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.
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.
On Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Scott Rettburg, Professor of Digital Culture in the department of linguistic, literary, and aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen, Norway, will give a talk entitled, “Electronic Literature: Threads of Practice and Literary Genre in Digital Writing.” The talk is free and open to the public.
In the talk, Professor Rettberg will discuss his new book, Electronic Literature, in which he places the most significant genres of electronic literature in historical, technological, and cultural contexts. These include combinatory poetics, hypertext fiction, interactive fiction (and other game-based digital literary work), kinetic and interactive poetry, and networked writing based on our collective experience of the Internet. He argues that electronic literature demands to be read both through the lens of experimental literary practices dating back to the early twentieth century and through the specificities of the technology and software used to produce the work.
Rettberg will give a brief presentation of the methods and themes of the book, which will be followed by a discussion between Rettberg and Cayley.
Scott Rettberg is Professor of Digital Culture in the department of linguistic, literary, and aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. Rettberg is the author or coauthor of novel-length works of electronic literature, combinatory poetry, and films including The Unknown, Kind of Blue, Implementation, Frequency, The Catastrophe Trilogy, Three Rails Live, Toxi•City, Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project and others. His creative work has been exhibited both online and at art venues including the Venice Biennale, Inova Gallery, Rom 8, the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum, Palazzo dell Arti Napoli and elsewhere. Rettberg is the author of Electronic Literature (Polity, 2019), the first comprehensive study of the histories and genres of electronic literature and winner of the 2019 N. Katherine Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature.
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
On Friday, November 8, 2019 at 3 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Elaine Sullivan, Associate Professor of History at UC Santa Cruz, will give a talk entitled, “Constructing the Sacred: Visibility and Ritual Landscape at the Egyptian Necropolis of Saqqara.”
This event is free and open to the public.
Constructing the sacred: Visibility and ritual landscape at the Egyptian necropolis of Saqqara
This talk will discuss Sullivan’s forthcoming born digital publication which utilizes a 3D reconstruction model to examine the importance of visibility and landscape change at the ancient Egyptian necropolis of Saqqara. The project will be published as an online only monograph by Stanford University Press in winter 2020 and includes a dynamic 3D GIS model as part of the publication.
Dr. Sullivan is an Egyptologist and a Digital Humanist. Her work focuses on applying new technologies to ancient cultural materials. She acts as the project coordinator of the Digital Karnak Project, a multi-phased 3D virtual reality model of the famous ancient Egyptian temple complex of Karnak. She is project director of 3D Saqqara, which harnesses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies and 3D modeling to explore the ritual and natural landscape of the famous cemetery of Saqqara through both space and time.
Her field experience in Egypt includes five seasons of excavation with Johns Hopkins University at the temple of the goddess Mut (Luxor), as well as four seasons in the field with a UCLA project in the Egyptian Fayum, at the Greco-Roman town of Karanis.
Because of a broad interest in the history and material culture of the larger ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean worlds, she has also excavated at sites in Syria, Italy and Israel. Dr. Sullivan received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Egyptian Art and Archaeology from Johns Hopkins University. Her B.A. (Magna Cum Laude) in History is from Duke University.
Join the Brown University Library for an unforgettable night of poetry, fiction, and discussion of how library and archival research is essential to creative and literary endeavors. Lauren Russell and Megan Milks will both read from their works, followed by a discussion led by librarians and archivists about how they are using primary sources. A Q&A period will conclude the presentation.
The first event in the Authors in the Archives series, this talk will take place on Monday, October 28, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. in the Willis Reading Room of the John Hay Library.
Free and open to the public. A light reception will follow the talk.
Lauren Russell is the author of What’s Hanging on the Hush (Ahsahta Press, 2017) and Descent, a winner of the 2019 Tarpaulin Sky Book Awards and a finalist for the National Poetry Series, forthcoming from Tarpaulin Sky Press in 2020. A 2017 NEA Creative Writing Fellow in Poetry, she has also received fellowships and residencies from Cave Canem, The Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, VIDA/The Home School, the Rose O’Neill Literary House, the Millay Colony, and City of Asylum/Passa Porta. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, boundary 2, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, and Bettering American Poetry 2015, among others. She is assistant director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh.
Megan Milksis the recipient of the 2019 Lotos Foundation Prize in Fiction Writing. Their first book, Kill Marguerite and Other Stories, won the 2015 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award in Fiction and was named a Lambda Literary Award finalist. They have also published four chapbooks, most recently Kicking the Baby and The Feels, an exploration of fan fiction and affect. Their critical writing, for which they won a 2014 Critical Hit Award from Electric Lit, has been published in 4Columns, Los Angeles Book Review, and The New Inquiry, among other venues. Their work as editor includes The &NOW Awards 3: The Best Innovative Writing, 2011-2013 (Northwestern UP, 2015) and Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives (Routledge, 2014); currently, they edit the Fiction section of The Account.
Authors in the Archives
The Authors in the Archives series features notable writers whose work is brought to fruition through their creative and sagacious use of primary source materials.
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.