Event | Sylvia Brown: Grappling with Legacy

On Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library, Sylvia Brown will give a talk entitled, “Grappling with Legacy.” The talk is free and open to the public. A light reception will follow as well as a book sale and signing.

Grappling with Legacy: Rhode Island’s Brown Family and the American Philanthropic Impulse

In 2016, Americans gave $41 billion to institutions of higher education.The concept of a university as an agent of social change has become an intrinsic part of our ethos. It started right here in the early 19th century when Nicholas Brown II poured money into Brown University to give young men the moral compass they needed to navigate the era’s stormy seas. Yet less than a century later, a speaker at the inaugural symposium of the University’s Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice declared, “There were no good Browns.” Sylvia Brown’s book, Grappling with Legacy: Rhode Island’s Brown Family and the American Philanthropic Impulse, was born of these two starkly opposed perspectives and tells the story of America’s evolving attitudes towards charitable giving.

Sylvia Brown

The eldest of the 11th generation of the Browns of Rhode Island, Sylvia Brown was attracted to development economics from an early age. Following her BS and MA degrees at the University of Pennsylvania, she pursued a professional career in international development, from Wall Street to the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees. For the past decade, she has worked with donors on their personal strategy and with non-profits looking to improve their sustainability and board governance practices. Her personal philanthropy focuses on both her family’s longstanding interest in history and heritage (including Brown University) and on the impact investment sector in Rhode Island, where she is a director of the Social Enterprise Greenhouse. In 2015, she launched Uplifting Journeys, an immersive donor education program to empower anyone, anywhere, to give more thoughtfully and strategically.

Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room, Second Floor, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Event | #LibraryLove on Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day–Wednesday, February 14–let us know what you love about the Library, enjoy some cookies, and write a love letter.

There will be cookies and a taped up heart in four library locations, along with sticky notes and pens. We invite you to write what you love about the Library on a sticky note and put it up on the wall with the heart. We’ll take some pictures and post them on Instagram @brownuniversitylibrary and Twitter @brownlibrary with #LibraryLove. We’d love to see your posts, too!

Each location will also have available complimentary greeting cards from the Friends of the Library collection. Please help yourself to a card, write a love letter, seal and address the envelope (you will need to know the address), and place it in the box near the cards. The Library will mail it for you!

Not on campus? Create a virtual heart-shaped love note here by clicking here!

The Library loves our Brown students and faculty, and we want to know what we’re doing that you love so we can keep it up. Thanks for taking part in #LibraryLove and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Date: Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Time: All day

  • Rockefeller Library, Sorensen Family Reading Room
  • John Hay Library, First Floor Lounge
  • Sciences Library, Lobby
  • Orwig Music Library, Circulation Area

Exhibit | Greek Life – A Brief History of Phi Beta Kappa at Brown

Greek Life – A Brief History of Phi Beta Kappa at Brown                                Selected Items On View From the Brown University Archives

For over 200 years Phi Beta Kappa has celebrated academic achievement and advocated for freedom of thought.  It is the oldest and most prestigious academic honors society in the United States.

The Rhode Island Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was founded at Brown University in 1830. Brown students elected to Phi Beta Kappa join a tradition that exemplifies the Phi Beta Kappa motto “Love of learning is the guide of life,” symbolized in the gold key.  Membership is diverse, connecting U.S. Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, Nobel Laureates, authors, diplomats, athletes, researchers, actors, and business leaders.

Dates: February 6 – March 30, 2018
TimeJohn D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library Hours
Location: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Lincoln Recordó en America Latina


Selected Items on View at the John Hay Library:

“Canción a Abraham Lincoln” Lady’s Fan, c. 1865
Havana, Cuba
Brown University Library, Special Collections

Latin Americans observed, mourned and commemorated Abraham Lincoln’s life and legacy in a number of ways. Argentinians named a city in Buenos Aires Province for him. Statues of Lincoln can be found in Mexico, Cuba and Ecuador. Avenida Abraham Lincoln is a main thoroughfare in the city of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Shown here is a more personal object: a lady’s fan, thought to have been produced in Havana. It commemorates Lincoln’s life and assassination in both English and Spanish.

Vida de Abran Lincoln, décimo sesto presidente de los Estados Unidos
Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (1811–1888)
Nueva York, Estados Unidos: D. Appleton y Ca., 1866
Brown University Library, Special Collections

In May 1865, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento arrived in New York to take up his post as minister plenipotentiary to the United States from the newly reunified Argentine Republic. Arriving from a country in triumph to a country in deep mourning, Sarmiento heard a great deal and thought deeply about Lincoln, whose ideas about government he found engaging and with whom he felt he would have had much in common. Before the year was out, he had written a full length biography of the assassinated leader, whom he had never met, publishing it in his native Spanish in New York. “In the life of Lincoln,” Sarmiento wrote, “we find commonalities of existence in both Americas, and in the facts relating thereto must deduce lessons and useful warnings for our own government.”  The copy shown here was originally presented by Sarmiento, hot off the press, to the Library of Congress.

Dates: January February 6 – 28, 2018
TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Event | Tom Scheinfeldt: Radical Collaboration and Emergent Knowledge at Greenhouse Studios UConn

Tom Scheinfeldt, associate professor of digital media at the University of Connecticut (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

On Monday, February 5, 2018 at 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Tom Scheinfeldt, Director of Greenhouse Studios at the University of Connecticut, will give a talk, “Radical Collaboration and Emergent Knowledge at Greenhouse Studios UConn.” This event is free and open to the public. A light reception will follow the talk.

Radical Collaboration and Emergent Knowledge at Greenhouse Studios UConn

Experienced digital humanists know that the best projects aren’t those that draw technology, library, and other expertise together in service to a faculty member’s idea, but rather those that are born from the prior collaboration of developers, designers, librarians, students and faculty members. The reasons for this can be explained in part with reference to the concept of “emergence,” which has been used in disciplines as diverse as philosophy and biology to explain how complex structures can result from a combination of components, none of which on their own exhibit the salient properties of the new structure. Emergence describes the phenomenon by which new patterns arise as systems self-organize, such as the growth of crystalline structures in a snowflake or the complex ebb and flow of a rush hour traffic jam. The concept of emergence can also be used to understand how new ideas arise in the course of an academic collaboration, ideas that weren’t brought to the table by any one team member or from any one discipline. This talk will draw on the concept of emergence to argue against an additive model of collaboration that draws resources to faculty-led projects and in favor of an inquiry driven, collaboration-first model of project development that embraces the emergent qualities of collaboration itself. It will do so with reference to Tom’s work with the University of Connecticut’s new scholarly communications design lab, Greenhouse Studios, and its model of radical, transdisciplinary, campus-wide collaboration.

Tom Scheinfeldt

Tom Scheinfeldt is Associate Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Connecticut where he holds a joint appointment in the Department of Digital Media & Design and the Department of History. He is also Director of Greenhouse Studios, a transdisciplinary research unit that solves the problems and explores the opportunities of scholarship in the “digital age.” Formerly Managing Director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, Tom has directed several award-winning digital humanities projects, including THATCamp, Omeka, and the September 11 Digital Archive. You can follow Tom on Twitter at @foundhistory.

This event is part of the Library’s series, The Future of Scholarly Publishing, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Date: Monday, February 5, 2018
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Event | 14th Annual Wilmeth Lecture with JoBeth Williams ’70

On Monday, March 19, 2018, the Brown University Library and the Friends of the Library will present the 14th Annual Don Wilmeth Endowed Lectureship in American Theatre:

An Evening with Celebrated Actress and Director JoBeth Williams ’70

Please join us at 7 p.m. in Martinos Auditorium in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Space is limited.

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

JoBeth Williams ’70

JoBeth Williams has starred in some of the most provocative and cult following films throughout her career, including Steven Spielberg’s Poltergiest I and II, Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill, Blake Edward’s comedy Switch, the Farrelly brothers’ Fever Pitch, and American Dreamer, Wyatt EarpThe Big Year, and Kramer vs. Kramer. She has appeared in well over twenty feature films, including Dennis Hopper’s final movie, The Last Film Festival.

She has received three Emmy nominations–for the television films Adam and Baby M, as well for the show “Frasier,” and two Golden Globe nominations. Her television roles have been extensive. She played Ken Marino’s mom on the NBC series “Marry Me,” recurred on the CW hit series “Hart of Dixie” as Candice Hart, played Bizzy Forbes Montgomery on “Private Practice,” starred in her own series “John Grisham’s The Client,” and played opposite John Larroquette in CBS’s comedy “Payne.”

Behind the camera, Williams received an Oscar nomination for her directing debut on the short film On Hope starring Mercedes Ruehl, for which she was also a producer. Following her nomination, Williams directed the Showtime original movie Frankie and Hazel starring Joan Plowright, as well as the Warner Brothers Television production “Night Visions,” starring Stephen Baldwin and Jane Adams.

Beyond her acclaim for on camera performances, Williams also has extensive theatre credits both in New York and regional productions. Her theatre work in New York includes “Last Dance” by Marsha Norman, “Moonchildren,” “Ladyhouse Blues,” “A Couple of White Chicks,” John Guare’s “Gardenia,” and “The Vagina Monologues.”  In regional theatre she is credited for her leads in “Antony and Cleopatra” at the Old Globe, “Idiot’s Delight” opposite Stacy Keach at the Kennedy Center, “Threepenny Opera” in Williamstown, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at the McCarter Theatre, “Uncle Vanya,” “Tartuffe,” “School for Wives,” and two seasons at Trinity Repertory Company. In Los Angeles, Williams has appeared on stage at the Geffen Playhouse in Jane Anderson’s “The Quality of Life,” for which she received a Backstage West Garland award, at the Taper in John Robin Baitz’s play “Other Desert Cities,” at Pasadena Playhouse in “The Night is a Child,” and at the Odyssey in “The Fall to Earth.”

She is the president of the Screen Actors’ Guild Foundation, a charity that provides extensive programs both for working actors and for actors in times of need, as well as national children’s literacy programs. She also serves as chairman of the SAG Awards Committee, which produces the SAG Awards each year.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she is a graduate of Brown University. She is married to director John Pasquin, who will conduct the onstage interview during the Wilmeth Lecture, and is the proud mother of two sons.

John Pasquin

John Pasquin is an award-winning director and producer of film, television, and stage. His first play in New York was Michael Weller’s Moonchildren for which he won an Obie Award. He then worked for Joe Papp at the Public Theatre and the New York Shakespeare Festival directing original work by Thom Babe and John Guare as well as Comedy of Errors and Measure for Measure in Central Park. He has worked for most East Coast Repertory Theaters including Long Wharf, McCarter, Center Stage, and Arena Stage.

His television credits (over 100 half hour and hour episodes on all networks) include the pilots for Home Improvement, Growing Pains, Freddie, Cristela, and Last Man Standing. He has received a People’s Choice Award and was nominated for three Emmy’s for his work on Home Improvement and L.A. Law. He has directed four feature films including The Santa Clause, Jungle 2 Jungle, and Miss Congeniality II.

This past fall he produced and directed the first four episodes of the re-boot of the Roseanne show with the entire original cast. It will air this coming March.

Don Wilmeth

Don Wilmeth joined the Brown English and Theatre faculty in 1967. He retired as Asa Messer Professor Emeritus, Professor Emeritus of Theatre, Speech and Dance, and Professor Emeritus of English in 2004. The first endowed Wilmeth Lecture was presented in 2005.

Date: Monday, March 19, 2018
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Martinos Auditorium, Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, 154 Angell Street, Providence

Exhibit | Annual Address of the Carriers & Newsmen of the N.Y. Herald, 1851


Annual Address of the Carriers & Newsmen of the New York Herald:  On the Opening of the Year 1851

Carriers’ Addresses were published by newspapers and local newsboys delivered these greetings in verse each New Year’s Day to customers who understood that a tip was expected.  Lasting for more than two centuries in the United States, the custom originated in England and was introduced during colonial times.

The poems, often anonymous, describe the events of the past year, locally, regionally, and nationally, and end with a request for a gratuity for the faithful carrier. Often the poem referred to the carrier’s diligence and hardships during winter weather. Illustrated with wood-engravings and decorative borders, carriers’ addresses are distinctive examples of popular publishing in nineteenth century America.

Dates: January 5 – 31, 2018
TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Works from Modern Architecture

Works from Modern Architecture: A Course with Dietrich Neumann 
On view, architectural models created by students in Professor Dietrich Neumann’s lecture course, “Modern Architecture,” which surveys the “classic” period of European and American modern architecture from the turn of the century to the 1950s.  Works are based on a building or industrial design object from the time period.
                                                                                                                                            Dates: December 20, 2017 – April 6, 2018
TimeJohn D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library Hours
Location: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Events | Pizza Nights

It’s that time of year again!

Hungry students rejoice: Pizza Nights are back.

Did you know you can study harder and write better when fueled by cheese and sauce? It’s true.

At 9 p.m. on these two nights, feed your bodies and souls with free pizza.

  • Tuesday, December 12: Friedman Study Center, SciLi
  • Wednesday, December 13: Lobby, The Rock

Pizza Nights are brought to you by the Brown University Library and Campus Life.

Eat well and prosper!

Dates: December 12 and 13, 2018
Time: 9 p.m.
Location: Sciences Library and Rockefeller Library

Event | The Choreography of Things with Sydney Skybetter

On Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab of the Rockefeller Library, Sydney Skybetter, Lecturer of Dance and Fellow of Public Humanities at Brown, will give a talk entitled, “The Choreography of Things.” This event is free and open to the public. A light reception will follow.

Skybetter will discuss his research into ways that movement generates meaning, for people and for machines. By tracing the commingling histories of dance notation and affective computing, exploring a gamut of emerging technologies (including drone swarms, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars and robots) and ranting about the premonitionary qualities of the movie Minority Report, Skybetter will argue for the importance of choreographic method and metaphor for our emerging technological future. 

Sydney Skybetter is a choreographer. Hailed by Dance Magazine as “One of the most influential people in dance today,” his work has been performed around the country at such venues as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Boston Center for the Arts, Jacob’s Pillow and The Joyce Theater. He has consulted on issues of cultural change and technology for The National Ballet of Canada, The Jerome Robbins Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Hasbro, New York University and The University of Southern California, among others. A sought-after speaker, he lectures on everything from dance history to cultural futurism, most recently at Harvard University, South by Southwest Interactive, TEDx, Saatchi and Saatchi, Dance/USA, NYU and MVR5. He is a Public Humanities Fellow and Lecturer at Brown University, where he researches the problematics of human computer interfaces and mixed reality systems. He is the founder of the Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces (CRCI), which convenes ethnographers, anthropologists, speculative designers and performing artists to discuss the choreography of the Internet of Things. He produces shows at Joe’s Pub, SteelStacks and OBERON with DanceNOW[NYC], has served as a Grant Panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts, is a Curatorial Advisor for Fractured Atlas’ Exponential Creativity Fund, and is the winner of a RISCA Fellowship in Choreography from the State of Rhode Island. He received his MFA in Choreography from New York University.


Date: Thursday, December 7, 2017
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence