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Sidney S. Rider Collection on Rhode Island History

Introduction to Sidney S. Rider

Sidney Smith Rider, born in 1833, moved to Rhode Island with his family at the age of 12.  Apprenticed to Providence bookseller Charles Burnett, he quickly developed a penchant for printed matter and all things Rhode Island.  Once he took over the shop from Burnett and established himself in trade as a bookseller, he became a noted collector of Rhode Islandiana.

The Sidney S. Rider Collection, the largest private collection of materials related to the history of Rhode Island by the turn of the 20th century, was purchased from Sidney Rider and presented to the Brown University Library by Marsden Perry in 1903. Rider by then had amassed a collection of manuscript and printed materials documenting the history and print culture of Rhode Island from the 17th through the early 20th centuries. The collection includes books, pamphlets, manuscripts, broadsides, ephemera, scrapbooks and newspapers compiled over 50 years of collecting. Notable among the ephemera are posters, cartoons, playbills, ballots, carrier's addresses, theater programs, tax bills, lottery tickets, death notices, and funeral invitations. 

The Dorr Rebellion

A significant portion of the Rider collection pertains to Thomas Wilson Dorr and the Dorr Rebellion (1841-1843), and (as noted in the Manuscripts section of this guide) includes Dorr's personal correspondence, prison writings and artifacts from the rebellion.  In this box, other local resources that document the Dorr Rebellion are outlined.


Broadsides in the Sidney S. Rider Collection at the Hay Library have been digitized, and can be searched and viewed in the Brown Digital Repository.  They are also catalogued, and can be searched in BruKnow.  A search for "rider collection (brown university) broadsides" in the Library Catalog pulls up a complete listing.


PLEASE NOTE:  When searching for Dorr Rebellion broadsides, we recommend you consult the following works of Russell J. DeSimone:

The Broadsides of the Dorr Rebellion (1992) [with Daniel C. Schofield] 

Broadsides of the Dorr Rebellion:  A Bibliographical Checklist (1992)



Rider pamphlets have online records in BruKnow.  However, there is currently no way to pull up a complete title list of the pamphlets. Rider pamphlets are shelved in boxes, and their call numbers consist of the box location and the item number. 


Books in the Rider collection have online records in BruKnow.  However, there is currently no way to pull up a complete title list.  Rider volumes can be identified in BruKnow by the location code "Hay Rider"



Graphic prints and photographs in the Rider Collection are classified but do not have online catalog records, and therefore cannot be searched in BruKnow.  Please consult the Hay Staff for assistance.


Sidney S. Rider compiled numerous scrapbooks which formed part of the collection given to Brown by Marsden Perry.  At some point in the 1990s, it was decided to take a number of the scrapbooks apart and re-process the materials for other portions of the collection, notably as manuscripts or broadsides.  

Items formerly housed in Rider scrapbooks can be identified by searching BruKnow by "word" for "R. I. scrapiana" and "Rider scrapbook"

Broadsides formerly housed in Rider scrapbooks about the Dorr Rebellion can be identified by searching BruKnow by "word" for "Dorr scrapbook" and "Dorr scrapbooks"