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John Hay Library

Neighborhood: College Hill
Libraries, Traveler Resources
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Address: 20 Prospect Street, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912
Phone Number: 401-863-3723
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Closed now
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Mon - Thu 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 10 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 7
  • 1
    Very good
  • 1
  • 1
  • 0
Most recent review
Closed for 9 Months

After reading the new Biography by John Taliaferro (an excellent biography) I wanted to see the Sargeant painting located in the library. Be aware the library is being renovated... read more

3 of 5 starsReviewed September 5, 2013
Ray F
Pleasant Hill, California

10 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Pleasant Hill, California
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
39 attraction reviews
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2013

After reading the new Biography by John Taliaferro (an excellent biography) I wanted to see the Sargeant painting located in the library. Be aware the library is being renovated for 9 months.

Top Contributor
135 reviews 135 reviews
70 attraction reviews
128 helpful votes 128 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

John Hay Library has incredible collections and the helpful and welcoming librarians make it a pleasure to visit. There is a small display case in the lobby with a rotating exhibit for casual visitors (i.e., not there on a research visit) to enjoy.

Lakeland, Florida
Top Contributor
143 reviews 143 reviews
50 attraction reviews
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2012

We got to see so much greatness here....Collections of toy soldiers, Lincoln and Napoleon Memorabilia, Stamps, and a Slavery exhibit. You should definitely go and arrange for a tour. So overwhelmed with what we saw. We really want to go again. Walk around the campus too. Lovely!

Providence, Rhode Island
Top Contributor
124 reviews 124 reviews
53 attraction reviews
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

The John Hay, Library which is named after a friend of Henry James who was the first modern US Secretary of State, is a stately, somewhat boring marble faced edifice that houses the university's main special collections, collections, however, which are far from being in the league of those at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Texas, and so on. Not much of... More 

Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
11 attraction reviews
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2012

Nice place to visit if you're doing research on American history.

Top Contributor
197 reviews 197 reviews
63 attraction reviews
105 helpful votes 105 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2012

We dropped into the Hay Library while visiting Brown University. The staff at the desk was so friendly and helpful! We went up to the top floor to see the toy soldier collection. I've never been interested in toy soldiers before, but this collection was large and extraordinary. I was quite caught up in the lovely little display of WWII... More 

Providence, Rhode Island
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
26 attraction reviews
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2012

I love the marble building of this library as well as the comfortable interior. It is not crowded so it is a great place to study when they are open. I find their schedule to be quite limited.

Corvallis, Oregon
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2012

I stopped in to study, the lady at the desk was very welcoming and even let me borrow a quarter so I could put my things in a locker. The windows are large and let a ton of sunlight into the reading room.

Rhode Island
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
34 attraction reviews
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2011

If you love history and books and old manuscripts, you'll love this library! This is a research library so stacks are closed but but there's plenty to see. This library is Brown University's Special Collections library. Contrary to what the previous reviewer said, it's easy to get in. There are two exhibit rooms inside the front entrance and more exhibits... More 

1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2009

They don't let just anyone in here, so don't expect to just hop in and start checking out on-of-a-kind texts. I went on the Providence Ghost Tour, and after having tried to get in without success, learned a lot about this building on their tour. Beautiful location, beautiful building, amazing contents. On a lovely street corner and in walking distance... More 

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