The News Service
John Hay Library
Brown receives major collection of 20th-century literary works
Brown University alumnus Mel B. Yoken has donated his collection of writings by hundreds of late-20th-century American, French, English and Québécois authors and public figures. Comprising more than 25,000 books, letters, notes and personal papers, the collection is housed in the John Hay Library.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brown University has received a collection of writings by hundreds of late-20th-century American, French, English and Québécois authors and public figures from an alumnus and French professor Mel B. Yoken of New Bedford, Mass.
Made up of more than 25,000 books, letters, notes and personal papers, the collection is housed at the John Hay Library. Many of the books are inscribed and annotated by their authors.
Within the collection are writings by authors Isaac Asimov, Saul Bellow, Iris Murdoch and Walker Percy, French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, and celebrated playwrights Christopher Fry and Garson Kanin. In addition, there are numerous letters written by significant figures of the 18th and 19th centuries.
“Except for the clearly historical figures, these people actually have been correspondents of Dr. Yoken,” said Samuel Streit, department leader for scholarly resources. “The John Hay has a long tradition of collecting books and manuscripts in a broad array of disciplines, and the Yoken Collection will both complement and expand our holdings in a variety of literary and historical fields.”
Yoken, who earned his master’s degree at Brown, is Chancellor Professor of French at the University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth, where he focuses on 19th- and 20th-century French literature. He is the author of seven books and numerous essays and articles in French, Québécois, and American periodicals, journals and magazines.
“Brown’s prestigious John Hay Library is well known for its extensive holdings available to scholars and researchers,” Yoken said. “I have spent more than 40 years as a scholar of French language and literature and feel reassured that my unique archives will be displayed and preserved under one roof for future generations.”
Located at 20 Prospect St., the library is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free, and the public is welcome. For more information, call (401) 863-2146 or visit www.brown.edu/Facilities/University_Library/libs/hay/general.htm.