In case you missed it, Providence Public Library’s Director Jack Martin sent a Message of Solidarity to the Library’s mailing list on June 5, 2020. It includes a link to a powerful Black Lives Matter reading list put together by the Library’s Info Services team, as well as a link to a list of local nonprofits doing grassroots racial justice work in our state.
Here in Special Collections, we’ve been engaging in deep thinking and extended discussions about our role in the movement for racial justice, especially given our profession’s historic location within systems of white supremacy and the overwhelming lack of diversity in our field. We certainly don’t have any answers, but we’re planning to share via social media some of our readings and the issues we’re grappling with over the coming weeks. We believe in dismantling the myth of archival neutrality and openly sharing our learning processes, and we welcome anyone who wants to engage with the issues alongside us.
Today’s blog post comes from PPL’s 2019 Creative Fellow Laura Brown-Lavoie, who offers us an update on her research and an opportunity to see her perform this weekend:
“Fun fact from the special collections today: 2 out of 3 special collections librarians hate desiccated rubber bands. (‘They are like dried out noodles.’ ‘Ugh.’ ‘Me? I don’t mind them.’) Anyway this is what a rubber band looks like when you leave it in a box of papers for a long time. In other news from special collections: I’ve been studying obscenity, coal of Rhode Island, and pilgrims, and I’m performing some of the poems this Saturday with my synth at the AS220 Mainstage in downtown Providence. Details about the show below, hope you can make it!”
You are invited to attend this special music performance at AS220
Those of you with a great memory for detail may recall that PPL’s 2016 exhibition, On the Table, included a book published by the Providence Gas Company entitled Favorite Old Rhode Island Recipes From the Girl in White. Said book includes baking temperatures and times for common foods– valuable information to have on hand at the time of its publication, as ovens with temperature increments only became commonplace in American homes around 1945.
We mention this today because, sadly, the “Girl in White”, also known as Sylvia Denhoff, passed away last week at the age of 99.8 years. The Providence Journal ran a fascinating obituary for Denhoff that includes her recipe for almond cookies. (We’re grateful to Matthew Lawrence over at Law and Order Party for drawing our attention to this journalistic tribute.)
If you’d like to take a peek at more of Denhoff’s favorite Rhode Island recipes, her book is available at PPL for on-site use.
These photos, from our Rhode Island Photograph Collection, show places from Glocester to Newport (with plenty of Providence); there are Vanderbilts and tradesmen, Ida Lewis and her dog, and people testing out early airplanes.
The images can be browsed, or can be searched by creator, subject, keyword, or date. Stay tuned for many more images of Rhode Island’s past as we continue with our digitization process!
If you’re interested in RI history, you’ll be happy to know that our new Rhode Island Collection Librarian, Tracy Connolly, has started blogging about some of the great RI materials in our collections. You’ll find the first post here, and stay up-to-date with all of Tracy’s posts by subscribing to the RSS feed.