Ever True: A History of the Brown Band

The historians of the Brown University Band present an exhibition on the band’s long and great history, currently on display at the Orwig Music Library.  Since 1924 the Brown University Band has entertained on the field at football games, on ice at the hockey games, and in locations all over the country. On view are the musical “BU” sweater worn by the band’s founder, photographs, world famous buttons, as well as an iPad containing sound recordings from 1927-2000 and videos of the band.

Curated by Sean Briody, Greer Christensen-Gibbons, Ingrid Mader, and Gaby Usabal

Dates: October 12 – December 21, 2017
TimeLibrary Hours
Location: Orwig Music Library, 1 Young Orchard Avenue, 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

Preservation Week Talk | Preserving a Textile Archive

To celebrate Library Preservation Week, the Brown University Library is hosting a talk about and viewing of textiles from the archives of Rush Hawkins and Annmary Brown.

Please join us in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. 

The Preservation Department staff will discuss the process for housing and preserving items and Archives staff will discuss the challenges in describing the collection ranging from quilts, clothing, and shoes to fans, parasols, and shawls, predominantly from the 18th and 19th century.
Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Alumni Reunion Forum | The Vietnam War: Our Veterans’ Stories

Little_Creek_VA

Please join the Library for an Alumni Reunion Forum on Saturday, May 28 from 3 – 4:30 p.m. in the Willis Reading Room at the John Hay Library. Professor Beth Taylor, Co-Director of the Nonfiction Writing Program, will moderate a panel of alumni veterans and family who will discuss their memories from the Vietnam War. This event is sponsored by the Brown University Library, Brown Alumni Association, and the Nonfiction Writing Program, Department of English.

Some of them attended Brown with the help of ROTC and they all went to the war before the campus protests. Come hear the surprising stories of Brown’s Vietnam Veterans and join in a discussion with alumni whose lives were changed forever by those difficult times.

The Vietnam Veterans of America will present the University Archives with personal artifacts of John Brooks Sherman ’62 (1st. Lt., U.S. Marine Corps, 1962-1966, d. 1966, Vietnam), recently unearthed in Vietnam. Learn about the newly curated Brown Vietnam Veterans Archive and website — featuring flight jackets, commissioning photos, military documents, and love letters.

Moderator:

Beth Taylor, Co-Director, Nonfiction Writing Program

Panelists:

  • David Taylor ’66 (1st. Lt., U.S. Marine Corps, 1966-1971), Real Estate Developer
  • Barry Kowalski ’66 (1st. Lt., U.S. Marine Corps, 1966-1970), Special Counsel for Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice
  • Elaine Zimmer Davis, widow of Jerry Zimmer ’66 (Capt., U.S. Marine Corps, 1966-1969, MIA, 8-29-69, Vietnam)
  • Augustus A. White, III, ’57, MD, PhD (Capt., Medical Corps, U.S. Army, 1966-1967), Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Ellen and Melvin Gordon Distinguished Professor of Medical Education, Harvard Medical School

A corresponding exhibit, also entitled The Vietnam War: Our Veterans’ Stories, will be on display in the Willis Reading Room at the John Hay Library from May 28 – August 19, 2016. The exhibit features photographs, letters, military clothing, and quotations from the Brown Vietnam Veterans Archive to depict how alumni transitioned from Brown to Vietnam and beyond. The Vietnam Veterans Archive preserves the stories of Brown University alumni who served in the military during the Vietnam War through oral histories and personal papers.

Date: Saturday, May 28, 2016
Time: 3 – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Willis Reading Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | A History of the Brown University Orchestra

OrchestraPicA History of the Brown University Orchestra is now on display in the Orwig Music Library.

The exhibit chronicles the development of orchestral involvement on Brown’s campus from 1919 onward.  Highlights include programs from performances with Leonard Bernstein, Itzhak Perlman, and Steve Reich, as well as the merger of the Brown Orchestra and Pembroke Orchestra, which happened over 30 years before the two colleges formally joined together.

Dates: April 22 – October 1, 2016
TimeLibrary Hours
Location: Orwig Music Library, 1 Young Orchard Avenue, Providence

OrchestraPic2

Exhibit | Tripping the Light Fantastic: Experimental Optics in the Victorian Era

Opt1cIn 1704, Isaac Newton published the first scientific work on light. Working carefully but not very cautiously, Newton began compiling the results of hundreds of experiments he performed in the quiet space of his own rooms at Cambridge over the course of four decades, from the 1660s forward. Many of these experiments involved Newton using his own eyes as the experimental apparatus, through such risky maneuvers as staring directly at the sun and slipping a small knife around the side of the eyeball to see how the additional pressure he exerted would affect his sight. Despite having to spend months in the dark to allow his eyes to recover from the stress of these activities, he gained enormous insight from these and other, more standard, experiments. The resulting book, entitled Opticks, broke new ground in science and led to the establishment of a new field for study of the physical properties of light.

Opt3e

The devices on display at the John Hay Library date from the second half of the 19th century and were purchased for use by faculty and students in the Brown Physics Department. They were eventually transferred to the Library once technological advances had rendered them obsolete for instructional purposes in the field. Still, their mechanical precision was important at the time of their creation and would have been the envy of Newton and his 17th century colleagues at the Royal Society. After all, if only Newton had had the automatic spectroscope, he would not have had to stick that knife into his own eye!

Dates: March 29 – May 15, 2016
TimeLibrary Hours
Location: Lobby Cases, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Brown in the Great War

WarMemorial
A new digital resource that highlights materials from the University Archives and Special Collections is now available: “Brown in the Great War.”

The website focuses on Brown community members who participated in, fought, and died in World War I, as well as the social landscape of Brown from 1914 to 1921. This eloquent resource was researched and developed by Robin Wheelwright Ness (Senior Library Specialist, John Hay Library) for a practicum requirement towards her master’s degree in Public Humanities. 

As part of a second practicum, Robin is compiling a list that will reflect the John Hay Library’s primary resources pertaining to World War I. Additional University Archives and Special Collections material can be found through subject guides, Collections A to Z, or the online Library catalog (Josiah).

For more information please contact Jennifer Betts, University Archivist, at jennifer_betts@brown.edu.

October 1 is #AskAnArchivist Day

AskArchWhat does an archivist do?  Tweet your questions to @brownarchives on #AskAnArchivist day.

On October 1 archivists across the United States will take to Twitter to answer your questions about all things archives. This day-long event, sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, gives you the opportunity to ask questions, get information, or simply to satisfy your curiosity.  Learn about archival and special collections at the John Hay Library and beyond!

Special Collections Hours during intersession 2015

The Special Collections Reading Room of the John Hay Library will be closed from December 24, 2014, thru January 9, 2015. From January 12 to January 20, 2015, the Special Collections Reading Room will be available by appointment only from 10am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. To request an appointment, please e-mail Hay@brown.edu prior to 12 noon on Friday, January 9. Please specify the date(s) and time(s) you plan to arrive at the reading room to work with Special Collections materials.

Please note that the John Hay Library will be closed on Monday, January 19, 2015, for the Martin Luther King Day holiday.

Lecture | Ted Widmer, “Brown’s DNA”

Please join the John Hay Library as we celebrate the University’s 250-year history with a lecture series by Brown faculty and staff that highlights themes from the University Archives’ “Elements of Tradition and Change” exhibit.

The first lecture will be given by historian Ted Widmer entitled “Brown’s DNA”.  The lecture will incorporate aspects of Brown’s history Dr. Widmer has encountered during research for his history of Brown University.  He currently serves as Assistant to the President at the University.

Dr. Widmer is widely published on topics in American history and politics. His first book, Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City, was the recipient of the 2001 Washington Irving Literary Medal. He is the author of Martin Van Buren and Ark of the Liberties: America and the World and co-author of Campaigns: A Century of Presidential Races.  Widmer earned a Ph.D. in the history of American civilization, an A.M. in history, and an A.B. in the history and literature of France and America from Harvard University.

 

 

Date: Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Time: 5:30 pm

Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library

Speakers: Ted Widmer, Assistant to the President: “Brown’s DNA”