Beijing Foreign Studies University Delegation Visit to the Brown University Library


On April 29, 2015, a delegation from Beijing Foreign Studies University visited Brown University and the Library. Headed by Professor Peng Long, President of Beijing Foreign Studies University, the delegation included Professors Zhang Jian, Dean of the School of English and International Studies, Li Liwen, Dean of the School of English for Specific Purposes, Wang Lidi, Dean of the Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation, and Niu Huayong, Dean of the School of International Business, as well as Dr. He Jing, Deputy Director of the Office for Confucius Institutes and Mr. Wen Bin, Program Officer of International Affairs Office.

After meeting with President Paxson, Sonia Feigenbaum, Associate Provost for Global Engagement, Karen Sibley, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Dean, School of Professional Studies, and faculty members from the Department of American Studies (which has established a graduate exchange program with BFSU), the guests visited the Library. Christine Sprovieri, Global Relations Officer, Office of Global Engagement, coordinated the delegation’s visit.


Ned Quist, Associate University Librarian for Research and Outreach, Li Wang, Curator of East Asian Collection, Peter Harrington, Curator of Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, Holly Snyder, Curator of American Historical Collections, and Jenny Li, Senior Library Specialist in Circulation & Resource Sharing, led the delegation on a tour the Rockefeller and John Hay Libraries. The BFSU guests had a chance to view buildings, facilities, special rooms, and some rare items in special collections. They were very impressed with what they saw during the short library tour.

Event | Li Wang: Trends in Chinese Literature Today and the Pamphlets for Allied Information Services in WWII


On Monday, May 4 at 11 a.m. in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Dr. Li Wang will give a talk entitled, “Trends in Chinese Literature Today and the Pamphlets for Allied Information Services in WWII.” A lunch will follow the talk.

Attendees must RSVP to attend the talk.
Please respond to by April 30.

Li Wang, Curator of the East Asian Collection, recently discovered some remarkable bibliographic information on over a dozen rare English pamphlets for allied information services in China during kangzhan/WWII. The pamphlets were part of a series of “China and Things Chinese” published by the War Area Service Corps (1937-1946), National Military Council. Among these pamphlets, there are five pertaining to “academic interest,” including topics on history, philosophy, media, taxation, and literature of China, all written by renowned scholars. The Brown Library has acquired two important titles: China’s Philosophy and Philosophers and Trends in Chinese Literature Today.

In his investigation Li Wang was pleasantly surprised to find that Trends in Chinese Literature Today was written by his late father, Professor Wang Zuoliang (Wang Tso-Liang, 王佐良).  A graduate scholar from Tsinghua and Oxford University, Professor Wang was former Vice-President of the Beijing Foreign Studies University.  As a leading scholar in English and American literature and comparative literature in China, Professor Wang contributed nearly forty books to these fields (Brown Library holds twelve titles). Moreover, Li Wang has also found an article on a Chinese poet and three translated poems written by Professor Wang in 1947 in Life and Letters and the London Mercury, which is housed in the Special Collections in the John Hay Library.

Wang Zuoliang, 1949. He received a master's in literature degree from Merton College, University of Oxford. His thesis, The Literary Reputation of John Webster to 1830, was later published by Salzburg University. Brown University Library holds a copy of the book.

Wang Zuoliang, 1949. He received a Master of Letters degree from Merton College, University of Oxford. His thesis, The Literary Reputation of John Webster to 1830, was later published by Salzburg University. Brown University Library holds a copy of the book.

Li Wang has been working on a project involving a compilation of the English text of Trends in Chinese Literature Today, a Chinese translation of the pamphlet, a research paper about the background, content, and significance of this literature, and other projected publications and presentations. This project will result in the Trends, along with over forty of his other early works recently found, being added to Wang Zuoliang’s collected edition. Li Wang is glad to share his finding with interested faculty, staff, and scholars in the Brown community.

Trends summarizes twenty five years of the development of Chinese literature since the May 4th Movement in 1919, which is a valuable contribution to the field with distinctive ideas, approach, and style at that time. As an American sinologist professor remarks, “This is so impressive, what a compelling writing style! This essay puts early 20th century Chinese literature in political and aesthetic perspective, he really could summarize a complex field of literary efforts. It is fascinating….”

This lecture is co-sponsored by the East Asian Colloquium and Brown University Library.

Date: Monday, May 4, 2015
Time: 11 a.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

S. J. Perelman | Newest Release from the Brown Ziggurat Press


S. J. Perelman is the title and subject of the latest book 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. Made of a letterpress printed paper cover and digital text, the volume contains 20 pages. It was commissioned and edited by John Hay Professor Emeritus of Bibliography and Professor Emeritus of Visual Art Walter Feldman ADE ’55 hon., designed and executed by Elias Roustom of EM Letterpress, and bound by Caitlyn Thompson ’09.

Both an informative and entertaining piece of literature and a handmade work of art, S. J. Perelman will be available in a limited, numbered run through Vamp & Tramp Booksellers online for $135.


Event | Guided Relaxation Study Break


The Library invites students to a guided relaxation session in the Zero Decibel area of the Friedman Center in the SciLi on Thursday, April 30 from 4 – 5 p.m.

Work/Life Program Specialist Jen McKay from Brown’s Office of Human Resources will lead the session, which will include diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and then either guided imagery or loving kindness meditation.

To effectively combat stress, we need to activate our body’s natural relaxation response. The relaxation techniques Jen will lead the group through will help to create calm and boost your energy and mood.

We at the Library hope students will find this session a calming and helpful break from the stresses of reading period.

Date: Thursday, April 30, 2015
Time: 4 – 5 p.m.
Location: Zero Decibel Area, Friedman Study Center, Level A, Sciences Library

Event | G. Thomas Couser ’77 to Deliver Annual Yoken Lecture

G. Thomas Couser '77

G. Thomas Couser ’77

G. Thomas Couser ‘77, Professor Emeritus of English at Hofstra University, will deliver the annual Mel and Cindy Yoken Cultural Series Lecture on Monday, April 27 at 5:30 p.m. in the Lownes Room at the John Hay Library. In his talk, “A Life in Letters – Letters as Life,” Couser will discuss the process of writing his father’s memoir and how that process led him to appreciate the many values of correspondence.

A reception will follow the lecture. This event is free and open to the public.

Couser based the memoir on letters he found in a closet when his father died. The writing process led him to appreciate  correspondence as historical and biographical evidence, as a medium of self-expression, and as the very stuff of relational life.

Couser received his Ph.D. from Brown in 1977 and is the author of several books on disability studies and American literature, including Memoir: An Introduction, a survey of the memoir genre.

Friends of the Library is an association interested in fostering the growth and usefulness of the Brown University Library and in encouraging gifts of books, desirable collections, other scholarly materials and funds.

Date: Monday, April 27, 2015
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Winner of the 2015 Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research: Beatrice Senocak ’15

SenocakThe Brown University Library is pleased to announce the winner of the 2015 Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research. Beatrice Selen Senocak ’15 was selected for her paper entitled “A Providence Affair.” Undertaken for Senior Lecturer in English Elizabeth Taylor’s class, Narrating History, Senocak’s paper employs creative non-fiction to tell the story of the delicate courtship of Sarah Helen Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe.

In her research, Senocak drew heavily on primary source documents including the papers of Sarah Helen Whitman in the John Hay Library and the online archives of the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, which provided transcripts of the Whitman-Poe correspondence. She also scoured local libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies to discover details of the fashion, music, dancing, public transportation, etiquette, and architecture of the period in Providence to set the stage for her story. In addition, Senocak made use of Brown’s own online collections to discover digital images of original daguerreotype portraits of both Whitman and Poe.

As one of the judges observed, “This is an elegantly written essay about the relationship between Poe and Whitman that is based on a rich array of print and archival sources….She has transformed the sources in creative ways and drawn out a compelling story full of contextual details drawn from the meticulous research.”

In partnership with the Office of the Dean of the College, the Brown University Library sponsors the annual Undergraduate Research Prize, awarded each April. 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. Please click here to visit the Prize’s webpage for more information.

Event | The Art of American Book Covers 1875 – 1930 with Richard Minsky

Richard Minsky--  photo by Richard Grosbard-4x4

On April 22, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library, Richard Minsky will give a talk, “The Art of American Book Covers 1875 – 1930: One Hundred Great Covers from the Brown University Library.” Minsky will look at selections of books from the Library’s holdings that exemplify book cover styles and their changes during this time period. A Q&A, book sale and signing, and reception will follow the talk. This event is free and open to the public.

A complementary exhibit of the same name will be available for viewing in the Lownes Room cases from April 15 – May 14, 2015 by appointment only. To make an appointment to view the exhibit, please contact the John Hay Library at

In his presentation, Minsky will discuss how Modernism entered the American home on book covers. Proto-Constructivism and Futurism came in 1880, Art Nouveau in 1881. Surrealism and Abstraction in 1904. This period  saw the transition from covers designed by die-engravers to those created by visual artists, many of whom were women. The presentation will include stunning examples from Eastlake style, Arts and Crafts, Aesthetic movement, Poster style and Social Realism.

Richard Minsky is an internationally known book artist, author, historian, curator, and bibliographer. Minsky is the author of American Decorated Publishers’ Bindings 1872-1929, The Art of American Book Covers 1875-1930, The Art of the American Book, The Golden Age of American Book Design, The Book Cover Art of Thomas Watson Ball, and American Trade Bindings with Native American Themes, 1875-1933. In 1974 he founded the Center for Book Arts in New York City, the first organization of its kind.


The hardcover edition of The Art of American Book Covers 1875-1930 sold out two printings and won the Worldwide Books Award for Publications from the Art Libraries Society of North America in 2011.

Date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Celebrate National Library Week


Celebrate National Library Week, April 12 – 18, with the theme “Unlimited possibilities @ your library®.”

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate.

Best-selling author David Baldacci will serve as Honorary Chair of National Library Week 2015. Baldacci’s novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and have been adapted for film and television. Over 110 million copies of his books are in print worldwide. In addition, Baldacci is involved with several philanthropic organizations, including his family’s Wish You Well Foundation®, which fosters and promotes the development and expansion of literacy and educational programs.

Click here for more information about National Library Week from the American Library Association.

Event | Sinai Rusinek: Unraveling Intertextualities in “The Star of Redemption”


On Wednesday, April 15, at noon in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Sinai Rusinek will give a talk entitled, “Unraveling Intertextualities in ‘The Star of Redemption.'”

The “annotated star” is a project aiming to create a collaborative, dynamic digital edition of Franz Rosenzweig’s Star of Redemption that will combine the tradition of the critical edition with the developing possibilities of open, web-based text annotation. We aim to create a tool which will unveil and display a plethora of sources embedded in the book, as well as the richness and diversity of sources and themes that have characterized its Nachleben since its publication in 1921.

Rusinek is a post-doctoral fellow of the Polonsky Academy at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. Her main interests are the History of Concepts and Digital Humanities. Her doctoral dissertation, “Criticus, Kritikos, Critick” was written under the supervision of Prof. Yemima Ben Menachem and Dr. Amiel Vardi at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It dealt with the way these words functioned in various contexts and discourses from antiquity to Early Modernity, and with how they changed and were formed through these uses. (

This lecture is sponsored by Judaic Studies and by the Brown University Library.

Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Event and Workshop | “The HathiTrust Research Center: Bringing you 4.7 billion pages of analytic opportunities!” with Steven Downie



Stephen Downie’s keynote address has been RESCHEDULED for Friday, April 17 at 10 a.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library.

The Virtual Humanities Lab in the Department of Italian Studies at Brown University, in collaboration with the Center for Digital Scholarship in the Brown University Library, will host an international colloquium entitled, “Scholarly Networks and the Emerging Platforms for Humanities Research & Publication” in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab at the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library from Thursday, April 16 through Saturday, April 18, 2015.

The three-day colloquium will explore the new types of scholarly output produced when scholars use digital methods to collaborate on, annotate, and visualize traditional materials.


Stephen Downie, Professor and Associate Dean for Research, Library, and Information Science at the University of Illinois and Co-Director of the HathiTrust Research Center, will deliver the opening keynote address. His talk, “The HathiTrust Research Center: Bringing you 4.7 billion pages of analytic opportunities!” will take place on April 17 at 10 a.m. and is open to the public.

The colloquium proper is open to interested members of the public; please register by emailing
by April 13.

Program Description:

In the age of data mining, distant reading, topic modeling and cultural analytics, scholars and researchers increasingly rely upon automated, algorithm-based procedures in order to parse their exponentially growing databases of digitized textual and visual resources. Yet, within this deeply networked and massively interactive environment, it is crucial to preserve the expert logic of primary and secondary sources, textual stability, citations, and other apparatus, which form the heritage and legacy of humanities scholarship. A pure conservation of the documents of the past in their integrity is not sufficient to preserve an active memory of our humanistic heritage. Digital humanists have to re-think the very notion of humanism from the point of view of the new technology and the questions we are facing in our time. This process must begin with the primary sources of the humanist tradition.

Digital editions, for example, must now live in the networked environment built within digital library repositories: emerging curatorial and editorial practices and the semantic act of interpretation are increasingly embedded together into the primary sources and such practices are also the conduit for training the next generation of digital humanists. In short, scholarly collaboration must problematize methodology, tools and interpretation at the same time. Humanities researchers increasingly collaborate, in a laboratory mode, on shared platforms and in shared virtual environments, experimenting with open source tools often developed elsewhere, in the annotation and visualization of select corpora of primary sources. In the process, they produce new and yet unidentified typologies of scholarly objects (thoroughly embedded in library repositories) that incorporate curatorial and interpretive practices along with a new, and fully documented, technical instrumentation. This hybrid form of collaborative curation/publication is at the foundation of humanities scholarship in the digital age.

Scholars from the U.S., Mexico, the U.K., and Italy are invited to share their ideas, experience, and work-in-progress in an informal setting as we explore these interconnected themes.

Presenters will include:

  •  Stephen Downie, Professor and Associate Dean for Research, Library, and Information Science at the University of Illinois and Co-Director of the HathiTrust Research Center
  • Harriette Hemmasi, Joukowsky Family University Librarian at Brown University
  • Massimo Riva, Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence and Professor and Chair of Italian Studies
  • Fabio Ciotti, Assistant Professor at the University of Roma Tor Vergata; board member, DARIAH-Italy; member, EU Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and the Humanities
  • Julia Flanders, Digital Scholarship Group Director, Northeastern University Library; Professor of the Practice of English, Northeastern University
  • Dino Buzzetti, Professor of Medieval Philosophy at the University of Bologna
  • Ernesto Priani Saiso, Professor, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
  • Evelyn Lincoln, Professor of History of Art and Architecture and Professor of Italian Studies at Brown University
  • Elli Mylonas, Senior Digitial Humanities Librarian and Associate Director of the Center for Digital Scholarship at the Brown University Library
  • Michael Papio, Professor of Italian Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Susanna Allès Torrent, Lecturer in Spanish in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Columbia University
  • John Cayley, Professor of Literary Arts, Brown University
  • Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, Professor of English and Co-Director of the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, Northeastern University
  • Andy Land, Digital Systems Manager, The University of Manchester Library
  • Andy Ashton, Associate University Librarian for Digital Technologies, Brown University
  • Vika Zafrin, Institutional Repository Librarian, Boston University
  • Guyda Armstrong, Senior Lecturer in Italian, Academic Lead for Digital Humanities, The University of Manchester
  • Marilyn Deegan, Professor of Digital Humanities and Honorary Research Fellow, King’s College London
  • Rosemary Simpson, Information Architect, Department of Computer Science, Brown University
  • John Unsworth, Vice Provost, University Librarian, and Chief Information Officer, Brandeis University

A full program is online at:

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10Prospect Street, Providence