Art and Architecture Collections
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Annmary Brown Memorial
In 1948, Brown University assumed ownership of the Annmary Brown Memorial. The Memorial, built by Civil War General Rush C. Hawkins and named in honor of his wife, contained an internationally know incunabula collection as well as old master paintings and drawings, Revolutionary and Civil War manuscripts and documents, plus the personal correspondence of its founder. These incunabula along with others in Special Collections make up one of the largest collections of 15th-century printed books owned by an American university. In addition to incunables, the collection contains sizeable manuscript holdings relating to the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and to the 17th-century New England witchcraft phenomenon. There are also some medieval manuscript books and documents, including papal letters. The books and manuscripts are now kept in the John Hay Library. ...more information
Audubon's Birds of America
The double elephant folio edition of Audubon's The Birds of America was published between 1827 and 1838. Subscribers received 87 parts of 5 prints each (one large, one medium and three small prints). The series contains 435 hand colored plates of 1065 birds. "Double elephant" refers to the size of the sheet of paper, which is the largest size that can be made by hand. Each sheet measures more than two by three feet.
There were 308 original subscribers, who paid approximately 00 for a complete set. While there were 308 original subscribers, only 161 subscribers purchased all parts. It is not possible to locate all of the complete sets. Some have been broken up and sold as individual images.
Albert E. Lownes, Class of 1920, presented his copy (bound in six volumes) to the University on the occasion of his 50th Class Reunion in 1970. Mr. Lownes received his copy as a wedding gift.
In addition, to the Double Elephant Folio edition, the library owns several uncolored proofs and an original printing plate, as well as other published editions of Audubon's work. ...more information
Cramer Silver and Decorative Arts
The Cramer Collection, consisting of approximately 900 volumes, was compiled over several decades by Diana Cramer, Editor of Silver Magazine until her death in 1993, and author of a number of important articles on silver design and decorative arts. The principle strengths of the collection are in the history of silver design and silversmithing, worldwide, from early modern times to the present; however, also included are a range of materials on American decorative arts -- jewelry, glass, furniture, architecture -- from the colonial period through the early 20th century. The collection documents the craft process, as well as the end product, and includes trade catalogs, exhibition brochures, collectors guides, and miscellaneous research publications.
A title list may be viewed by doing a "word" or "author" search for "Cramer Silver" in JOSIAH.
The Cramer Collection supplements, and provides reference material for, the Gorham Company Archive.
Dickerman Collection on Egyptology
Lysander Dickerman (Brown Class of 1851), a Congregationalist minister, was also an avid amateur archaeologist. At his death (circa 1910), he bequeathed 1,200 books on ancient Egypt, establishing the foundation for Brown's exceptional holdings in the field of Egyptology.
The collection includes some travel narratives by Egyptologists and accounts documenting archeological excavations that have taken place in Egypt since 1900, as well as works interpreting archeological findings.
Engravings (25 total) acquired from the estate of book illustrator and graphic artist Fritz Eichenberg, who is primarily known for his work in wood engraving. ...more information
Gorham Company Records
Archival records (approximately 6,200 linear feet, dating from 1831 to 2005) of the company founded in 1831 by silversmith Jabez Gorham in Providence, Rhode Island, and expanded under the leadership of his son John in the 1840s. At various times the company was the largest manufacturer of silver products, producer and distributor of ecclesiastical wares, and art bronze foundry in the United States.
The collection features many thousands of drawings and photographs of Gorham products, reflecting American taste from Victorian times to the present. It also contains corporate, personnel, costing, sales, and advertising records, as well as blueprints, plaster casts, and copper printing plates. Incorporated into the collection are the records of fourteen companies acquired by Gorham prior to its acquisition by larger companies, first by Textron Inc., then by Dansk International, and finally by Brown-Forman Corporation in 1991.
In connection with the renovation of the John Hay Library, the Gorham Company Archive will no longer be accessible to researchers from O1 June 2013 until further notice. Please see the Research Guide linked below for assistance.
Holden (Wheaton) papers
Architectural historian and documentary filmmaker, Wheaton Holden was a specialist on the life and work of Robert Swain Peabody and Julius Adolph Schweinfurth. This collection contains mostly materials relating to Holden's research on architect Robert Swain Peabody and his Boston-based firm Peabody and Stearns. Included are Peabody's diaries, reminiscences, writings, and processed copies of his correspondence. Also included are files on Peabody and Stearns building projects, with drawings, plans, photographs, and clippings. Finally the collection includes two videos created by Holden: The Peabody Touch and Providence Remembered. ...more information
J. Carter Brown papers
The J. Carter Brown papers primarily contain correspondence, administrative materials, lecture notes, photographs, and other materials spanning his life. The bulk of the material is related to Brown's consulting business and his involvement as a board member with many organizations, dating between 1990 and 2002. ...more information
Mary Elizabeth Sharpe papers
Mary Elizabeth Sharpe (1884-1985) was a successful businesswoman (owner of a successful tea shop and candy room in New York City) when she married her husband Henry Sharpe in 1920. Mrs. Sharpe was a philanthropist with many interests but was best known for her efforts to beautify Brown University and the city of Providence, RI. A self-taught landscape architect, Sharpe established an annual tree fund and lead the fundraising efforts to create India Point Park, a Providence waterfront recreation area. This collection contains her personal files, blueprints, correspondence, day books, calendars, clippings, recipes, scrapbooks, records relating to landscaping and other community projects, gardening information, blueprints, and photographs. ...more information
Nancy Elizabeth Prophet Diary (1922-1934)
Nancy Elizabeth Prophet (1890-1960) was an American sculptress and a 1918 graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work became well-known throughout Europe and the United States, and she later taught in various schools. Born in Warwick (Rhode Island) to a Narraganset Indian father and an Afro-American mother, she experienced and struggled against racial discrimination typical of the times in which she lived. Her diary, dating from a period when she was working in Paris, detail the deep anguish she felt during a time of misfortune and hardship. ...more information
Persian, Mughal, and Indian Miniature Paintings from the Minassian Collection
Miniature paintings from the estate of Mrs. Adrienne Minassian. The paintings often include text from Persian and Indian tales. ...more information
Providence Pottery and Porcelain Club Records
The group, established in 1947, is dedicated to the study of fine porcelain and pottery. Study groups and exhibitions are its main activities. The collection contains administrative materials, membership lists, newsletters, and slides documenting exhibitions. ...more information
Tefft (Thomas Alexander) Architectural Drawings, 1844-1859
Architectural drawings by Thomas Alexander Tefft, Brown University Class of 1851. ...more information
The Cyril and Harriet Mazansky British Sword Collection
The Cyril and Harriet Mazansky British Sword Collection was given to Brown University in 1999. The Collection consists of approximately 100 British swords as well as a sizeable group of miniature military figures, a collection of books on arms and armor, and a series of watercolors by the Scottish-South African artist Andy May. ...more information