Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1996-1997 index

Distributed September 20, 1996
Contact: Linda Mahdesian

An indispensable resource

John Carter Brown Library celebrates 150th anniversary of its founding

Brown University will mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the John Carter Brown Library with a five-week celebration, from Oct. 9 through Nov. 14.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The John Carter Brown Library at Brown University will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its founding with more than a month of events, symposia and concerts, beginning Wednesday, Oct. 9, and continuing through Thursday, Nov. 14. The celebration commemorates a time in 1846 when, according to a centennial history of the "JCB," John Carter Brown, "then in his fiftieth year, began systematically to accumulate the library which now, as a semi-public institution, is called by his name."

Since its founding, the JCB has been used by hundreds of scholars from throughout the world as an indispensable source of rare printed materials from colonial North and South America. These range from the first printed version of Columbus' account of his arrival in the New World to the writings of other explorers, slaves, governors and fugitives, to one-of-a-kind maps of the Americas dating from the 15th century.

Editors: A full schedule of sesquicentennial events is attached.

Two highlights mark the beginning and end of the five-week sesquicentennial program. On Thursday, Oct. 10, at 5:30 p.m. in Room 101 of the Salomon Center for Teaching, the first JCB Medal will be awarded to David Beers Quinn, professor emeritus of history at the University of Liverpool, England. Quinn is widely recognized as the pre-eminent authority on the history of the early European exploration of North America. The bronze medal, created by the Rhode Island artist Alba Corrado, carries the JCB's creed: "Speak to the Past and It Shall Teach Thee."

Following the presentation of the medal, Felipe Fernández-Armesto, of Oxford University, will deliver an address titled "A JCB Journey: From Europe, in the Atlantic, to the Empires of the World." Fernández-Armesto is the author of Millennium: A History of the Last Thousand Years (Scribner, 1995) and many other works, including the London Times Atlas of World Exploration.

On Thursday, Nov. 14, at 4:30 p.m. in Sayles Hall, Brown will hold a special convocation in honor of the JCB. On this occasion, honorary degrees will be awarded to Sir John H. Elliott from Oxford University, Miguel León-Portilla of the Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas in Mexico City, José Mindlin from São Paolo, Brazil, and William Sturtevant of the Smithsonian Institution. On the previous evening, Nov. 13, at 5:30 p.m., Elliott will deliver a lecture titled "Do the Americas Have a Common History?"


The sesquicentennial celebration includes two symposia and a three-day conference. The first symposium, "Aspects of Travel and Exploration," will be presented Friday, Oct. 11, sponsored jointly with the Hakluyt Society of London, which is also celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The Hakluyt Society supports the publication of scholarly editions of records of voyages, travels and other geographical material of the past.

The second symposium, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 12, will focus on "Italian Science and Navigation and the Expansion of Europe to the West." Paolo Galluzzi, director of the Institute and Museum of the History of Science in Florence, will be one of three speakers, with Luca Codignola of the University of Genoa and Anthony Molho of Brown.

The following weekend, Oct. 18-20, the Library will present a conference titled "Communicating with the Indians: Aspects of the Language Encounter with the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, 1492-1800." This conference includes presentations by some 22 scholars in history, anthropology, literature and linguistics, and touches on the "language encounter" in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch and English America.


Two publications will coincide with the sesquicentennial. The first is titled I Found It at the JCB: Scholars and Sources, and draws on the work of the JCB's research fellows. The JCB introduced a fellowship program in 1962 and now counts some 300 scholars from all over the world among its fellows. The book consists of illustrated essays by 60 fellows, each describing a particular book or map in the JCB's collection that was particularly important in research.

The second publication is an essay by David Quinn titled Sir Francis Drake as Seen by His Contemporaries, accompanied by a bibliography of sources in the JCB related to Drake (about 100 items), compiled by Burton Van Name Edwards of the JCB staff.

Sesquicentennial Program
(All events at the JCB unless otherwise indicated)


Noon       Fellows Luncheon, with presentation of "I Found It at the JCB: Scholars and Sources"
           Chancellor's Dining Room, Sharpe Refectory
5:00 p.m. "The Language of Cultural Conversion in Early America"
           Karen Ordahl Kupperman, New York University

5:30 p.m.  Inauguration of the 150th Anniversary Celebration
           Room 101, Salomon Center for Teaching
           Remarks by Vartan Gregorian, president of Brown University
Presentation of the first John Carter Brown Library Medal to David Beers Quinn "A JCB Journey: From Europe, in the Atlantic, to the Empires of the World" Felipe Fernández-Armesto FRIDAY, OCT. 11 9 a.m. Aspects of Travel and Exploration A symposium jointly celebrating the sesquicentennial of the John Carter Brown Library and The Hakluyt Society of London Introductory remarks by P.E.H. Hair, president, The Hakluyt Society Inauguration of the "American Friends of the Hakluyt Society" John Hattendorf, Naval War College, Newport, R.I. "Writing Origin Stories: The Cases of Newfoundland and Roanoke" Mary Fuller, Massachusetts Institute of Technology "The Anglo-Indian Encounter: Technology vs. Idolatry" Joyce Chaplin, Vanderbilt University 11:15 a.m. Slide lecture: "High Latitude, North Atlantic" John Bockstoce, explorer and independent scholar Room 101, Salomon Center for Teaching SATURDAY, OCT. 12 9 a.m. Italian Science and Navigation and the Expansion of Europe to the West A symposium sponsored by the Friends of Italian Studies at Brown University, the City of Florence, Festa Italiana, and the John Carter Brown Library Remarks by Guido Clemente, cultural minister of the city of Florence "The Italian Diaspora to the Atlantic Coast of Europe in the 15th and 16th Centuries" Anthony Molho, Brown University "Humanism and Discoveries" Paolo Galluzzi, Institute and Museum of the History of Science, Florence "The Italian Navigators: Giovanni and Girolamo da Verrazzano" Luca Codignola, University of Genoa Presentations by Monique O'Connell and Eric Dursteler, history graduate students at Brown who work with Professor Molho in Italian studies WEDNESDAY, OCT. 16 5:30 p.m. "The Five Ages of Colonial Peru (1530-1820)" Teodoro Hampe-Martínez, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru THURSDAY, OCT. 17 8:00 p.m. Concert of Andean music performed by Boston-based "Inca Son" Tickets: $7.50; $5 students FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY, OCT. 18-20 Communicating with the Indians: Aspects of the Language Encounter with the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, 1492 to 1800 A conference sponsored by the Center for New World Comparative Studies at the John Carter Brown Library and made possible by a grant from the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities FRIDAY, OCT. 18 11-3 p.m. Registration 2 p.m. SESSION I: "Christianity, Conversion and the Word" Chair: James Axtell, College of William and Mary "Converting Christianity: Translation in the Spanish World" Kenneth Mills, Princeton University "The Grammatical Battleground of the Eliot Bible" Edward Gray, Brown University "Jesuit Linguistics and Missionaries in Brazil, 1549-1688" Thomas Cohen, Catholic University Commentary: Vicente Rafael, University of California, San Diego 5:30 p.m. "The Use of Pidgins and Jargons on the East Coast of North America" Ives Goddard, Smithsonian Institution Room 001, Salomon Center for Teaching 8:30 p.m. SESSION II: "Communication without Words: Artifacts, Gesture, and Symbol Systems" Room 001, Salomon Center for Teaching Chair: Walter Mignolo, Duke University "Mapping After the Letter: Native Territory, Writing, and Cartography in New Spain" Dana Leibsohn, Smith College "The Testerian Codices: The Use of Hieroglyphic Catechisms in the Conversion of the Natives of New Spain" Anne Whited Normann, independent scholar "Pictures, Gestures, Hieroglyphs: Antecedents and Transmutations in Sixteenth-Century Mexico" Pauline Watts, Sarah Lawrence College SATURDAY, OCT. 19 9 a.m. SESSION II (continued) Commentary: Sabine MacCormack, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University 9:30 SESSION III: "The Intermediaries: Translators, Interpreters and Captives" Chair: James Merrell, Vassar College "Iconic Discourse: Aspects of European-Native Language Encounter in New France" Margaret Leahey, Bay Path College 10:15 "Mohawk Catechists: Discourse Brokers in Eighteenth-Century Iroquoia" William Hart, Middlebury College "Interpreters Snatched from the Shore: the Successful and the Others" Frances Karttunen, University of Texas-Austin Commentary: James Merrell, Vassar College 2:30 p.m. SESSION IV: "Becoming Literate: Writers in Two Worlds" Chair: Rolena Adorno, Yale University "Continuity vs. Acculturation: Aztec and Inca Cases of Alphabetical Literacies" José Mazzotti, Temple University "Texts and Contexts: The Interfaces of French and Micmac Verbal Culture in 18th-Century Nova Scotia" Bruce Greenfield, Dalhousie University, Canada 3:45 p.m. "The Diaries of Joseph Johnson and Peter Jones" Laura Murray, Queen's University, Canada Commentary: Barry O'Connell, Amherst College 8:30 p.m. "Preliterate Uses of Print: Two Seventeenth-Century Algonquian Fragments" Hugh Amory, Harvard University Room 001, Salomon Center for Teaching SUNDAY, OCT. 20 9 a.m. SESSION V: "The European Encounter with Indian Languages and the Development of Linguistic Theory" Room 001, Salomon Center for Teaching 9 a.m. "Indian Vocabularies and Dictionaries in Spanish Writing, 1550-1800" Isaias Lerner, City University of New York "Ways of Describing the Complex Morphology of American Indian Languages in Colonial Missionary Grammars" Lieve Jooken, University of Leuven, Belgium 10:30 "Savage Languages in 18th-Century Theoretical History of Language" Rüdiger Schreyer, Institut für Anglistik, Aachen, Germany Commentary: Even Hovdhaugen, University of Oslo, Norway 11:15 "Interventions" Kathleen Bragdon, College of William and Mary Roy Wright, Conseil de la nation Huronne-Wendat Summary Discussion THURSDAY, OCT. 24 8:00 p.m. "George Parker Winship and the Early Years of the John Carter Brown Library" Thomas Adams, librarian emeritus, John Carter Brown Library TUESDAY, OCT. 29 5:30 p.m. "A New Discovery: Maps in the Humanities" David Woodward, University of Wisconsin (with the assistance of the Thomas J. Watson Jr. Memorial Fund) TUESDAY, NOV. 5
8:00 p.m. "After 300 Years, A New Columbus: Alexander von Humboldt" Alan Trueblood, Brown University (with the assistance of the Sonia Galletti Lecture Fund) THURSDAY, NOV. 7 4:30 p.m. "The Death of Captain Cook and the Pitfalls of Postcolonial Historiography" Gesa Mackenthun, Institut für Anglistik/Amerikanistik, Greifswald Universität, Germany TUESDAY, NOV. 12 8:00 p.m. Concert to benefit the John Carter Brown Library Trio Grandío, a renowned guitar and mandolin group from Madrid featuring Pedro Chamorro and Manuel Muñoz Tickets: $25; $10 students (with the assistance of the Consul General of Spain in Boston) WEDNESDAY, NOV. 13 5:30 p.m. "Do the Americas Have a Common History?" Sir J. H. Elliott, Regius Professor of Modern History, Oxford University (The President's Lecture Series Fund) Room 101, Salomon Center for Teaching THURSDAY, NOV. 14 4:00 p.m. Brown University Convocation in Celebration of the Sesquicentennial of the founding of the John Carter Brown Library Conferral of honorary degrees by President Vartan Gregorian upon Sir J. H. Elliott, Miguel León-Portilla, José E. Mindlin, and William Sturtevant Remarks by J. Carter Brown, director emeritus, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Sayles Hall