Odds and quads

These are among the more unusual items held by the John Hay Library at Brown University on Rhode Island.

July 28, 2011

The unopened bottle of wine was given to the comic author S.J. Perelman - perhaps most famous for co-writing some of the Marx Brothers' best scripts - in 1966. It was a birthday gift from Saul Steinberg, a cartoonist on The New Yorker, to which Perelman frequently contributed.

Although Napoleon was adamant that he did not want his death mask to be taken and turned into a souvenir, his doctors could not resist creating a mould of wax and plaster. This copy was eventually bought by Brown alumnus Paul Bullard.

Equally strange are the Civil War revolver, which a researcher happened to find in the archives, and the mummified crocodile, about the size of a shoebox, from the Koopman Collection of first editions.

Brown was founded before American independence, in 1764, and forms part of the Ivy League. The John Hay Library is the second on campus, and celebrated its centenary last year. It is well known for a small collection of books rebound in human skin.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy