The Library invites you to join us via Zoom for a talk by Laura R. Prieto on Thursday, March 18 at 12 p.m.Join the talk.
Although national women’s suffrage organizations declared victory with the Nineteenth Amendment, many women in the United States continued to be denied the right to vote for decades afterwards. This talk explores why and how the ballot remained limited to white, native-born U.S. citizens, in 1920, while Black women and men in the South, colonized subjects in Puerto Rico and the Philippines, and others had to continue their struggle for political equality.
Laura R. Prieto (B.A., Wellesley College; A.M., Ph.D., Brown University) is the Alumni Chair in Public Humanities and a Professor of History at Simmons University in Boston. She teaches American history, gender and women’s history, public memory, and methodology. Her current research studies colonizing and colonized women across U.S. empire in the Pacific and Caribbean. She has written on transnational nurses, Protestant missionaries, anti-imperialists, and suffragists from the 1890s through the 1940s. Her earlier books include At Home in the Studio: The Professionalization of Women Artists in America and Crossings and Encounters: Race, Gender, and Sexualities in the Atlantic World (co-edited with Stephen R. Berry).
This talk is open to the public and will be captioned.
Six dynamic and interconnected areas of focus build on current collection strengths and forge a path for building distinctive collections that support expansive and imaginative inquiry with a commitment to community engagement, environmental sustainability, and social justice.
Providence, R.I. [Brown University] After a year-long process of critical self-study and reflection led by Amanda Strauss, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections, the John Hay Library is launching a new collection policy, designed to guide highly strategic collecting at the Hay. The policy development process involved staff members at the Hay as well as consultations with a wide array of stakeholders at Brown and in key external communities.
When Ms. Strauss joined the Library in 2019, she was charged with creating a focused plan for the Hay, in alignment with Library and University goals and priorities, that would inspire faculty and students and transform the Hay into a center of academic excellence and a prominent destination for scholarly research. A serious commitment to representing diverse perspectives, experiences, and methods would be a fundamental part of that plan — necessary work for a world-class institution that facilitates free and open inquiry. According to Joseph S. Meisel, Joukowsky Family University Librarian, “Under Ms. Strauss’s leadership, the John Hay Library is reaching new heights in advancing education, research, and public knowledge while also becoming a far more inclusive institution that speaks to a much broader range of human experience. This kind of scholarly vision and intellectual organization is what distinguishes outstanding special collections research libraries at world-class universities like Brown.”
The policy consists of six areas of focus for collecting as well as three research themes in the sciences that are purposefully interconnected to create a holistic basis for research, education, and public engagement that encourages the kind of expansive and imaginative inquiry for which Brown University is renowned. They also establish a profound and more cohesive intellectual context for a remarkable set of existing collections, allow for strategic and sustainable collecting, and create a path for reparative and community-based collecting.
Global Lavender Voices celebrates the lived experiences, contributions, accomplishments, and culture of LGBTQIA+ communities, both in the United States and internationally.
Ideology & Power provides coherence and promotes public access to more than 200 years of original material that documents the evolution of political, social, and religious ideologies and that sheds light on the complex ways in which ideology influences social and political power structures.
Military & Society traces the social, political, economic, and cultural influence of world militaries during war and peace.
Performance & Entertainment documents the history and creative process of performing arts and provides a window into public life and popular entertainment in the Americas through plays, dance, film, music, photography, and pornography.
Popular Literature aims to reflect the imaginative worlds of North American authors and readers from the 18th through the 21st centuries. The Hay holds preeminent research collections in weird fiction, science fiction, and fantasy.
The University & Beyond augments the robust and growing collections of Brown’s institutional records and student life by tracing the unique and enduring global imprint of the University’s programs, faculty, and alumni.
Overlapping with these six areas of collecting focus are three prioritized research themes in the sciences: Climate Change, Collections as Data, and Health and History. The new policy recognizes the importance of using primary sources in scientific research and has already been strengthening its collections in STEM-related areas. According to Dr. Megan Ranney, who interpreted an item related to gun violence for the Hay’s exhibition Collecting with Distinction: Faculty Insights into Recent Acquisitions, “As both a scientist and scholar, I know how important it is to capture memorabilia of public health and medical debates in real time. I’m thankful for the foresight of Ms. Strauss and the John Hay Library in capturing so many documents, images, and other original materials. Future generations of students and researchers will be able to use our collections to understand our mindset behind many of our biggest societal struggles, such as gun violence. We are lucky to have this vision.”
The Hay is already well known for supporting both humanistic and scientific inquiry through its renowned collections in the history of medicine and alcoholism and addiction, and in the history of mathematics and the “exact sciences” starting in 1180 B.C. Climate change is a theme that is present across a range of Hay materials that will be given new visibility and intentional development going forward.
Ms. Strauss emphasizes the importance of including special collections in teaching and research at Brown: “The Hay is a vital resource for the transformative, creative, intellectually independent work that is a hallmark of Brown. Our collections, though rare and unique, are meant to be actively used, and their use has never been more important than in this critical point in our nation’s history. The resources we steward are essential for scholarship that builds new knowledge in service of a more just and equitable society.”
The collection policy also provides a geographic framework for present and future collecting. Currently, Western Europe, North America, and Latin America are robustly represented. The collections also contain important material from East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Postcolonial Anglophone and Lusophone Africa. Going forward, collecting will focus on transnational movements and material created within the Global South or its diaspora. Growth of collections in these areas will occur in close partnership with the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, the Department of Africana Studies, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
Professor Tony Bogues, Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and Critical Theory and Professor of Africana Studies, has been collaborating with the Hay in support of his work as the Director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. He explains the critical role the Hay has been playing in the CSSJ’s The Global Curatorial Project to collect oral histories and memories of formerly enslaved peoples: “We are at a critical juncture in the archival and collections world as the issue of repair — and therefore restitution of objects — spark debate about how to collect with equity and respect for the histories and voices of populations who were, and in some instances remain, dominated by forms of historical injustice. The Hay is a remarkable partner in this work. Its expert staff has been partnering with us and our colleagues in places like Senegal in debates and discussions about collections and how to think anew about stewardship as a plural effort in archives.”
Through its renewed focus on the Global South, the Hay could unintentionally replicate structures of colonialism and racism. To ensure ethical, intentional, and equitable collecting, five guiding principles for collecting were defined within the policy. These principles emphasize community engagement and shared authority and stewardship of material; as such, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is articulated first among the guiding principles. Recognizing systemic, structural, and institutional racism, the Hay is applying an anti-racist framework to its collecting, and building a system of continual evaluation of new and existing collections, modes of collecting, and the impact of collections on our community. This framework is consistent with the Library’s commitment to becoming actively anti-racist.
The Hay endeavors, through its collections and services, to ensure that the diverse array of students, scholars, and visitors who visit its physical and virtual spaces feel welcome. This importance is underscored by the fact that the Hay is open to the public (under normal operating conditions) and is situated amidst the vibrant and diverse Providence community.
In conjunction with Brown’s Sustainability Initiative, the Hay is committed to Sustainable Collecting and Stewardship. The Hay will assess the current and future environmental and fiscal impacts of acquiring, preserving, and providing research access to rare, unique, and fragile material in all physical formats.
Through Community-Engaged Collecting, the Hay will build and sustain mutually beneficial relationships with diverse communities locally at Brown, within Rhode Island and New England, and nationally and globally. As part of the relationship, community members may advise and guide collecting policies, practices, and access principles to determine whether their historical material remains within their community or under what terms collaborative stewardship of donated materials would operate.
The Hay is attuned to and respectful of its Local Contexts, seeking to be an active member of the Rhode Island research community and to build collections, especially those related to Rhode Island and regional history, that complement — but do not compete — with peer repositories.
The Hay recognizes the value of Institutional Collaboration with academic centers and departments within the University and strategic partnerships with external repositories and organizations. These partnerships provide intellectual guidance for collection development as well as theoretical, cultural, and other valuable insights that will improve the reputation and relevance of the Library and its collections.
Following a collecting pause during the development of the policy, the Hay is now actively, strategically collecting. The recent acquisition of José Rivera’s papers extends its holdings of contemporary, major LatinX playwrights. The collection of Japanese LGBTQIA+ magazines, such as Barazoku (薔薇族) and Fūzoku kitan (風俗奇譚), is one of the largest of its kind in the US, including many rare issues not found in other stateside repositories. The Jewelnel Davis Collection of mystery novels by Black women writers strengthens and enriches the popular literature at the Hay.
The scholarly work being done at the Hay broadens understanding of the materials we hold in critical ways. For example, The Racial Imaginaries of H. P. Lovecraft, an online exhibit created by the 2020 Brown University Library Exhibitions Proctor, Alberto Alcaraz Escarcega, Political Science Ph.D., examines the interconnectedness of Lovecraft’s work and his problematic beliefs about race. Lovecraft, whose papers are held by the Hay and fully digitized, is considered to be the founder of weird fiction. He remains an influential literary figure whose body of work continues to be revisited, referenced, and revered; understanding the full context of his writing is necessary in a contemporary landscape.
The Hay’s new collection policy provides the underpinning that will elevate the Hay as a destination research library whose collections, fellowships, exhibitions, and programming will attract a global cohort of researchers, and ensure that the Hay realizes its full potential as a vital campus resource for active, interdisciplinary research and exploration. This framework does not set limits on collecting so much as it empowers the Hay to maximize the scholarly and reputational value of its acquisitions and to fulfill its mission to support free and open inquiry, experimentation, and creativity in a welcoming environment with equitable access to collections, exhibitions, and programming to a global community of students, scholars, and the public.
These services are described in more detail below. We will continue to adapt as circumstances change, and provide updates to the campus community accordingly.
Library Town Hall
TheLibrary University-Wide Town Hall meeting from September 17, 2020 was recorded and can be found on the Library’s YouTube channel and below:
Safety Is Everyone’s Priority
Our opening plan is based on the most up-to-date, reliable safety protocols to ensure a healthy environment for our patrons and staff. It is up to all of us to keep each other healthy and safe, and we feel confident that members of the Brown community will gladly share in this responsibility so that the Library can operate safely and continue providing the services that students and faculty most need.
When you come to the Library,please
Wear a mask over your mouth and nose at all times
Maintain social distance
Sit in your reserved seat only
Sanitize your study space when you arrive and before you leave
To maximize the availability of limited library seating for students, we ask that faculty and staff continue making use of online services and pickup circulation and leave seats and carrels available for the students.
Requests for materials will continue to be made through Josiah, the online catalog, for general collections, and through Aeon for special collections materials.
All requested materials will be retrieved by staff for contactless pickup. More information.
For everyone’s safety, we ask that patrons do not enter the stacks.
How do I get help?
Library staff are standing by online to help students and faculty. Please use the Ask a Librarian service for questions and to get research support. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org (general) and email@example.com (special collections) with questions.
Staff onsite will be primarily engaged in helping to keep our study spaces safe and healthy. They will not be providing in-person Library services.
Please make only one reservation per day to allow for equitable access to the limited number of de-densified seats. Seat reservations are for two-hour blocks of time with a half hour in between.
Carrel reservations will be made on a monthly basis, using alternate sides of each carrel on different days of the week to ensure safe distancing.
Once you place a reservation, you will receive a confirmation email. When you go to the library for your confirmed time, please bring a printout of the confirmation or be able to show it on an electronic device. Queue up outside, maintaining six feet of space with others in line. A security staff member will check your reservation confirmation before you will be allowed to enter the building.
We ask that patrons bring only a personal water bottle into Library buildings.
graduate and medical student Carrels
Graduate and medical students can make a reservation for a carrel using the Library Carrel Request for Graduate Students form. Reservations are for one month at a time. Carrel use will be on an alternating schedule to ensure safe distancing between carrels.
Clean In / Clean Out
We ask that all patrons clean your designated area when you arrive and before you leave, using provided disinfectant wipes.
Faculty, visiting scholar, and staff use of library space
We ask that faculty and staff allow students only to reserve seating and carrels in the libraries. We will continue to provide digital delivery and distant circulation of materials for faculty and visiting scholars.
Faculty members with individual Faculty Studies will receive a Faculty Study Card via email. Please print the card, queue at the Rock, show the guard the card, and proceed to your study. You will need to bring the printout of this card with you each time you go to the Rock to access your study.
Graduate Teaching Assistant rooms
Graduate TA’s may also access a limited number of small study/collaboration rooms to conduct your online sections. Registration is required through 25Live. Please follow all safety protocols including Clean in / Clean out.
Classes in Library Spaces
At this time, the only classes scheduled to be held in Library spaces will be on floors of the Sciences Library that are managed by other campus units. Students will be asked to identify themselves as members of the class upon entry to the building.
Library Materials and Services Requesting Library Materials
Requests for materials will continue to be made through Josiah, the online catalog, for general collections, and through Aeon for special collections materials.
Contactless Pickup and Digital Delivery
All requested materials will be retrieved by staff for contactless pickup. For everyone’s safety, we ask that patrons do not enter the stacks. If materials are available digitally, they will be delivered to you via email.
There are a number of videos on the Library’s YouTube channel that provide information about how to use the Library, conduct various aspects of research, and more.
This Is Your Library
You belong here. While these are extraordinary times, we know the Brown community is also extraordinary. We will rise to the challenges of this pandemic, work together, support each other, and succeed with each other. We are grateful to the many students and faculty who have let us know how important the Library is to your academic work and experience at Brown. We are proud of our staff members who have worked tirelessly through the pandemic to support Brown’s academic mission and who will be both onsite and at home, ready to help you and collaborate with you on your research journey — this semester, in 2021, and beyond. We are here for you. This is your Library.
As a response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, many of the Library’s content providers have expanded Brown’s access to digital content in order to support online research, learning, and teaching. In addition to the 2 million+ digital books and journals available through the Library’s subscriptions, we are excited to share many additional resources from our partners.
Faculty and Student Support
We are providing online services, including research consultations and instruction. Subject librarians can be reached by email and on chat, which is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Not sure who to ask? Email most questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and email questions about special collections to email@example.com.
Faculty members should continue to use Online Course Reserves Access (OCRA) to request materials for course reserves and course packs. Once received, the Library will make the reserves available to students through the course site in Canvas.
If you are using a course pack from a previous semester, the Library will make the content available in Canvas and/or OCRA. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to initiate this process.
Returning Physical Material
Graduating students are urged to return physical materials to the Rockefeller Library, through the book return drop located to the left of the front doors. Other students may also drop off materials at the Rock, or you can keep the items in your possession until you are able to return to campus. This includes items obtained through Borrow Direct, easyBorrow, and ILLiad. Fines and late fees will be waived.
Dis/Assemble is a collaborative effort by graduate students from across ten different humanities disciplines to construct narratives around a continuously moving archive: the Minassian Collection of Persian, Mughal, and Indian Paintings and Calligraphies at Brown University. This collection evokes questions of assemblage and disassemblage, from sifting the extraordinary from the ordinary to practices of collecting and taxonomizing. Visitors are invited to participate in the creative act of engaging with fragments and fragmentation as they behold, imagine, and truly see the objects on view.
Opening Reception & Curator’s Introduction
Monday, March 9, 2020 4:30 p.m. John Hay Library
“Making Meaning from the Minassian Collection” Monday, March 9, 2020 5:30 p.m. Lownes Room, John Hay Library
Dr. Navina Haidar, Nasser Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah Curator in Charge of the Department of Islamic Art
Dr. Maryam Ekhtiar, Associate Curator of the Department of Islamic Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dates: March 9, 2019 – May 25, 2020 & September 1 – December 15, 2021 Time: John Hay Library Hours Location: Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence
This Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14, 2020, look for 10 posters of poems hanging around the Rock. Written by poets who identify as LGBTQ+ and/or as members of historically underrepresented groups, the poetry offers readers an opportunity to engage with love from different perspectives.
Readers can also vote for you favorite poem of the ten selected, tell us your all time favorite poem and item in the Library, and provide feedback, if you like, for what the Library can do or do better to make all feel welcome and supported.
Limón, Ada. “What I Didn’t Know Before.” The Carrying, Milkweed Editions, 2018, p. 120.
It is the Library’s sincere hope that all members of the Brown community feel welcome and supported in our physical and virtual spaces. We have the privilege and responsibility to steward and highlight works by writers and researchers of all backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Representation is important.
Love comes in many forms. On Valentine’s Day, we appreciate you joining us in a love for poetry and for all the ways in which we can love and support each other, today and every day.
This is YOUR Brown University Library. You belong here.
On Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at 4 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library, Rob Emlen will discuss his newly-published book Imagining the Shakers, based in part on research in the Hay’s Special Collections.
The Evolving Image of Shaker Life
In the half century between 1830 and 1880, the American public encountered the first visual images of this country’s oldest and largest communal religious society. Published as newspaper and magazine illustrations or as separate engravings and lithographs meant to be framed and displayed, these prints reveal the changing ways in which Americans imagined the radically nonconformist Shakers, evolving from suspicion and ridicule to acceptance as a valued part of the cultural landscape of the nation.
Rob Emlen is a Visiting Scholar in American Studies at Brown University and a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He recently retired as university curator and senior lecturer in American Studies at Brown, and as a part-time faculty member in the Theory and History of Art and Design at the Rhode Island School of Design. During his 34 years at Brown he conducted much of the research for his book Imagining the Shakers in the collections of the John Hay Library.
To request special services, accommodations, or assistance for this event, please contact Jennifer Braga at Jennifer_Braga@brown.edu or (401) 863-6913 as far in advance of the event as possible. Thank you.
Bookplates are also known as “ex libris” and include a name, motto, and motif. Decorated pieces of paper found on the inside of books, ex libris have practical, historical and social associations that trace back to 15th century Germany, around the time of the invention of the printing press. They not only promote the return of borrowed books and provide a trail of documented ownership, their artistic design also conveys the personalities of book owners and the practical and imaginary worlds inhabited by them.
View bookplates for Henrietta Countess of Pomfret Lady of the Bedchamber to the Queen (1698–1761), Massachusetts Medical Society (1781), and Louis-Rene Quentin de Richebourg of Champcenetz (1759–1794), among others.
Exhibit Dates: February 6 – March 31, 2020 Exhibit Time: John Hay Library Hours Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence
This Valentine’s Day – Friday, February 14 – let us know what you think is the greatest thing at the Library, enjoy cookies, write a love letter, explore poetry, and make a button from a special collections print. Available from 12 – 3 p.m. in these library locations:
Rockefeller Library, Sorensen Family Reading Room
John Hay Library, First Floor Lobby & Lounge
Sciences Library, Lobby
Orwig Music Library, Circulation Area
What do you love about the Library? 📚
We want to know about the book / journal / artifact / tool / technology / chair / view / librarian that you found through the Library that has had an effect on you. Please tell us by submitting a comment or posting to social with #LibraryLove at:
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.
Love Letters 💌 📬
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!
Poetry ✍︎ 🎼
Explore ten poems by writers who identify as LGBTQ+ and/or as members of historically underrepresented groups, printed out on posters at the Rock. Take a photo of your favorite poem or book of poetry. Video yourself reciting poetry or singing a love song. Post an original poem. #LibraryLove
Make a button out of priceless special collections materials! A button maker, fixings, and (prints of) eye catching items from the Hay’s special collections will be available in the lobby of the John Hay Library from 12 – 3 p.m.
Works by Katie Bullock, Faculty, Glass, Rhode Island School of Design Jocelyne Prince, Faculty, Glass, Rhode Island School of Design Sean Salstrom, Graduate Study, Glass, Rhode Island School of Design
Artists approach research differently than scientists. The freedom through which artists pursue research allows their inquiries to breed multivalent results, often seemingly unconnected results which can then act as springboards to new ways of seeing and communicating with the world. Bullock, Prince and Salstrom’s artistic practices cultivate curiosity that interposes surprising elements into the narrative of objectivity and data, and in doing so, invite intercalary events in the vitrines of the Hay Library.
Intercalary Event 2020 exhibition locations include the John Hay Library, Chazan Gallery at The Wheeler School and Ladd Observatory.
Opening reception: Thursday, February 13th, 2020, 5 – 7PM
Exhibit Dates: January 21, 2020 – July 9, 2021 Exhibit Time: John Hay Library Hours Exhibit Location: Willis Reading Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence