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.
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
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 – December 1, 2021 Exhibit Time: John Hay Library Hours Exhibit Location: Willis Reading Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence
Spillers is an American literary critic, Black feminist scholar, and the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in English at Vanderbilt University. Her research addresses literary criticism, race and gender; linguistics; the African diaspora; Black culture; and sexuality. She is best known for her 1987 article, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book,” one of the most cited essays in African-American literary studies today.
The Hortense J. Spillers papers include handwritten diaries and journals on topics ranging from critical race theory and Moby Dick to the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Spillers’ first trip abroad in 1968. The collection also includes personal and professional correspondence with scholars such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Gayatri Spivak; and drafts of her talks, articles, and books, including “Isom,” “Conjuring,” and “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe.” Materials in this collection date from 1966 to 1995.
Spillers contributed her papers to the Feminist Theory Archive in the name of the Black Feminist Theory Project, established by the Pembroke Center in 2016.
For information on how to access these collections, please contact the Pembroke Center Archivist at [email protected].
Speeches by Civil Rights leaders and other renowned public intellectuals will be preserved and made available for scholarship.
Providence, R.I. [Brown University] The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has awarded the Brown University Library $23,215 from its Recordings at Risk program. One of 13 projects selected out of 34 to receive grants from the program, the Library’s proposal, “Brown University Archives Audio-Visual Collection: Global Perspectives from Campus Speeches,” will allow us to digitize and make available to the public a large selection of audio and video recordings of speeches by leading public figures invited to Brown between 1950 and 1995.
103 cassette tapes, 198 film reels, and 44 VHS tapes–345 items total–will be digitized through use of the funding. This substantial set of materials document changing intellectual and social currents across the United States and the world on topics including social justice, politics, education, and the media–all of which still resonate today. There is a particularly fascinating set of recordings from Civil Rights leaders, notably Ralph Abernathy, Shirley Chisholm, Martin Luther King, Jr., and A. Philip Randolph.
Over the next nine months, outside vendor George Blood LP will convert the media into digital files. A team of Special Collections staff and students will review the digitized files and create accurate and complete descriptive information. The final content will be uploaded into the Brown Digital Repository, where it will be available for research in October 2020.
The John Hay Library is pleased to be hosting the second session of the “Viewing Topography Across the Globe” workshop, taking place on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 from 2 – 4 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library.
“Viewing the Minassian Collection” with Shahzad Bashir (Aga Khan Professor of Islam and the Humanities, Brown University) and Holly Shaffer (Assistant Professor of History of Art & Architecture, Brown University), and graduate students in Tracing Translations (HMAN 2400R)
“Viewing the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection” with Peter Harrington (Curator of the Military Collection, John Hay Library)
This workshop is sponsored by the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, the John Carter Brown Library, the John Hay Library, and the Lewis Walpole Library; it is part of the programming for the Collaborative Humanities course, Tracing Translations: Artistic Migrations and Reinventions in the Early Modern World, and is part of a series on topography organized by the Lewis Walpole Library at Yale University.
The session will be followed by tea and other light refreshments in the lobby of the John Hay Library.
Thought to be designed and engraved by Revere, this print depicts the baptism of Christ, by full immersion. John the Baptist is shown holding Jesus in the Jordan River. Interpreted as the 12 Apostles watch from the bank while two pairs of angels on clouds flank the top corners. A sun with mirrored Hebrew lettering (Tetragrammaton) from which two rays of light emanate, a dove on left and on right the words “This is my beloved Son –hear ye him”, or scripture Luke 9:35 from the Christian Holy Bible.
There are 5 known original prints of this plate. Found inside a medical book at Brown University in 2012, the rare illustration was part of a donation by physician Solomon Drowne, Brown class of 1773. Among the surviving engravings, paper and sheet size vary; the Brown University Library copy on laid paper demonstrates the plate print slightly askew.
Exhibit Dates: December 5, 2019 – January 31, 2020 Exhibit Time: John Hay Library Hours Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence
The Library is pleased to announce the acquisition of books and manuscripts from the personal library of Daniel G. Siegel ’57, a member of the Library Advisory Council, a board member on the Friends of the Library, and a long and dedicated supporter of special collections at Brown. Mr. Siegel has twice received the Library’s highest honor, the William Williams Award–once as an individual for his generous gifts to special collections and once as a 2012 member of the Library Advisory Council for its support of the renovation of the John Hay Library.
Comprising over 3,000 books and 100 manuscripts, the items included in this recent gift focus mainly on American literature, American history, and the history of science, but also encompass a broad range of other subjects. The gift is particularly strong in association copies, which document the various ways in which intellectuals and activists interacted with ideas and with one another.
Outstanding Highlights of the Gift
Highlights of the gift include:
A first edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass inscribed by Whitman and Oscar Wilde
Lydia Maria Child’s Letters from New York inscribed to Margaret Fuller
King George III’s copy of Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s copy of the report on the Dred Scott case
Typescript of Philip Roth’s early short story “The Conversion of the Jews”
A letter from Albert Einstein discussing the Rosenbergs’ trial and Stalinist purges
A draft of the constitution of the Confederate States of America with annotations and corrections by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stevens
First editions of 19th century Russian novels
A complete set of pamphlets by visionary rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
The gift expands on the existing holdings in Special Collections in nearly every direction, adding works of significant interest to alcohol and addiction studies, the development of the American West, the history of technology and its uses, natural history and materia medica, the Civil War era, women’s rights, religion, and social reforms of all kinds.
The materials in this gift reflect Mr. Siegel’s expansive vision of collecting and are an invaluable addition to the John Hay Library’s resources for research and teaching. The items in this gift join those from previous gifts from Mr. Siegel, which include the only surviving manuscript of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and foundational works in the history of science.
Daniel G. Siegel ’57 Fellowship
To honor Mr. Siegel’s breathtaking generosity and the impact of his giving on special collections at Brown, the Library has established the Daniel G. Siegel ’57 Fellowship, a specialized component of the John Hay Library Undergraduate Fellowship Program.
The fellowship review committee will select one John Hay Library Undergraduate Fellow to be the Siegel Fellow, whose research focuses specifically on the collections of American literature and/or history at the Hay. Like the other fellows in the cohort, the Siegel Fellow will spend ten weeks in the summer building research skills using primary sources to develop an original project. Projects can take the form of a traditional research paper or may be creative or digital in format. Projects do not have to be completed by the end of the summer; the fellowship can serve as a start for a senior thesis, be a further exploration of work begun during a course, or allow a student a non-evaluative framework within which to explore a new topic. Fellows will work primarily in the Hay’s Gildor Family Special Collections Reading Room and will participate in a wide range of relevant workshops, with topics such as the history of the book and letterpress printing. All fellows will present their projects at a showcase in the fall.
Peruse the gallery and discover what is new and unique about Special Collections at the Hay Library. Explore recent acquisitions from the 14th century to the present through the lens of renowned Brown faculty, and gain insight into the place where the past, present and individual connect.
Opening reception: Friday, November 22nd, 4-6 PM
Dates: November 22, 2019 – February 28, 2020 Time: John Hay Library Hours Location: Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence
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 Time: John Hay Library Hours Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence