Many of the men and women whose portraits line the walls of the Redwood Library are the descendants of families who have been in New England since its earliest days. Joseph Hurlbut Patten (1801-1881), the son of Reverend William Patten (1766-1839) and Hannah Hurlbut (1769-1855), is proof of this regional lineage on both his father’s and his mother’s sides, each with long histories in the area.
The Claiborne Pell Bridge was completed in 1969, after three years of construction. For several years before that however, there was conflict and difficulty in the development of the bridge. From the initial discussion of the bridge in 1945, until plans were approved in 1965, there was discussion and unsurity whether the bridge would ever be made. This reading list will compliment the upcoming lecture on the struggle surrounding the construction of the Newport Bridge, and explore the world around the Newport Bridge, including Narragansett Bay, The United States Navy, and transportation on the water before the Bridge. To coincide with the lecture, David McCullough's history of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge will be available to enjoy as well!
This week at the Redwood, we became detectives again, searching for information on a book in our collection that recently caught our eyes. Our copy of L’Email des Peintres (1866) by Claudius Popelin (1825-1892) was stored in its own personal box, hiding its magnificent binding from immediate view. Today, we decided to open it up and begin to try and piece together its origins.
Today’s Redwood Library is open daily to both members and visitors, with different policies and privileges for both, but this has not always been the case. A look through the annals has revealed an evolving visitor services policy first recorded in the early 1800s that identified anyone not previously known to the library as a “stranger.” This blog post observes the changes made throughout the 1800s to today.
While the original construction of the Redwood Library, as designed by architect Peter Harrison, met the needs of its members in 1750, the library had to grow in the centuries that followed to accommodate an ever-increasing collection of books and to serve its new members.
One of our fall projects here at the Redwood Library is to begin a new effort to catalog and digitize our Newport Collection of photographs. Our archives hold several boxes of photos that serve our researchers well when they come to visit, but there isn’t currently a way to get a complete idea of our collection without contacting a reference librarian. We hope to change that this season and present here an overview of the collections we will be providing access to.
This reading list will delve in to the impact of Quakerism in America, and how its influence was felt here in the New World. Important Quakers such as Mary Almy, and Nathanael Greene are important figures whose names are cemented in Rhode Island History. The Society of Friends were, and are still today, proponents of abolition, peace, and equality; all major issues that affect the world today.
On this same weekend at the end of the summer of 1778, Mrs. Mary Almy (1735-1808) set down her own account of the cannonading of the French Fleet led by the Comte De’Estaing (1729-1794) for her husband, Captain Benjamin Almy (1724-1818). Mrs. Almy was loyal to the English crown while her husband supported the revolution, which colors her view of the events she experienced during the war here in Newport.
This weekend the Redwood Library is holding its Annual Garden Party to celebrate the end of summer. Of course, while it promises to be a beautiful day, no garden party in Newport could ever be quite as elaborate as the Masque of the Blue Garden, held on August 15, 1913 by Harriet James and her husband Arthur Curtiss James at their home on Beacon Hill.