Black Musicians in the John Johnson Collection: the Bohee Brothers by Hope Williard (Part 1: What is the John Johnson Collection?)

This is the first in a series of four posts about using library collections for the study of black history, literature and culture, in Britain and abroad. We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us at (main library twitter), email us at, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post.

James Douglass Bohee (1844-1897) and his brother George (1857-1930) were among the earliest black musicians to record their music. Even though these recordings are seemingly lost today, we can use the John Johnson Collection, a digitised archival collections to learn more about their performances and careers. Part 1 of this post explains what the John Johnson Collection is and part 2 explains how to use it. In part 3, I explore the evidence of the Bohee Brothers’ lives and careers found in the John Johnson Collection.

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Celebrating Black History Month

October is Black History Month! Our Students’ Union is running many wonderful events and the University Library will be celebrating with a number of events and activities throughout the month. Grains of Knowledge will be hosting a weekly series of posts about using the library to study Black history, culture, and literature. We hope that these will serve as a resource you will enjoy not just during October but throughout your studies and research with us.

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Disability and inclusive practice in the University Library

Picture of Daren (centre) and two members of the group (Tracey and Amanda)
Daren (centre) and two members of the group (Tracey and Amanda)

Subject Librarian, Daren Mansfield, chairs the Library Disability Group which was founded a year ago in June 2017. Meetings are held in the Library roughly every five weeks to discuss disability issues. The group currently consists of eleven members, which amounts to 16% of all Library staff.  Daren feels that this shows that people are engaged and want to do everything they can to support students with disabilities.

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Monster hunt!


Imagine being able to search through medieval manuscripts to select illustrations of monsters as part of your job. The Special Collections Librarian, Claire Arrand, was notified about the Monsters Conference to be held at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) in June and contacted by Renee Ward, a Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature at the University of Lincoln, to contribute to Lincoln as Medieval Classroom week in March for our English and History students. This was a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of the monsters featured in Lincoln Cathedral Library.

Bat-like creature

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A warm welcome…..

The aim of the University Library blog is to connect the University of Lincoln community with information related to them locally within the institution and the Library, but also regionally and nationally.  We would like to promote and communicate a variety of initiatives, resources, developments and interesting stories that are meaningful in both the local University and wider community.