Announcement | Curator Li Wang Interviewed by China Library Weekly

During the recent 2017 Beijing International Book Fair–the second largest book fair in the world–Dr. Li Wang, Curator of Brown’s East Asian Collection, was interviewed by China Library Weekly, the only library newspaper published in China. Dr. Wang spoke about Brown University Library as well as his professional activities and perspectives. In the special issue, dated August 25, 2017, a large picture of Brown’s John Hay Library was presented on the newspaper’s front page and a full internal page featured Wang and the interview, entitled: “Librarian Should be an Envoy of Cross-Cultural Exchange.”

Based on his recent study of the mission and vision statements that reflect the new strategies of knowledge services in North American academic research libraries, Wang briefly summarized his ideas on the relationship between libraries and teaching and research at universities. He stressed that, aligning with the educational missions and with the teaching and research goals of their home universities, libraries should further redefine themselves, assume a new role as an academic partner, and engage more actively in knowledge innovation and the research process. That is just what Brown University Library proclaims in its mission statement: “Partnering with students, faculty, staff, and members of the global scholarly community, we foster and guide the creation, acquisition, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge at Brown and beyond in a spirit of free and open inquiry.”

In terms of promoting cross-cultural exchange, Wang also shared his experience in recent years, especially through exhibitions, presentations, travel reports, and other activities in this effort. Wang says, ”The librarian should not only be a manager and educator of scholarly resources. We, as scholars of Chinese studies, should also become an envoy of cross-cultural exchange, creating a genial cultural ambience so as to facilitate cultural exchange and understanding in a global context.”

Click here to read the article in Chinese, or read the translation below (translated by Yanqing Shen ’18).

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Event | Coffee and Conversation with Ian Fetters, S. T. Joshi Fellow

Please join the Brown University Library on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 12 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library for coffee and conversation with S. T. Joshi Endowed Research Fellow Ian Fetters.

Mr. Fetters, a teaching fellow at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, will discuss his ongoing research at the Library using the Lovecraft Collection. His talk will focus on his project, “Lovecraft’s Dark Continent: At the Mountains of Madness and Antarctic Literature.”

Come early or stay afterward and view the Library’s two new exhibitions. Greetings & Salutations : Lovecraft on the Road is a focused tracing of Lovecraft’s meandering bus trip from Providence, Rhode Island to DeLand, Florida between April and August, 1934. The Caitlín R. Kiernan Papers @ Brown University Library is a mid-career review highlighting Kiernan’s recent gift of her personal and professional archives.

Date: Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room, Second Floor, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

H.P. Lovecraft on the Road & Caitlín R. Kiernan Papers

Greetings and Salutations: Lovecraft on the Road  &  Caitlín R. Kiernan Papers @ Brown University on view at John Hay Library, exhibition gallery from August 16 – December 15, 2017.

Greetings and Salutations: Lovecraft on the Road

Journey from Providence, Rhode Island, to St. Augustine, Florida, during the spring and summer of 1934 with one of America’s most influential fantasy and horror fiction writers. Explore the life, past and places of Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890–1937) through his correspondence, postcards and related drawings from the Brown University Library, Special Collections.

Caitlín R. Kiernan Papers @ Brown University

With novels, chapbooks, comics and more than 250 short stories to her credit, science fiction and dark fantasy writer Caitlín R. Kiernan (b. 1964) is a prolific and independent force reflecting the formative influences of her youth, including H. P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, William S. Burroughs and Angela Carter.

The Brown University Library recently acquired the Caitlín R. Kiernan Papers, gifted by the author, consisting of personal papers, manuscripts, books, related artwork and objects. The collection represents both early and current works by the multiple award-winning author and published paleontologist. Additions to the collection will be made regularly by the author.

Exhibit | Schwedischen Fewerwerks. Anno 1650

Schwedischen Fewerwerks. Anno 1650 (1652).

Schwedischen Fewerwerks. Anno 1650, on display at  the John Hay Library, 2nd Floor Landing from July 1 – July 31, 2017.

A depiction of the Swedish fireworks at Nuremberg in honor of the Swedish plenipotentiary in Germany, Count Palatine Carl Gustav (the future king of Sweden, Charles X Gustav).

Dates: July 1 – July 31, 2017
TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Mobile Verse: Bus and Subway Poetry

“Reflective” A. R. Ammons (1926–2001), Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York, NY), ca. 1992–1996

The Mobile Verse: Bus and Subway Poetry from the Harris Broadside Collection is now showing at John Hay Library, exhibition gallery from June 26 – July 26, 2017.

Explore poetry from the United States and Great Britain that was designed to be enjoyed on buses and subway cars from the 1970s through the 1990s. Growing in popularity, public- and private-sector programs such as these continue to link literary arts and transportation as a way to communicate, influence and curate through our communal environments. Selections from more than 300 examples highlight the young, mature, novice and experienced poets of diverse backgrounds and locations as they share on various topics.

Dates: June 26 – July 26, 2017
TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Location: Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Audubon Bird Cards

Audubon Bird Cards, Set No. 3
New York: National Association of Audubon Societies, 1974

On display in the second floor landing case of the John Hay Library, this box of cards depicting fifty summer birds of eastern North America was the third in a reissued series that also contained winter birds (set one), and spring birds (set two). The front of each card features a masterful color portrait by Allan Brooks (1869–1946). The back contains the bird’s common name, as well as its description, classification, scientific name and migration range.

Founded in 1905, the National Association of Audubon Societies for the Protection of Wild Birds and Animals eventually broadened its mission to include the conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems and habitats “for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.” A pamphlet accompanying each set of bird cards describes the organization and its work.

Special Collections has myriad Audubon-related treasures, including Bird Cards sets one and two (1929), postcards (1959), limited edition prints published by the Rhode Island Hospital Trust National Bank (1986) and a double-elephant folio edition of John J. Audubon’s Birds of America (London, 1827–1838).

Dates: June 1 – June 30, 2017
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor Landing Case, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | The Brown Bear: A History

The Brown Bear: A History

An Exhibit by Peter Mackie ’59, Sports Archivist
Now showing in the Willis Reading Room Cases, John Hay Library
May 22 – August 31, 2017

At the dawn of the 20th century, Brown was thriving. A new president, William H. P. Faunce, was in place; enrollment was approaching 1,000; new buildings were springing up, and a successful $2 million endowment fund campaign had been completed. Brown’s major teams were enjoying a new off-campus facility (Andrews Field) which had supplanted Lincoln Field. Athletics were emerging from the informal club team era under a newly established Director of Physical Education, Frederick W. “Doc” Marvel (1894). Students and alumni were becoming enthralled with intercollegiate athletics, especially with the developing fierce rivalry with Dartmouth.

Click here to view the online exhibit.

The search was on for a mascot to represent Brown and her teams, often called the Hilltoppers by the press. In 1902 a mascot attempt with a burro was a failure, but in 1904 Theodore Francis Green (1887) solved the problem. Annoyed by “painful attempts” of newspaper artists to come up with an appropriate figure to match the Bulldog and Tiger, Green placed the mounted head of a bear labeled THE BROWN BEAR in the Trophy Room of the new student union (Rockefeller Hall – now Faunce House). Green’s idea quickly took hold, and the bear was celebrated in verse, song, and image. In 1905 a live bear was rented for the Dartmouth football game in Springfield, beginning a famous tradition which, despite interruption by two world wars and the Great Depression, continued into the mid-1960’s. Live bear lore abounds with stories which defy contemporary imagination: college hijinks such as “bearnappings” and tragic bear deaths and funerals.

In addition to live bears, students donned bear costumes, a custom which continues to this day with Bruno and his sidekick Cubby, whose identities are kept secret. The first costumed bear was a group effort, when in 1906 at the Dartmouth game a student wrapped in a bear skin arrived in Springfield. In the post-game victory march back to the city, students took turns after each “bear” dropped exhausted in the frenzied swirling snake dance. Campus statuary has also reflected the importance of the Brown Bear to the Brown community. The Bronze Bruno (1927), Fountain Bear (1932), Swearer Bear (1988), and Indomitable (2013), all keep the Brown Bear symbol constantly in view.

The true meaning of the Brown Bear has been the cause of debate since the beginning. For years after its casting in 1923, Bronze Bruno remained in hibernation at Gorham Manufacturing Company while debate raged on about its meaning and proper placement. Today the use of the term Brown Bear extends to men’s and women’s athletic teams, Alumni Brown Bear Awards, and employee BEAR Day, to name a few.

The Brown Bear is deeply embedded in the DNA of Brown’s culture and daily life. Perhaps T. F. Green provides the best understanding of the Bear’s inclusive meaning:

“So our Brown Bear, around which we are now gathered, is a symbol of that Brown spirit which carries its meaning to alumni and undergraduates alike, with various meanings. Some mistake its message as a call of good luck to an athletic team. But its message is rather to carry into all our activities those virtues shown on the athletic field and symbolized in the Brown Bear – the virtues of strength, independence, and courage. May its symbol remind us of the College and keep alive our love and enthusiasm for old Brown.”

Dates: May 22 – August 31, 2017
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Willis Reading Room Cases, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

New Fellows to Further Research at the John Hay Library in 2017-2018

The John Hay Library will host two research fellows in the coming academic year, with support from the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium. While at the Hay Library, these scholars, whose projects are described in more detail below, will be using little known materials in the holdings of Special Collections in order to further their scholarly research.

Detail from St. Augustine of Hippo, De Ciuitate Dei (1467), Annmary Brown Memorial Collection 203, John Hay Library, showing printed text with hand applied rubrication and illuminated capitals

Renzo Baldasso, an Assistant Professor in the School of Art at Arizona State University, is currently at work on a study of printers in the early decades of the printing press (1453 to 1503 C.E.) — a period commonly known among historians as the incunabula era.  Baldasso’s research aims to discover how these printers “became masters of the page…to develop an independent print aesthetic” that differed from the aesthetic approaches used to produce the handwritten illuminated manuscript. With expertise in both Renaissance art and the history of science, Baldasso is uniquely qualified to undertake this intensive study of rare volumes. He will be focusing his work at the Hay Library on the 600 incunabula in the Annmary Brown Memorial Collection, for which Richard Noble, the Library’s rare books cataloguer, has been diligently working to enhance existing descriptive information.

Selected pages from the papers of Jean Bethke Elshtain (Ms. 2011.039), Feminist Theory Archive, John Hay Library

Alexander Jacobs, a recent PhD and current postdoctoral lecturer in History at Vanderbilt University, works on “the tangled histories and multiple meanings of liberalism and conservatism in modern American thought and politics” — a topic that formed the nucleus of his 2016 doctoral dissertation, Pessimism and Progress, a study of Conservatism within the political Left. While at the Hay Library, he will be looking at manuscript material in the Feminist Theory Archive, focusing in particular on the papers of Jean Bethke Elshtain.

The New England Regional Fellowship Consortium (NERFC) is a growing body of New England cultural institutions which seek to enhance scholarly access to their collections by offering grants for 8 weeks of study in the holdings of at least three of the participating institutions. The program is competitive and attracts scholars working on a broad range of topics. The John Hay Library, a NERFC member since 2014, has previously hosted fellows working on topics such as the fear of nuclear explosion during the Cold War, 19th century panoramic spectacles, and humor in the gay liberation and feminist movements.

Retweets, Shares, and Likes: Increasing the Impact of Research Through the Preservation and Sharing of Data

Justine Allen, Derya Akkaynak (from http://news.brown.edu/articles/2017/05/cuttlefish)

Last week, an article co-authored by Dr. Justine Allen appeared in the scientific journal The American Naturalist. Dr. Allen received her Ph.D. from Brown University in 2014, completing her graduate work under Professor Roger Hanlon at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. The article describes the behaviors of two male cuttlefish fighting over a female mate, behaviors that were recorded on video and in photographs taken by the authors while on a dive off the coast of Turkey. The video has since been seen tens of thousands of times, demonstrating the impact of research through the preservation and sharing of data.

To view Dr. Allen and her co-authors’ data in the BDR please visit:

Akkaynak, Derya, and Allen, Justine J., “Dramatic fighting by male cuttlefish for a female mate” (2011). Data for Publications. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.https://doi.org/10.7301/Z0PR7SX4.

In order to analyze the recorded behaviors, the researchers created a scoring guide to document the types and characteristics of the organisms involved and their actions and the duration of the actions at certain timestamps in the film footage and on each still image. Before Dr. Allen and her co-authors submitted their manuscript for peer review and publication, they reached out to Hope Lappen, Biomedical and Life Sciences Librarian, and Andrew Creamer, Scientific Data Management Librarian, to get help with their questions about copyright and licenses for publishing and distributing their data, and for assistance with curating and depositing the files (the video, images, and analysis data underlying their paper’s findings) into an online collection in the Library’s Brown Digital Repository (BDR).

The BDR is the Library’s platform for making digital collections available online. The BDR has a collection called “Data for Publications,” which is an online gallery for Brown researchers to preserve the supplementary materials accompanying their published articles or the data underlying their results and conclusions. The BDR also allows researchers to cite these materials and data in their publications and to make these files available to other researchers and the public online.

Andrew worked with Ann Caldwell, the Library’s Metadata Librarian and Head of Digital Production Services, to plan out the descriptive information for each catalog record associated with their data set and the minimum documentation necessary to interpret the data. This process is iterative and involves collaborating with the authors to collect these details and create their records in the BDR with the aim of facilitating search, discovery, access, and citation of these materials online. Ann’s staff also helped to convert the film and image file formats into ones that are appropriate for long-term preservation.

Upon deposit of the files in the Library’s BDR, Andrew and Ann work with Joseph Rhoads, the BDR’s Manager, and Ben Cail, the BDR’s programmer, to display the files according to the wishes of the researchers. For the cuttlefish paper, the authors wanted to be able to not only preserve the original video and image files in the BDR, but also to stream the video so that readers could view the video from its record the BDR.  After files are uploaded, Joseph and Ben provide the researchers with a URL and a unique identifier, called a digital object identifier (DOI), that they can use to cite these materials within their article so that reviewers of their paper or interested readers can have access to them. By depositing the data in the BDR and citing the data within the paper, the authors allow readers to learn more about the science and judge the rigor and validity of their published findings. This transparency can help move science forward.

So what is the big deal about making these materials public? In short, the answer is impact. Scientists want to spread knowledge and know that their research can resonate with the public. By depositing their video with the Library and citing and sharing their video, Dr. Allen and her co-authors were able to reach more people than they would have through the publication of their article alone. How many more people? One week after publication of the article, their cuttlefish video had been viewed by over 140,000 people online! In addition, the video had been reported on the websites and social media feeds of the New York Times, National Geographic, and Science and reported on the websites and on the Facebook and Twitter and similar social media feeds of media outlets in several countries, including Germany’s Der Spiegel. These posts have been shared, liked, and retweeted by people fascinated with the dramatic events the research team captured on film.

Dr. Allen and her co-authors are not alone. A team of Brown undergraduates led by Dean Adetunji, Associate Dean of the College for Undergraduate Research and Inclusive Science, have deposited the file of a video in the Library’s BDR on the science of seeing color that has also has had over 100,000 views. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the National Science Foundation including broader and societal impact among the review criteria it uses to evaluate grant proposals submitted by researchers. The Library’s BDR plays a crucial role in helping to preserve and disseminate the digital outputs of Brown’s research community, including their broader impact materials that they have created for educating students or the public about their research. Videos, images, software, and documents that could easily be lost after the publication of an article now get cataloged by the Library and put online and discovered, accessed, and cited by other researchers and the public.

Exhibit | La conquista dell’Abissinia (The conquest of Abyssinia)

The John Hay Library has a new acquisition on display in the second floor landing case:

La conquista dell’Abissinia/ The conquest of Abyssinia
Officine dell’Istituto italiano d’arti grafiche/ Office of the Italian Institute of Graphic Arts
Board game (paper and ink)
Milano: Carlo Erba S.A., 1936
Brown University Library, Special Collections

The item will be on display until May 31, 2017.

This Italian board game was created in 1936 by Officine dell’Istituto italiano d’arti grafiche in Bergamo during the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini in the midst of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War (also referred as the Second Italo-Abyssinian War). The game was printed to advertise products from various Italian companies while spreading colonial propaganda that applauded the expansion of the Kingdom of Italy. This piece featured a powder to make artificial mineral water by the pharmaceutical company Carlo Erba, S.A.

Play is based on the rules of the European “game of the goose,” in which two or more players move pieces along a track of consecutively numbered spaces by rolling one or two dice. La conquista dell’Abissinia is played on a color illustrated sheet against the background of a map of the Ethiopian Empire (also known as Abyssinia). While not depicted, the game pays tribute to Pietro Badoglio, 2nd Duke of Addis Abeba, and his army and their ultimate occupation of the capital of Abyssinia. It consists of 68 numbered spaces representing the Italian flag, the Red Cross, contemporary political figures, and tanks of the Italian armed forces. The goal of the game is to reach the circle numbered 68 before any of the other players by avoiding as many obstacles as possible. It was designed to have a maximum of eight players, each equipped with a small disc representing various divisions of the Italian armed forces (Infantry, Air Force, Blackshirts, Alpine Troops, Corps of Engineers, Tank Division, Askari, or local colonial troops and Dubats or White Turbans). Directions are printed on the upper right corner of the sheet.

Dates: May 1 – May 31, 2017
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI