Flappers Wednesday, Apr 2 2014 

Image credit: NYPL Digital Collections

Image credit: NYPL Digital Collections

This is one of a collection of cigarette cards held by the New York Public Library, and written about in the blog The Passion of Former Days. Flappers as butterflies, ephemeral and beautiful. But the darker side is explored in the new book, Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation. Josephine Baker, Tallulah Bankhead, and Zelda Fitzgerald, are Americans; Diana Cooper and Nancy Cunard, are British; and Tamara de Lempicka, is an escapee from the Russian Revolution. Their young lives led among the avant garde in Paris and New York, unconsciously furthered women’s rights.  




Of course a lot of what went on looks like a silly good time:


How to Commemorate the Anniversary of Poe’s Death Monday, Oct 7 2013 


Photo credit: eccentricrealist.blogspot.com

Well, if you are in New York, you should visit the Morgan Library and Museum exhibit, Edgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul, on view from October 4, 2013 through January 26, 2014. One of the donors to the exhibit is Susan Jaffe Tane, who generously lent items from her collection to the Athenaeum in 2009 when Collections Librarian, Kate Wodehouse did the Sex, Lies, and Edgar Allan Poe exhibit. The New York Times review of the Morgan exhibit is enticing.

Christina Bevilacqua, Director of Programs and Public Engagement, visited the Morgan exhibit over the weekend and while wandering the streets of New York later encountered this on the sidewalk:


If you do an image search for Poe what you find are hundreds of  representations of him and his works. Some are very interpretive and creative, like the above stencil; all are inspired by E.A.P.  Celebrate the 164th Anniversary of Poe’s death.

The Shadow over College Street: H. P. Lovecraft in Providence Wednesday, Aug 21 2013 



August 19-September 22, 2013 / Providence Athenaeum

August 19-October 24, 2013 / John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, Brown University

HOWARD PHILLIPS LOVECRAFT felt himself inextricably linked to Providence. His deep ties to the city where he was born, lived the greater portion of his life, and now lies buried, pervade his fiction.   In 1937, one month after Lovecraft’s death from cancer at age 46, his surviving aunt, Annie Gamwell, and his literary executor, R. H. Barlow, delivered the first batch of his letters and manuscripts to the John Hay Library. Over the intervening years, the Lovecraft “memorial” at the Hay has grown exponentially, according Lovecraft the immortality to which his fictional character Joseph Curwen aspired.   Thus, Lovecraft’s presence not only haunts diverse historical sites in Providence that inspired his “weird fiction,” but also occupies the stacks of the Hay, home to the largest known collection of manuscript and printed Lovecraftiana.

THIS EXHIBITION, a collaboration between the John Hay Library and the Providence Athenaeum, displays selections from the holdings of both libraries and the private collection of Donovan K. Loucks, webmaster of The H.P. Lovecraft Archive.  The main portion of the exhibition will be on view in the Philbrick Rare Book Room at the Athenaeum and the companion exhibition will be displayed in the lobby of the John D. Rockefeller,  Jr.  Library, Brown University.  Please consult the following websites for library hours.

Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit Street at College Street

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, Brown University, 10 Prospect Street at College Street

This exhibition has been organized to run concurrently with the NECRONOMICON PROVIDENCE convention, August 23-25, 2013.

Our special thanks to guest blogger and exhibition curator, Holly Snyder, Ph.D.
Curator of American Historical Collections and North American History Librarian, John Hay Library, Brown University.

Providence Embraces H.P. Lovecraft Friday, Aug 2 2013 


The Providence City Council recently named the corner of Angell and Prospect Streets, H. P. Lovecraft Memorial Square. The renowned author was born on Angell St. and lived on the East Side of Providence for much of his life. He’s buried in Swan Point Cemetery and his admirers installed a special headstone with the quote: I AM PROVIDENCE.


This month the city of Providence acknowledges H.P. Lovecraft in a big way. The impetus has been the arrival of NecronomiCon Providence on August 22nd to 25th. Activities abound! Including a special WaterFire event, a Brown University exhibit, the Rhode Island Historical Society conducts literary walks, and an augmented reality tour, The Call of Lovecraft, is being developed and needs some support.

Ravenous is most excited about the H. P. Lovecraft Bronze Bust Project as the Providence Athenaeum is to be its permanent home. The Facebook page has chronicled the development of the bust and here is one of the latest pictures:


As the NecronomiCon newsletter states: Strange days are here … Lovecraft would be proud.

A Panoply of Jane Austen Friday, Jul 19 2013 

One of the most clever things Ravenous saw this week is an online exhibit called What Jane Saw. The website is based on a visit Jane Austen made to an art exhibit in London in 1813, of the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds.  The reconstruction of the exhibit is done room by room with descriptions of each of the works of art she would have seen, taken from the exhibit catalogue. Brilliant!

This year Pride and Prejudice celebrates the bicentennial of it’s publication and the BBC produced a reenactment of the book’s Regency Ball:

If this is your year to travel to Austen’s England then the Wall Street Journal has a wonderful travelogue for you to use.

Digital copies of her books can be found many places, here is just one, and if you’d love to own a Jane Austen memento try the giftshop at Jane Austen.co.uk.


Little Women Wednesday, Jul 10 2013 

The Athenaeum recently purchased Little Women: An Annotated Edition edited by Daniel Shealy and published by Harvard University Press. It is a volume rich with biography, history, social context, and more. What a wonderful book!


Ravenous wondered what other editions the Athenaeum had in it’s collections? Notably, we have the first edition published in Boston in two volumes by the Roberts Brothers in 1868-69 and we have the illustrated Grosset & Dunlap edition published in 1947:


According to Professor Shealy the Roberts Brothers 1880-81 edition became the standard edition used throughout the 20th century and that the editors had modified Alcott’s writing significantly. The Athenaeum doesn’t have this particular edition but with eleven copies of the book and one copy of the 1994 movie, we’ve got Little Women covered.

Highlighting our Graphic Novel Collection Tuesday, Jul 2 2013 


Our current escritoire display on the main floor features a selection of graphic novels from every corner of the Athenaeum – fiction, nonfiction, biography, children’s, young adult – representing the diversity of this literary art form.

Those unfamiliar with comics may think of them as a genre, the kind of books that involve superhero capes and newspaper funny capers. Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics, defines comics as a form. Comics are not a type of story, but a language in which stories can be told.

Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran, tells a sophisticated story through deceptively simple black and white art. Compare that to a book like Ronald Wimberley’s Prince of Cats, a brightly-colored head rush of detail and action that re-imagines the story of Tybalt from Romeo and Juliet on the gang-dominated streets of a surreal 1980s Brooklyn. For something more subdued, try Stephane Heuet’s adaptation of Marcel Proust’s classic Remembrance of Things Past.

These and many more great graphic novels are available here at the Athenaeum. Our partner institution,  RISD’s Fleet Library hosts an expansive selection of comics and graphic novels – Athenaeum members have limited borrowing privileges at RISD so visit us at the front desk to get your RISD access card today!

Ravenous would like to thank our guest blogger, R.J. Doughty, Circulation Assistant, YA Specialist and Tumblr creator for the Athenaeum.

The Great Gatsby Wednesday, Apr 10 2013 

Next month the latest film adaptation of  F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby, will be in theaters:

It appears to be filmed with 21st century panache, over-the-top special effects and 3D, but Ravenous fondly remembers the 1974 incarnation with Mia Farrow and Robert Redford, filmed at the Newport (RI) Mansions:

There have been other Gatsby films according to Wikipedia and Open Culture includes a “trailer” from the 1926 silent film version.

If you’d like to read the book before the premier on May 10th try this crisp ebook version from the University of Adelaide in Australia. Or next time you’re in borrow our copy!


The Robert Burns Collection Friday, Jan 25 2013 

ext walkway 2006 004

To commemorate Robert Burns 217th birthday Ravenous would like to discuss the collections and fun we’ve have with Robert Burns, Scotland’s favorite son. On January 25th, 2008 we had a birthday celebration called A Wee Dram of Scotland that is still talked about today. “As Tammie glow’red, amazed and curious, The mirth and fun grew fast and furious” (from Tam o’Shanter).

The photo above is from the exhibit for that event. It represents the Charles Bradley Collection that contains 450 volumes by and about the life and work of Robert Burns. Collected during the 19th century, and donated by Mrs. Charles Bradley in memory of her husband in 1920, it is a wonderful collection.  I’m going to speculate that Mr. Bradley thought: “She is a winsome wee thing, She is a handsome wee thing, She is a bonny wee thing, This sweet wee wife o’ mine”  (from My Wife’s a Winsome Wee Thing).   I wonder where the closest Burns Supper is being held tonight? Haggis anyone?

Edgar Allan Poe, Illustrated Friday, Jan 18 2013 

Literature and the visual arts have fed off of each other for as long as the two have existed. It should be no surprise to anyone reading this that the evocative imagery of the works of Edgar Allan Poe have been complemented with illustrations numerous times in their publication history. This includes several of his short stories collected as Edgar Allan Poe’s World of Fear in a 1969 issue of Weekly Shōnen Magazine, a Japanese comic anthology (note the Japanese toy ads at the bottom of the image).

valdemar japan

click image for details

The most iconic illustrations, however, come from the edition of Tales of Mystery and Imagination illustrated by Harry Clarke (the Providence Athenaeum has a copy). Both of the illustrations included depict the climax of Poe’s short story The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar which, while not the most well-known of Poe’s works, is  visually distinctive, and really shows the difference in the two art styles.


click image for details

     January 19th 2013,  Happy 204th Birthday,  E.A.P.


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