Advancing original research and public scholarship by connecting faculty, students, and the larger Baltimore community to the Sheridan Libraries’ special collections of rare books, manuscripts, and archives.

The Tabb Center offers undergraduate research fellowships; promotes innovative educational experiences, courses, and ground-breaking scholarship; develops public humanities initiatives; and organizes exhibitions, lectures, readings, performances, and hands-on explorations of collection materials. Through our public programming, we cultivate an exchange of knowledge between Johns Hopkins University and the larger Baltimore community, drawing on our collections to help understand the past, make meaning of the present, and consider the conditions required for socially just futures.

Public Humanities Initiatives

The Tabb Center supports and develops public humanities initiatives that draw on the Sheridan Libraries’ rare books, manuscripts, and archives special collections. Public humanities is the work of bridging knowledge produced in the academy and knowledge produced by larger publics. It can take the form of participatory action research, historical reenactment, oral history, digital humanities, exhibitions, performance, and a variety of other collaborative cultural productions.

A dancer performing
A performer dancing at the Peabody Ballroom Experience ball in 2019.

The Peabody Ballroom Experience

a collaboration between the Sheridan Libraries and Baltimore’s ballroom community, a performance-based arts culture comprising gay, lesbian, and transgender people of color.

Baltimore’s Black Arts District: A Creative Archive

A series of special collections workshops with Baltimore youth in Spring 2020, culminating in the creation of an arts zine about Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Avenue

City People

City People: Black Baltimore in the Photographs of John Clark Mayden, an exhibition presenting over fifty of the artist’s black-and-white street portraits taken since the 1970.

Queer Times: A Virtual Exploration of Queer Media

An interactive online event showcasing the Sheridan Library’s LGBTQ collections and Baltimore’s queer history.

American Selfie

A student exhibition based on the Sheridan Libraries’ African American Real Photo Postcards Collection.

John Mayden lecturing
John Mayden presenting his photos to Black Arts District program students.
A curator works with a researcher
Curator Paul Espinosa shows a Special Collections item to researchers.
collage artwork from youth arts zine
Excerpt from "Walking Down the Avenue." Collage by Asia Kenney.

Student Fellowships and Opportunities

The Tabb Center supports a variety of student fellowships and opportunities for engaging with the Sheridan Libraries’ special collections of rare books, manuscripts, and archives.

Archives Space

Special Collections Fellowships

Undergraduate students have multiple opportunities each year to work closely with Special Collections curators and our collections on independent projects.

edible book cake

Read it & Eat it: Edible Book Festival

An annual festival showcasing student-created desserts inspired by literary titles, characters, or authors.

student holding up game pieces

Stress Busters

Students interested in creatively engaging with our collections remotely can download cookbooks, board games, and toys.

Lecture Series

Each year the Tabb Center hosts lectures by prominent scholars. Tabb Center talks highlight research and public-facing scholarship that draw on special collections and archival materials.

All Tabb Center lectures are free and open to the public.

Dr. Lawrence Brown, Morgan State University
Dr. Lawrence Brown from Morgan State University giving a lecture
  • View a Selection of Past Lectures

    Rebecca Brown, “The Intimate Archive: Aerograms and Almirahs,” Tuesday, April 23, 2019, Macksey Room, Brody Learning Commons M-level

    Nadia Nurhussein, Samanda Robinson, and Jarvis Young, “The Movements of Black Print Culture in the United States, 1773-1940,” Tuesday, February 12, 2019, Macksey Room, Brody Learning Commons M-level

    Martha Jones, “Birthright Citizenship and the Politics of Early Black Baltimore” Thursday, February 7 2019, Macksey Room, Brody Learning Commons M-level

    Jo Briggs, “Downfall of the Exhibition: Ephemera and Opposition at the Crystal Palace,” March 7, 2018, Macksey Room, Brody Learning Commons M-level

    Dorothy Kim, “Embodying the Database: Race, Gender, and Social Justice,” February 22, 2018, Brody Learning Commons 4040

    Deborah Willis, “Locating the Self-Portrait in Postcard and Photobooth Imagery,” February 7, 2018, Macksey Room, Brody Learning Commons M-level

    Shane Butler, “Dante’s Mask: Queer Surfaces in the Books of John Addington Symonds,” March 7, 2017, Macksey Room, Brody Learning Commons M-level

    Adam Smyth (Balliol College, Oxford), Title: “‘Tatters Allegorical’: Reading and Not Reading Printed Waste in Early Modern Books” Tuesday, September 19, 2015, Macksey Room, Brody Learning Commons M-level

    Elizabeth Archibald, “Ask the Past: Learning from the George Peabody Library,” Wednesday, October 7, 2015, Homewood Campus, Brody Learning Commons Macksey Room, Brody Learning Commons M-level

    Nicholas Smith, “An Actor’s Library: David Garrick, Book Collecting and Literary Friendships,” Monday, October 26, 2015, Macksey Room, Brody Learning Commons M-level

    Nathan Connolly, “More than Pictures: Incorporating Visual Sources into Historical Narratives,” February 19, 2013, BLC 5015/5017

Poster for the 2019 Engaged Humanities Speaker Series
Poster for the 2019 Engaged Humanities Speaker Series

Contact Us

Name Contact Location Subject Areas
Herr, Heidi
Librarian for English, Philosophy, and Special Collections Student Engagement
410-516-4259
hherr1@jhu.edu
Brody Learning Commons English, Philosophy
Plaster, Joseph
Director, Tabb Center & Curator in Public Humanities

jplaste1@jhu.edu
Milton S. Eisenhower Library

Established by President Ronald J. Daniels and Johns Hopkins University’s board of trustees, The Winston Tabb Special Collections Research Center named in honor of Winston Tabb, Sheridan Dean of University Libraries, Archives, and Museums, for his enduring support and promotion of original scholarship.