Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1997-1998 index

Distributed March 6, 1998
Contact: Linda Mahdesian

`A splendid little war'

Exhibition and symposium will mark centenary of Spanish-American War

Brown University will present A Splendid Little War, 1898: The Artists' Perspective, an exhibition that opens April 9, and a one-day symposium presented April 11, to commemorate the centenary of the Spanish-American War.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- To commemorate the centenary of the Spanish-American War, the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection at the Brown University Library, in conjunction with Frederic A. Sharf of Chestnut Hill, Mass., is mounting a major exhibition which will explore the artistic interpretation of the war as demonstrated by the artists and illustrators who covered it for the illustrated press. The exhibition, titled A Splendid Little War, 1898: The Artists' Perspective, will open in the Annmary Brown Memorial Library, located at 21 Brown St., on Thursday, April 9, 1998 and run through Friday, June 19, 1998. An opening reception will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 9, at the library.

In addition, six military historians will gather to present papers at a one-day symposium Saturday, April 11, in the Salomon Center for Teaching, beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m., with a reception following. The topics discussed will explore two major areas: "The American Military and the War with Spain" and "The War's Social, Political and Cultural Legacies." The keynote speaker for the symposium will be David Trask, former chief historian for the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington, D.C., whose talk is titled "The Impact of the War on the Military and American History." His speech is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the Salomon Center.

The symposium is co-sponsored by the Brown University Library and the Center for Latin American Studies. Both the exhibition and symposium lectures are free and open to the public.

Art exhibition

A Splendid Little War, 1898: The Artists' Perspective takes its title from a quote by John Hay (Brown Class of 1858) and President McKinley's secretary of state during the war. "I think Hay was commenting about the fact that the war was short-lived, didn't cost the U.S. many casualties, but the results were incredible - the annexation of Cuba, the Philippines and Puerto Rico," said Peter Harrington, coordinator of the exhibition and military curator at the John Hay Library.

The exhibition will consist of approximately 45 original drawings, watercolors and prints by notable artists such as William Glackens, Howard Chandler Christy, Thure de Thulstrup, Henry Reuterdahl, and Frederic Remington, as well as lesser-known and foreign artists. The majority of the pictures will come from the collection of Frederic A. Sharf and the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, while others will be borrowed from West Point Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of the City of New York. An illustrated, 80-page catalog will accompany the exhibition and document the art of the war while providing biographical information on the artists.

After its showing at Brown University, which ends June 19, the exhibition is scheduled to travel to the West Point Museum at the U.S. Military Academy from July to September. From there it will travel to Haverford College in Pennsylvania for the fall, then to Flagler Museum in Palm Beach in early 1999, and will conclude at Heritage Plantation in Massachusetts.

Symposium schedule

Saturday, April 11, 1998
The Salomon Center for Teaching
The College Green, Brown University

9 a.m. - noon: The American Military and the War with Spain

"The Experience of the Spanish-American War and its Impact on Professional Naval Thinking"
John Hattendorf, the Ernest J. King Professor of History, director of advanced research, Naval War College, Newport, R.I.

"The Army in Cuba"
Graham Cosmos, chief, Histories Branch, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, D.C.

"The Military Issues of the Philippine War"
Brian M. Linn, associate professor of history, Texas A&M University

1 p.m. - 2 p.m. Keynote address

"The Impact of the War on the Military and American History"
David Trask, former chief historian for the U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, D.C., and author of The War with Spain, 1898 (University of Nebraska Press, 1997)

2: 15 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.: The War's Social, Political, and Cultural Legacies

"American Empire: The Dissenters"
John Thomas, the George L. Littlefield Professor of American History, Brown University

"The Yankees are Coming! American Colonists in Cuba, 1898-1930"
Carmen Diana Deere, director, Latin American Studies Program, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass.

5 p.m. - 6 p.m. Reception at the Annmary Brown Memorial Library, 21 Brown St.

The Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection

A unique resource, the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection is one of the largest of its kind devoted to the history and particularly the iconography of soldiers and soldiering of all periods and all nations. Containing 12,000 printed books, 14,000 prints, drawings, paintings and watercolors, and 18,000 scrapbooks, sketchbooks, albums and portfolios, it is used by scholars, publishers, museums, television and filmmakers alike. It is located in the John Hay Library of Brown University.

Center for Latin American Studies at Brown

The Center offers a flexible undergraduate concentration that promotes a multidisciplinary understanding of the culture, history and contemporary problems of Latin America. The core faculty includes 32 specialists in Latin America; another 17 with a professional interest in Latin America offer courses with Latin American content. The charge of the Center emphasizes research and teaching, and also includes community outreach for public education.