350th Anniversary of the Oldest Continuously Published Scholarly Journal


The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London celebrates its 350th anniversary on March 6, 2015. Published since 1665, not only is it the oldest scholarly journal in the Brown University Library’s collections, it is believed to be the oldest scholarly journal in continuous publication. The Library is pleased to own a complete run in the original paper edition and to offer the complete run electronically through JSTOR.

Members of the Brown community with web authorization can click here to view the earliest issues.

Brown Engineering Professor Peter D. Richardson, a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), writes, “In 1665 the first issue of Philosophical Transactions was edited by Henry Oldenberg FRS, and this is now the oldest scientific journal in continuous publication, with peer review a characteristic content control feature.”

According to Richardson, the Royal Society of London is the world’s oldest chartered national scientific academy in continuous existence, and has been at the forefront of enquiry and discovery since its foundation in 1660. The backbone of the Society is its Fellowship of the most eminent scientists of the day, elected by peer review for life and entitled to use FRS after their name. There are more than 80 Nobel Laureates among the Society’s Fellows and Foreign Members. In 1663, the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge was granted its arms and adopted the motto “Nullius in verba” (i.e. Take nobody’s word for it) as expression of its enduring commitment to empirical evidence as the basis of knowledge about the natural world.

Happy Josiah Carberry Day!

Josiah Carberry during the Blizzard of 2015, Providence, RI

Josiah Carberry during the Blizzard of 2015, Providence, RI

The Brown University Library celebrates Josiah Carberry every Friday the 13th. In honor of the 13th and Valentine’s Day, we invite you to enjoy cookies at the Rock and SciLi. Consider leaving your loose change in a Brown jug (AKA “cracked pot”) to benefit the Josiah Carberry Fund.

Want to know more about Carberry and the Fund? Click here for more info.

Known to show up unannounced in unlikely places, Carberry has been seen but never verified on campus. Will you spot the elusive man himself? If you do, try to capture him with a photo and share on Twitter or Instagram with #JosiahCarberry.

To share on Facebook, friend Josiah Carberry and tag him in the photo.

Happy Josiah Carberry Day, Happy Friday the 13th, Happy Valentine’s Day, and happy hunting for Carberry!

Fernando Birri: Mi Patria Son Mis Zapatos

Fernando Birri by Wilhelm Reinke

Photo by Wilhelm Reinke

The John Hay Library takes great pleasure in announcing the opening of the Fernando Birri Archive of Multimedia Arts.  It is an extraordinary collection documenting the long and continuing career of Fernando Birri, a celebrated and influential film maker, poet, writer, educator, artist, and theoretician.

Fernando Birri was born in Santa Fe, Argentina in 1925 and is honored as the Father of the new Latin American film movement, described as a form of revolutionary or Third Cinema.  He has been a creative force in 43 films either as the director, actor, or subject. His most well-known films are Tire dié, ORG, and Un señor muy viejo con unas alas enormes. He was instrumental in the founding of 3 film schools: Instituto de Cinematografía de la Universidad del Litoral in Santa Fe, Argentina; Laboratorio Ambulante de Poéticas Cinematográficas in the Universidad de los Andes in Venezuela;  and Escuela de Cine y Televisión de Tres Mundos (EICTV) in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. He has authored numerous books on film theory and taught classes on film making around the world. In addition, he is a prolific artist working in a wide range of media from pencils to computer graphics.

The Fernando Birri Archive of Multimedia Arts contains his films, videos, film scripts, diaries, writings, art work, correspondence, poems, photographs, posters, and audio recordings.  It is a comprehensive archive of his life and work and the essential resource for understanding not only the work of Birri but also the history and evolution of Latin American film during the 20th and 21st centuries.

All of his work and creative energy has been accomplished despite, or perhaps because of, his continual movement from one country to another.  He left his native Argentina in 1950 to study film in Italy.  But he was forced to leave Argentina in 1963 for political reasons.  He kept on moving and has lived and worked in Brazil, Italy, Venezuela, Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Germany, and the United States.  He describes his life this way:

“… I have to become a citizen of the world. And there is a very heart-rending phrase from an Argentinean filmmaker, who was killed by the dictatorship in Paris, Jorge Cedrón, which since then has come to be my motto: “Mi patria son mis zapatos [My country is my shoes]”. Life obliged me to that, so I accept it, I accept it well, and with dreams for the future. Period and enough.” (Interview by Mariluce Moura, 2006)

RI Library Legislative Awareness Day

Photo: Lennart Tange (flickr)

Photo: Lennart Tange (flickr)

Library lovers across the state are invited to join the Rhode Island Library Association on Tuesday, February 10 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the RI State House Rotunda for RI Library Legislative Awareness Day. This is a chance to meet-and-greet your state legislators, tell your story, and explain why supporting RI libraries is so important for the well-being of Rhode Islanders.

Plan to stay for a talk at 5pm by Brian C. Jones, a freelance writer for The Library Report blog and former reporter for the Providence Journal. Afterwards, the RI Coalition of Library Advocates will present their annual awards, including the 2015 COLA Sweetheart of the Year Award to Robert H. Aspri, Executive Director of the HELIN library consortium.

More information is available at these links for RI Library Legislative Awareness Day and the COLA awards.

Date: Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Time: 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Rhode Island State House Rotunda, Providence

Events | Pembroke Center Explores Feminism in Academia


The Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women has a series of exciting events coming up this spring, which the Library, especially the University Archives, has been supporting. All these events are free and open to the public and are part of the Pembroke Center’s offerings for Brown’s 250th anniversary.

Exhibit Opening: The Lamphere Case: The Sex Discrimination Case that Changed Brown
Opening Reception:
Thursday, March 5, 2015, 3:30 PM  – 5:00 PM
Pembroke Hall, 172 Meeting Street

The exhibit explores in detail the Lamphere case and its consequences for Brown. Based on extensive archival research and oral histories with key participants, the exhibit paints a vivid picture of how and why Brown changed during a key moment in its history and of the feminist activism that drove that change.

The exhibit will be on view in Pembroke Hall from March 5 through May 24.  Building hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM.

Cracking the Glass Ceiling: Women Presidents and the Changing University
Thursday, March 5, 2015, 5:30 PM
Salomon Center for Teaching, De Ciccio Family Auditorium
Brown University, Main Green

A discussion of feminism and the challenges women leaders still face in the world of higher education featuring:

Christina Paxson, President of Brown University
Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University
Nan Keohane, former President of Wellesley College and Duke University
Shirley Tilghman, former President of Princeton University

Symposium: Feminist Change and the University
Friday, March 6, 2015, 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Pembroke Hall 305, 172 Meeting Street


Linking past and present feminist concerns, the symposium will open with a conversation between Louise Lamphere and Amy Goldstein ’79, a reporter for The Washington Post, about the Lamphere case and its aftermath.

A panel of Brown faculty will discuss the way feminist scholarship continues to change what students study, how knowledge is made in the contemporary university, and the challenges and possibilities facing current and future generations of women at Brown.

A keynote lecture by Wendy Brown (University of California, Berkeley) will explore the naming debate in reproductive freedom. A keynote lecture by Evelynn Hammonds (Harvard University) will examine feminism and the STEM fields.

RSVP required for lunch.

Exhibit | The Battle of New Orleans – The “Other” Battle of 1815


Battle of New Orleans and death of Major General Packenham on the 8th of January 1815, West and Joseph Yeager, Hand colored engraving by Yeager after West

January 8, 2015 is the bicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans. Fought between an American force of around 5,000 men under Andrew Jackson and 7,500 British troops commanded by Sir Edward Pakenham, the outcome forced the British to leave Louisiana, thus ending the War of 1812. Five months later, the British and their Prussian allies defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.

As with any battle, much information has been lost and eyewitness accounts provide only a snapshot of the fighting. Consequently, myths and legends emerge and these often influence the iconography of the battle. In the ten images featured in this exhibit, the American artists propagandize the battle by depicting the Americans as mighty victors over a weaker British force. The hero of the day, Jackson, is given prominence throughout; however, the death of his counterpart, Pakenham, has not been overlooked, as is the case in the engraving featured here. Of particular note is the fact that few if any of the artists were present at the battle. Though not based on first person observation, these images exerted great influence over perception of the events in 1815.

Dates: January 20 – March 31, 2015
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday
Location: Bopp Seminar Room, Second Floor, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Mellon-Funded Digital Scholarship Initiative


Brown will launch a new digital scholarship initiative this spring with a $1.3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The initiative, to be administered jointly by the University Library and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, will support the development, publication, and preservation of digital publications, with an emphasis on long-form digital publications by Brown faculty in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. For more information, see:  https://news.brown.edu/articles/2015/01/digital

Two temporary, grant-funded positions will be added to the Library: a Digital Scholarly Editor to partner with faculty on developing projects selected under this initiative and also to Mellserve as a liaison to publishers, and also an Information Designer to assist faculty in the layout of their scholarly content and the integration of dynamic multimedia and data applications as part of the online publications.

Other campus initiatives that are part of the grant include (1) creating guidelines for the evaluation of digital scholarship and incorporating these guidelines into departmental standards and criteria documents for faculty performance, tenure, and promotion; (2) establishing systems for internal and external review of digital scholarly works to compensate for the lack of regular reviewing of digital scholarship in the main disciplinary journals; (3) providing opportunities for the next generation of scholars, at both the graduate and undergraduate level, to gain significant experiences and skills in the conception and realization of digital scholarship in the humanities.

Exhibit | The Great Britain Smiler Sheets

SmilersStampsSixteen sheets of the Smiler stamps are on exhibit in the Anne S.K. Brown Military Gallery of the John Hay Library from January 7 – March 4, 2015. The Smilers are part of the Brown University Library’s extensive stamp collections.

The “Smilers” are a series of stamps first issued by Great Britain for the 2000 International Stamp Exhibition, London. During the Exhibition, attendees could go to special photo booths and have their picture taken and placed on the stamps. The service was popular at the Exhibition, but its novelty eventually wore off with the public, possibly due to the higher price for the customized stamps. These early, customizable Smiler sheets are now fairly scarce.

As an alternative to the customized Smiler sheets, the Royal Mail also produced pre-designed Smilers, such as the sheet featured here and those in the Exhibit at the John Hay Library.

The Smilers stamps were created to inspire people to return to traditional correspondence through the post, as opposed to using electronic forms of communication. Will they inspire you?

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: January 7 – March 4, 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

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.

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.