Announcement | 70th Anniversary of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four

Pages from the only surviving Orwell manuscript; at the John Hay Library

June 8, 2019 marked the 70th anniversary of the publishing of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the best-known work of author George Orwell (the pseudonym of Eric Blair, 1903-1950). He composed the novel between 1946 and 1948 on the Scottish island of Jura while suffering from tuberculosis. The book was published in to critical and popular acclaim; Orwell died six months later.

Orwell’s original manuscript of the novel was presented to Brown University Library in 1992 by Dan Siegel ’57. Containing nearly half of the published text, the document shows countless corrections and revisions in Orwell’s hand. It is the only one of Orwell’s literary manuscripts that survives; the author destroyed all others.

In his preface to his facsimile of the manuscript, Siegel wrote:

The collective survival of the world’s books and manuscripts is a transcendent act.  Without books, knowledge becomes arbitrary, truths are disparate and unrelated. Without books, memory fails. Any collection of books which justifies and confirms only the present truth is, in the wrong hands, or in the long run, dangerous. Regardless of how random any collection might be, its very existence is an indication of a society’s political health. Like one of Charrington’s trinkets, the existence of this manuscript is a good sign.

–Dan Siegel ’57

The manuscript is frequently consulted by scholars and used in class visits to the Library; visitors marvel over Orwell’s handwritten corrections of the novel’s famous first line, “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,” for which Orwell originally wrote, “It was a cold day in early April, and a million radios were striking thirteen”; as well as the first instances of “newspeak” and “Big Brother is watching you.”

Announcement | Sean Briody ’19, Library Student Employee, Receives Stillwell Prize

Sean Briody '19

In April 2019, Sean Briody ’19 took first place in the John Russell Bartlett Society Stillwell Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting for his distinguished collection of Brunoniana from the 19th and 20th centuries. His collection of Brown University materials is notable for the dense web of personal connections to Brown that are documented in each of the books. A lover of libraries, Sean has worked in the Brown University Library during all four of his undergraduate years at Brown. He attributes his love for book collecting to his work here.

Stillwell Competition

Sponsored by the John Carter Brown Library’s John Russell Bartlett Society, the Stillwell Prize is named in honor of the late Margaret Bingham Stillwell, Brown Class of 1909, the University’s first woman Professor of Bibliography, a renowned scholar of early printing, and Librarian at the Annmary Brown Memorial. The Stillwell Papers are housed in the University Archives.

The Brown Band

Sean was appointed historian of the Brown Band during his sophomore year and was asked to organize the partially unprocessed collection of Brown Band materials at the Hay. Through this connection, the Band donated additional papers to the archives, bringing the collection from 15 to 21 boxes. During this time, Sean also curated the exhibit, Ever True: A History of the Brown Band, at Orwig Music Library, after soliciting items from alumni, including a uniform from the Band’s founder, Irving Harris, and a 1927 Victor record of the Band–the first Brown musical group to be professionally recorded. According to Holly Snyder, Curator of American Historical Collections and the History of Science, and Sean’s supervisor at the Hay, “His interests in collecting, curation, and many different aspects of Brown’s history are truly outstanding.”

Collections Assistant

The Hay staff was so impressed with Sean’s work on the Band archive that he was hired as a collections assistant to catalog and organize parts of the Lownes Collection, the Rush Hawkins Collection, the Porter Collection of Washington Portraits, and a recent gift of important books from Dan Siegel ’57.

Finding Hidden Gems

Sean has a knack for finding hidden gems in the stacks. While working in Circulation at the Rock, he noticed an interesting report from the 1867 Anti-Slavery Conference in Paris, inside of which he found an inscription to Theodore Weld from William Lloyd Garrison.

Reverend lysander dickerman

Later, he was browsing a collection of Egyptian travelogues when he came across a boxed book with “Rock (Temporary)” on the spine. Within the box was a finely bound auction catalog with newspaper clippings pasted atop each page. The book, which details the Rev. Joseph Thompson’s trip to Egypt in 1853, is also a scrapbook of sorts, compiled by Rev. Lysander Dickerman (1825-1902), Brown Class of 1851, a lecturing Egyptologist in the 1880s and 1890s. After his death, Rev. Dickerman’s widow donated his library to Brown, along with his lectures and accompanying glass lantern slides. This volume sparked an interest in Dickerman for Sean. He consulted the original accession registers to reconstruct Dickerman’s library. In December 2018, Sean performed a costumed reenactment of Dickerman’s lecture, “The Pharaohs,” before an audience of professors, students, and library staff at the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World.

Favorite Collections

In his work as a collections assistant at the Hay, Sean has been particularly intrigued by the personal library of General Rush C. Hawkins, the husband of Annmary Brown. Hawkins’s collection of incunabula is catalogued, but his personal library has remained untouched since 2004, when item records were created but nothing further was done. The collection contains many treasures. Among those Sean has found so far are a book that belonged to King Louis Philippe (and also bears a gift inscription to Annmary Brown from her uncle John Carter Brown (1797-1874); a book that may have belonged to George Washington; William Lloyd Garrison’s Works, inscribed by the author to Nicholas Brown III (1792-1859); and a second edition of Robinson Crusoe (1719). According to Sean, “Not only are there many valuable research tools in the collection, but these books give a rare insight into the personal life of the Brown family–a popular research topic. Nicholas Brown III was minister to Rome during the European Revolution of 1848, and thus any of his books that relate to his travels in Europe are important for study.”

One of Sean’s favorite things at the Library is the Sidney S. Rider Collection. He describes Rider as an amazing collector: “Almost every book has something special added to it–maybe it’s a badge from a monument unveiling, a photograph, or an inscription from Moses Brown. Regardless, it’s the best resource for Rhode Island history around.”

North Burial Ground

In addition to his work at the Library, Sean is a records management and genealogy specialist intern for the North Burial Ground in Providence. The cemetery has existed since 1700, but official records were not kept until 1848. Sean is indexing these print records. He has also created some new tours for the cemetery, focused on topics including Brown University, black heritage, and Rhode Island politics. 

Future Studies

Originally from Commack, NY on Long Island, Sean has found Providence to be “rainy, but a blast.” He will remain in Rhode Island for at least a couple more years since he is entering the MA program in public humanities at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage this fall. He looks forward to continuing exploration into the management of both object and paper archives, his primary focus of study.

Announcement | Graduating Library Student Employees

sample of digital bookplate image

Congratulations to the 52 Library employees who walked through the Van Wickle Gates during Commencement 2019 to collect their degrees!

Our many student workers–undergraduate and graduate–provide invaluable support to the Library’s operations. As one of the largest employers of students at Brown, we welcome many students to our team and enjoy getting to know and learning from each one of them. We bid them all a fond farewell with our thanks and best wishes for the future.

Each graduating Library student employee receives a digital bookplate linked to a Library acquisition in their honor. Click on the names below to view the book selected for each student.

Announcement | A Smile for Goodnight Lights

Sciences Library with smile lights
Drone view of the Sciences Library by Ray McGinnis

Since January 2016, the Sciences Library has participated in the city-wide Goodnight Lights initiative, symbolically saying good night to patients at Hasbro Children’s Hospital by flashing lights on and off from 8 – 8:05 p.m. each night.

To add a personal touch to the effort, the Library has added equipment to the display so that it now flashes in a smile design. According to the creator of the initiative, Steve Brosnihan, Hasbro’s resident cartoonist and board member of the Tomorrow Fund for Children with Cancer, “It is a very entertaining display. Kids love watching it from Hasbro Children’s Hospital.”

We hope this small gesture brings a little cheer to the children and families who view it.

Announcement | Holly Snyder Presents at RISD Museum Event on Gorham Company

On Friday, May 3, 2019, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum hosted a one-day symposium in conjunction with its exhibit Gorham Silver: Designing Brilliance 1850-1970, at which Holly Snyder, Curator Curator of American Historical Collections and the History of Science at the Brown Library, presented. Holly spoke about the history of the Gorham Manufacturing Company.

The symposium was videotaped and can be viewed on YouTube.

Exhibit Catalog

As part of their preparation for the exhibition, the RISD Museum asked Holly to write an introductory chapter for the exhibit catalog about the history of the company and the making of the Gorham Company Archive. Holly co-wrote the chapter with Gerald M. Carbone, an independent writer and journalist, who had previously published a book on Brown & Sharpe

Symposium Presentation

The presentations at the symposium were intended to recapitulate some of the material in each of the chapters of the exhibit catalog. Holly’s talk, “The Gorham Company Archive in the Historical Context of Providence, Rhode Island,” focused on how the Gorham records ended up at the John Hay Library and how this collection is nestled within the larger collections at the Hay.

Samuel J. Hough

The late Samuel J. Hough, a former librarian at the John Carter Brown Library who became an independent bookseller, appraiser, and researcher, played a key role in rescuing the Gorham records from imminent destruction and bringing these materials to the attention of John Hay Library staff. The transfer of these records to the Hay took place during the rapid downsizing of the company in the mid-1980s, when Gorham was owned by Textron and the decision was made to abandon the plant complex on Adelaide Avenue in Providence in favor of smaller manufacturing sites elsewhere. Sam Hough worked closely with the Brown Library on the Gorham records and helped sort and organize the Gorham materials that the Library ultimately received from Textron. Sam Hough passed away in early March 2019, and Holly framed her talk as a tribute to his work, on which all of the symposium participants had relied. 

Gorham Company Archive and Providence-based Photography

Holly also spoke about the way in which the Gorham Company Archive intersects with other aspects of Brown’s special collections holdings, specifically that the Gorham records enhance the Library’s holdings related to the technical innovations in photography in Providence–innovations on which the Gorham Company relied heavily in building its marketing and its customer base.

Photography was a consumer-oriented business in Providence, which Holly illustrated by showing various examples from the special collections, starting with a Poe daguerrotype and moving through images of The Arcade Providence, to advertising from 19th century business directories. All of these items represent technological evolution that made photography popular with the masses and useful to Gorham’s business. She also showed broadsides from Brown’s holdings that portray the pre-existing popular taste for entertainment on which Gorham was effectively able to capitalize.

Exhibition

The Gorham Silver: Designing Brilliance 1850–1970 exhibition will runs through December 1, 2019 at the RISD Museum.

Event | Exhibit Opening Reception for “Learning through Play: British and French Tabletop Games from the 18th and 19th Centuries”

Dissected puzzle, The British Sovereigns from William the Conqueror to George IV [1825] William Darton, London, England

On Friday, May 24, 2019 from 4 – 6 p.m. at the John Hay Library, the exhibit, Learning through Play: British and French Tabletop Games from the 18th and 19th Centuries,” will officially launch with an opening reception. This exhibit was created through a gift of Georgian and Victorian games, along with jigsaw puzzles and other related items, from Ellen Liman ’57, P’88, as well as a loan of 19th and 20th century French board games from Doug Liman ’88.

At 5 p.m., Ellen Liman and her son, celebrated filmmaker Doug Liman, will deliver remarks.

This event is free and open to the public.

More information about the exhibit.

The games join the John Hay Library’s rich collections of material on popular culture, and will be available online in May, and in the John Hay Library special collections reading room following the exhibition.

Date: Friday, May 24, 2019
Time: 4 – 6 p.m.; remarks at 5 p.m.
Location: John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

Event | The Vietnam War – Enduring Impact on the Brown Community, an Alumni Reunion Forum

In the late 1960s, the Vietnam War was raging. Brown graduates had to make choices – some joined the military, some went to Vietnam, some protested, some left the country, some never came home. The lives of both men and women at Brown were profoundly affected.

Come hear from our panelists and join in the discussion about how the Brown community and so many others have been affected by the Vietnam War, then and now.

Moderator

Joe Petteruti ’69 (Rhode Island Air National Guard), Commercial banking and real estate finance

Panelists

  • Thelma Austin ’69, publisher
  • David I. Kertzer ’69, Paul R. Dupee Jr., University Professor of Social Science, professor of anthropology and Italian studies, Brown University
  • Scott Somers ’69 (Naval ROTC, U.S. Navy), co-founder of an executive search firm

Sponsored by the Brown University Library and Brown Alumni Association.

Date: Saturday, May 25, 2019
Time: 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Willis Reading Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect St, Providence

Exhibit | Learning through Play: British and French Tabletop Games from the 18th and 19th Centuries

“The cottage of content: or, the right roads and wrong ways” (London, 1848)

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: BRITISH AND FRENCH TABLETOP GAMES FROM THE 18th AND 19th CENTURIES

Georgian & Victorian Games, Gift of Ellen Liman ‘57, P’88, and Early French Games, Loan from Doug Liman ‘88
May 21 – October 11, 2019
John Hay Library, Brown University

The exhibition will be on display in the John Hay Library’s main gallery from May 21 through October 11, 2019; the exhibition is free and open to the public during the library’s regular hours: from May 28 through Labor Day, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; before May 28 and after Labor Day, Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Ellen Liman and Doug Liman are available for an interview or a lecture. For more information and images of the collection, please contact Heather Cole, Curator for Literary & Popular Culture Collections, heather_cole@brown.edu, or by phone, (401) 863-1512.

Images and more information

The Brown University Library is pleased to announce an exhibition featuring 18th and 19th century board games collected by the Liman family. Twenty-three Georgian and Victorian board games, along with jigsaw puzzles and other related items were given to the library by Ellen Liman ’57, P’88. A collection of 19th and 20th century French board games is on loan from the Limans’ son, filmmaker Doug Liman ‘88.

Joseph Meisel, the Joukowsky Family University Librarian, noted his enthusiasm for the Limans’ gift: “This is a wonderful addition to our extensive collection of popular culture materials and significantly extends the range of our holdings in the important area of games and play. As a historian of 19th-century Britain, I am particularly fascinated by how these games serve as documentary sources for deeper understanding of the complex concepts and values that the dominant segments of society sought to impart to their young as future leaders at home and in the world.”

Arthur and Ellen Liman began collecting vintage board games when their son Doug found an old game at a yard sale as a child. This first acquisition sparked an enchantment with games and their depictions of British culture, and the couple spent decades enthusiastically and meticulously building this and other related collections. The late Arthur Liman, a prestigious attorney, was attracted to these games for the historical record: games such as Wallis’s Picturesque Round Game of the Produce and Manufactures of the Counties of England and Wales (ca. 1840) serve as a lesson in how to be an informed citizen of a powerful empire, while others, such as The Railway Travellers (undated) show off new technologies. Other games, such as Every man to his station (1825) provide moral instruction for children. Ellen Liman, a gallerist, author, and painter, valued the games for their artistry, and “appreciated their design, their excellent engraving and later lithography, the delicacy of the hand-coloring, not to mention the charm and ingenuity of every game.” Considering where this collection should ultimately reside, Ellen recalled her formative arts education experiences at Pembroke College, where she majored in art and took courses at RISD, and explains, “Brown was influential to this collection. Since these games are not only educational but rare small works of art, I naturally gravitated to them.” Ellen and Arthur continued to engender an appreciation for antique board games in their son Doug, who has loaned part of his collection of 19th– and early 20th-century French games to this exhibition. Doug, who during his first year at Brown created BTV, Brown’s student-run television station, said: “As a filmmaker of movies and television series, I think of these old French games as early movies or plays, telling stories in a beautiful, artistic, and concise visual format.”

As the turn from the 18th to the 19th century approached in Great Britain, parents and teachers embraced a suggestion from the philosopher John Locke that “learning might be made a play and recreation to children.” A market for board games for instruction and delight flourished, but very few examples survive today. Those that have survived open a window onto the time period in which they were created, reflecting its social and moral priorities as well as a wide range of educational subjects. The games themselves are beautifully detailed: produced by a handful of the best-known publishers of the era, the hand-color engraved games look as vibrant and colorful as they did two centuries ago. Many of the games in the Limans’ collection include not only a game board, but original cases and instruction booklets as well.

The games join the John Hay Library’s rich collections of material on popular culture, and will be available online in May, and in the John Hay Library special collections reading room following the exhibition.

Dates: May 21 – October 11, 2019
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

Event | American Sinologist Charles S. Gardner and the Chinese Collection at Brown with Dr. Li Wang

Dr. Li Wang in the East Asian Collection room at the Rockefeller Library

On Friday, May 10, 2019 at 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Dr. Li Wang, Curator of East Asian Collection, will give a presentation, “American Sinologist Charles S. Gardner and Chinese Collection at Brown.”

This talk is free and open to the public. Coffee and cookies will be available.

The talk is based on Dr. Wang’s recent focused studies regarding Charles Sidney Gardner (1900-1966), a noted Sinologist and former Harvard University professor, who donated his entire personal collection, including a large number of Chinese rare books, to Brown University Library in his late years. It provides brief biological information on the family life, education, and scholarly career of Gardner, especially his link to China, a country where he lived as a visiting scholar during the 1920s and 1930s.

More information on Gardner and his collection

The talk will also address Gardner’s scholarly contributions and influences as a pioneer of American Chinese studies to the field. With regard to Gardner’s network and friendship with many Western and Chinese scholars, the talk will demonstrate various rare archival items recently found in the Collection. After reviewing Gardner’s insightful ideas and practices on building Chinese library collections, Dr. Wang will describe the process of Gardner’s valuable donations in the 1960s and present current developments at the Brown Library East Asian Collection.

For more information, please see the article by Li Wang: “A Cultural Envoy Who Should Not Be Forgotten: American Sinologist Charles S. Gardner and His Chinese Collection,” China Reading Weekly, April 3, 2019, available in Chinese and English.

Date: Friday, May 10, 2019
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect St, Providence

Announcement | Amanda Strauss Named Associate University Librarian for Special Collections

The Brown University Library is pleased to announce the appointment of Amanda Strauss as Associate University Librarian for Special Collections.

As Associate University Librarian, Ms. Strauss will oversee the University’s outstanding collections of rare books, manuscripts, archives, and other unique and special materials. Reporting to and working in close partnership with Joseph Meisel, Joukowsky Family University Librarian, she will oversee the curators, staff, and operations of the John Hay Library and provide leadership for special collections stewardship, acquisitions, scholarly programming, research and education services, and resource development.

In the course of an extensive nationwide search, Ms. Strauss, who is currently Manager of Special Projects and Digital Services at the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, impressed Library staff and participating faculty members with her experience and compelling ideas for advancing the mission of special collections at Brown. University Librarian Meisel said, “I am delighted that Amanda will be joining the Brown University Library in this critical leadership position. She will bring a dynamic vision to the John Hay Library and raise its profile as one of the nation’s great special collections libraries.

”As a member of the Brown University Library’s senior leadership team, Ms. Strauss will be a key contributor to shaping the Library’s strategic directions, advancing Library-wide planning and evaluation, and developing policies and procedures to promote operational excellence. She will work with faculty and Library staff to promote the use of Brown’s special collections holdings in research, teaching, exhibitions, outreach, and public programs across all academic divisions, while also bringing to bear her knowledge of the array of current tools for developing innovative digital initiatives for enhancing delivery of special collections content and services to scholarly and non-scholarly audiences alike.

An essential part of Ms. Strauss’ work will be to actively develop and contribute to initiatives that advance diversity and inclusion in special collections and throughout the Library. She will direct the Hay’s curatorial staff in evaluating collections strengths, setting acquisition priorities, and establishing effective collection management practices. How special collections are understood and used—especially through the lens of equity and inclusion—is an area where she brings experience and insight. Drawing upon her success at promoting institutional collaborations at the Schlesinger Library, Ms. Strauss will also help build stronger programmatic ties with other institutions at Brown, such as the John Carter Brown Library, the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities, the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, as well as exploring new opportunities for external partnerships.


Ms. Strauss earned both her MLIS with a concentration in Archival Studies and her MA in History from Simmons College. She also holds a BA in History and Spanish from Willamette University. The author of “Treading the Ground of Contested Memory: Archivists and the Human Rights Movement in Chile” (Archival Science 2015), she is a scholar of human rights archives as well as twentieth century women’s movements in the United States. Her path into special collections administration is rooted in research services, where she specialized in teaching with primary sources. While at Schlesinger, her particular focus has been on visioning and managing the library’s cutting-edge digital services program. Among other accomplishments at Schlesinger, Ms. Strauss developed and managed significant grant-funded projects, notably the Long 19th Amendment Project, which commemorates the centennial of the 19th Amendment, as well as the large-scale effort to document the digital footprint of the #metoo movement.


Ms. Strauss’ first day at the Brown University Library will be July 1. We look forward to welcoming her to Brown and working together to develop a compelling and creative vision to strengthen the activities and wider visibility of the John Hay Library as a center of scholarship and education.