UPDATE: EZProxy Issues Resolved 7/11/2017

UPDATE 7/11: CIS has resolved the issues with EZProxy and it is now working as it should.
If you continue to have problems with EZProxy, please contact eresources@brown.edu.

CIS has been experiencing issues with EZProxy which have affected access to Library databases and ejournals. They are working on fixing the problem and as soon as it has been remedied a notice will be posted here on the Eresources blog.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

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

JHL Conservation Bulletin | June 2017

A quarterly installment highlighting Library Conservation in the Brown University community, conservation news around the internet, and ways for you to connect with conservation.

Book and paper conservation

Now that you have met him and seen his work: Gary Frost and the Sewn Boards Binding.

“The classical ‘before and after’ contrast reveals the character of the treatment. Following treatment, the appearance is where much of the outcome is assessed. The intent is an elegant ordinary appearance with a timeless quality. Such an aesthetic of the ordinary conveyed by an attractive yet omissive appearance is an inviting artistic challenge.”

This is typical Frost prose, which I come back to often through his writings. He speaks as he writes, and my internship with him years ago was filled with discourses on bookbinding through art history, world civilizations, philosophy, etc., along with hands on instruction. By incorporating the historical sewn boards binding model into conservation he achieves everything I strive for in my repairs; aesthetics, simplicity, function, and longevity, all with minimal invasion into the existing structure, minimal adhesive in the new construction, and durable materials. Innovation springs from tradition.

In house treatment at the Hay

With over 10,000 pamphlets bound in over 1900 volumes, Brown’s Metcalf Collection materials are popular in classes and in the reading room. Although the collection spans three centuries, they were bound in different iterations with leather, paper, and cloth throughout the latter of the three. Of greatest concern are the half leather bindings failing in the most dramatic way. It isn’t only the deterioration of the binding that disrupts access to these volumes, it is the itinerant red rot drifting from shelf to patron and back again that also requires a remedy.

Perfectly suited for sewn boards conservation bindings, approximately one-third of the Metcalf collection will receive this treatment over the next few years. Intact text blocks receive new endpapers, layered boards, drummed on cotlin spines and paper sides.

Find conservation online and in person

An incredibly affordable and promising one-day symposium on the codex in Ohio is now open for registration. Speakers Julia Miller and James Reid-Cunningham are reasons enough to attend, but there will also be a Morgan Conservatory representative there and the Dard Hunter Mountain House is a mere hour away by car. The codex, again this month? Yes, again.

I champion the use of paper in book repair, even when treating damaged leather. While paper is durable it isn’t perfect, but its deterioration doesn’t cause the mess and threat to the collections that comes from leather. Not that all animal products age badly, paper is not necessarily vegetarian.

***View these links as a list.



It has been fun and rewarding to contextualize my conservation work in this format over the past year, and I’ve especially enjoy reading your comments about these posts- please keep them coming! More to come from me in September.

-Rachel Lapkin, Library Materials Conservator

The Library Welcomes Heather Cole

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Heather Cole as the Librarian for Literary and Popular Culture Collections at Brown University Library. Heather will have curatorial responsibility for the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays, the H. Adrian Smith Magic Collection, the Miller Collection of Wit and Humor, the Sheet Music Collection, the Katzoff Collection of Gay and Lesbian Literature, the Comics Collection, and other Library holdings in the areas of American and British literature and popular culture. She brings to this position a wealth of experience in collection development, academic research, and community engagement.

Heather currently serves as the Assistant Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts and the Curator of the Theodore Roosevelt Collection at Harvard’s Houghton Library, where she has worked since 2007. At Houghton, Heather teaches classes, curates exhibitions, manages digitization projects, assists researchers, and helps to develop Houghton’s collections. She co-administers the Houghton Library Undergraduate Fellowship Program, for which she was awarded the Carol Ishimoto Award for Distinguished Service earlier this year. She is a co-chair of Houghton Library’s 75th anniversary celebration this year, and co-edited the recently-published Houghton Library at 75: A Celebration of its Collections. She is currently at work on a bibliography of Theodore Roosevelt’s books and articles, to be published in 2019. Heather earned her BA from Miami University and an MLS and MA in English literature from Indiana University.

Heather will join the staff of the Brown University Library before the start of the academic year. We are delighted to welcome Heather to Brown.

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

Commencement Forum | The Impact of Social Media on Politics, Culture, and Scholarly Communication

On Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. in the auditorium (room 120) of List Art, the Library will host a Commencement Forum entitled, “The Impact of Social Media on Politics, Culture, and Scholarly Communication.” This event is free and open to the public.

Social media and other rapidly-evolving digital technologies have changed the way we communicate in all realms of our lives. This panel discussion will focus on the impact of social media on political, cultural, and scholarly communication.

Panelists include:

  • David Corn ’81, P’21, American political journalist and author and the chief of the Washington bureau for Mother Jones
  • Alissa Quart ‘94, Executive Editor of Economic Hardship Reporting Project and author of Branded, Republic of Outsiders, and other books that mix reportage and cultural theory
  • Elias Muhanna, Brown University Manning Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and contributing writer to The New Yorker online

David Corn ’81, P’21

David Corn ’81, P’21

David Corn is a veteran Washington journalist and political commentator. He is the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones magazine and an analyst for MSNBC and NBC News. He won the 2012 George Polk award and a National Magazine award for breaking the 47 percent video story that influenced the Obama-Romney presidential contest. For 20 years, he was the Washington editor of The Nation magazine.

Corn writes on a host of subjects, including politics, the White House, Congress and national security. He has broken stories on Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John McCain, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, George H.W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, Colin Powell, Rush Limbaugh, Enron, the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA leak case, corruption in Iraq, the National Rifle Association, the Pentagon, and assorted Washington players and institutions.

Corn has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Boston Globe, Newsday, Harper’s, The New Republic, The Atlantic, The Washington Monthly, the LA Weekly, the Village Voice, The Independent, Elle, Slate, Salon, and other publications and websites. He has blogged for AOL’s “Politics Daily,” HuffingtonPost.com, CQPolitics.com, and The Guardian. For years he wrote the online column “Capital Games” for TheNation.com.

He is the author of three New York Times best-sellers—Showdown: The Inside Story of How Barack Obama Fought Back Against Boehner, Cantor, and the Tea Party; Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War (with Michael Isikoff); and The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception—and the e-book 47 Percent: Uncovering the Romney Video that Rocked the 2012 Election. His novel, Deep Background, was hailed as one of the best novels of the year by Los Angeles Times. Corn is also the author of the biography Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA’s Crusades.

Corn has long been a prominent analyst on television and radio. He regularly appears on Hardball, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Last Word, and other MSNBC shows. For years, he was a Fox News contributor, appearing on The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity and Colmes and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. He was a regular panelist on the weekly television show, Eye On Washington, which was syndicated on PBS stations across the United States. He was a guest host for CNN’s Crossfire and a regular panelist on its Capital Gang. He has appeared on CBS News’ Face the Nation, ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos, PBS’s Newshour and Washington Week in Review, the CBS Evening News, Fox News Sunday, CNN’s Reliable Sources, The McLaughlin Group, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, and many other shows. He is a regular guest on To the Point, a National Public Radio show, and has contributed commentary to NPR, BBC Radio, CBC Radio, and other radio networks in the United States and overseas. He has been a guest on scores of call-in radio programs.

His twitter feed–@DavidCornDC–has 400,000 followers.

Alissa Quart ’94

Alissa Quart ’94

Alissa Quart is the Executive Editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a journalism non-profit devoted to reporting on inequality. She is also the author of four books including, Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers, and Republic of Outsiders and the poetry book Monetized. Her latest non-fiction book is forthcoming in 2018 from HarperCollins. She has written features for many magazines and has frequently contributed reported opinion pieces to The New York Times and elsewhere. She has also written and produced a number of multimedia projects and video, including the Emmy- and ASME-nominated multimedia project The Last Clinic. Alissa’s poetry has appeared in the London Review of Books. She taught at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, among other universities, and was a 2010 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. 

Elias Muhanna

Elias Muhanna

Elias Muhanna is the Manning Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Brown University, and director of the Digital Islamic Humanities Project. He earned his doctorate in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations from Harvard University and was a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies in 2015-16. In 2017-18, he will be a Public Engagement Fellow of the Whiting Foundation. His research focuses on encyclopedic literature in the Islamic world and Europe, the cultural production of the Mamluk Empire, and the problem of the vernacular in different literary traditions.

In addition to his scholarship, Muhanna writes frequently for the mainstream press. He is a contributing writer for NewYorker.com, and his essays and criticism have appeared regularly in The New York TimesThe Nation, and other periodicals. His blog, Qifa Nabki, is a forum for intellectual exchange and debate on Levantine politics.

Date: Saturday, May 27, 2017
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Location: Room 120, Albert & Vera List Art Building, 64 College Street, Providence

Updates from Around the Library | May 2017

Best of luck to all the graduating students preparing for Commencement.

Here are some examples of what is happening around the Library:

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.