Brown University Library Discovers Buried Treasure

March 27, 2012

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – The Preservation Department of Brown University Library has discovered an exceptionally rare engraved print by Paul Revere.

As long as two hundred years ago, Solomon Drowne, Brown University Class of 1773 and a professor in the early Brown University Medical School, tucked a little something into one of his books, The Modern Practice of Physic, by Robert Thomas, published in 1811. The John Hay Library received the book in 1940, with the rest of Drowne’s Library.  During a recent inspection of the Drowne books, Marie Malchodi, of the Library’s Preservation Department, discovered this little something: an engraved depiction of Christ and John the Baptist, both of them chest deep in the Jordan River, titled “Buried with Him by Baptism” and signed “P. Revere sculp.”

The print is characterized by Clarence S. Brigham in Paul Revere’s Engravings, the standard reference, as “one of the scarcest of the plates signed by Revere.” The Brown University Library’s copy is the fifth known to exist. Other copies are housed at the American Antiquarian Society, the Worcester Art Museum, and a private museum collection in Massachusetts; another, which Brigham mistakenly thought had been acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), was offered at auction by Sotheby’s in 2007.

As Richard Noble, Rare Materials Cataloger explains “The print is of considerable interest simply because Revere made it, but it is also an intriguing and very serious theopolitical cartoon, depicting the baptism in a manner that was the subject of lively debate in eighteenth-century New England religious circles. Brigham was unable to identify a model for it in any English book or periodical, or connect it with any of the tracts on baptism published on this side of the Atlantic from 1760 to 1780. It appears to be an American original, by an American original, the son of French Huguenot refugees who eventually became, by all accounts, a Unitarian. The print thus marks a stage in the evolution of that aspect of Revere’s life.”

The Brown University Library is home to more than 6.8 million print items, plus a multitude of electronic resources and expanding digital archives serving the teaching, research, and learning needs of Brown students and faculty, as well as scholars from around the country and the world.

Contact: Ann Dodge| | (401) 863-1502


Chinese Exhibition in the Year of Dragon-extended to April 19th and new books added

Culture and Art from the Divine Land: An Exhibition of Chinese Collections in the Year of Dragon

John Hay Library, Brown University, Feb. 6 – April 19, 2012

Culture and Art from the Divine Land, an exhibit which is part of Brown’s Year of China, has been extended to April 19th.  New exhibition items include the BFSU Scholars Selections, received recently from China. Curator Li Wang was honored to attend the ceremony for publishing on the 70th anniversary of Beijing Foreign Studies University in September 2011. The Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, BFSU’s publishing house, donated a set of this valuable Scholars series including works by late Professors Wang Zuoliang, Xu Guozhang, Zhou Jueliang and other distinguished scholars to Brown University Library. The gift books also include a set of bi-lingual renowned scholars’ works in humanities and social sciences.

For more information about the exhibition, see:

The exhibit locations include the Gammell Gallery, the North Gallery, Lobby Case and Reading Room Glass Cases in the John Hay Library.

Paul DeMarinis “A Noisy Archaeology”

"Firebirds" (2004) credit: Roman März

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, Brown University will host the fifth and final speaker of the Digital Arts & Humanities 2011-2012 Lecture Series, co-sponsored by the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage and the Brown University Library. Paul DeMarinis will give a talk entitled “A Noisy Archaeology” at 5:30pm in the Lownes Room, John Hay Library, followed by a reception in the lobby. This event is free and open to the public.

The Digital Arts and Humanities Lecture Series kicked off on October 3, 2011 with “Remembering Networks: Agrippa, RoSE and Network Archaeology” by renowned digital scholar, Alan Liu. Since October, Brown has hosted Richard White, Jeffrey Schnapp, and Tara McPherson.

As series organizers Steven Lubar and Harriette Hemmasi explained at the outset of the series, they hope “to engage Brown faculty and students in the digital arts and humanities by revealing the power of new digital approaches to transform traditional scholarship.”

Portrait of Paul DeMarinis credit: Rebecca Cummins

Paul DeMarinis is a Professor of Studio Art at Stanford University. He specializes in electronic media art production, and is a pioneer in the use computers for performance art. He has performed internationally, at The Kitchen, Festival d’Automne a Paris, Het Apollohuis in Holland and at Ars Electronica in Linz. His interactive audio artworks have been exhibited at the I.C.C. in Tokyo, Bravin Post Lee Gallery in New York, The Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco and the 2006 Shanghai Biennale. He has received major awards and fellowships in both Visual Arts and Music from The National Endowment for the Arts, N.Y.F.A., N.Y.S.C.A., the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and was awarded the Golden Nica for Interactive Art at Ars Electronica in 2006.

The John Nicholas Brown Center helps connect academic communities and the broader public through history, art, and culture. We support people and organizations that explore, preserve, and interpret cultural heritage. Our programs explore the ways in which the humanities enrich everyday life.

The Brown University Library is home to more than 6.8 million print items, plus a multitude of electronic resources and expanding digital archives serving the teaching, research, and learning needs of Brown students and faculty, as well as scholars from around the country and the world.

Contact: Jennifer Braga |  401-863-6913


The Shakespearian Advertiser

The charming Shakespearian Advertiser printing blocks collection (Ms.2011.044) has recently been cataloged.  The Shakespearian Advertiser was published by Harlen P. Boyce in Providence, RI in 1871.  The preface to the booklet states its purpose: “It combines information as to where our wants of all kinds may be supplied in the best manner, and at the fairest prices; with illustrations of a higher class of humor than is usually presented to the public by the so called comic papers.”  The “higher class of humor” was composed of comic illustrations based upon quotes from plays by William Shakespeare.  The illustrations were interspersed between advertisements for Rhode Island and Massachusetts businesses.  The publishers hoped the comic illustrations would entice people to look through the entire booklet and pass it along to friends.  A clever promotional tool of the 19th century still employed today.  To see the finding aid go to the RIAMCO website.

Wood block #18, The Shakespearian Advertiser printing blocks collection (Ms.2011.044), 1871.

New Health Sciences Librarian Hired

Erika Sevetson is our new Health Sciences Librarian. Erika comes to us from the Ebling Library for the Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she has worked since 2000. She was a Senior Academic Librarian there, with liaison responsibilities in Medical Education, Public Health, and Global Health, and also served as Ebling’s statewide Outreach Librarian.

Her other library experience includes a reference assistantship at Harvard’s Schlesinger Library.

Prior to her time at UW, Erika worked at Brown as Course Coordinator in the Office of Medical Curriculum Affairs, and before that in the Office of Alumni Relations and as Administrative Assistant for the Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences.

She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Mount Holyoke College and a Master of Science in Library Science from Simmons College.

Erika’s office will be in the Champlin Library at the Alpert Medical School.

Talk and Taiji Quan workshop with Daoist Priest Zhou Xuan Yun and Curator Li Wang

Taoist Priest Zhou Xuan Yun

Dr. Li Wang

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – On Tuesday, April 3, 2012 from 2:30 to 5pm, Taoist Priest Zhou Xuan Yun and Brown University Library East Asian Curator Li Wang will discuss Chinese internal arts and the influence of Daoist philosophy and practice on Taiji Quan in the Crystal Room of Alumnae Hall. This interactive workshop, co-sponsored by the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, is free and open to the public.

Dr. Li Wang will introduce the workshop with a talk entitled “The Way for Energy, Harmony and Well-being: Philosophy, Principles and Methods of Chinese Internal Arts.” His talk will highlight  traditional Chinese internal arts and their benefits, including self-cultivation in modern life. Then, Taoist Priest Zhou Xuan Yun will share his experiences growing up in a Taoist temple and teach sections of the Wudang Mountain traditional Taiji form.

Taiji Quan (T’ai Chi Chuan, Supreme Ultimate Fist) is approximately 1,000 years old, and the most popular Chinese martial art in the world. Many people today practice Taiji mainly for its health benefits, and as a kind of moving meditation. Taiji philosophy predates Taiji Quan. The “Taiji diagram” (known as the Yin/Yang diagram in the West) explains the dynamic way in which one thing changes into another through a “great ultimate” process, which makes a balanced and interlocking natural world possible. Taiji philosophy is one of the central concepts of Taoism (Daoism), which is the study of the Dao, or the Natural Way.

Taoist Priest Zhou Xuan Yun (pronounced Joh Sh-when Yoon), grew up in a temple on Wudang Mountain, China where he was a student and later an instructor of Taiji and Kung Fu. He belongs to the Orthodox Unity sect of Taoism, and is trained in ritual arts, chanting, divination, and internal alchemy. He is formally recognized as a disciple of Li Guang Fu 李光富 the Abbot of Wudang Mountain (武当山道教协会会长). Now based in Boston, he offers classes and workshops on the Taoist arts and teaches the traditional arts in classes around the world. More information about Zhou Xuan Yun is available on his web site

Dr. Li Wang, Curator of East Asian Collection in Brown University Library, is a specialist in Chinese philosophy and religion, especially Daoist history and inner alchemy. He is also a veteran master of Chinese internal martial arts and Qigong (meditation).  He began to practice martial arts as a young man and studied from several famous Chinese masters.  For the past 30 years, Dr. Wang has taught Chinese internal arts to hundreds of students in China and the United States. The programs he has taught include Chen style and Yang style Taiji Quan (Tai Chi Chuan), Taiji swordplay, pushing-hands, Xingyi Quan (Hsing-I Chuan), Bagua Zhang (Pa-Kua Chang), Dacheng Quan (aka Yi Quan) and Zhanzhuang Qigong (standing meditation).  All these are known as internal arts that share principles and methods derived from traditional Chinese philosophy, martial techniques, and medical theories.

The Year of China explores the rich culture, economy, and politics of Greater China, investigating its past, examining its present, and contemplating its future. Throughout the 2011-2012 academic year, Brown will host public lectures, cultural events, academic conferences, and exhibits in an integrated exploration of China. For more information about the program and upcoming events, please visit:

The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology is Brown University’s teaching museum.  A resource across the University, we inspire creative and critical thinking about culture by fostering interdisciplinary understanding of the material world.

Brown University Library is home to more than 6.8 million print items, plus a multitude of electronic resources and expanding digital archives serving the teaching, research, and learning needs of Brown students and faculty, as well as scholars from around the country and the world.

Contact: Jennifer Braga |  401-863-6913

Brown University Announces New Director of Special Collections


PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – Brown University has announced Thomas A. Horrocks as the new Director of Special Collections and the John Hay Library, effective July 9, 2012.

Horrocks has been employed at Harvard University for the past fourteen years, eight as Director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine and six as Associate Director for Collections at Houghton Library.  During his tenure at Countway, he reorganized and expanded the special collections staff, managed the renovation of the special collections department, established an exhibition program, revived and revamped the Warren Anatomical Museum, designed the library’s first fellowship program, raised funds for various cataloging and processing projects, and created the Center for the History of Medicine.

At Houghton Library, where Horrocks is responsible for collection development, collection promotion, and collection preservation, he has been involved with several notable acquisitions, created the library’s first preservation program, revitalized the contemporary poetry department, produced the library’s first collection development guidelines, enhanced and streamlined the exhibition and fellowship programs, and, working with Harvard faculty and local cultural organizations, organized major national and international conferences on Abraham Lincoln and Samuel Johnson.

Before coming to Harvard, Horrocks was employed at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia for thirteen years, where he served as Director of Historical Programs and Director of the Library.  Holding a library degree from Drexel University and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania, Horrocks has published many articles and has written, edited, and co-edited five books, including Popular Print and Popular Medicine: Health Advice in Early American Almanacs (2008), The Living Lincoln (2011), and Johnson After Three Centuries: New Light on Texts and Contexts (2011).  He is currently writing a biography of James Buchanan and a book on Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 campaign biographies.

The Brown University Library is home to more than 6.8 million print items, plus a multitude of electronic resources and expanding digital archives serving the teaching, research, and learning needs of Brown students and faculty, as well as scholars from around the country and the world.

Contact: Jennifer Braga |  401-863-6913


A Short Interview with Walter Feldman

Please join the Brown University Library at 5:30pm, on Wednesday, March 21, 2012, as we celebrate the new limited edition publication BREATHTAKEN, a long poem by CD Wright with visual accompaniments by Walter Feldman.

Short interview: A conversation between Rosemary Cullen, Curator, American Literary & Popular Culture and Walter Feldman, celebrated artist and teacher (mp3 audio; February 15, 2012)

Images of collages and prints by Walter Feldman (below):

University Library Hires New Social Sciences Data Librarian

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Bruce W. Boucek as our new Social Sciences Data Librarian. Bruce lives in Providence and comes to us from The Providence Plan, where he worked as an Urban Information Specialist.

Bruce has a B.A. in Geography and Urban Studies from Temple, a Master of Arts in Geography from Temple and is ABD in Geography at Indiana University. He has published essays in several books and in the journal Climatic Change.