Resources and Publications

The following list represents a selection of some of the of electronic resources that can be used to consult our collections. Please contact for additional resources on a particular topic.


Resources for the Study of Slavery and its Legacy

As the steward of one of the world’s most extensive collections of books, maps, and manuscripts relating to the early Americas, the Library is uniquely suited to contextualize the findings of the Slavery & Justice Report within the global history of the transatlantic slave trade. From early Dutch descriptions of slave trading forts to editions of the eighteenth-century code noir regulating slavery in French colonies, the Library acquires, preserves, and makes available – for in-person and online consultation – the historical evidence that is vital to understanding the impact of slavery on the shaping of the modern world. By supporting scholarship and through ongoing public programs (and especially its recently announced African Americas Initiative), the Library encourages engagement from all interested publics – students, scholars, and community members – in advancing conversations around the horrific realities and ongoing legacies of the transatlantic slave trade.

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Voyage of the Slave Ship Sally

In 1764, a one-hundred ton brigantine called the Sally embarked from Providence, Rhode Island, to West Africa on a slaving voyage. Records of the Sally venture are preserved in the Brown family business records at the JCB as well as in the archives of the Rhode Island Historical Society. All known records are displayed on this website, which outlines the initial preparations for the voyage, the long months on the African coast, and the auctioning of surviving captives on the West Indian island of Antigua.

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Indigenous Languages of the Americas

The JCB holds one of the world's largest collections of books containing text in one or more Amerindian languages for the period before the nineteenth century. This searchable bibliography lists nearly every book in the Library on Native American languages. Links to complete works that have been digitized and added to the Library’s collection at the Internet Archive are provided in each bibliographic record.

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Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections Online

Online finding aids for parts of the JCB's manuscript collection may be found on the Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections Online (RIAMCO) site.

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Bound Images: Maps in Books since 1453

Bound Images, the collaborative project of Jordana Dym (Skidmore College) and Carla Lois (Universidad de Buenos Aires), reconsiders maps theoretically and practically as "bound images" rather than sovereign, self-contained items. A January 2019 workshop organized by Jordana Dym and Carla Lois gathered a dozen scholars to discuss maps - many of which are housed at the JCB - as bound images. Here, several workshop participants share their reflections on maps as bound images.

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Codigo Brasiliense/Laws of Brazil

Uma coleção de leis e outros documentos oficiais do Brasil entre 1811 e ca. 1822 (em português e em ingles). 

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European Views of the Americas: 1493 to 1750

This searchable database complements the JCB's classic European Americana: A Chronological Guide to Works Printed In Europe Relating to the Americas, 1493-1750, edited by John Alden with the assistance of Dennis C. Landis. Compiled and edited at the Library over several decades, this six-volume work provides a comprehensive guide to printed material about the Americas written in Europe before 1750.

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Recent Scholarship on the History of the JCB

For decades, the JCB has been an object of study for librarians and bibliophiles; scholars and library professionals have probed the history of the institution and traced the contours of how it came to acquire its collections. Beginning with John Russell Bartlett's Bibliotheca Americana (1875) and passing through George Parker Winship's The John Carter Brown Library: A History (1914) and Lawrence Wroth's The First Century of the John Carter Brown library (1946). 

Other important articles include: Maude Evelyn Clarke, "Special Collections in American Libraries: The John Carter Brown Library of Brown University," The Library Journal 30.2 (1905): 69-72. 

More recently, a new generation of scholars has begun probing the collecting practices of John Carter Brown and his successors, and we are proud to collect this scholarship here for the benefit of those who are interested in understanding at a deeper level the collecting dynamics of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the US and beyond. We will continue adding to this page as scholarship is published.

Recent Scholarship

Hannah Alpert-Abrams, "Unreadable Books", Doctoral dissertation in Comparative Literature, University of Texas-Austin (2017).

Javier Eduardo Ramírez López, "La Biblioteca John Carter Brown: del éxodo bibliográfico a la conservación del patrimonio mexicano", Bibliographica 3.2 (2020): 17-50.

Lindsay Van Tine, "Bibliography and Booksellers in the Bibliotheca Americana Tradition", Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 113.4 (2019): 447-494.