Announcement | Digitization of Historic Campus Speeches with CLIR Grant

Speeches by Civil Rights leaders and other renowned public intellectuals will be preserved and made available for scholarship.

Providence, R.I. [Brown University] The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has awarded the Brown University Library $23,215 from its Recordings at Risk program. One of 13 projects selected out of 34 to receive grants from the program, the Library’s proposal, “Brown University Archives Audio-Visual Collection: Global Perspectives from Campus Speeches,” will allow us to digitize and make available to the public a large selection of audio and video recordings of speeches by leading public figures invited to Brown between 1950 and 1995. 

Brown University students on the College Green, 1969

103 cassette tapes, 198 film reels, and 44 VHS tapes–345 items total–will be digitized through use of the funding. This substantial set of materials document changing intellectual and social currents across the United States and the world on topics including social justice, politics, education, and the media–all of which still resonate today. There is a particularly fascinating set of recordings from Civil Rights leaders, notably Ralph Abernathy, Shirley Chisholm, Martin Luther King, Jr., and A. Philip Randolph. 

Over the next nine months, outside vendor George Blood LP will convert the media into digital files. A team of Special Collections staff and students will review the digitized files and create accurate and complete descriptive information. The final content will be uploaded into the Brown Digital Repository, where it will be available for research in October 2020.

Exhibit | Thanksgiving-Day, November 24, 1864, United We Stand

Harper’s Weekly, December 1864; Brown University Library, Special Collections

Created by famous political cartoonist Thomas Nast, these eight vignettes depict a “state of the Union” featuring President Abraham Lincoln during his reelection year. Each rendering touches on a significant factor during the Civil War, which was in its fourth year and with no clear victor at the time. The double-page image, published in Harper’s Weekly in December 1864, reflects the artist’s more illustrative work. Nast is also credited with crafting the modern American representation of Santa Claus during the course of his time at the magazine.

Exhibit Dates: November 1 – 30, 2019
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | The Last Will of Walt Whitman

Camden, New Jersey: June 29, 1888
Brown University Library, Special Collections

In June of 1888, celebrated American poet Walt Whitman suffered a stroke, which left him partially paralyzed. Fearful he would not recover, Whitman drafted this will, which leaves the majority of his money to his sisters, his property to his brother, and names three literary executors. Whitman would survive for four more years, and go on to publish four more works, including his “Deathbed Edition” of Leaves of Grass.

This manuscript is just one of several thousand books and manuscripts recently presented to the library by Daniel G. Siegel ’57.

Exhibit Dates: October 4 – 31, 2019
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Announcement | Wall Street Journal Access

Brown University Library and The Wall Street Journal 

Brown University Library and The Wall Street Journal have partnered to provide school-sponsored WSJ memberships to all Brown University students, faculty, and staff. Through the partnership, readers have complete and personalized digital access to The Wall Street Journal and the WSJ app.

How to activate your complimentary WSJ membership: 

Students, faculty, and staff at Brown University can activate their complimentary memberships by visiting WSJ.com/Brown, logging into their school portal, and creating an account on the registration page. Those who currently pay for an existing membership may call 1-800-JOURNAL, and mention they are switching to their subscription provided by Brown University. Partial refunds will be dispersed. 

About The Wall Street Journal 

The Wall Street Journal is a global news organization that provides news, information, commentary, and analysis. Published by Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal engages readers across print, digital, mobile, social, and video. Building on its heritage as the preeminent source of global business and financial news, the Journal includes coverage of U.S. & world news, politics, arts, culture, lifestyle, sports and health. It holds 38 Pulitzer Prizes for outstanding journalism. 

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

A Student’s Journey through Special Collections and the Creation of “Fields of Hay”

A student-driven project led by undergraduate Shira Buchsbaum ’19, the recently launched website Fields of Hay offers students a guide for making use of the John Hay Library and Brown’s special collections resources.

Written by Shira Buchsbaum ’19

Mary Elizabeth Sharpe and My First Foray into Special Collections

My journey to the John Hay Library was meandering and inconsistent. My first semester at Brown, my writing professor, Kate Schapira, assigned a piece that required drawing from any archive in Brown’s libraries. I picked the Mary Elizabeth Sharpe collection, which ended up being 20 boxes of letters, blueprints, photographs, contracts, and designs from Sharpe’s life.

Mary Elizabeth Sharpe was married to Henry Dexter Sharpe, the Chancellor of Brown from 1932-1952, and she was a go-getter. Sharpe designed much of the landscaping on campus, including for the then-new Sharpe Refectory and, later, the Sciences Library. She was a critical player in establishing India Point Park and fighting oil money in Providence.

I learned all of this about Sharpe in a few afternoons at the Hay, sitting with her papers and imagining the fierceness of this lady who took meticulous notes about trellises and leaf piles on our campus greens. I kept Mary Elizabeth Sharpe in the back of my head throughout my first two years at Brown, marking the John Hay Library as the place where I learned about our highly manicured campus and the woman behind it.

“Howard terrace, Pembroke College, Providence, R.I.” (1960). Landscaping directed by Mary Elizabeth Sharpe. Images of Brown. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.

A Reintroduction: Shakespeare’s First Folio and Working at the Hay

My junior fall, I stumbled back into the building during a reception and met William Shakespeare’s first Folio on the second floor of the John Hay Library. Brought to tears as I turned the pages of this nearly 400-year-old volume, I asked the lady behind the table, “Do students, like, work here?” The serendipity of that moment landed me in the midst of archives and collections once again, this time as a collections assistant.

John Hay Library’s copy of Shakespeare’s first Folio. Photo by Shira Buchsbaum.

Fields of Hay: An Undergraduate Research Guide to the John Hay Library

In our first conversation, Heather Cole, my new boss, and I discussed creating a guide for undergraduates to access the John Hay Library with more ease. I spent the next 18 months chatting with curators, requesting materials, conducting research, and honing how to convey the richness and variety of the materials here and their availability for student scholarship.

On March 7, 2019, World Book Day, we launched Fields of Hay, the undergraduate research guide to the John Hay Library. On Fields of Hay, students can learn about materials housed at the Hay, read about standing collections, find information on how to request materials, see featured projects by other students, and register student academic or activity groups for programs at the Hay. Fields of Hay aims to demystify the Hay by demonstrating its accessibility and breadth of materials to all students. It also seeks to promote student scholarship by showing that working with primary resources need not be an elite, selective process: it is as simple as finding one compelling item and spending time with it. The website aims to transform haphazard, wayward discoveries of the Hay into a far-reaching, common experience for Brown students. Fields of Hay is home base.

The Impact of Special Collections and an Invitation

I wish I hadn’t treated my interaction with Mary Elizabeth Sharpe as a one-off experience designed for a single class with no lasting implications on my life at Brown. Had I been able to return to the Hay through mechanisms designed for me – through a website that clarified how I could ingratiate myself with these materials – I would have returned sooner. As soon as students arrive at Brown, Fields of Hay can guide them to original, exciting research, or simply enjoying items connected to their interests – no strings or requirements or assignments necessary. Come on in and get started.

Shira Buchsbaum ’19 studied Anthropology and English Non-Fiction Writing and was the primary creator of Fields of Hay, under the advisor-ship of Heather Cole. She wrote her senior thesis about curatorial decision-making for the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays as reflective of changing conceptions of American literature. Any inquiries about Fields of Hay and materials or programming at the Hay can be sent to shira_buchsbaum@brown.edu.

Announcement | New Database: Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century

The Brown University Library has acquired access to the database, Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century, a compilation of rare and unique archival collections covering a wide range of fringe political movements from the 1900s – 2010s. This archive is one of the first digital archives covering such a broad assortment of both far-right and left political groups. It offers a diverse mixture of materials, including periodicals, campaign propaganda, government records, oral histories, and various ephemera.

Includes materials from the Hall-Hoag Collection of Dissenting and Extremist Printed Propaganda from the John Hay Library here at Brown University.

Planned maintenance and service interruption: multiple library systems

The library has scheduled an update and associated maintenance for the library catalog software on Tuesday, March 26 beginning at 10 am. This will require approximately eight hours of downtime for the library catalog and services tied to the software API. We chose this date to reduce the number of faculty, staff, and students affected by downtime.

We don’t expect the system to be down for more than eight hours, but we will send out an update should that time be extended for any reason. This update from version 3.4 to 4.2 will bring the library to the current release of this software and should resolve many outstanding issues.

Services interrupted include:

  • Requesting/paging items from any library or the Library Annex will be delayed
  • Patron records may not immediately reflect item returns and checkout
  • BorrowDirect requests will not work, but ILLiad will remain online
  • Classic Josiah will be down. Patrons will still be able to search ‘New’ Josiah though item availability information will not populate
  • Any link using josiah.brown.edu from Canvas, syllabi, various content management systems, or other communications will not work during downtime

Thank you for your patience and understanding while we work to improve services and facilitate world-class, innovative research.

New Film Streaming Service on Trial

The Library is running a trial of Film Platform, a streaming video service.  Film Platform brings relevant and highly regarded films from the festival circuit to the Library. Their aim is to bring these important stories to the forefront of the global academic conversation. The collection is meticulously curated by film experts and leading academics to showcase critically-acclaimed documentaries of social, political and cultural importance.

Try Film Platform at the link below:

https://login.revproxy.brown.edu/login?url=https://www.filmplatform.net/universities/brown-university

Planned system outage

The Library will be updating one of its core servers on Thursday morning, March 21. You may see instability in some Library services for a brief period of time. All buildings will remain open and all in-person services will continue to operate normally during the system update.