2011 Undergraduate Research Award Recipients


PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The Brown University Library is pleased to announce that Evelyn Ansel ’11.5 and Elise Nuding ’11 are the recipients of the fifth annual Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Library Research, generously funded by Douglas W. Squires, ’73. This award, established in partnership with the Office of the Dean of the College, recognizes undergraduate projects that make extensive and creative use of the Brown University Library’s collections, including print and primary resources, databases, and special collections. A six member review committee composed of Brown University faculty members, librarians, and a representative from the Office of the Dean of the College, selected this year’s winners and presented each with an award of $750 at a reception held in the John Hay Library on April 29, 2011.

Elise Nuding’s paper “Observations on ‘the volcanick work’: A cultural biography of Sir William Hamilton’s Campi Phlegreai” is a comparative and biographical study of the Brown University Library’s copy of Campi Phlegreai (1776), conducted for Professor Karen Holmberg’s course, Archaeology Under the Volcano. The Campi Phlegraei, part of the Albert E. Lownes Collection, is a rare book of observations and fifty-four hand colored plates. It documents the eighteenth century eruptions of Mount Vesuvius. Using Photoshop to view digital versions of this title held in other collections, Nuding identified idiosyncrasies of each copy and developed a sense of the Brown copy’s particular “colour identity.” As reviewers stated, Nuding’s “excavation of a book…[is] a compelling research model”; she created a “seamless integration of the primary source with inter-disciplinary secondary sources.”

Evelyn Ansel’s project, “Qur’anic Manuscripts of the Early Islamic World,” was conducted as an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA) with Professor Ian Straughn. With Straughn’s guidance, Ansel explored the provenance, care, paleography, and illumination in Qur’anic folios from the Library’s special collections. She participated in the creation of a searchable digital database of prints, featuring contextual essays Ansel co-authored and documentary videos she produced. She also co-curated the exhibition Sacred Script: Qur’anic Manuscripts from the 8th to 16th Centuries in the Minassian Collection, on view through July 2011 in the John Hay Library’s second floor Bopp Seminar Room gallery.  Sacred Script charts the development of calligraphic styles, considers the folios’ contemporary reception as art, and explores their materiality as manufactured objects. As a reviewer stated: “from making her own notebooks, to encoding her experience of learning Arabic and studying its significance as an art form, Evie demonstrates the connection between artistic experience and learning.”

2012 UGRA award information will be announced this December.

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Contact: Jennifer Braga |  401-863-6913