Announcement | Recipients of Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research 2020

Each year, in partnership with the Office of the Dean of the College, the Brown University Library recognizes one or two undergraduate students for outstanding research projects that make creative and extensive use of the Library’s collections, including, but not limited to, print resources, databases, primary resources, and materials in all media. The project may take the form of a traditional paper, a database, a website, or other digital project. The prize winners receive $750 each, funded through an endowment established by Douglas Squires ’73.

2020 Prize Recipients

Abby Wells ’21

photo of Abby Wells
Abby Wells ’21

Abby Wells’ paper, “दे वि!मा#हा#त्म्य, Δούργα Μεταφρασθεῖσα ἐκ τοῦ Βραχμάνικου, and Devimahatmyam, Markandeyi Purani Sectio Edidit Latinam Interpretationem: A Comparative Analysis of Greek and Latin Translations of the Devīmāhātmya,” compares translations of the Devīmāhātmya, a Hindu religious text, to offer a unique analysis of grammar, content, and interpretation across three languages, including Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit.

Wells made creative and extensive use of the Library’s collection by locating the Greek and Latin translations of the Devīmāhātmya in the John Hay Library and Google Books, respectively. The award committee was especially impressed by the project’s use of materials made available through the John Hay Library, Google Books, and the Hathi Trust. This project truly spans the full use of library holdings and digital collections available within and beyond Brown University.

Sicheng Luo ’20

Photo of Sicheng Luo
Sicheng Luo ’20

Sicheng Luo was selected for her fascinating project, “The Symbol of the Pineapple Used for Clocks,” which explores the symbolism of pineapples in art and artifacts based on a mutual misunderstanding between China and the West. The project leaned heavily on a variety of Library resources and in-depth research consultations with Brown librarians.

Luo’s project, which was initially inspired by a popular television show in China called “National Treasures,” offers the reader an intensive explanation of the history of the pineapple symbol found on a clock made in the Qing Dynasty in China, which is currently on reserve in the Imperial Museum in Beijing.

Luo credits the availability of artist books, scanners, and in-person research consultations at the Library as the foundation of this incredible art history project.

More information about the Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research and past winners.

A Message from the University Library to Graduate Programs and Students | Access to Scholarly Resources during Campus Closure

Dear Department Chairs, Directors of Graduate Studies, and Graduate Students,

Joseph S. Meisel, Joukowsky Family
University Librarian

At the Brown University Library, we are well aware that the COVID-19 public health crisis is having an impact on graduate students’ ability to study for qualifying exams and carry out thesis and dissertation research. At Brown, as is the case at universities across the country, we know that suspending all onsite activity at the Library is contributing to these challenges.  

I am writing to let you know about the work we have been doing to strengthen how the Library supports graduate students under these circumstances, and to ensure that you are aware of the resources that are available to help you move forward with your scholarship.

Individual Research Help

You can connect directly with a Library expert in your area who can support your research, answer questions, provide you with digital content, and offer reliable scholarly guidance during this time of stress and uncertainty. 

Increased Digital Access

Significantly expanded access to digital content is being made available during the COVID-19 pandemic. More digital scholarly content continues to be made freely accessible, and we are regularly updating our list as this happens.

The Library offers several ways to access digital content:

  1. Through our existing systems
  • Search Josiah, the online catalog, for books, articles, and other materials that Brown owns or subscribes to in electronic formats.
  • Request items through Interlibrary Loan. Requests are continuing to be filled for articles available electronically.
  • Many items from our physical collection are now available electronically via HathiTrust. We have added a link to the HathiTrust version to the records in Josiah. You will need to login with your Brown University web credentials to access the content.
  1. By contacting a librarian

You can request items by emailing rock@brown.edu (general) and hay@brown.edu (special collections).

  •  Library experts can help you locate materials available at Brown and elsewhere.
  • If you are looking for a book that exists in electronic format to which Brown does not currently have access, we will purchase that item if it is possible to do so.  
  • Special collections librarians will seek to identify primary source material in digital format through other libraries and archives that can contribute to students’ research. They can also offer individualized consultations regarding research methods and organizing your digital research files. Special collections is working on other creative solutions to provide digital access to its collections and to connect students with digital content at other institutions. The more we know about student research needs, the better we can deploy to find solutions.

Access to Physical Materials

We recognize that electronically available materials, however abundant, cannot address all scholarly needs and that digital content can also pose accessibility challenges. At this time, most university libraries have discontinued physical circulation and loans. For the health and safety of our staff, we are unable to provide physical access to Library materials until the University authorizes onsite activities to resume.  

As the University announced recently, President Paxson has charged a Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force with charting a path to the safe reopening of the campus. As the principles, process, and timeline for reopening emerge, the Library will be able to provide more information on how and when we can resume physical access to general and special collections materials. Like you, we are looking forward to that day.  

***

As researchers and scholarly experts ourselves, and as dedicated partners for you and your academic programs, we keenly appreciate the challenges you are facing in moving forward with your graduate studies. The Brown University Library is committed to doing whatever is possible under the circumstances to help you. To that end, we will continue to explore new ways to provide more of the content you need. In the meantime, keep telling us what you need and we’ll do our very best!

With best wishes for your safety and wellbeing,

Joe

Joseph S. Meisel
Joukowsky Family University Librarian

Exhibit | Dis/Assemble: Making Meaning from the Minassian Collection

Leaf, Minassian Collection of Persian, Mughal, and Indian Miniature Paintings

Dis/Assemble

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

Discussion

“Making Meaning from the Minassian Collection”
Monday, March 9, 2020
5:30 p.m.
Lownes Room, John Hay Library

Guests

  • 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
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Announcement | #LibraryLove Poetry at the Rock

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.

Vote here

The winner: “Separation” by W. S. Merwin.

Thanks for voting!

The poems on display:

  1. Harjo, Joy. For Keeps by Joy Harjo – Poems | Academy of American Poets. https://poets.org/poem/keeps. Accessed 13 Feb. 2020.
  2. Vuong, Ocean. “In Defense of Dancing.” Guernica, 1 Apr. 2012, https://www.guernicamag.com/in-defense-of-dancing/.
  3. Asghar, Fatimah. “My Love for Nature by Fatimah Asghar.” Poetry Magazine, 13 Feb. 2020, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/90290/my-love-for-nature.
  4. Oberman, Miller. “On Trans by Miller Oberman.” Poetry Magazine, 13 Feb. 2020, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/57983/on-trans.
  5. Jordan, June. “Poem for My Love by June Jordan.” Poetry Foundation, 13 Feb. 2020, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/49218/poem-for-my-love.
  6. Lorde, Audre. “Recreation by Audre Lorde.” Poetry Foundation, 13 Feb. 2020, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/42579/recreation.
  7. Merwin, Poetry. “Separation by W. S. Merwin.” Poetry Magazine, 13 Feb. 2020, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/28891/separation-56d21285b2140.
  8. Cassarino, Stacie. “Snowshoe to Otter Creek.” Zero at the Bone, 1st ed., New Issues Poetry and Prose, 2009, p. 91.
  9. Larkin, Poetry. “Want by Joan Larkin.” Poetry Foundation, 13 Feb. 2020, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/54384/want.
  10. 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.

Event | The Evolving Image of Shaker Life with Rob Emlen

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

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.

Date: Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

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.

Exhibit | Early American & English Bookplates 18th-20th C.

Sonia Lustig
Bookplate Collection

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 TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Event | #LibraryLove 2020

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:

Cookies + ❤️

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

Buttons 😍

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.

Exhibit | Intercalary Event 2020

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, 5 – 7PM

Exhibit Dates: January 21, 2020 – December 18, 2020
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Willis Reading Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Events | Love Data Week 2020

What is Love Data Week?

Love Data Week is an international celebration of data, aiming to raise awareness and build a community to engage on topics related to research data management, sharing, preservation, reuse, and library-based research data services.

#LoveData20

Join us and register for Brown’s Inaugural Love Data Week February 10 – 14, 2020!

Brown’s Love Data Week is sponsored by the Office of Vice President for Research (OVPR) and the University Library. 

What is the theme for 2020?

The theme of Love Data Week 2020 is get to know the data specialists at your institution, the kinds of work they do, and the data and associated issues with which these data specialists engage.

Who should I contact to learn more?

To participate or get more information, email data_management@brown.edu.

Announcement | Hortense J. Spillers Papers Open for Research

The Pembroke Center’s Feminist Theory Archive and the John Hay Library are proud to announce that the Hortense J. Spillers papers are open for research.

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 pembroke_archives@brown.edu.