Brown University Library Special Collections

Archive for the ‘Digital Projects’ Category

Celebrating Emancipation

Posted by [email protected] on January 15, 2013

Transparency displayed in Philadelphia to celebrate emancipation in Maryland

January 1, 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the document now known as the Emancipation Proclamation.  Though its title suggests a simple executive order issued by the President, in fact the Emancipation Proclamation had a complex and fascinating evolution that is worthy of further discussion.  Bookseller and bibliographer Charles Francis Eberstadt set out to document its printing history, and in 1950 published a bibliography of every print copy of the proclamation made during the Civil War that he had identified, back to the first Cabinet discussions of the Preliminary Proclamation of Emancipation in July 1862.  Once Lincoln and his Cabinet finalized the text of the preliminary Proclamation of Emancipation, copies of the text were immediately printed in the leading newspapers the following day — September 23, 1862.  Plain text copies were also separately printed at the State Department, first for high level goverment officials and diplomats overseas who would have need of it, and then for the official State Department folio record.  The War Department had it printed, as General Order No. 139, for distribution to Union officers in the field.  A few privately issued copies were also printed, notably in Ohio and Massachusetts, between October and December of 1862.  But all of these early printings produced only the text of the proclamation.  After January 1, 1863, celebrations of the end of slavery began in earnest, and printings of the Emancipation Proclamation began to take on a growing range of decorative elements, some quite large and elaborate, others smaller and intended to be kept sedately carried in a pocket.  Eberstadt was kind enough to provide a set of photstats of all of the copies of the Emancipation Proclamation he had identified to the Hay Library for its McLellan Lincoln Collection, to supplement our large collection of original decorative printings.  These materials are available to interested researchers, both at the Hay Library and online in our Lincoln Broadsides collection.


William H. Pratt's calligraphic Emancipation Proclamation as a portrait of Lincoln (Eberstadt 40)

Emancipation Proclamation by Rufus Blanchard (Chicago 1864)

Pocket edition of Emancipation Proclamation with decorations (Eberstadt 18 variant)

Posted in Collections, Digital Projects, General Interest | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Celebrating Emancipation

University History: Founding of Brown University

Posted by Jennifer Betts on November 4, 2011

Brown University traces its origins to 1764 with the granting of the Charter by the Rhode Island General Assembly.  The founding was promoted by Reverend Morgan Edwards, moderator of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, in 1762.  Under Edward’s leadership, Rhode Island was selected as a likely site, since the colony had been settled by Baptists, was still largely governed by Baptists, and had no college.  A representative of the Association, James Manning, visited Newport in July 1763, where he met with “about 15 gentlemen of the same denomination” at the home of Deputy Governor John Gardner.  The plan for a college was immediately accepted and in August, 1763, a Charter was presented to the General Assembly in Newport.  After postponement, a different charter was presented at subsequent sessions and granted on March 2 and 3, 1764, for the “College or University in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.”  James Manning went on to become the first president of Brown University, often referred to as “Rhode Island College” until 1804.

Primary sources:

Rhode Island College miscellaneous papers, MS-1C-1 (contains digitized materials)

James Manning papers, MS-1E-1 (contains digitized materials)

Secondary sources:

Guild, Reuben Aldridge. Early History of Brown University: Including the Life, Times, and Correspondence of President Manning. 1756-1791. Providence: [Printed by Snow & Farnham], 1897.

Bronson, Walter C. The History of Brown University, 1764-1914. Providence: Published by the University [Brown University], 1914.

Brown, Robert Perkins, et al. Memories of Brown: Traditions and Recollections Gathered From Many Sources. Providence, R.I.: Brown Alumni Magazine, 1909.

“Founding”, Encyclopedia Brunoniana

Posted in Collections, Digital Projects, General Interest, University Archives & History | Comments Off on University History: Founding of Brown University

Military Collection Digital Archive surpasses 20,000 images!

Posted by Peter Harrington on September 2, 2011

The Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection digital archive has just reached an important milestone – the 20,000th image! The project to scan all the prints, drawings, paintings and water-colors in the collection began in September 2004 and through the efforts of many staff members and students, is now the largest repository of special collections’ materials at Brown. While the original focus of the collection was the history and especially the iconography of military uniforms, Mrs. Brown collected widely around the subject acquiring thousands of images depicting the military history of the world circa 1500-1945.

As to the significant image, it comes from an album of chromolithographs depicting World War One scenes published in Japan by Shobido & Co. between August and November 1914. These rather garish and outlandish prints titled The Illustration of the Graet [sic] European War depict fanciful images of the fighting on the Western Front and elsewhere. The Japanese had a tradition of creating wood-block prints and many fine examples depicting their wars against China in 1894-95, and Russia in 1904-05 exist in the collection (yet to be digitized). The current series, while not of the same standard or quality of the earlier ones, is nonetheless telling in its portrayal of a war that was being fought thousands of miles away. The fact that these highly imaginative prints also include English titles suggests that the publishers also hoped to tap the foreign market.

This particular scene is straight out of an H.G. Wells epic and shows a fantastic confluence of airships and airplanes dueling in the skies above, what appears to be Paris. Aptly titled Severe battle in the sky French and German, it was printed on October 31, 1914 and published three days later. While the artist is unidentified, he may have been Ryozo Tanaka who worked for Shobido and is known to have authored at least one similar scene.

It is only through the combined efforts of many members of the Brown University Library staff that this incredible achievement could be made. In addition to the work of Peter Harrington, curator of the collection, and the staff of the Digital Production Services unit of the Center for Digital Scholarship, we have seen significant contributions in the form of high-quality metadata record creation from Betsy Fishman and Henry Gould in technical services and scanning of the graphics by a number of student employees. Further images will be uploaded in the months and years ahead.

Special thanks to Toshiyuki Minami, Sr. Library Specialist, East Asian Collection, for translating this album of prints.

Posted in Collection Update, Special Collections | No Comments »

Posted in Announcements, Collections, Digital Projects, General Interest | Comments Off on Military Collection Digital Archive surpasses 20,000 images!

Reuniting the pages of Lincoln’s workbook

Posted by [email protected] on June 1, 2010

"Single Rule of Three" (a leaf from Lincoln's SUM BOOK)

Leaf from Lincoln's SUM BOOK (John Hay Library)

While working on a biography of his late law partner in the late 1860s, William Henry Herndon discovered from Lincoln family members that the teenaged Abraham Lincoln had created a copybook to record his self-study in arithmetic.  This copybook, entitled the “Sum Book” by Lincoln, was found and given to Herndon, who distributed its remaining pages as public artifacts and mementos of the late President.  The sum book may once have held fifty 9” by 12” leaves that were sewn with string along one edge of the book.  Only a few of the leaves survive today, of which Brown is privileged to have the one shown here, entitled “The Single Rule of Three.”  Other leaves are held by the Library of Congress, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum ,  the Indiana Historical Society,  Columbia University Library, Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Chicago Historical Society.

Recently, the staff of the Abraham Lincoln Papers Project discovered that Brown’s leaf and a recently rediscovered leaf held by the University of Chicago were originally part of the same page.  Learn more here:

Posted in Collections, Digital Projects, General Interest | Tagged: | Comments Off on Reuniting the pages of Lincoln’s workbook

Resources on World Fairs

Posted by Dominique Coulombe on March 31, 2010

New additions to the digital project “Paris, Capital of the 19th Century” include a rich collection of images of World Fairs held in Paris from 1867 til 1900.  To find these, search under the term “World Fair’ or “Exposition universelle”.  Additional sites on this topic can be found in the resources section.

Posted in Collections, Digital Projects | Tagged: | Comments Off on Resources on World Fairs

Brown University Archives on iTunesU

Posted by Archivist on March 31, 2010

The Brown University Archives has partnered with Public Affairs and University Relations (PAUR) to put video of some films in the Brown University Archives online at Brown on iTunes U.

Video of student life in the 1920’s and 1930’s, newsreels from 1955-1961, football games, and the “Life and Dimes of Josiah Carberry” are just some of the videos now available.

Posted in Digital Projects, General Interest, University Archives & History | Comments Off on Brown University Archives on iTunesU