Event | Exhibit Opening Reception for “Learning through Play: British and French Tabletop Games from the 18th and 19th Centuries”

Dissected puzzle, The British Sovereigns from William the Conqueror to George IV [1825] William Darton, London, England

On Friday, May 24, 2019 from 4 – 6 p.m. at the John Hay Library, the exhibit, Learning through Play: British and French Tabletop Games from the 18th and 19th Centuries,” will officially launch with an opening reception. This exhibit was created through a gift of Georgian and Victorian games, along with jigsaw puzzles and other related items, from Ellen Liman ’57, P’88, as well as a loan of 19th and 20th century French board games from Doug Liman ’88.

At 5 p.m., Ellen Liman and her son, celebrated filmmaker Doug Liman, will deliver remarks.

This event is free and open to the public.

More information about the exhibit.

The games join the John Hay Library’s rich collections of material on popular culture, and will be available online in May, and in the John Hay Library special collections reading room following the exhibition.

Date: Friday, May 24, 2019
Time: 4 – 6 p.m.; remarks at 5 p.m.
Location: John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

Event | The Vietnam War – Enduring Impact on the Brown Community, an Alumni Reunion Forum

In the late 1960s, the Vietnam War was raging. Brown graduates had to make choices – some joined the military, some went to Vietnam, some protested, some left the country, some never came home. The lives of both men and women at Brown were profoundly affected.

Come hear from our panelists and join in the discussion about how the Brown community and so many others have been affected by the Vietnam War, then and now.

Moderator

Joe Petteruti ’69 (Rhode Island Air National Guard), Commercial banking and real estate finance

Panelists

  • Thelma Austin ’69, publisher
  • David I. Kertzer ’69, Paul R. Dupee Jr., University Professor of Social Science, professor of anthropology and Italian studies, Brown University
  • Scott Somers ’69 (Naval ROTC, U.S. Navy), co-founder of an executive search firm

Sponsored by the Brown University Library and Brown Alumni Association.

Date: Saturday, May 25, 2019
Time: 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Willis Reading Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect St, Providence

Exhibit | Learning through Play: British and French Tabletop Games from the 18th and 19th Centuries

“The cottage of content: or, the right roads and wrong ways” (London, 1848)

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: BRITISH AND FRENCH TABLETOP GAMES FROM THE 18th AND 19th CENTURIES

Georgian & Victorian Games, Gift of Ellen Liman ‘57, P’88, and Early French Games, Loan from Doug Liman ‘88
May 21 – October 11, 2019
John Hay Library, Brown University

The exhibition will be on display in the John Hay Library’s main gallery from May 21 through October 11, 2019; the exhibition is free and open to the public during the library’s regular hours: from May 28 through Labor Day, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; before May 28 and after Labor Day, Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Ellen Liman and Doug Liman are available for an interview or a lecture. For more information and images of the collection, please contact Heather Cole, Curator for Literary & Popular Culture Collections, heather_cole@brown.edu, or by phone, (401) 863-1512.

The Brown University Library is pleased to announce an exhibition featuring 18th and 19th century board games collected by the Liman family. Twenty-three Georgian and Victorian board games, along with jigsaw puzzles and other related items were given to the library by Ellen Liman ’57, P’88. A collection of 19th and 20th century French board games is on loan from the Limans’ son, filmmaker Doug Liman ‘88.

Joseph Meisel, the Joukowsky Family University Librarian, noted his enthusiasm for the Limans’ gift: “This is a wonderful addition to our extensive collection of popular culture materials and significantly extends the range of our holdings in the important area of games and play. As a historian of 19th-century Britain, I am particularly fascinated by how these games serve as documentary sources for deeper understanding of the complex concepts and values that the dominant segments of society sought to impart to their young as future leaders at home and in the world.”

Arthur and Ellen Liman began collecting vintage board games when their son Doug found an old game at a yard sale as a child. This first acquisition sparked an enchantment with games and their depictions of British culture, and the couple spent decades enthusiastically and meticulously building this and other related collections. The late Arthur Liman, a prestigious attorney, was attracted to these games for the historical record: games such as Wallis’s Picturesque Round Game of the Produce and Manufactures of the Counties of England and Wales (ca. 1840) serve as a lesson in how to be an informed citizen of a powerful empire, while others, such as The Railway Travellers (undated) show off new technologies. Other games, such as Every man to his station (1825) provide moral instruction for children. Ellen Liman, a gallerist, author, and painter, valued the games for their artistry, and “appreciated their design, their excellent engraving and later lithography, the delicacy of the hand-coloring, not to mention the charm and ingenuity of every game.” Considering where this collection should ultimately reside, Ellen recalled her formative arts education experiences at Pembroke College, where she majored in art and took courses at RISD, and explains, “Brown was influential to this collection. Since these games are not only educational but rare small works of art, I naturally gravitated to them.” Ellen and Arthur continued to engender an appreciation for antique board games in their son Doug, who has loaned part of his collection of 19th– and early 20th-century French games to this exhibition. Doug, who during his first year at Brown created BTV, Brown’s student-run television station, said: “As a filmmaker of movies and television series, I think of these old French games as early movies or plays, telling stories in a beautiful, artistic, and concise visual format.”

As the turn from the 18th to the 19th century approached in Great Britain, parents and teachers embraced a suggestion from the philosopher John Locke that “learning might be made a play and recreation to children.” A market for board games for instruction and delight flourished, but very few examples survive today. Those that have survived open a window onto the time period in which they were created, reflecting its social and moral priorities as well as a wide range of educational subjects. The games themselves are beautifully detailed: produced by a handful of the best-known publishers of the era, the hand-color engraved games look as vibrant and colorful as they did two centuries ago. Many of the games in the Limans’ collection include not only a game board, but original cases and instruction booklets as well.

The games join the John Hay Library’s rich collections of material on popular culture, and will be available online in May, and in the John Hay Library special collections reading room following the exhibition.

Dates: May 21 – October 11, 2019
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

Event | American Sinologist Charles S. Gardner and the Chinese Collection at Brown with Dr. Li Wang

Dr. Li Wang in the East Asian Collection room at the Rockefeller Library

On Friday, May 10, 2019 at 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Dr. Li Wang, Curator of East Asian Collection, will give a presentation, “American Sinologist Charles S. Gardner and Chinese Collection at Brown.”

This talk is free and open to the public. Coffee and cookies will be available.

The talk is based on Dr. Wang’s recent focused studies regarding Charles Sidney Gardner (1900-1966), a noted Sinologist and former Harvard University professor, who donated his entire personal collection, including a large number of Chinese rare books, to Brown University Library in his late years. It provides brief biological information on the family life, education, and scholarly career of Gardner, especially his link to China, a country where he lived as a visiting scholar during the 1920s and 1930s.

More information on Gardner and his collection

The talk will also address Gardner’s scholarly contributions and influences as a pioneer of American Chinese studies to the field. With regard to Gardner’s network and friendship with many Western and Chinese scholars, the talk will demonstrate various rare archival items recently found in the Collection. After reviewing Gardner’s insightful ideas and practices on building Chinese library collections, Dr. Wang will describe the process of Gardner’s valuable donations in the 1960s and present current developments at the Brown Library East Asian Collection.

For more information, please see the article by Li Wang: “A Cultural Envoy Who Should Not Be Forgotten: American Sinologist Charles S. Gardner and His Chinese Collection,” China Reading Weekly, April 3, 2019, available in Chinese and English.

Date: Friday, May 10, 2019
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect St, Providence

Announcement | Amanda Strauss Named Associate University Librarian for Special Collections

The Brown University Library is pleased to announce the appointment of Amanda Strauss as Associate University Librarian for Special Collections.

As Associate University Librarian, Ms. Strauss will oversee the University’s outstanding collections of rare books, manuscripts, archives, and other unique and special materials. Reporting to and working in close partnership with Joseph Meisel, Joukowsky Family University Librarian, she will oversee the curators, staff, and operations of the John Hay Library and provide leadership for special collections stewardship, acquisitions, scholarly programming, research and education services, and resource development.

In the course of an extensive nationwide search, Ms. Strauss, who is currently Manager of Special Projects and Digital Services at the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, impressed Library staff and participating faculty members with her experience and compelling ideas for advancing the mission of special collections at Brown. University Librarian Meisel said, “I am delighted that Amanda will be joining the Brown University Library in this critical leadership position. She will bring a dynamic vision to the John Hay Library and raise its profile as one of the nation’s great special collections libraries.

”As a member of the Brown University Library’s senior leadership team, Ms. Strauss will be a key contributor to shaping the Library’s strategic directions, advancing Library-wide planning and evaluation, and developing policies and procedures to promote operational excellence. She will work with faculty and Library staff to promote the use of Brown’s special collections holdings in research, teaching, exhibitions, outreach, and public programs across all academic divisions, while also bringing to bear her knowledge of the array of current tools for developing innovative digital initiatives for enhancing delivery of special collections content and services to scholarly and non-scholarly audiences alike.

An essential part of Ms. Strauss’ work will be to actively develop and contribute to initiatives that advance diversity and inclusion in special collections and throughout the Library. She will direct the Hay’s curatorial staff in evaluating collections strengths, setting acquisition priorities, and establishing effective collection management practices. How special collections are understood and used—especially through the lens of equity and inclusion—is an area where she brings experience and insight. Drawing upon her success at promoting institutional collaborations at the Schlesinger Library, Ms. Strauss will also help build stronger programmatic ties with other institutions at Brown, such as the John Carter Brown Library, the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities, the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, as well as exploring new opportunities for external partnerships.


Ms. Strauss earned both her MLIS with a concentration in Archival Studies and her MA in History from Simmons College. She also holds a BA in History and Spanish from Willamette University. The author of “Treading the Ground of Contested Memory: Archivists and the Human Rights Movement in Chile” (Archival Science 2015), she is a scholar of human rights archives as well as twentieth century women’s movements in the United States. Her path into special collections administration is rooted in research services, where she specialized in teaching with primary sources. While at Schlesinger, her particular focus has been on visioning and managing the library’s cutting-edge digital services program. Among other accomplishments at Schlesinger, Ms. Strauss developed and managed significant grant-funded projects, notably the Long 19th Amendment Project, which commemorates the centennial of the 19th Amendment, as well as the large-scale effort to document the digital footprint of the #metoo movement.


Ms. Strauss’ first day at the Brown University Library will be July 1. We look forward to welcoming her to Brown and working together to develop a compelling and creative vision to strengthen the activities and wider visibility of the John Hay Library as a center of scholarship and education.  

Announcement | Allison Levy & House of Secrets International Book Tour

Allison Levy, the Library’s Digital Scholarship Editor and Visiting Scholar in Italian Studies at Brown, is the author of a new book, House of Secrets: The Many Lives of a Florentine Palazzo (Bloomsbury, 2019), currently being promoted through the U.S. and abroad.

The book has been well received by critics and readers. Historian Ingrid Rowland describes it as “an enthralling tour through an extraordinary Florentine palazzo, complete with romance, murder, lives of the rich and famous, and layer upon layer of history ranging from the heart of the Renaissance to yesterday. A scholarly thriller that is virtually impossible to put down.”

Allison Levy

An art historian educated at Bryn Mawr College, Allison tells the remarkable story of Palazzo Rucellai from behind its celebrated façade in House of Secrets. While staying in Florence during a teaching sabbatical, Allison had the opportunity to live in Palazzo Rucellai and learn about its history firsthand, becoming inspired to tell the stories of the real life characters who have populated the house and bring its history to life.

Upcoming tour events:

  • Seattle: University of Washington Bookstore
  • New Orleans: Garden District Bookstore
  • Boston: Boston Public Library
  • Detroit: Pages Bookshop
  • Newport: Redwood Library and Athenaeum
  • Providence: Books on the Square
  • Washington, DC: Kramer Books

Completed tour events:

  • London: Daunt Books
  • Florence: Todo Modo Bookstore
  • NYC: Casa Italiana-NYU (video)
  • Providence: Brown University Library (video)
  • Providence: Providence Athenaeum (audio)

2020

Next year, Allison will visit China to promote the book, after its translation into Chinese this year. The English paperback edition of House of Secrets will be published April 2020.

Exhibit | Fort Thunder & Lightning Bolt: Old Mill / New Music

From humble beginnings as a studio space rented by four RISD guys in the fall of 1995, rose the now mythic Fort Thunder collaborative, located in a dilapidated mill building on the west side of Providence. While there were other decrepit mills nearby, with funky names like Munch House, Box of Knives, & Pink Rabbit, also filled with RISD & Brown students who hosted concerts, Fort Thunder is the one that lives on in popular memory. Its young residents put Providence on the map with their unique underground art & music scene, and inadvertently inspired lasting changes in the city’s preservation community, when they fought the redevelopment of the historic property in Eagle Square that they had called home for almost 7 years.

The display features multi-media options with reproductions of Fort Thunder concert posters & handouts from the collection of Shawn Greenlee, RISD ’96, Brown MA ’03, PhD ’08, as well as recordings by some of the Fort’s bands, like Lightning Bolt & Forcefield.  There are also images, maps, ephemera & photos related to the mill building (formerly the Valley Worsted Mills/American Woolen Co.) & the “Save Eagle Square” movement.

This exhibition participates in Year of the City: The Providence Project, a year-long exploration of the history, life and culture of Providence’s 25 neighborhoods through exhibitions, performances, walks, lectures and conferences produced by more than 50 different curators.   https://yearofthecity.com/

Dates: April 29 – November 3, 2019
TimeLibrary Hours
Location: Orwig Music Library, 1 Young Orchard Avenue, Providence

Event | Dr. Lindsey Jones: A database project on the education and incarceration of black girls in Jim Crow Virginia

On Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 4 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Dr. Lindsey Jones will give a talk about the database she is creating about the education and incarceration of black girls in Virginia during Jim Crow.

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

Dr. Jones is collecting information about the girls who were committed to the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls, the state of Virginia’s reformatory for black girls, operational between 1915 and the 1950s, after the courts across the state labeled them “delinquent.” The reformatory was designed by a statewide network of black women activists to protect and educate troubled black girls rather than punishing them for adolescent misbehaviors.

Lindsey Jones

Dr. Lindsey Jones, Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Education at Brown, is working on a book project that explores the education and incarceration of black girls in Jim Crow Virginia, focusing specifically upon the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls. As part of this project, Dr. Jones is designing a relational database to collect information about the individual girls who were committed to this reformatory.

This event is part of the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship dSalon series.

Date: Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect St, Providence

Events | Pizza Nights

slice of gooey pizza

Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?

It’s pizza!

Technically, Dominos is cooking the pizza, but you can definitely eat it at the Rock. And the SciLi.

On May 8 and 9, 2019 at 9 p.m., the Library invites students to take a break from studying for finals to fuel up on some saucy, doughy goodness.

  • Tuesday, May 7 at the Rock (lobby)
  • Wednesday, May 8 at the SciLi (Friedman Study Center)

Pizza nights are brought to you by the Library and Campus Life.

Best of luck with finals! We’re here for you.

Announcement | Charles S. Gardner and Brown University Library Chinese Collection by Li Wang

Charles S. Gardnder

During the conferences of the Association for Asian Studies in Denver, CO, Dr. Li Wang, Curator of the East Asian Collection, delivered a presentation, “American Sinologist Charles S. Gardner and Chinese Rare Books in Brown University Library,” at the SCSL forum on March 22, 2019. Soon after, on April 3, one of his articles, “A Cultural Envoy Who Should Not Be Forgotten: American Sinologist Charles S. Gardner and His Chinese Collection,” was published in an influential Chinese newspaper: China Reading Weekly.

This paper is a result of focused studies on Charles Sidney Gardner (1900-1966), a noted Sinologist and former Harvard University professor, who donated his entire personal collection, including a large number of Chinese rare books, to Brown University Library. It provides brief biological information on Gardner, especially his link to China, a country where he lived as a visiting scholar during the 1920s and 1930s.

It addresses Gardner’s scholarly contributions as a pioneer of American Sinological studies to the field. With regard to Gardner’s scholarship in Chinese studies and friendship with many Chinese scholars, the paper addresses in particular Gardner’s lofty character by examining his selfless activities in helping Chinese students and friends. After reviewing his insightful ideas and practices on building Chinese library collections, the paper summarizes the process of Gardner’s valuable donations in the 1960s. Following that, it also presents the current development of the Brown Library East Asian Collection in the new age. Finally, in commemorating Gardner’s legacy of contributions, character, and donations, the paper calls for continued efforts to promote cross-cultural exchange and Sino-American friendship.

The full paper in both Chinese and English (with a few updates; translation assisted by Whitney Su ’20) is available in Brown Digital Repository.

The article in China Reading Weekly.

The article on Wechat.