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.
The third John Tschirch lecture of his series here at Redwood Library will focus on Vaux-le-Vitcomte; the building that sparked a king’s jealousy and the downfall of its owner. Vaux-le-Vicomte is a superb example of French Classical design. This reading list will provide resources to learn more about the characters involved in the history of this beautiful chateau, and its unique history.
The Charles Bird King Scrapbooks contain his collection of print images, which served as source material for his artistic talents. In this brief overview, we present a few examples from the collection and its significance.
In the vast portrait collection of the Redwood Library, there are only a handful of self-portraits. Prolific portrait artists like Charles Bird King (1785-1862) and Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) each have at least one to their name among the many other portraits of theirs lining our walls. In contrast, the only portrait we have by decorative artist Michele Felice Corné (1752-1845) is his own self-portrait. Prolific in other areas, he was not known for his skills as a portrait artist, but his self-portrait is a fine representation of his artistic talent nonetheless.
In conjunction with the latest lecture series by John Tschirch, this reading list will focus around the Chateau Chenonceaux, completed in the early 16th Century. The books featured for this list will touch upon the lives of some of the owners of the famous estate, as well as the architect of Chenonceaux, Philibert de l'Orme.