Exhibit | Nineteenth-Century Architecture Course Models

Examine works created by students in Professor Dietrich Neumann’s lecture course, “Nineteenth-Century Architecture,” which surveys stylistic developments, new building types, and the changing conditions of architectural production through the 19th century. Models on display reflect a building or industrial design object of this time period.

Dates: September 16 – December 8, 2019
TimeJohn D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library Hours
Location: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | The Malana Krongelb Zine Collection, 1974-2018

The Pembroke Center Archives at Brown University: women’s history is here!, 2018

Explore a sampling of this collection consisting of administrative files and zines that focus on social justice and marginalized identities dating from 1974 to 2018. Areas of strength include zines by and about people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other queer peoples, the disabled, interpersonal violence, sex and relationships, sex work, the prison industrial complex, self-care, feminism and punk.

Titles of particular interest include bluestockings magazine, a Brown University, Providence-based zine that challenges dominant media narratives by centering on communities systematically excluded from those discourses; Muchacha, a Latina feminist fanzine; SPACE (Space in Prison for Creative Arts and Expression), a zine that highlights the voices of incarcerated individuals in Rhode Island; Joyce Hatton’s Think About the Bubbles #8, which chronicles her struggles with cancer as a poor black woman; and Queer Indigenous Girl, a zine highlighting intersectional identities and activism.

Exhibit Dates: September 9 – 30, 2019
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Event | Josiah Carberry Dinner

Dinner at the Brown Faculty Club

On Friday, September 13, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. at the Brown Faculty Club, celebrate the venerable professor of psychoceramics, Josiah S. Carberry, and enjoy a buffet dinner with recipes from The Carberry Cookbook. Dinner will be followed by a rollicking talk from Richard J. Ring, Deputy Executive Director for Collections & Interpretation, Rhode Island Historical Society.

A cash bar will be available.


The cost to attend the dinner is $45 per person, in advance. Please register online.

For more information on registration, please contact Phoebe Bean at pas.bean@gmail.com.

The Study Hill Club of Providence

In 1927 a group of Rhode Island bookmen formed a bibliophile club, which was eventually named after the home that William Blackstone (1595-1675), the first European to settle in what is now Rhode Island, built in 1635. Blackstone’s home housed nearly 200 books in several languages, making it the most significant collection in New England at the time. Richard J. Ring will identify the members of the club, what they did in their five years of activity, and explain why the club failed despite the fertile bibliophilic ground of Providence, where significant collections have been assembled by avid collectors and librarians for nearly four centuries.

Date: Friday, September 13, 2019
Time: 6:30 p.m.; talk at 7:30 p.m.
Location: Brown Faculty Club, 1 Bannister Street, Providence, RI

Exhibit | The Peterloo Massacre: A Bicentennial Remembrance

The wanton and furious attack made... Carlile, Richard, 1790-1843 (publisher), 1819.
The Wanton and Furious Attack Made…,Carlile, Richard, 1790-1843 (publisher), 1819.
Brown University Library, Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection

Examine two prints published in 1819 following The Peterloo Massacre and gain insight into an early 19th-century protest for political reform.

On August 16, 1819, a peaceful crowd of between 60,000 and 80,000 workers gathered in St. Peter’s Fields, Manchester, England, to voice their demands for political reform. Poor economic conditions and the lack of parliamentary representation in the years following the Battle of Waterloo led many textile workers who labored under dreadful conditions in the mills of north-west England, to march into the city to hear various speakers including the well-known radical orator, Henry Hunt. He represented the new political radicalism that was growing in the region, and the city magistrates were eager to quash it before serious problems arose. Shortly after the demonstrators had gathered, the magistrates ordered the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry to arrest Hunt and others who were accompanying him. As they charged into the crowd to carry out this order, they knocked down a woman and killed her child. The mass of demonstrators continued to present a threat, and the 15th Hussars were sent to disperse them along with the yeomanry. With sabers drawn, they charged into the crowd creating massive confusion resulting in the deaths of 18 people.

Exhibit Dates: Aug 1 -31, 2019
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | American Revolutionary War Prints

Hamilton, William, “The Manner in which the American Colonies Declared themselves Independent of the King of England.” (1790).

American Revolutionary War Prints
London: Hogg, 1790
Brown University Library, Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection

Explore Independence Day from a British point of view.
“Engraved for Barnard’s New Complete & Authentic History of England,”
this collection of 4 copper-engraved plates after William Hamilton, 1751-
1801 (artist) feature significant milestones from the American Revolutionary War (Apr 19, 1775 – Sep 3, 1783).  

Exhibit Dates: July 1 -31, 2019
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Fort Thunder & Lightning Bolt: Old Mill / New Music

From humble beginnings as a studio space rented by four RISD guys in the fall of 1995, rose the now mythic Fort Thunder collaborative, located in a dilapidated mill building on the west side of Providence. While there were other decrepit mills nearby, with funky names like Munch House, Box of Knives, & Pink Rabbit, also filled with RISD & Brown students who hosted concerts, Fort Thunder is the one that lives on in popular memory. Its young residents put Providence on the map with their unique underground art & music scene, and inadvertently inspired lasting changes in the city’s preservation community, when they fought the redevelopment of the historic property in Eagle Square that they had called home for almost 7 years.

The display features multi-media options with reproductions of Fort Thunder concert posters & handouts from the collection of Shawn Greenlee, RISD ’96, Brown MA ’03, PhD ’08, as well as recordings by some of the Fort’s bands, like Lightning Bolt & Forcefield.  There are also images, maps, ephemera & photos related to the mill building (formerly the Valley Worsted Mills/American Woolen Co.) & the “Save Eagle Square” movement.

This exhibition participates in Year of the City: The Providence Project, a year-long exploration of the history, life and culture of Providence’s 25 neighborhoods through exhibitions, performances, walks, lectures and conferences produced by more than 50 different curators.   https://yearofthecity.com/

Dates: April 29 – November 3, 2019
TimeLibrary Hours
Location: Orwig Music Library, 1 Young Orchard Avenue, Providence

Exhibit | Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God (“Eliot Indian Bible”)

The Holy Bible: containing The Old Testament and the New. Translated into the Indian Language, and Ordered to be Printed by the Commissioners of the United Colonies in New-England, At the Charge, and with the Consent of the Corporation in England for the Propagation of the Gospel amongst the Indians in New-England
John Eliot (1604–1690)
Massachusetts: Printed by Samuel Green and Marmaduke Johnson, 1663
Brown University Library, Special Collections

Wôpanâôt8âôk, pronounced, womp a naa on too aah onk, has been referred to by various names throughout history such as Natick, Wôpanâak, Massachusett, Wampanoag, Massachusee and Coweeset, as well as others. The language is but one in some forty languages that comprise the Algonquian language family–the largest geographical distribution of languages in the Western Hemisphere.

The first Bible produced on a printing press in North America was printed in Wôpanâôt8âôk in 1663 on the printing press at Harvard University.  Today this Bible, as well as all of the other documents in the language, are the foundation of the Wampanoag language work that has earned critical acclaim through the Makepeace Productions film “We Still Live Here: Âs Nutayuneân,” and the work of Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project, a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded in 1993 and governed by four tribes of the Wampanoag Nation (Mashpee, Herring Pond, Gay Head Aquinnah, and Assonet Band). 

The bible currently on view was owned by Roger Williams, Protestant theologian who established the colony of Rhode Island in 1636.

Exhibit Dates: April 15 -May 20, 2019
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Announcement | The Harriette Hemmasi Exhibition Gallery and the Library Exhibitions Program

The Brown University Library is home to a robust exhibition program, with nine exhibit spaces throughout four buildings that present a mix of permanent, temporary, and traveling exhibits, many of which are also featured online through digital exhibition. Showcasing items from the Library’s collections as well as items created by students in Brown courses, Library exhibits offer viewers a closer look at remarkable material presented through a scholarly lens.

Harriette Hemmasi Exhibition Gallery

In recognition of the importance of a library exhibition program and in honor of Harriette Hemmasi, Joukowsky Family University Librarian from 2005 – 2018, the Brown University Library Advisory Council gave a generous gift of $300,000 to name the John Hay Library main exhibition space the Harriette Hemmasi Exhibition Gallery. These funds will provide support for Library exhibitions, including conservation, preservation, and collections care and management as well as design, outreach, publicity, and technology for exhibits. According to Tiffini Bowers, Library Exhibitions Curator, “This gift will allow for greater technological enhancements, enabling us to streamline behind-the-scenes processes, engage with broader public audiences, and foster deeper digital connections between people and our stellar collections.” The Library is profoundly grateful to the Library Advisory Council for supporting this fundamental facet in the academic life of the University.

Growing Exhibition Program

Over the past three years, the number of Library exhibits has increased along with their quality and diversity. Exhibits are now more connected to the academic pursuits and priorities of students and faculty at Brown, as well as to local, national, and international academic institutions and cultural organizations. During the 2017 – 2018 academic year, the Library mounted 29 exhibitions in nine spaces, a feat which required exemplary planning and management in addition to creativity; awareness of collections, disciplinary interest, and areas of academic focus; and attention to issues of diversity, inclusion, and access.

A Practice of Partnering

Iris versicolor L. Herbarium. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.

Part of the Library exhibition program includes establishing and fostering partnerships with other campus entities and local community organizations. Recently, we collaborated with the Brown University Herbarium, the Rhode Island Wild Plant Society, and the Rhode Island Historical Society to mount the exhibit, Entwined: Botany, Art, and the Lost Cat Swamp Habitat, which has garnered positive media attention and keen interest from members of the Providence community. (The exhibit runs through April 30, 2019 in the Harriette Hemmasi Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library.)


In addition to our own exhibits, the Library also loans items from the collections to other organizations at Brown and beyond, nationally and internationally. Currently, we have a loan out to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC for an exhibition entitled, Americans and the Holocaust, which features objects and digital images from the Martha and Waitstill Sharp Collection. (The exhibit runs through October 11, 2021.) We have also loaned two letters between Sarah Helen Whitman and Stéphanie Mallarmé plus a framed lock of Edgar Allan Poe’s hair to the Providence Athenaeum for its exhibit, Ravenous: The Enduring Legacy of Poe (running through April 30, 2019).

“Group of children gathered in a street holding American flag” (1940). Martha and Waitstill Sharp collection. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.

The Exhibition Lifecycle

The Library’s exhibition program encompasses the entire lifecycle of exhibitions, conducted at professional, museum-quality standards. Tiffini, who came on board as the Exhibition Curator in 2016, manages Library exhibits from idea submission through preparation, installation, and programming. She works with Brown students, faculty, and Library staff as well as experts at external organizations to curate exhibits, providing the guidance and planning framework essential to mounting exceptional exhibits on a complex timetable.

Tiffini Bowers, Exhibition Curator, recipient of the 2018 Brown University Excellence Award: Rising Star

Exhibition Expertise at the Library 

Many Library staff members play an essential role in exhibitions. Librarians and Library Curators often conceptualize, research, and curate exhibits and provide research support to students and faculty who create exhibits. Michelle Venditelli, Head of Preservation, Conservation, and the Library Annex, oversees the physical care of Library materials. She and her staff determine whether items are suitable for display and if they require repair or other treatment, the majority of which is conducted in-house.

Prior to exhibition, Preservation staff members Erica Saladino and Marie Malchodi engineer mounts for the objects, which can range from books to images to three dimensional ephemera. Shashi Mishra and Lindsay Elgin in Digital Production Services take high resolution photographs of the items for use in exhibition graphics, publicity, and website content.

Michelle Venditelli (far left) and Erica Saladino (far right) review textiles from the archives of Rush Hawkins and Annmary Brown.

Physical and Digital Exhibits

In some cases, online exhibits or collection websites are created to accompany the physical exhibit. These digital iterations, along with brochures and other print materials, extend the reach and impact of the exhibit’s selection of materials and scholarly insights while also providing a durable record into the future.

How Old Is Your Oldest Book? Exhibitions and Academic Discovery

How Old is Your Oldest Book? 4,000+ Years Old. Exhibition of cuneiform tablets in the Rockefeller Library Cases.

In Spring 2002, two seniors in Visiting Professor Alice Slotsky’s class, “Ancient Scientific Writings: Akkadian,” undertook an elective project to decipher two of the Library’s 27 cuneiform tablets and cones from ancient Mesopotamia. Considered the Library’s oldest books at 4,000+ years old, none of the tablets had been translated until these students took on the project, which resulted in the translation of four of the tablets and an exhibition using those translations at the Rockefeller Library in 2018. (Brown Students “Crack” Cuneiform Tablets.) Written in Sumerian, not Akkadian, the translated tablets were discovered to be economic texts, recording commercial transactions.

Label from the exhibit, How Old is Your Oldest Book? 4,000+ Years Old.

The exhibition of collections provides a unique opportunity to engage students, faculty, staff, and community members with Library materials and intriguing perspectives, enhancing academic learning and offering original ways of thinking about objects and questions old and new. The promise of exhibits to complement and deepen study in the University’s areas of academic priority is truly exciting, and the Library looks forward to continuing development in its exhibition program under Tiffini’s guidance and through the expertise of Library staff, with valuable support from donors, in partnership with departments at Brown, and through collaboration with local and global academic and cultural organizations.

More information about Library exhibits is available at Exhibits at Brown University Library.

Announcement | Brown Library Staff Recognized for Service Milestones on BEAR Day

On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, Brown University staff gathered for the annual Brown Employee Appreciation and Recognition (BEAR) Day, at which staff are recognized for milestone years of continuous service. With so many employees with impressive longevity, the Library is always well represented at BEAR Day.

Here are the Library staff members who were recognized this year:

5 Years of Service

  • William Buzzell

10 Years of Service

  • Adam Bradley
  • Erika Sevetson

15 Years of Service

  • Holly Snyder

20 Years of Service

  • Patrick Hutchinson

 25 Years of Service

  • Thomas Allen
  • Alison Bundy
  • Suzan Gervais
  • William Monroe
  • Russell Tandy

30 Years of Service

  • John Boylan
  • Paula Kojian
  • Linda Peterson

 30+ Years of Service

  • Karen Bouchard
  • Raymond Butti
  • James Chapin
  • Stephen Conlon
  • Paul Cormier
  • Linda DePalma
  • Ann Dodge
  • Patricia Dumin
  • Peter Harrington
  • Joanna Katsune
  • Andrew James Moul
  • Andrew Pereira
  • Patricia Putney
  • Jean Rainwater
  • Robert Rosa
  • Joanne Tandy
  • Virginia Twomey
  • William Wood

40+ Years

  • Charles Flynn
  • Linda Gesualdi
  • Sheila Hogg
  • Debra Nelson

Excellence Award

Tiffini Bowers

In addition, the BEAR Day celebration also recognizes recipients of the Excellence Awards. Tiffini Bowers, Library Exhibition Curator, received her award for Excellence in the Rising Star category.

The Library congratulates all of our staff members for your many years of service and thanks you for all of your valuable contributions. We are fortunate to be an organization with so many longterm employees, and we appreciate the dedication and wealth of institutional knowledge you bring to the Library each day.

Exhibit | Spectacular Listening: U.S. Air Guitar

Photo courtesy of Whitney Young via Hidden Darkroom

This exhibit by ethnomusicology Ph.D. candidate Byrd McDaniel displays some of the memorabilia central to air guitar playing in the United States and the U.S. Air Guitar Championships in particular.  Advertised as the “greatest thing you’ve never seen,” the contemporary U.S. Air Guitar Championships stem from a long line of related practices throughout the twentieth century—such as pantomime, musical comedy, and dance—that crystallized in the late 1970s and early 1980s around air band and air guitar competitions. Byrd argues that we should think of air guitar as a type of listening—a practice in animating, translating, and transmitting rock recordings.

Air guitar competitions not only reproduce and revisit some of the classic moments in rock guitar history, but they also revise these moments, sometimes sustaining and sometimes challenging the often racist, sexist, and ableist narratives that litter the genre’s history. It can also undermine these problematic discourses as well, subordinating guitar greats and lofty values (like authenticity or virtuosity) to the tastes and talents of the amateur air guitarist.

Ultimately, air guitar playing reminds us how gesture and listening sustain important aspects of our cultural identities. It calls on us to rethink the origins of our current interactive and haptic technologies, which stem just as much from technological innovations as they do from a desire to take music recordings into our own hands.

Dates: February 12 – April 12, 2019
TimeLibrary Hours
Location: Orwig Music Library, 1 Young Orchard Avenue, Providence