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Annmary Brown Memorial

The Annmary Brown Memorial is located at 21 Brown Street, just south of the university's main green. It was built in 1907 by Christopher Rush Hawkins as a memorial to his wife. Norman Isham was the architect of the Memorial, a one-story granite structure with a low hip roof and impressive bronze doors. The building, which has no windows, resembles a tomb, as indeed it is; both Rush Hawkins and Annmary Brown Hawkins are buried in an enclosure at the east end of the building. The slabs above their graves can be viewed through a grate, and each year on March 9th, the birthday of Annmary Brown, her grave is decorated with flowers.

General Hawkins had planned the building with its two art rooms, a personal treasure room, and office, and the rare book room, around the walls of which were originally arranged 450 incunabula, open for viewing by visitors. Hawkins pursued the goal of acquiring the first book of each of the presses which were printing by 1500, and he did realize a collection of 225 first and second books from 130 of the 238 fifteenth-century presses. He engaged Alfred W. Pollard to prepare a catalogue of the collection, which was publised in 1910 by the Oxford University Press. In addition to the incunabula, the Memorial housed Hawkins' collection of paintings, a collection of manuscripts, and another collection which included books by or about anyone named Hawkins. The Memorial was deeded to the University in 1948, at which time Margaret B. Stillwell, the librarian of the collections since 1917, joined the faculty of the University with the rank of full professor and continued in that position until her retiement in 1953. The Annmary Brown Memorial collections, except for the paintings, were removed to the John Hay Library in 1990. (excerpted from The Encyclopedia Brunonia).

Today, the Annmary Brown Memorial is home to the Programs in Medieval Studies and in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies. Classes are held in the back art room and in what was the personal treasure room. As well, the Memorial is the site of numerous special events, including scholarly talks offered under the aegis of one of the two host programs, or in association with the Rhode Island Medieval Circle. Recent speakers include Cecilia Gaposchkin, Muhsin Yusuf, Barbara Newman, Panagiotis Agapitos, and Emily Steiner. Find more information at the Annmary Brown Library Page.