While a great deal of the photography that I do here at Brown involves planned projects (often from our Signature Collections), we also get requests from patrons and scholars from around the world, as well as curators within Brown. These requests can be of very interesting and unusual materials, and it’s often a surprise what we get to photograph.
Last year, I was heading down to the bindery when I ran into Marie Malchodi, a book conservation technician, and Michelle Venditelli, the preservation manager. Marie had just discovered an engraving tucked into the pages of a science textbook donated by Solomon Drowne, class of 1773. It was signed:
The engraving had already been moved to the Hay Library, and inspected by Richard Noble, rare books cataloger. He was able to confirm that it is indeed P. Revere as in Paul Revere, and this particular engraving has only four other known copies. I kept my eyes peeled for it coming into the production requests, since I was hoping to get to see it in person and maybe even photograph it. When it came into my photography queue a week or so later, I was more than thrilled to get to interact so closely with such a rare and fascinating find.
It was a very exciting time here at the Brown University Library, and there was a great deal of publicity regarding the find. Among other news outlets, the New York Times and NPR both ran stories; Brown also made a special news post. And I got to snag a piece of the bragging rights!