Event | Josiah Carberry’s Botanical Adventures with the Brown University Herbarium & Carberry Day Dinner

Professor Carberry studies Trillium grandiflorum, collected in Penn Yan, by H. P. Sartwell, New York

Josiah S. Carberry Day Dinner

Join the Brown University Friends of the Library and Friends of Josiah on October 13, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Brown Faculty Club for a dinner celebrating the legendary Professor Josiah S. Carberry and his special day: Friday the Thirteenth.

The cost of dinner is $45.00, payable in advance by check to “Brown University.” You can reserve your seat at the table by emailing Connie Worthington at cworthy1944@gmail.com. If you reserve a place, and do not cancel by October 6, you will be charged for the meal that was prepared for you.

Cocktails will be available from the cash bar at 6 p.m., and the buffet dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m.

After dinner, Tim Whitfeld, Collections Manager/Assistant Professor (Research), will speak about Brown’s unique Herbarium and the contributions Carberry and others have tried to make to the collection.

Josiah Carberry’s Botanical Adventures with the Brown University Herbarium

The Herbarium is a repository of botanical diversity from across the world. It includes 80,000 dried and pressed specimens from Rhode Island and all 50 US states. In addition, we have collections from at least 30 other countries, including Cuba, Colombia, South Africa, England, Russia, India, Australia, and Papua New Guinea, and ranging from 1823 to 2017. Over the past few years Herbarium staff has been cataloging the collection, an effort which has unearthed some surprises. It seems Professor Carberry, in addition to his specialized research in psychoceramics, was a keen plant collector who participated in several botanical adventures with the Herbarium. Tim will discuss some of these expeditions and highlight Carberry’s successes and failures to document unusual plants.

Date: Friday, October 13, 2017
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Brown Faculty Club, One Magee Street, Providence

Event | Coffee and Conversation with Ian Fetters, S. T. Joshi Fellow

Please join the Brown University Library on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 12 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library for coffee and conversation with S. T. Joshi Endowed Research Fellow Ian Fetters.

Mr. Fetters, a teaching fellow at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, will discuss his ongoing research at the Library using the Lovecraft Collection. His talk will focus on his project, “Lovecraft’s Dark Continent: At the Mountains of Madness and Antarctic Literature.”

Come early or stay afterward and view the Library’s two new exhibitions. Greetings & Salutations : Lovecraft on the Road is a focused tracing of Lovecraft’s meandering bus trip from Providence, Rhode Island to DeLand, Florida between April and August, 1934. The Caitlín R. Kiernan Papers @ Brown University Library is a mid-career review highlighting Kiernan’s recent gift of her personal and professional archives.

Date: Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room, Second Floor, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

The Library Welcomes Heather Cole

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Heather Cole as the Librarian for Literary and Popular Culture Collections at Brown University Library. Heather will have curatorial responsibility for the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays, the H. Adrian Smith Magic Collection, the Miller Collection of Wit and Humor, the Sheet Music Collection, the Katzoff Collection of Gay and Lesbian Literature, the Comics Collection, and other Library holdings in the areas of American and British literature and popular culture. She brings to this position a wealth of experience in collection development, academic research, and community engagement.

Heather currently serves as the Assistant Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts and the Curator of the Theodore Roosevelt Collection at Harvard’s Houghton Library, where she has worked since 2007. At Houghton, Heather teaches classes, curates exhibitions, manages digitization projects, assists researchers, and helps to develop Houghton’s collections. She co-administers the Houghton Library Undergraduate Fellowship Program, for which she was awarded the Carol Ishimoto Award for Distinguished Service earlier this year. She is a co-chair of Houghton Library’s 75th anniversary celebration this year, and co-edited the recently-published Houghton Library at 75: A Celebration of its Collections. She is currently at work on a bibliography of Theodore Roosevelt’s books and articles, to be published in 2019. Heather earned her BA from Miami University and an MLS and MA in English literature from Indiana University.

Heather will join the staff of the Brown University Library before the start of the academic year. We are delighted to welcome Heather to Brown.

Exhibit | Audubon Bird Cards

Audubon Bird Cards, Set No. 3
New York: National Association of Audubon Societies, 1974

On display in the second floor landing case of the John Hay Library, this box of cards depicting fifty summer birds of eastern North America was the third in a reissued series that also contained winter birds (set one), and spring birds (set two). The front of each card features a masterful color portrait by Allan Brooks (1869–1946). The back contains the bird’s common name, as well as its description, classification, scientific name and migration range.

Founded in 1905, the National Association of Audubon Societies for the Protection of Wild Birds and Animals eventually broadened its mission to include the conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems and habitats “for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.” A pamphlet accompanying each set of bird cards describes the organization and its work.

Special Collections has myriad Audubon-related treasures, including Bird Cards sets one and two (1929), postcards (1959), limited edition prints published by the Rhode Island Hospital Trust National Bank (1986) and a double-elephant folio edition of John J. Audubon’s Birds of America (London, 1827–1838).

Dates: June 1 – June 30, 2017
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor Landing Case, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | The Brown Bear: A History

The Brown Bear: A History

An Exhibit by Peter Mackie ’59, Sports Archivist
Now showing in the Willis Reading Room Cases, John Hay Library
May 22 – August 31, 2017

At the dawn of the 20th century, Brown was thriving. A new president, William H. P. Faunce, was in place; enrollment was approaching 1,000; new buildings were springing up, and a successful $2 million endowment fund campaign had been completed. Brown’s major teams were enjoying a new off-campus facility (Andrews Field) which had supplanted Lincoln Field. Athletics were emerging from the informal club team era under a newly established Director of Physical Education, Frederick W. “Doc” Marvel (1894). Students and alumni were becoming enthralled with intercollegiate athletics, especially with the developing fierce rivalry with Dartmouth.

Click here to view the online exhibit.

The search was on for a mascot to represent Brown and her teams, often called the Hilltoppers by the press. In 1902 a mascot attempt with a burro was a failure, but in 1904 Theodore Francis Green (1887) solved the problem. Annoyed by “painful attempts” of newspaper artists to come up with an appropriate figure to match the Bulldog and Tiger, Green placed the mounted head of a bear labeled THE BROWN BEAR in the Trophy Room of the new student union (Rockefeller Hall – now Faunce House). Green’s idea quickly took hold, and the bear was celebrated in verse, song, and image. In 1905 a live bear was rented for the Dartmouth football game in Springfield, beginning a famous tradition which, despite interruption by two world wars and the Great Depression, continued into the mid-1960’s. Live bear lore abounds with stories which defy contemporary imagination: college hijinks such as “bearnappings” and tragic bear deaths and funerals.

In addition to live bears, students donned bear costumes, a custom which continues to this day with Bruno and his sidekick Cubby, whose identities are kept secret. The first costumed bear was a group effort, when in 1906 at the Dartmouth game a student wrapped in a bear skin arrived in Springfield. In the post-game victory march back to the city, students took turns after each “bear” dropped exhausted in the frenzied swirling snake dance. Campus statuary has also reflected the importance of the Brown Bear to the Brown community. The Bronze Bruno (1927), Fountain Bear (1932), Swearer Bear (1988), and Indomitable (2013), all keep the Brown Bear symbol constantly in view.

The true meaning of the Brown Bear has been the cause of debate since the beginning. For years after its casting in 1923, Bronze Bruno remained in hibernation at Gorham Manufacturing Company while debate raged on about its meaning and proper placement. Today the use of the term Brown Bear extends to men’s and women’s athletic teams, Alumni Brown Bear Awards, and employee BEAR Day, to name a few.

The Brown Bear is deeply embedded in the DNA of Brown’s culture and daily life. Perhaps T. F. Green provides the best understanding of the Bear’s inclusive meaning:

“So our Brown Bear, around which we are now gathered, is a symbol of that Brown spirit which carries its meaning to alumni and undergraduates alike, with various meanings. Some mistake its message as a call of good luck to an athletic team. But its message is rather to carry into all our activities those virtues shown on the athletic field and symbolized in the Brown Bear – the virtues of strength, independence, and courage. May its symbol remind us of the College and keep alive our love and enthusiasm for old Brown.”

Dates: May 22 – August 31, 2017
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Willis Reading Room Cases, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Commencement Forum | The Impact of Social Media on Politics, Culture, and Scholarly Communication

On Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. in the auditorium (room 120) of List Art, the Library will host a Commencement Forum entitled, “The Impact of Social Media on Politics, Culture, and Scholarly Communication.” This event is free and open to the public.

Social media and other rapidly-evolving digital technologies have changed the way we communicate in all realms of our lives. This panel discussion will focus on the impact of social media on political, cultural, and scholarly communication.

Panelists include:

  • David Corn ’81, P’21, American political journalist and author and the chief of the Washington bureau for Mother Jones
  • Alissa Quart ‘94, Executive Editor of Economic Hardship Reporting Project and author of Branded, Republic of Outsiders, and other books that mix reportage and cultural theory
  • Elias Muhanna, Brown University Manning Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and contributing writer to The New Yorker online

David Corn ’81, P’21

David Corn ’81, P’21

David Corn is a veteran Washington journalist and political commentator. He is the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones magazine and an analyst for MSNBC and NBC News. He won the 2012 George Polk award and a National Magazine award for breaking the 47 percent video story that influenced the Obama-Romney presidential contest. For 20 years, he was the Washington editor of The Nation magazine.

Corn writes on a host of subjects, including politics, the White House, Congress and national security. He has broken stories on Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John McCain, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, George H.W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, Colin Powell, Rush Limbaugh, Enron, the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA leak case, corruption in Iraq, the National Rifle Association, the Pentagon, and assorted Washington players and institutions.

Corn has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Boston Globe, Newsday, Harper’s, The New Republic, The Atlantic, The Washington Monthly, the LA Weekly, the Village Voice, The Independent, Elle, Slate, Salon, and other publications and websites. He has blogged for AOL’s “Politics Daily,” HuffingtonPost.com, CQPolitics.com, and The Guardian. For years he wrote the online column “Capital Games” for TheNation.com.

He is the author of three New York Times best-sellers—Showdown: The Inside Story of How Barack Obama Fought Back Against Boehner, Cantor, and the Tea Party; Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War (with Michael Isikoff); and The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception—and the e-book 47 Percent: Uncovering the Romney Video that Rocked the 2012 Election. His novel, Deep Background, was hailed as one of the best novels of the year by Los Angeles Times. Corn is also the author of the biography Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA’s Crusades.

Corn has long been a prominent analyst on television and radio. He regularly appears on Hardball, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Last Word, and other MSNBC shows. For years, he was a Fox News contributor, appearing on The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity and Colmes and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. He was a regular panelist on the weekly television show, Eye On Washington, which was syndicated on PBS stations across the United States. He was a guest host for CNN’s Crossfire and a regular panelist on its Capital Gang. He has appeared on CBS News’ Face the Nation, ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos, PBS’s Newshour and Washington Week in Review, the CBS Evening News, Fox News Sunday, CNN’s Reliable Sources, The McLaughlin Group, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, and many other shows. He is a regular guest on To the Point, a National Public Radio show, and has contributed commentary to NPR, BBC Radio, CBC Radio, and other radio networks in the United States and overseas. He has been a guest on scores of call-in radio programs.

His twitter feed–@DavidCornDC–has 400,000 followers.

Alissa Quart ’94

Alissa Quart ’94

Alissa Quart is the Executive Editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a journalism non-profit devoted to reporting on inequality. She is also the author of four books including, Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers, and Republic of Outsiders and the poetry book Monetized. Her latest non-fiction book is forthcoming in 2018 from HarperCollins. She has written features for many magazines and has frequently contributed reported opinion pieces to The New York Times and elsewhere. She has also written and produced a number of multimedia projects and video, including the Emmy- and ASME-nominated multimedia project The Last Clinic. Alissa’s poetry has appeared in the London Review of Books. She taught at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, among other universities, and was a 2010 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. 

Elias Muhanna

Elias Muhanna

Elias Muhanna is the Manning Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Brown University, and director of the Digital Islamic Humanities Project. He earned his doctorate in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations from Harvard University and was a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies in 2015-16. In 2017-18, he will be a Public Engagement Fellow of the Whiting Foundation. His research focuses on encyclopedic literature in the Islamic world and Europe, the cultural production of the Mamluk Empire, and the problem of the vernacular in different literary traditions.

In addition to his scholarship, Muhanna writes frequently for the mainstream press. He is a contributing writer for NewYorker.com, and his essays and criticism have appeared regularly in The New York TimesThe Nation, and other periodicals. His blog, Qifa Nabki, is a forum for intellectual exchange and debate on Levantine politics.

Date: Saturday, May 27, 2017
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Location: Room 120, Albert & Vera List Art Building, 64 College Street, Providence

Updates from Around the Library | May 2017

Best of luck to all the graduating students preparing for Commencement.

Here are some examples of what is happening around the Library:

New Fellows to Further Research at the John Hay Library in 2017-2018

The John Hay Library will host two research fellows in the coming academic year, with support from the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium. While at the Hay Library, these scholars, whose projects are described in more detail below, will be using little known materials in the holdings of Special Collections in order to further their scholarly research.

Detail from St. Augustine of Hippo, De Ciuitate Dei (1467), Annmary Brown Memorial Collection 203, John Hay Library, showing printed text with hand applied rubrication and illuminated capitals

Renzo Baldasso, an Assistant Professor in the School of Art at Arizona State University, is currently at work on a study of printers in the early decades of the printing press (1453 to 1503 C.E.) — a period commonly known among historians as the incunabula era.  Baldasso’s research aims to discover how these printers “became masters of the page…to develop an independent print aesthetic” that differed from the aesthetic approaches used to produce the handwritten illuminated manuscript. With expertise in both Renaissance art and the history of science, Baldasso is uniquely qualified to undertake this intensive study of rare volumes. He will be focusing his work at the Hay Library on the 600 incunabula in the Annmary Brown Memorial Collection, for which Richard Noble, the Library’s rare books cataloguer, has been diligently working to enhance existing descriptive information.

Selected pages from the papers of Jean Bethke Elshtain (Ms. 2011.039), Feminist Theory Archive, John Hay Library

Alexander Jacobs, a recent PhD and current postdoctoral lecturer in History at Vanderbilt University, works on “the tangled histories and multiple meanings of liberalism and conservatism in modern American thought and politics” — a topic that formed the nucleus of his 2016 doctoral dissertation, Pessimism and Progress, a study of Conservatism within the political Left. While at the Hay Library, he will be looking at manuscript material in the Feminist Theory Archive, focusing in particular on the papers of Jean Bethke Elshtain.

The New England Regional Fellowship Consortium (NERFC) is a growing body of New England cultural institutions which seek to enhance scholarly access to their collections by offering grants for 8 weeks of study in the holdings of at least three of the participating institutions. The program is competitive and attracts scholars working on a broad range of topics. The John Hay Library, a NERFC member since 2014, has previously hosted fellows working on topics such as the fear of nuclear explosion during the Cold War, 19th century panoramic spectacles, and humor in the gay liberation and feminist movements.

Retweets, Shares, and Likes: Increasing the Impact of Research Through the Preservation and Sharing of Data

Justine Allen, Derya Akkaynak (from http://news.brown.edu/articles/2017/05/cuttlefish)

Last week, an article co-authored by Dr. Justine Allen appeared in the scientific journal The American Naturalist. Dr. Allen received her Ph.D. from Brown University in 2014, completing her graduate work under Professor Roger Hanlon at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. The article describes the behaviors of two male cuttlefish fighting over a female mate, behaviors that were recorded on video and in photographs taken by the authors while on a dive off the coast of Turkey. The video has since been seen tens of thousands of times, demonstrating the impact of research through the preservation and sharing of data.

To view Dr. Allen and her co-authors’ data in the BDR please visit:

Akkaynak, Derya, and Allen, Justine J., “Dramatic fighting by male cuttlefish for a female mate” (2011). Data for Publications. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.https://doi.org/10.7301/Z0PR7SX4.

In order to analyze the recorded behaviors, the researchers created a scoring guide to document the types and characteristics of the organisms involved and their actions and the duration of the actions at certain timestamps in the film footage and on each still image. Before Dr. Allen and her co-authors submitted their manuscript for peer review and publication, they reached out to Hope Lappen, Biomedical and Life Sciences Librarian, and Andrew Creamer, Scientific Data Management Librarian, to get help with their questions about copyright and licenses for publishing and distributing their data, and for assistance with curating and depositing the files (the video, images, and analysis data underlying their paper’s findings) into an online collection in the Library’s Brown Digital Repository (BDR).

The BDR is the Library’s platform for making digital collections available online. The BDR has a collection called “Data for Publications,” which is an online gallery for Brown researchers to preserve the supplementary materials accompanying their published articles or the data underlying their results and conclusions. The BDR also allows researchers to cite these materials and data in their publications and to make these files available to other researchers and the public online.

Andrew worked with Ann Caldwell, the Library’s Metadata Librarian and Head of Digital Production Services, to plan out the descriptive information for each catalog record associated with their data set and the minimum documentation necessary to interpret the data. This process is iterative and involves collaborating with the authors to collect these details and create their records in the BDR with the aim of facilitating search, discovery, access, and citation of these materials online. Ann’s staff also helped to convert the film and image file formats into ones that are appropriate for long-term preservation.

Upon deposit of the files in the Library’s BDR, Andrew and Ann work with Joseph Rhoads, the BDR’s Manager, and Ben Cail, the BDR’s programmer, to display the files according to the wishes of the researchers. For the cuttlefish paper, the authors wanted to be able to not only preserve the original video and image files in the BDR, but also to stream the video so that readers could view the video from its record the BDR.  After files are uploaded, Joseph and Ben provide the researchers with a URL and a unique identifier, called a digital object identifier (DOI), that they can use to cite these materials within their article so that reviewers of their paper or interested readers can have access to them. By depositing the data in the BDR and citing the data within the paper, the authors allow readers to learn more about the science and judge the rigor and validity of their published findings. This transparency can help move science forward.

So what is the big deal about making these materials public? In short, the answer is impact. Scientists want to spread knowledge and know that their research can resonate with the public. By depositing their video with the Library and citing and sharing their video, Dr. Allen and her co-authors were able to reach more people than they would have through the publication of their article alone. How many more people? One week after publication of the article, their cuttlefish video had been viewed by over 140,000 people online! In addition, the video had been reported on the websites and social media feeds of the New York Times, National Geographic, and Science and reported on the websites and on the Facebook and Twitter and similar social media feeds of media outlets in several countries, including Germany’s Der Spiegel. These posts have been shared, liked, and retweeted by people fascinated with the dramatic events the research team captured on film.

Dr. Allen and her co-authors are not alone. A team of Brown undergraduates led by Dean Adetunji, Associate Dean of the College for Undergraduate Research and Inclusive Science, have deposited the file of a video in the Library’s BDR on the science of seeing color that has also has had over 100,000 views. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the National Science Foundation including broader and societal impact among the review criteria it uses to evaluate grant proposals submitted by researchers. The Library’s BDR plays a crucial role in helping to preserve and disseminate the digital outputs of Brown’s research community, including their broader impact materials that they have created for educating students or the public about their research. Videos, images, software, and documents that could easily be lost after the publication of an article now get cataloged by the Library and put online and discovered, accessed, and cited by other researchers and the public.