From its foundational core of Americana purchased in 1846, the John Carter Brown Library has always been a global collection. The connections between America and other regions around the world have consistently been a central theme in the Library’s acquisition policies. Even more so today: as we continue to acquire new books, maps, and prints, we are paying close attention to broader connections, largely in response to the Library’s researchers who incessantly push the conventional geographical boundaries in their own historical scholarship. In conjunction with the LAGLOBAL research network at the University of London (of which the JCB is one of several institutional partners) and researchers at the Library, Global Americana has been conceived as a collectively curated exhibition that highlights not only the JCB’s globe-spanning collection, but also the ingenuity of scholars from around the world who are taking advantage of its materials to advance research in a global frame.

The exhibition takes its viewers on a journey through different geographies, genres, and languages. Cohering around the American continent, the texts chosen nevertheless speak to connections that move beyond continental and disciplinary borders. From China to the Nile, from natural history to the philosophical treatise, from indigenous Andeans to European creoles and American whalers, these selections also have a deeply personal angle, since many of them were chosen by scholars who have either been in residence at the JCB or who are part of a global network that seeks to emphasize Latin America’s place at the center of global historical developments. What they demonstrate most forcefully is that there are many worlds – and not just American ones – beneath the surface of our extraordinary collection. And with any hope at all, cosmopolitans and our local community members alike will come to see the Library as a refuge for global thinking at a moment where too many barriers unfortunately still abound.


Empirical Cosmographies and Imaginary Journeys

Corporal Geographies

Beyond Nature and Culture

Commerce without Borders

Technologies of the Word and the Body


The John Carter Brown Library would like to acknowledge the following individuals for their contributions to this exhibition: Miruna Achim, Candida Barros, Daniela Bleichmar, Ben Breen, Jorge Canizares-Esguerra, Sarah Crabtree, Helen Cowie, Sherri Cummings, Diogo Ramada Curto, Rafael Dias Campos, Rebecca Earle, Mariana Françozo, Pablo F. Gómez, Mark Harris, Christopher Heaney, Sabine Hyland, Lorelai Kury, Diego Javier Luis, José Ramón Marcaida, Iris Montero Sobrevilla, Linda Newson, Marcy Norton, José Pardo-Tomás, Juan Pimentel, Irina Podgorny, Jennifer Reed, Magali Romero Sá, Neil Safier, Elisa Sevilla, Mark Thurner.