Curator of the East Asian Collection at the Brown University Library, and moderated by William Monroe, Senior Scholarly Resources Librarian at the Brown University Library, Hong Ji 纪红, President, Reach Insights Consulting, LLC, and Zhuge Weidong诸葛蔚东, Professor in the Department of Journalism & Communication at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In addition to the workshop and forum, speakers and invited guests will be given a tour of campus and the Brown University Libraries on Thursday, August 13.

This event is co-sponsored by the China Initiative, Watson Institute for International Studies, the Office of Global Engagement, Brown University, and the Brown University Library.

For more information and inquiries about attendance, please contact Dr. Li Wang at

Date: Friday, August 14, 2015
Times: 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Event | Coffee with Lovecraft Scholar Connor Pitetti

H. P. Lovecraft at home in Providence / Brown University Library

H. P. Lovecraft at home in Providence / Brown University Library

Join us on Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. at the John Hay Library for coffee and an informal discussion with S. T. Joshi Endowed Research Fellow Connor Pitetti focusing on his project “The Cities of H.P. Lovecraft and Le Corbusier: The Limits of the Human in Apocalyptic Modern Urbanism.”

Mr. Pitetti, a PhD candidate in English at SUNY Stony Brook, will discuss his ongoing research at the John Hay Library using the Lovecraft Collection.

Date: Thursday, August 13, 2015
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | The Influence of Anxiety: Lovecraft, Bloch, Barlow, et al.

Lovecraft exhibit announcement image

Robert Bloch, “IÄA. Shub-Niggurath Y’A”, circa 1933. Brown University Library

Brown University Library presents The Influence of Anxiety: Lovecraft, Bloch, Barlow, et al., an exhibition focused on H. P. Lovecraft’s literary network. Showcasing the work of Robert Bloch and Robert H. Barlow, two of Lovecraft’s youngest correspondents, the exhibition illuminates the shared affinities and fears of those in his circle. Their correspondence is both visual and literary, descriptive and didactic, light-hearted and severe. Indirectly engaging cultural anxieties centered on the economy and rising tide of war during the 1930s, these writers pushed the horror genre in new directions. Their work at the edges of popular fiction continues to resonate with a broad audience and contemporary writers.

There is also a complementary online exhibit, which can be viewed here.

The H. P. Lovecraft Collection at the John Hay Library includes extensive holdings of manuscripts, letters, editions of Lovecraft’s works in 20 languages, periodicals, biographical and critical works, and numerous collections of manuscript and printed materials of Lovecraft friends and associates. The exhibition includes autograph manuscripts and selected letters, drawings and illustrations, and printed ephemera. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information and standard operating hours consult the Library website:

Dates: August 19, 2015 – January 2016
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday
Location: Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

The Library Welcomes John Kromer

Kromer-2015The Brown University Library is pleased to welcome John Kromer, the new Physical Sciences Librarian.

Kromer comes to the Library from Miami University in Oxford Ohio where he was the Physical Sciences and Engineering Librarian. He has two master’s degrees: one in chemistry and the other in library and information studies. Both are from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. John earned his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and French from Transylvania University.

John is located in the Rockefeller Library. His departments include: Applied Math, Math, Chemistry, Engineering, Earth Environmental and Planetary Sciences, and Physics

Diversions Reboot – Popular Reading in the Rock


The Brown University Library announces the reboot of our popular reading collection, “Diversions.” Located on the central shelves in the newly renovated Sorensen Family Reading Room in the Rockefeller Library, the collection features recent, New York Times Book Reviewed bestsellers in poetry and long and short fiction from both trade publishers and university presses. While the collection is currently small (but mighty), it will continue grow. Have a browse, choose a book, take a soft seat, and enjoy. This is your summer reading list, all year long.

Exhibit | The War in the Pacific Travels to Slovakia

High school students in Kosice, Slovakia view the exhibit.

High school students in Kosice, Slovakia view the exhibit.

Drawn from the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, an exhibit focused on the War in the Pacific during World War II is traveling through Slovakia, making three stops that include presentations and viewings.

Last year, the U.S. Embassy contacted Peter Harrington, curator of the collection, to ask if he could curate an art exhibition on this topic for the people of Slovakia. Peter was delighted to create the exhibit, but surprised that Slovakia wanted to focus on the War in the Pacific. The Embassy explained that there is a great deal of information available about the war in Europe, but very little about the Pacific. Also, interestingly, one of the flag raisers on Iwo Jima was Slovakian! The Embassy is also interested in showing the American involvement in the liberation of Slovakia, which occurred during the war.

The exhibition includes 40 drawings and watercolors. It has visited the State Scientific Library in Kosice, at which a presentation was made to high school students. Photos from the event can be viewed here.

The exhibit will open in Bratislava at the University Library on June 3 and will conclude its travels at the State Scientific Library in Banská Bystrica in September.

The Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection is the foremost American collection of material devoted to the history and iconography of soldiers and soldiering and is one of the world’s largest collections devoted to the study of military and naval uniforms. It contains approximately 20,000 printed books, numerous albums, sketchbooks, scrapbooks and portfolios, and over 15,000 individual prints, drawings, paintings and watercolors as well as a collection of 5,000 miniature lead soldiers. To learn more about the collection, please visit its webpage at

Exhibit | Famous Works of Art on Stamps

Topical stamp collecting (1)

Several renowned works of art will be on display in the Anne S. K. Brown Military Gallery at the John Hay Library—on stamps. From now until July 31, 2015, you can see 18 pages of stamps that showcase the work of five artists: Peter Paul Rubens, Marc Chagall, Melozzo da Forli, Pietro Cavallini, and Charles M. Russell—an artist of the American West.

Using great works of art in stamp design began in the 1930s, increasing in popularity to its height in the 1950s, spurring a movement to collect art stamps within the world of philately. (Collecting stamps within a specific genre is known as topical collecting.)

The Brown University Library is home to several stamp collections, including the Knight Collection, the Peltz and Morriss Collections of Special Delivery stamps, the George S. Champlin Memorial Stamp Collection of international issues, and the Robert T. Galkin Collection of First Day Covers.

Click here for more information about Special Collections at Brown, including the stamp collections.

Dates: May 28 – July 31, 2015
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday
Location: Anne S.K. Brown Military Gallery, Third Floor, Room 303, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | 19th Century Architectural Models


This exhibit features some of the best architectural models submitted as final projects for Professor Dietrich Neumann’s Nineteenth-Century Architecture class. This course surveyed stylistic developments, new building types, and changing social conditions of architectural production for the period covering 1800 to 1900. Students were asked either to write a final paper or construct an architecturally accurate model of a building or related work that had originally been created during the 19th century.

Dates: May 15 – September 16, 2015
Location: Finn Reading Room Cases, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence