Distributed May 1, 2003
For Immediate Release

News Service Contact: Mary Jo Curtis

Commencement 2003

Brown University Library names William Williams Award recipients

The Brown University Library will honor three individuals for their support by presenting them with the William Williams Award on May 24, 2003, at 9 a.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching; two other Williams Awards will be presented posthumously. The ceremony immediately precedes a Commencement Forum on the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. The ceremony and the forum are open to the public.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Brown University Library will recognize the support and contributions of five individuals with its most prestigious honor, the William Williams Award, during Commencement Weekend.

The William Williams Awards will be presented on Saturday, May 24, 2003, at 9 a.m. in the lower level of the Salomon Center for Teaching to Frederick Bloom, Herbert Caldwell and Henry Sharpe Jr. Williams Awards will also be presented posthumously to Helena-Hope Gammell and Robert S. Ames.

The award commemorates William Williams, Brown Class of 1769, who sequestered the College library in his home in Wrentham, Mass., throughout the Revolutionary War. Established by Brown University in 1988, the award honors those individuals who have provided extraordinary support for the Brown University Library.

“We are delighted to pay tribute to each of these distinguished individuals who have given so generously both of their time and of their resources to the library over the years,” said Merrily Taylor, the Joukowsky Family University Librarian. “The library is central to the academic and cultural life of the Brown community. Our honorees exemplify the many ways in which alumni and community members can make valuable contributions toward enhancing the library's scholarly resources and services.”

The 9 a.m. award ceremony will immediately precede a Commencement Forum titled “Abraham Lincoln: Our Ever-Present Contemporary,” which is sponsored by the Friends of the Library and will feature the Hon. Frank Williams, chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. Williams will examine Lincoln’s controversial use of military tribunals and suspension of the writ of habeus corpus during the Civil War. Both the ceremony and forum are free and open to the public. The Salomon Center is located on The College Green.

Robert S. Ames

Robert Ames served as vice-chair of the Friends of the Library Board of Directors for nearly 20 years. Although Ames had no formal Brown affiliation, his passion for collecting books and prints, particularly illustrated travel narratives of the American West, drew him to the John Hay Library.

Ames’ generosity to the Brown Library extended over many years. He was instrumental in negotiations that led to the gift of the Gorham Silver Company archives to Brown. The centerpiece of a recent conference that brought scholars and silver collectors to Brown from across the country, the Gorham archive is the most important surviving archive from Rhode Island’s industrial past. Ames and his wife Margaret gave their collection of illustrated books to the John Hay Library, which has a particularly strong collection of Western travel narratives. He also left a significant financial bequest to the John Hay Library.

Frederick Bloom

Frederick Bloom, a 1940 graduate of Brown, has provided the Brown University Library with the great benefit of his time and expertise, as well as gifts of rare materials and financial support. His generosity includes the gift of an original William Blake engraving of a letter of Horace Mann, Class of 1819, given in honor of the appointment of Ruth Simmons as President of Brown University. He also established an endowment as a partial match to the library’s National Endowment of the Humanities challenge grant for acquisitions in the humanities.

Bloom’s service as an intermediary for Brown has resulted in several major gifts to the Library, including a major collection of printing and publishing in the United States donated by Rollo and Alice Silver (Class of 1931 and 1933, respectively). He also served as intermediary with Jonathan Fairbanks, who donated a bust of Lincoln sculpted by his father, the eminent sculptor Avard Fairbanks.

Herbert Caldwell

Herbert “Bert” Caldwell is a major supporter of the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, and he has served both as vice-presiding trustee and presiding trustee of the Committee of Management of the Collection. He led the committee in a variety of new initiatives, including a publications program and gifts and contributions that have totaled more than $500,000. He also established an endowment for the benefit of the collection.

Caldwell developed and implemented a program of conservation for the collection’s holdings of miniature lead figures, and he secured major gifts, including the Mazansky Sword Collection of British Swords and the Lite, Taylor and Greenlees and Mowbray Collections of miniature military figures. It was through his efforts that the restoration of the interior of the Annmary Brown Memorial was accomplished.

Helena-Hope Gammell

Helena-Hope Gammel, a 1948 graduate of Brown, chaired the Friends of the Library Board of Directors from 1994 to 1999. She was a longtime benefactor of the library, and she contributed to the 1979 renovation of the John Hay Library. The main exhibition room was given by her in honor of her many family members who attended Brown over last two centuries.

Gammell established an endowed fund to be used by the University librarian at the librarian’s discretion, which has been of tremendous value in weathering unexpected emergencies and taking advantage of rare opportunities. She also gave a large collection of Gammell family papers pertaining to family’s involvement in the social, political and business life of Rhode Island.

Henry Sharpe Jr.

Henry Sharpe, a 1945 graduate and fellow emeritus of Brown, served as Chair of the Friends of the Library Board of Directors from 1986 to 1994 and has been a member of University Library Committee. Sharpe gave papers belonging to his mother – Mary Elizabeth Sharpe, a pioneer in the efforts to beautify the landscape of Providence – to the Brown University Library. He also contributed to the National Endowment for the Humanities preservation challenge grant, and he has been an active promoter of the Library’s successful effort to secure a local, off-campus storage facility.