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Exhibits and Library Events: Home

Fall 2019

Ethiopia and the West
Highlights from the Robert L. Hess Collection

Where: Special Collections Gallery

Located in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia has a rich history as well as one of the world's oldest literary traditions.  This exhibit explores this history and literature, taking its inspiration from the title of a book by the mid-twentieth century Ethiopian poet, playwright, and historian Käbbädä Mika'él.  In it, Käbbädä Mika'él examined Ethiopia's role in world history from the classical era through the turbulent twentieth century, paying particular attention to the complex modern relationship between Ethiopia and Europe.  The exhibit considers these themes by focusing on the Amharic and Ge'ez literary heritage of Ethiopia, the development of European orientalist scholarship devoted to Ethiopia, the struggle between Italy and Ethiopia the League of Nations (1934-35), and the Italian colonization of Ethiopia (1935-41).

Drawn primarily from the Robert L. Hess Collection on Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa, the exhibit also features a painting from the Stuart Schaar Collection.  The manuscript and photographic materials in the Hess collection are contemporary records of the Italian invasion and occupation of Ethiopia.

Additional Information:

 Ethiopia and the West exhibit cover

BESA: A Code of Honor
Muslim Albanians who rescued Jews during the Holocaust

When: November 8 – December 1, 2019
Where: Lobby Gallery

This exhibition features photographs by the American photographer Norman Gershman of Muslim Albanians who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. Yugoslavia was a European country with a Muslim majority that succeeded where other European nations failed: almost all Jews living within Albanian borders during the German occupation-those of Albanian origin and refugees alike-were saved.

The Albanian population, in an extraordinary act, refused to comply with the occupier’s orders to turn over Jews residing within the country’s borders and Jewish refugees who had arrived in Albania.

The remarkable assistance afforded the Jews was grounded in Besa, a code of honor, which still today serves as the highest ethical code in the country. Besa literally means “to keep a promise”. One who acts according to Besa is someone who keeps his word, someone to whom one can trust one’s life and that of one’s family. The aid given to Jews and non-Jews alike should be understood as a matter of national honor.

This exhibition was created by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Israel.The Brooklyn College  presentation is made possible by the American Society for Yad Vashem.

Additional Information:

American Society for Yad Vashem logo

Spring 2019

YWCA of Brooklyn

Where: Special Collections Gallery

The Young Women’s Christian Association of Brooklyn was formed in December 1887 when a group of 30 women, inspired by associations in Baltimore, Boston, and New York City, voted to establish an organization for the empowerment of young women.

The goal of these associations was to help and support women in a changing industrial world. Women needed jobs, and training in order to get them. Along with its wide variety of classes and affordable housing options, the YWCA provided a space for women and girls to meet and socialize.  After opening an African American branch in 1903, and an International Institute in 1919, Brooklyn was the first YWCA in the country to fully integrate its programs and residences, in 1943.

The items in this exhibit were from the YWCA of Brooklyn collection, which was processed by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Additional Information:

27th Annual Book Party

Attention Faculty and Staff!
Please come to the Library's Annual Book Party, honoring the College's authors who have written, co-written, edited, or co-edited a book this year.

When: Thursday, April 11, 2019   12:00 - 2:00 PM

Where: Christoph M. Kimmich Reading Room

Additional Information:


Fall 2018

A New Deal for Artists
Connecting Brooklyn College to its Past, Present & Future

When: Fall 2019
Where: East Gallery, 1st floor

This exhibition provides a unique opportunity to tell the story of the New Deal’s extraordinary Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the creation of the Brooklyn College Midwood campus. The exhibit also serves as a reminder of the vital role the federal government played during the Great Depression in supporting the arts by employing tens of thousands of visual artists, musicians, actors, and writers.

These beautifully restored paintings along with the campus’s other twenty-two WPA art works are important pieces of our history connecting the college’s past to its present and future. We gratefully acknowledge the Brooklyn College Class of 1964 for its generosity and commitment to the restoration and preservation of the thirteen paintings in this exhibit.

Professor Miriam Deutch Art Specialist Brooklyn College Library
Rita Fabris Adjunct Instructor, Art History Brooklyn College Art Department

Additional Information:

Flatbush and the Junction
A Pictorial Journey

Where: Special Collections Gallery

VLAACKE BOSCH ~ flat bush or woods

VLAACK LANDT ~ flat land

Flatbush and Flatlands, which were originally settled by the Dutch, were two of the six original towns that make up the modern borough of Brooklyn.  This exhibit featured several historic maps and photographs of the area from different time periods, showing the changes in the neighborhood around Brooklyn College.

Dutch settlers, who acquired the rich farmland from the Canarsee Indians, grew vegetables and tobacco, as well as raising livestock. Jamaica Bay was a rich source of clams. One of the earliest residents of Midwout was indentured servant Jan Aertsen Van-der-bilt, great-great-great-grandfather of “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt.

The towns remained agricultural into the 19th century. The coming of the railroad to Flatbush in 1878, and horsecar service to Flatlands in 1875 encouraged development in both areas. More growth occurred with the annexation of both towns into greater Brooklyn – Flatbush in 1894 and Flatlands in 1896.  Farmland became housing developments such as Vanderveer Park.

The opening of the Brooklyn College campus in fall 1937 marked yet another change for the Flatbush and Flatlands neighborhoods, which continue to evolve today. Many of the images in this exhibit were courtesy of the BRIAN MERLIS Collection/ More images of the area and the campus can be found in the Archives, along with many books about the history of this area and Brooklyn in general.

Spring 2018

Women in the Archives
History Through Her Eyes

Where: Special Collections Gallery

The spring 2018 exhibit highlighted archival collections created by or about women.   Documents and ephemera from the papers of women elected to political office including BC alums Shirley Chisholm ‘46, Susan Alter ’61, Adele Cohen ‘64, and Rhoda Jacobs ’61 were on display along with materials from Brooklyn-Queens NOW and the Brooklyn Women’s Political Caucus. Flyers from the papers of Rhoda Karpatkin ‘51 provided a glimpse into activism on campus.  Karpatkin, who led the BC branch of the Young Progressive League, was a staunch advocate of free speech and students’ rights. She organized a class walkout and was one of the Vanguard staffers who fought President Gideonse’s censorship of the student newspaper.   Also on display were some of the newly acquired items from Professor Lilia Melani’s CUNY Women’s Coalition Collection including documents related to the class action lawsuit brought by the Coalition against CUNY charging the University with sex discrimination against female faculty.

26th Annual Book Party

Attention Faculty and Staff! Please come to the Library's Annual Book Party, honoring the College's authors who have written, co-written, edited, or co-edited a book this year. 
When: Tuesday, May 1, 2018 12:00 - 2:00 PM 
Where: Christoph M. Kimmich Reading Room

Fall 2017

Drawings by Joe LoGuirato 
New York City's Iconic Buildings and Bridges

When: Opening Reception Wednesday, October 18, 4 -6 pm
Where: Lobby Gallery

Lo Guirato's drawings reveal his continually evolving relationship between observation and invention, and his abiding interest in the grandeur and beauty of New York City's historic structures.  The artist's finely rendered drawings provide a unique interpretation of magnificent architectural details that adorn the city's landmark buildings and bridges.‚Äč

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