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

Workshop | Coming Out of the Archives

Coming Out of the Archives poster

Celebrate National Coming Out Day at a hands-on workshop where you can explore pulp fiction, photographs, activist ephemera, meeting records, and more from the Library’s special collections. Plus, use a button maker and copies of queer documents to make your own buttons!

Three workshops will take place in the Bopp Seminar Room at the John Hay Library on Friday, October 11. Registration is requested. Each workshop is capped at 14 participants. Please register for only one workshop time. All three sessions will cover the same material.

Click on the links below or scan the QR code to register for the workshop at your chosen time:

Date: Friday, October 11, 2019
Time: 12 p.m., 1:15 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.
Location: Bopp Seminar Room, 3rd Floor, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Announcement | Network of Women Writers and Readers Crux of John Hay Library’s Janis Ian Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy


The John Hay Library is now home to renowned recording artist, writer, and activist Janis Ian’s collection of personally inscribed works of science fiction and fantasy, many by women and LGBTQ authors. 

Janis Ian holding guitar
Janis Ian

Providence, R.I. [Brown University Library] The John Hay Library at Brown University is delighted to announce the acquisition of Janis Ian’s personal library, including collections of books of contemporary science fiction and fantasy authors inscribed to her. Among these authors are Anne McCaffrey, George R. R. Martin, Mercedes Lackey, Mike Resnick, Nancy Kress, Neil Gaiman, Connie Willis, Harlan Ellison, Jane Yolen, Tanith Lee, Diane Duane, and many others. In all, the Library received approximately 200 volumes from Ms. Ian’s collection.

The John Hay Library is the Brown University Library’s repository for rare books, manuscripts, archives, and other special collections. Its holdings of U.S. and Canadian poetry, plays, and vocal music dating from 1609 to the present day are considered to be among the largest and most comprehensive of their kind in any research library, including significant clusters in women’s writings, LGBTQ literature, science fiction and fantasy, and modern first editions.

cover of The Dragonriders of Pern
Cover of “The Dragonriders of Pern” by Anne McCaffrey, part of the Janis Ian Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy at the John Hay Library

The Janis Ian Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy will take its place alongside unique items like the only surviving manuscript of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the preeminent collection of H. P. Lovecraft’s papers, and a robust array of writings by more recent masters of speculative fiction such as Caitlín Kiernan and Samuel Delany.

Heather Cole, Curator for Literature and Popular Culture at the Hay Library observed, “The Janis Ian Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy substantially increases our holdings of women science fiction and fantasy authors. In addition, the fact that the books were owned by Ms. Ian—most with inscriptions—provides a wonderful record of a network of women writers and readers, something that is not always easily captured in library collections. Already a broad area of strength at the Hay, our materials in the science fiction and fantasy genres are significantly enhanced by this exciting acquisition. Brown students and researchers are certain to make great use of these materials, furthering scholarship in the many important areas of inquiry that are supported by this collection.”

Title page of “The Dragonriders of Pern,” inscribed by author Anne McCaffrey to Janis Ian

A Grammy Award-winning singer and musician, Janis Ian has been writing and recording music for five decades with a total of ten Grammy nominations in eight different categories. She has been at the forefront of numerous social movements, using music as a force of change, and has impacted the lives and works of artists from Nina Simone to Johnny Cash to Joan Baez. Artists including Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Trevor Sewell have recorded duets with her.

Janis and her wife Pat are currently downsizing while Janis continues to make music and write children’s books, the first of which is the recently published The Tiny Mouse.

Ms. Ian’s library was cataloged by Mary Jo Duffy of Temporary Culture (Upper Montclair, New Jersey), who acted as Ms. Ian’s representative in the sale. Proceeds will benefit the Pearl Foundation, which endows scholarships for returning students.

Items in the Janis Ian Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy at the John Hay Library

The collection is currently in the process of being cataloged. Over 160 titles can now be found in the Library’s online catalog, with more titles being added each month.

Exhibit | The Malana Krongelb Zine Collection, 1974-2018

The Pembroke Center Archives at Brown University: women’s history is here!, 2018

Explore a sampling of this collection consisting of administrative files and zines that focus on social justice and marginalized identities dating from 1974 to 2018. Areas of strength include zines by and about people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other queer peoples, the disabled, interpersonal violence, sex and relationships, sex work, the prison industrial complex, self-care, feminism and punk.

Titles of particular interest include bluestockings magazine, a Brown University, Providence-based zine that challenges dominant media narratives by centering on communities systematically excluded from those discourses; Muchacha, a Latina feminist fanzine; SPACE (Space in Prison for Creative Arts and Expression), a zine that highlights the voices of incarcerated individuals in Rhode Island; Joyce Hatton’s Think About the Bubbles #8, which chronicles her struggles with cancer as a poor black woman; and Queer Indigenous Girl, a zine highlighting intersectional identities and activism.

Exhibit Dates: September 9 – 30, 2019
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | The Peterloo Massacre: A Bicentennial Remembrance

The wanton and furious attack made... Carlile, Richard, 1790-1843 (publisher), 1819.
The Wanton and Furious Attack Made…,Carlile, Richard, 1790-1843 (publisher), 1819.
Brown University Library, Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection

Examine two prints published in 1819 following The Peterloo Massacre and gain insight into an early 19th-century protest for political reform.

On August 16, 1819, a peaceful crowd of between 60,000 and 80,000 workers gathered in St. Peter’s Fields, Manchester, England, to voice their demands for political reform. Poor economic conditions and the lack of parliamentary representation in the years following the Battle of Waterloo led many textile workers who labored under dreadful conditions in the mills of north-west England, to march into the city to hear various speakers including the well-known radical orator, Henry Hunt. He represented the new political radicalism that was growing in the region, and the city magistrates were eager to quash it before serious problems arose. Shortly after the demonstrators had gathered, the magistrates ordered the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry to arrest Hunt and others who were accompanying him. As they charged into the crowd to carry out this order, they knocked down a woman and killed her child. The mass of demonstrators continued to present a threat, and the 15th Hussars were sent to disperse them along with the yeomanry. With sabers drawn, they charged into the crowd creating massive confusion resulting in the deaths of 18 people.

Exhibit Dates: Aug 1 -31, 2019
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Announcement | WBUR Features Library’s Gay Pulp Fiction Archive

Books from The Leatherman’s Handbook series (Photo by Miranda Suarez for WBUR)

WBUR.org has posted an article about the Gay Pulp Fiction collection at the John Hay Library.

Brown University Is Archiving Gay Pulp Fiction To Preserve A Moment Of LGBTQ History” by Miranda Suarez also features Heather Cole, Curator for Literary & Popular Culture Collections, and Finch Collins, a John Hay Library Undergraduate Fellow.

90.9 WBUR-FM is Boston’s NPR news station and the home of nationally syndicated programs, including On Point, Here & Now, Only A Game and Car Talk, which reach millions of listeners each week on NPR stations across the country and online. More info.

The WBUR article is mentioned on Literary Hub!

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 | 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.