April 2017

We are pleased to share JCB news, spotlight our collections, feature the work of our fellows, and introduce you to some of the people who make the work of the JCB possible. Thank you for being part of the Library's extended community!
Supporting Our Heritage
The John Carter Brown Library has joined other members of the Independent Research Libraries Association to express its support for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The NEH has been an invaluable partner to the JCB, having sponsored more than 80 research fellowships, endowed critical library positions, and supported digital projects including Exploring the Four Element s, a multiyear exhibit series examining the cultural significance of earth, air, fire, and water to the Americas. Read the letter.
Last Chance: Women of the Page 
Women of the Page: Convent Culture in the Early Modern Spanish World, an exhibition curated by former JCB fellow Tanya Tiffany (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), is on view through April 13th. Learn more.
Save the Date: The Annual Bromsen Lecture by Andrés Reséndez
April 25, 2017, 5:30 pm
John Carter Brown Library

Andrés Reséndez is a scholar of colonial Latin American history who teaches at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America, A Land So Strange, and Changing National Identities at the Frontier.

The Other Slavery examines the system of bondage that targeted Native Americans. Anywhere between 2.5 and 5 million Native Americans may have been enslaved throughout the hemisphere between the arrival of Columbus and the beginning of the twentieth century. In contrast to African slavery, which targeted mostly adult males, the majority of these Indian slaves were women and children. Learn more. 

Using the Collections for Teaching
During Brown's inaugural wintersession this past January, JCB Director and Librarian Neil Safier (and Associate Professor of History) taught an undergraduate course:
Maps and Empires: A Journey through the Cartographic Collection of the John Carter Brown Library

Drawing on recent scholarship in the history of cartography and imperialism, and using diverse geographical examples from across the Americas found in the Library’s collections, the course sought to place cartographic production into a political and ideological context, examining the power of maps to define, mold, and reconfigure spatial relationships between peoples, places, and imperial interests.  Watch a video about the class.
NEH Fellow:  Meet Sarah Crabtree
Sarah Crabtree, Assistant Professor of History at San Francisco State University, has been in residence at the JCB since February as a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow. Her project, "Whaler, Traitor, Coward, Spy!: William Rotch, the Quaker Ethic & the Spirit of Capitalism ", tells the story of a man accused of treason  four times by three different countries over two decades. Crabtree  has been working with the JCB's Brown Family Business Papers, a unique manuscript collection of increasing value to scholars from across the disciplines. Rotch’s business brought him into contact (and conflict) with the merchants of Providence and Newport, and letters in this collection reveal a complex and contentious relationship. 

"Not only does the JCB’s rich collection allow me to put Rotch in the wider context of the eighteenth-century Atlantic world, but the Library’s most valuable asset – the vibrant scholarly community it gathers together – has helped me make connections that will deepen and broaden my analysis," said Crabtree.

Just Published: Mark Lentz, Donald S. Saunders Fellow, 2016
Congratulations to former fellow Mark Lentz for his new article: "Castas, Creoles, and the Rise of a Maya Lingua Franca in Eighteenth-Century Yucatan" , published in the February 2017 issue of  Hispanic American Historical Review

Although indigenous languages elsewhere in the Americas declined during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, in eighteenth-century Yucatan fluency and literacy in Yucatec Maya became more common among castas and creoles. Lentz explores the linguistic persistence of Yucatec Maya and argues that it should be viewed not only as an instance of effective cultural preservation but also as an example of multi-directional merging of cultures. 

Spotlight on Collections: The JCB Archive of Early American Images

In celebration of National Poetry Month, we are pleased to feature this portrait of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695) from our copy of a posthumous collection of her works

A Hieronymite nun, scholar, and prodigious author of poetry, polemics, and plays, Sor Juana was known in her time as the "Tenth Muse" and the "Phoenix of Mexico"  so this engraving rises from our closing Women of the Page exhibit and serves as bridge to our upcoming exhibit,The Americas on Fire.

Celebrating a True Original: Clint I. Smullyan, Jr. 

Last month, JCB supporters and friends gathered at the Union Club in New York City to honor one of the Library's most stalwart friends.  A long-serving member of the JCB Board of Governors, Clint Smullyan has been an outstanding advocate for the Library, its mission, and its future. He generously established the Library's first named fellowship, the Barbara S. Mosbacher Fellowship, in honor of his mother. He has made it possible for 37 research fellows to spend time at the JCB conducting research in the collections. He also has supported the Library's digitization, publication, and building programs. Thank you, Clint, and congratulations!