Event | Omer Bartov Discusses “The Voice of Your Brother’s Blood: Buczacz, Biography of a Town”

Omer Bartov, John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History and Professor of History and Professor of German Studies

On Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab of the Rockefeller Library, Omer Bartov, John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History and Professor of German Studies at Brown, will present his new book, The Voice of Your Brother’s Blood: Buczacz, Biography of a Town.

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

The Voice of Your Brother’s Blood: Buczacz, Biography of a Town

This lecture will discuss how the East Galician town of Buczacz was transformed from a site of coexistence, where Poles, Ukrainians, and Jews had lived side-by-side for centuries, into a site of genocide. Between 1941, when the Germans conquered the region, and 1944, when the Soviets liberated it, the entire Jewish population of Buczacz was murdered by the Nazis, with ample help from local Ukrainians, who then also ethnically cleansed the region of the Polish population. What were the reasons for this instance of communal violence, what were its dynamics, and why has it been erased from the local memory?

Professor Omer Bartov

Born in Israel and educated at Tel Aviv University and St. Antony’s College, Oxford, Omer Bartov’s early research concerned the Nazi indoctrination of the Wehrmacht and the crimes it committed in World War II, analyzed in his books, The Eastern Front, 1941-1945, and Hitler’s Army. He then turned to the links between total war and genocide, discussed in his books Murder in Our Midst, Mirrors of Destruction, and Germany’s War and the Holocaust. Bartov’s interest in representation also led to his study, The “Jew” in Cinema, which examines the recycling of antisemitic stereotypes in film. His monograph, Erased, investigates interethnic relations in the borderlands of Eastern Europe. As a framework for this research, he led a multi-year collaborative project at the Watson Institute, culminating in the co-edited volume, Shatterzone of Empires. Bartov has recently completed a major monograph, The Voice of Your Brother’s Blood: Buczacz, Biography of a Town.

This event is part of the Library’s lecture series, The Holocaust: History and Aftermath.

Date: Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

Annual Yoken Lecture | Anka Muhlstein: The Pen and the Brush

Anka Muhlstein in New York City, February 2012

On Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 5 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library, celebrated French author Anka Muhlstein will deliver the Annual Mel and Cindy Yoken Cultural Series Lecture, entitled, “The Pen and the Brush,” based on Ms. Muhlstein’s recent book, The Pen and the Brush: How Passion for Art Shaped Nineteenth-Century French Novels. This event is free and open to the public. A reception and book signing will follow the talk. The Pen and the Brush will be available for purchase on site.

Anka Muhlstein

Anka Muhlstein was born in Paris in 1935. She has published biographies of Queen Victoria, James de Rothschild, Cavelier de La Salle, and Astolphe de Custine; studies on Catherine de Médicis, Marie de Médicis, and Anne of Austria; a double biography, Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart; and more recently, Monsieur Proust’s Library and Balzac’s Omelette (Other Press). She has won two prizes from the Académie Française and the Goncourt Prize for Biography. She contributes regularly to the New York Review of Books. She and her husband, Louis Begley, have written a book on Venice, Venice for Lovers. They live in New York City.

The Pen and the Brush

The lecture will elaborate on the close friendships and constant borrowings among artists and writers so characteristic of nineteenth-century France, as reflected in the novels of that period. Ms. Muhlstein will concentrate on the relations among three painters, Manet, Cézanne, Renoir, and three novelists, Balzac, Zola, and Proust, to show the influence of painting on their works.


Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

Event | Adam Teller: The Power of Memory: Thinking about the Holocaust in Poland from 1945 until Today

Professor Adam Teller

On Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 6 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab of the Rockefeller Library, Adam Teller, Brown University Associate Professor of History and Associate Professor of Judaic Studies, will give a talk in the Library’s lecture series, The Holocaust: History and Aftermath. This event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the talk.

The Power of Memory: Thinking about the Holocaust in Poland from 1945 until Today

This lecture will examine the ways in which the memory of the Holocaust has developed in Poland over the last 70 years.  It will show both how it was shaped by the changing political climate of the country and how it influenced Poland’s development in the Communist and Post-Communist periods. Based on his research as well as his personal experience in three decades of traveling to Poland, Prof. Teller will also discuss the roles which the memory of the Holocaust has played – and continues to play – in the development of the tortured relationship between Poles and Jews.

Professor Adam Teller

Born in London and educated at Oxford University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Adam Teller specializes in the history of the Jews in eastern Europe. He has published widely on the history of the Jews in early modern Poland-Lithuania. His book, Money, Power, and Influence in Eighteenth Century Lithuania: The Jews on the Radziwiłł Estates, was published by Stanford University Press in 2016. Professor Teller was a member of the core academic team which created the exhibit at the award-winning POLIN Museum for the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, where he was responsible for two of the Museum’s eight galleries. He is currently a member of the museum’s Academic Advisory Council. Professor Teller is on the editorial board of Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry and is associate editor of Gal-Ed: On the History and Culture of Polish Jewry, published in Tel Aviv.

Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

Preservation Week Talk | Preserving a Textile Archive

To celebrate Library Preservation Week, the Brown University Library is hosting a talk about and viewing of textiles from the archives of Rush Hawkins and Annmary Brown.

Please join us in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. 

The Preservation Department staff will discuss the process for housing and preserving items and Archives staff will discuss the challenges in describing the collection ranging from quilts, clothing, and shoes to fans, parasols, and shawls, predominantly from the 18th and 19th century.
Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Winner of the 2017 Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research

The Brown University Library is pleased to announce the winner of the 2017 Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research: Vaughn Campbell ’18, an International Relations Concentrator.

Vaughn Campbell ’18

Vaughn submitted a paper entitled, “Brown ­in­ China: Brown’s Role in the American Missionary Project of the Early Twentieth Century,” written in the spring of 2016 for Naoko Shibusawa’s course “HIST1554: History of American Empire.” The paper describes a collaboration between Brown University and Shanghai College in 1920. Vaughn says:

I did the bulk of my research in the Hay Archives, paging through thick files of personal articles, searching for documents relating to these individuals’ time and ambitions in China. I supplemented this with both broad contemporary accounts and secondary historical works found in the stacks of the Rock or through the Library’s online resources. Having never been able to work in the Hay before, or really with any archival resources, I thoroughly enjoyed having such a close connection to the original, 100-­year-­old documents of these three professors, as well as working with the Hay librarians to discover and locate these rare documents.

Professor Shibusawa wrote, “What I appreciated about Vaughn’s paper is that every year when I lecture on Chinese student missionaries to China, I ask the 80-120 students in the class, ‘Does anybody want to research what Brown students were doing?’ Nobody took me up on it except Vaughn when he did so last year.”

One of the judges wrote:

Building on scant University records, the author creates the history of Brown-in-China in 1920. To this end he pieces together records, letters, and a survey undertaken in rural China from faculty involved in the program; newspapers and China Mission Year Books from the period; and most interestingly, photographs and their corresponding notes from the files of the professor who founded the program. This was the student’s first use of the Hay Library and first attempt at archival research. One feels his awe and respect for these rare documents, even describing their “wonderful” binding. Not only does this study make an original contribution to our knowledge, “filling a gap” as he put it in Brown’s engagement with the Missionary Project at the beginning of the 20th century, but it is also well-written and throughout demonstrates insightful reflection on potential biases in records and survey data as well as on the scope of the claims he makes.

The judges this year were:

  • Karen Bouchard, Scholarly Resources Librarian, Art & Architecture
  • William S. Monroe, Senior Scholarly Resources Librarian, Humanities
  • David Buchta, Lecturer in Classics
  • Claudia Elliott, Senior Lecturer in International and Public Affairs
  • Besenia Rodriguez, Senior Associate Dean for Curriculum

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.

Updates from Around the Library | March 2017

The Library welcomes students back to session. We hope you had a restful spring break.

Here are a few updates from the Library:

Exhibit | Preparing John Bull for General Congress

Preparing John Bull for General Congress, George Cruikshank (British, 1780-1842); hand-colored etching on wove paper; London: W.N. Jones, August 1, 1813; Brown University Library, Special Collections

From April 3 – 30, 2017, the image, Preparing John Bull for General Congress (1813), will be on display in the second floor landing case of the John Hay Library.

Shown above, the Napoleonic caricature depicts John Bull backed against a tree, which is being hacked to pieces by malevolent pygmies representing Britain’s many pressing domestic and foreign problems. An American gunboat on the left is manned by two disreputable-looking sailors and a captain while flying a tattered Stars and Stripes and the pennant of the frigate USS President. As an enraged, muzzled bulldog representing the Royal Navy looks on, the American captain fires a swivel gun at John Bull’s right leg, representing the West Indies, as he shouts “D[am]n that Bull Dog. The Shannon he has gored the Chesapeake, if the English ministers will but keep him out of our way we’ll pepper the dog.”

At the far right Napoleon sits in front of his tent, his right foot resting on a globe while he cheerfully exclaims, “When you have finished your labors gentlemen bring him to me & I will prepare his epitaph.” The title refers to the Congress of Prague (June 4-August 10, 1813), at which Metternich attempted in vain to negotiate a peace between Napoleon and the Allies.

The print was drawn by George Cruikshank for volume VI of The Scourge, a monthly satirical journal published in London.

Dates: April 3 – April 30, 2017
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI





Symposium | Bamboula! Black Music Before the Blues with John Davis ’79

The Bamboula! Symposium has been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 11 from 2 – 3:30 p.m. in Petteruti Lounge, second floor, Robert Campus Center/Faunce House. A reception will follow in the lobby of the John Hay Library.

The exhibit, Bamboula! Black Music Before the Blues, was conceived and curated by Brown graduate, pianist John Davis ’79. It will run from March 21 to May 5, 2017.


Organized and moderated by Tony Bogues, Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and Critical Theory and Director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown, the symposium will feature panelists John Davis ’79 and Brandy Monk-Payton AM’12, PhD’16, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Film and Media Studies and the Leslie Center for the Humanities at Dartmouth College.

Update: Eric Lott is unable to attend the symposium.

John Davis

John Davis; photo by John Halpern

With Bamboula! Black Music Before the Blues, the exhibition he has now conceived and curated at Brown University’s John Hay Library, pianist John Davis continues to define, excavate, and disseminate a previously-unacknowledged African American roots music. Davis is most associated with his frequent concerts in the United States and abroad stemming from three critically-acclaimed recordings on Newport Classic: John Davis Plays Blind Tom [2000], a top-ten seller in Classical Music at Tower Records and Amazon.com; Marshfield Tornado: John Davis Plays Blind Boone [2008], a repeat No. 1 seller on the Ragtime chart at Amazon.com; and Halley’s Comet: Around the Piano with Mark Twain & John Davis [2010], a CD of Twain-related compositions “played powerfully and with a rich palette,” according to The New York Times. At the core of Davis’ grassroots pursuit of forgotten black culture is the pianist’s personal archive of rare 19th– and early 20th century printed African Americana that is the source for many of the ideas and materials that have filtered into his concerts, recordings, and literary contributions to African American Lives, the African American National Biography, and Stress and Coping in Autism, all published by Oxford University Press. Mr. Davis’ cutting-edge career has been featured on CNN; CNN-International; ABC Radio National (Australia); the BBC World News; NPR’s All Things Considered, Performance Today, and On Point, with Tom Ashbrook; PBS’ Life 360; The Today Show on NBC, ABC’s Good Morning America; and in a program-long interview of him on ABC’s Nightline Up-Close. Among the countless print publications in which he has been profiled are The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Oxford American, The Independent (London), and Scientific American.

Brandy Monk-Payton

Brandy Monk-Payton, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Leslie Center for the Humanities, Dartmouth College

Brandy Monk-Payton is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow associated with the Department of Film and Media Studies and the Leslie Center for the Humanities at Dartmouth College. She obtained her Ph.D. in Modern Culture and Media at Brown University where she was a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow and a Graduate Fellow at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America. Her work on race and representation has been published in the edited collection From Madea to Media Mogul: Theorizing Tyler Perry as well as the journals The Black ScholarReconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, and Feminist Media Histories (forthcoming). She is currently working on her first book project Dark Optics: Blackness, Exposure, and Celebrity in Media Culture. In Fall 2017, she will begin a position as Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University.

Event: Symposium
Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Time: 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Location: Petteruti Lounge, Second Floor, Robert Campus Center/Faunce House, 75 Waterman Street, Providence

Previous Related Events

On Tuesday, March 21, 2017, the Brown University Library and the Music Department also hosted two events related to the exhibition.

Exhibition Opening & Reception

The exhibit opening and reception took place in the Exhibition Gallery of the John Hay Library from 4 – 5:30 p.m. The exhibit, Bamboula! Black Music Before the Blues, is an in-depth survey of the African American roots of popular music and show business in the United States. The exhibition includes significant and visually arresting printed artifacts of the shared African- and European-based musical tradition established in colonial America, a cultural synthesis that continues to shape our nation’s identity. The 19th- and early 20th-century books, sheet music, and ephemera included in the exhibition are drawn primarily from the personal collection of John Davis (Exhibition Curator) and the holdings of the Brown University Library. Mr. Davis’ archive of rare 19th-century printed musical African Americana, widely respected in the antiquarian book and ephemera world, is the bedrock of his career as a concert pianist devoted to works influenced by black culture of the American South.


Drawing from materials on display in the exhibition, Mr. Davis gave an extraordinary, multi-media concert performance entitled Bamboula! Black Music Before the Blues: A musical journey with pianist John Davis at 7 p.m. at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. The concert, organized with the Brown Music Department, included special guests Harmonizing Grace, with Hance Phillipe, director, and the Old-Time String Band–both Brown student music groups.

The exhibition and all related events are free and open to the public. No registration or ticketing is required.

Event | Abby Smith Rumsey: “Digital Memory: What Can We Afford to Lose?”

Abby Smith Rumsey

On Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab of the Rockefeller Library, writer and historian Abby Smith Rumsey will discuss “Digital Memory: What Can We Afford to Lose?” A reception will follow the talk. This event is free and open to the public.

Digital Memory: What Can We Afford to Lose?

Memory technologies from papyrus to print have given humans a unique survival advantage, allowing us to accumulate knowledge. These technologies shape our perception of history, time, and personal and cultural identity. Historian Abby Smith Rumsey explores how digital memory is shaping the future of knowledge and the roles that libraries and archives play in the future of our collective memory.

Abby Smith Rumsey

Abby Smith Rumsey is a writer and historian focusing on the creation, preservation, and use of the cultural record in all media. She has written and lectured widely on digital preservation, online scholarship, the nature of evidence, the changing roles of libraries and archives, intellectual property policies in the digital age, and the impact of new information technologies on perceptions of history and time.

Rumsey served as director of the Scholarly Communication Institute at the University of Virginia, and has advised universities and their research libraries on strategies to integrate digital information resources into existing collections and services.

For over a decade, Rumsey worked with the Library of Congress’s National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) in development of a national strategy to identify, collect, and preserve digital content of long-term value. She was on the National Science Foundation’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access and was senior writer and editor of the task force’s second-year report, Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet: Ensuring Long- term Access to Digital Information. The Final Report of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access. She served on the ACLS Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Rumsey served as director of programs at the Council on Library and Information Resources and was responsible for projects that addressed the use and preservation of historical and cultural materials in all genres, formats, and media. She wrote, edited, and commissioned numerous reports on the challenges of migrating our shared intellectual and cultural heritage from paper, film, and audio formats to digital media; and on consequences such organizational disruptions, threats of information loss, and changing conceptions about intellectual property and the value inherent in information.

Prior to that, she managed programs at the Library of Congress relating to preservation of and access to cultural heritage collections. She curated several exhibitions, including the “Treasures of the Library of Congress,” “Living Traditions of Russian Faith: Books and Manuscripts of the Old Believers,” and contributed to the historic display of documents from classified Soviet archives, “Revelations from the Russian Archives.” She worked with former Soviet bloc governments and organizations directing programs to open up access to their libraries and archives.

Abby Smith Rumsey holds a BA from Radcliffe College and MA and PhD degrees in history from Harvard University, where she specialized in Early Modern Russia and intellectual history. She has been a Fulbright Fellow and taught at Harvard and Johns Hopkins Universities.

This event is part of the Library’s ongoing lecture series, “The Future of Scholarly Publishing.” Abby Smith Rumsey’s visit to Brown is co-sponsored by the John Carter Brown Library.

Date: Thursday, March 23, 2017
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

Exhibit | Court Documents from the State vs Frances Leach, 1833

Report of the Examination of David Gibbs, Fanny Leach and Eliza P. Burdick, for the Alleged Murder of Sally Burdick, at Coventry, R. I., on 18th Feb. 1833 (Hartford: Hanmer and Comstock, 1833). With signature and manuscript annotations in the hand of Thomas Wilson Dorr.

The John Hay Library has two new acquisitions on display in the second floor landing case: manuscript trial notes and a report related to the State vs Francis Leach, 1833. They will be on display until April 3, 2017.

In February 1833, forty-eight-year-old Frances (nicknamed “Fanny”) Leach of Providence was called on to attend Sally Burdick, a young woman in Coventry, Rhode Island, who was found to be pregnant. The unmarried Sally resided in the home of her deceased brother’s father-in-law, David Gibbs. A witness named Mary Ann Briggs later testified that upon discovering Sally’s pregnancy, David Gibbs sought to contract Leach to “doctor off” the fetus. Accordingly, Leach borrowed a pair of forceps from Dr. William A. Hamilton in Providence and went down to Coventry to perform the procedure she had been asked to do. Sally, however, was not inclined to terminate her pregnancy in this way, and the operation went horribly wrong. Leach attempted to abort the child while Sally’s sister-in-law held her down, but the result was that Leach only perforated Sally’s uterus. When Sally died of gangrene after six days of acute suffering, Leach and Gibbs were indicted for her murder. Leach’s case was tried at the Superior Court for Kent County in October 1833 and, after a 9-day hearing before two judges and 13 magistrates, resulted in a conviction for manslaughter. Leach received a two-year prison sentence. According to the Niles Weekly Register of 30 November 1833, it was believed to be the second-longest trial ever held in Rhode Island, and “the first of the kind ever tried in New England.”

Prosecution of the case on behalf of the State of Rhode Island was undertaken by State Attorney General Albert C. Greene and his law apprentice, Thomas Wilson Dorr. Although they succeeded in the goal of obtaining justice for Sally Burdick, they could not bring Sally, or her baby, back to life. The case remains a reminder of a time when a woman’s reproductive choices were sharply limited by both social mores and available medical care, and when decisions about childbearing were often outside of a woman’s control under the law.

Dates: March 19 – April 3, 2017
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI