Rhode Island Garden ©Author Adventures

John Carter Brown Library, Academic Jewel for 19th Century History

The John Carter Brown Library of Brown University in Providence (the capital of Rhode Island with approximately 180,000 residents) offers writing-themed exhibits open to the public. Visit the Exhibitions page of its website to see the latest. It is located at 94 George Street.

According to the website, “The Library also holds the papers of bookseller, author, and Rhode Island Secretary of State John Russell Bartlett (1805–1886), including records and artwork generated during his tenure as Boundary Commissioner for the establishment of the border between the United States and Mexico in the 1850s. Bartlett served as a mentor to John Carter Brown in the development of the Library, and compiled its first catalog, the Bibliotheca Americana. The Library’s own archives also serve as a rich resource for the history of the book trade.” Beyond these efforts, John Russell Bartlett is widely known for publishing the Dictionary of Americanisms, a classic of American slang.

It also houses an impressive and world-renowned Indigenous Language Collection. According to its website, “The Library’s Indigenous Languages collection – with materials ranging in origin from the Arctic to Patagonia – serves as an open invitation for scholars, interested publics, and bearers of traditional tribal knowledge throughout the Americas to explore the JCB’s materials with an eye toward recovering linguistic traditions and challenging interpretations that have been garnered over centuries.”

Brown University enrolls approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and many of its alumni are winners of the Pulitzer Prize, including Andrew Sean Greer (2018), Lynn Nottage (2009, 2017), David Rohde (1996, 2009), Kathryn Schulz (2016), Alissa J. Rubin (2016), and James Forman Jr. (2018).

Read more about John Russell Bartlett here: britannica.com.

This is the first stop on our Rhode Island Author Adventures Trail!

Patricia Smart