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
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Daniel Mitchell illustration (29 June 2017)

Academics who think they can do the work of professional staff better than professional staff themselves are not showing the kind of respect they expect from others

As the pay of BBC on-air talent is revealed, one academic comes clean about his salary

Senior academics at Teesside University put at risk of redundancy as summer break gets under way

Thorns and butterflies

Conditions that undermine the notion of scholarly vocation – relentless work, ubiquitous bureaucracy – can cause academics acute distress and spur them to quit, says Ruth Barcan

University of Oxford

Reinstatement of professor over age discrimination must force rethink over ‘unfair’ retirement rules, say campaigners