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Brown papers, 1892-1948 (Bulk: 1917-1948)
12 boxes (4.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 0679 (LD 7096.6 1892 Brown)

Abstract:
Brown, Annie Louise "Nancy," 1870-1942; Teacher and columnist. Mount Holyoke Seminary and College graduate, 1892. Papers contain writings, information on the Nancy Brown Peace Carillon, correspondence, biographical information, and photographs. Primarily focusing on her work as a columnist and her work on the Peace Carillon project.

Terms of Access and Use:

Unrestricted

Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Annie Louise Brown was born in Perry, Maine on December 11, 1870 (some sources say 1869) to Levi Prescott Brown, a Civil War veteran, and Annie R. Lincoln Brown. She attended high school in Middleborough, Massachusetts before entering Mount Holyoke College in 1888. After her graduation in 1892, she taught school in White River Junction, Vermont; Rockville, Connecticut and Mount Clemens, Michigan. In 1904 Brown married James Edward Leslie, a Sunday editor and drama critic for the "Pittsburgh Dispatch" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Leslie died in 1917. Brown succeeded her husband at the "Pittsburgh Dispatch" for a short time before beginning work at the "Detroit News" in Michigan. Brown launched her advice column, "Experience," on April 19, 1919. She wrote under the pseudonym Nancy Brown and as Mrs. J.E. Leslie. In 1929 Brown's readers (the "Experience Column Family") raised money for the reforestation of 560 acres in Michigan. In 1930 Brown hosted a party for her readers at the Detroit Institute of the Arts attended by more than 30,000 people. In 1934 Brown's column hosted its first annual sunrise service on Belle Isle, a park in the Detroit River. In the following years, the column readers raised money to build a monument to Brown on Belle Isle. The Nancy Brown Peace Carillon was dedicated in 1940. Brown retired in 1942 and died in Detroit on October 7, 1948 at age seventy-seven.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Annie Louise "Nancy" Brown Papers consist of writings, the Nancy Brown Peace Carillon material, correspondence, biographical information, and photographs. The most significant parts of this collection are the articles reflecting Brown's work as an advice columnist and journalist for the "Detroit News." Brown was one of the first advice columnists in the United States and, unlike others, she was middle-aged and did not treat readers' problems lightly. Brown's "Experience" column began on April 19, 1919 and was written under the pseudonym Nancy Brown and her married name, Mrs. J. E. Leslie. Brown's readers also wrote to her under pseudonyms. The writings date from 1917 to 1942 and contain clippings, eight published collections, and twenty-two scrapbooks with copies of Brown's editorials and "Experience" columns. Readers asked for advice about marital problems, financial worries and unemployment, coping with grief and death, and other matters, and these columns thus concern a variety of social issues and problems in the United States. Readers from all over the world also submitted their life stories. Brown wanted to help improve the lives of her readers, and her columns were known for their sincerity. She supported community projects and encouraged her readers to familiarize themselves with modern art, especially by visiting the Detroit Institute of Arts. One series of articles, dating from January 24-29, 1924, describes a visit to Mount Holyoke College. Another series, dating from October 1-13, 1928, describes a train trip through Minneapolis, Minnesota, North Dakota, Canada, and the Pacific coast. The Nancy Brown Peace Carillon was a tower dedicated to peace in Brown's honor. Constructed on Belle Isle, a park in the Detroit River, the tower was supported by Brown and funded by contributions from her readers. The Nancy Brown Peace Carillon material, dating from 1934 to 1941, consists of newspaper and magazine clippings, a brochure, and a postcard. The material documents the Peace Carillon project from its conception after the start of the annual sunrise services on Belle Isle in 1934 through the fundraising efforts and completion of construction in 1940. The correspondence contains two letters. The first is a short letter, dated June 2, 1937, from the Queen of Great Britain's Treasurer acknowledging the receipt of a page from the "Detroit News." The other letter, written on a Christmas card in 1945 to Mount Holyoke classmate Sarah French Lee, describes her retirement. The biographical information, dating from 1917 to 1948, consists of a biographical note, newspaper clippings, obituaries, and a "Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly" article by Brown's Mount Holyoke roommate Bertha E. Blakely. The clippings document Brown's work on the "Experience" column and her retirement. The obituaries are for both Brown and her husband, James E. Leslie. The photographs series contains two formal portraits of Brown as a younger woman. The first is Brown's senior portrait from Mount Holyoke, circa 1892, and another was taken when she was older. There are six photographs of the Peace Carillon, and there is one photograph of Brown breaking ground on the tower. These photographs are from 1939-circa 1940. The last photograph is of Brown at her fiftieth Mount Holyoke class reunion in 1942.

This collection is organized into five series:

  • Writings
  • Nancy Brown Peace Carillon Material
  • Correspondence
  • Biographical Information
  • Photographs

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Nancy Brown Papers, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, Massachusetts

History of the Collection


Additional Information
Contact Information
Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
8 Dwight Hall
50 College St.
South Hadley, MA 01075

Phone: (413) 538-2013
Fax: (413) 538-2370

Email Reference Form: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/forms/areq.htm
URL: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
1917-1942
11 boxes

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series, dating from 1917-1942, consist of Brown's editorials and "Experience" columns, chiefly as published in eight books and collected in twenty-two scrapbooks labeled "Editorials." Early writings consist of two clippings from the "Pittsburgh Dispatch" in 1917. The articles concern theater and the arts. Brown's "Experience" columns consist of letters written to Brown, usually asking for advice about marital problems, financial worries, unemployment, coping with grief, death, and other matters. Readers from all over the world also submitted their life stories. Brown's columns were known for their sincerity, and she wanted to help her readers improve their lives. She encouraged her readers to familiarize themselves with modern art and to visit the Detroit Institute of Arts. Some of Brown's editorials were about Mount Holyoke College. One article, entitled "Mt. Holyoke," from May, 1921, describes the school and its need for money. One series of articles, dating from January 24-29, 1924, describes a visit by Brown to Mount Holyoke. These articles describe physical changes on the campus as well as continuing traditions such as morning chapel. Another series of articles, dating from October 1-13, 1928, describes a train trip Brown took through Minneapolis, Minnesota, and North Dakota, Canada, and the Pacific coast. The series includes an article, dated October 6, 1928, describing the political climate in California with regard to the U.S. presidential election.

1934-1941
2 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series consists of newspaper and magazine articles concerning the Nancy Brown Peace Carillon, dating from 1934 to 1941. The series also includes a brochure and a postcard depicting the Carillon. The material begins with an article, dated June 18, 1934, describing Brown's "Experience" column's first annual sunrise service at Belle Isle, a park in Detroit, Michigan. The material then documents the fundraising drive and final construction of the Nancy Brown Peace Carillon. The project was funded by contributions from Brown's readers. Later articles describe the dedication of the tower at the seventh annual sunrise service on June 17, 1940. The last articles describe the eighth annual sunrise service in 1941 and the clearance of debt associated with the tower's construction.

1937, 1945
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The correspondence contains a letter, dated June 2, 1937, from the Queen of Great Britain's Treasurer acknowledging a clipping from the "Detroit News." The other letter, written on a Christmas card in 1945, is addressed to Brown's Mount Holyoke College classmate, Sarah French Lee. The letter describes Brown's retirement activities.

1917-1948
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and content:

This series consists of a biographical note, newspaper clippings, obituaries, and a "Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly" article. The newspaper clippings include information about the "Experience" column's party at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1930 and Brown's retirement in 1942. One obituary, dated August 7, 1917, is for Brown's husband, James E. Leslie. There are several obituaries for Brown after her death on October 7, 1948. The "Alumnae Quarterly" article, from January, 1929, is a biography of Brown by her Mount Holyoke roommate, Bertha E. Blakely.

circa 1892-1942
2 folders

Arrangement:

Chronological and by subject

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series contains ten photographs dating from circa 1892 to 1942. The first photograph is Brown's senior portrait from Mount Holyoke College, circa 1892. There is also another formal portrait of Brown when she was older. There is a photograph of Brown breaking ground for the Nancy Brown Peace Carillon, October 30, 1939, and six photographs of the tower. One of these photographs is of the plaque dedicating the tower to Brown. The last photograph is of Brown at her fiftieth class reunion at Mount Holyoke College in 1942.

Contents List
Writings,
1917-1942
11 boxes



Box : folder 1
Clippings,
1917-1928

Box 1: folder 1
Clippings,
1929-1942

Box 1: folder 2
Clippings,
circa 1929-circa 1942

Box 1: folder 3
"Experience,"
1932

Box 2: folder 1
"Dear Nancy,"
1933

Box 2: folder 2
"Column Folks,"
1934

Box 2: folder 3


Box : folder 3
"Nancy's Family,"
1935

Box 3: folder 1
"Acres of Friends,"
1936

Box 3: folder 2
"Column House,"
1937

Box 3: folder 3


Box : folder 4
"Come Again,"
1938

Box 4: folder 1
"Home Edition,"
1939

Box 4: folder 2
"Editorials...Vol. 1,"
1918-1919

Box 5: folder 1
"Editorials...Vol. 2,"
1920

Box 5: folder 2
"Editorials...Vol. 3,"
1921

Box 5: folder 3
"Editorials...Vol. 4,"
1922

Box 5: folder 4


Box : folder 6
"Editorials...Vol. 5,"
1923

Box 6: folder 1
"Editorials...Vol. 6,"
1924

Box 6: folder 2
"Editorials...Vol. 7,"
1925

Box 6: folder 3


Box : folder 7
"Editorials...Vol. 8,"
1926

Box 7: folder 1
"Editorials...Vol. 9,"
1927

Box 7: folder 2
"Editorials...Vol. 10,"
1928

Box 7: folder 3
"Editorials...Vol. 11,"
1929

Box 8: folder 1
"Editorials...Vol. 12,"
1930

Box 8: folder 2
"Editorials...Vol. 13,"
1931

Box 8: folder 3
"Editorials...Vol. 14,"
1932

Box 9: folder 1
"Editorials...Vol. 15,"
1933

Box 9: folder 2
"Editorials...Vol. 16,"
1934

Box 9: folder 3


Box : folder 10
"Editorials...Vol. 17,"
1935

Box 10: folder 1
"Editorials...Vol. 18,"
1936

Box 10: folder 2
"Editorials...Vol. 19,"
1937

Box 10: folder 3
"Editorials...Vol. 20,"
1938

Box 11: folder 1
"Editorials...Vol. 21,"
1939

Box 11: folder 2
"Editorials...Vol. 22,"
1940

Box 11: folder 3
Nancy Brown Peace Carillon Material,
1934-1941
2 folders

Newspaper and magazine articles,
1934-1939

Box 12: folder 1
Newspaper and magazine articles,
postcard, and brochure, 1940-1941

Box 12: folder 2
Correspondence,
1937, 1945
1 folder

Correspondence,
1937, 1945

Box 12: folder 3
Biographical Information,
1917-1948
1 folder

Biographical information,
1917-1948

Box 12: folder 4
Photographs,
circa 1892-1942
2 folders

Photographs of Brown,
circa 1892-1942

Box 12: folder 5
Photographs of the Nancy Brown Peace Carillon,
circa 1940

Box 12: folder 6

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Brown, Nancy, 1870?-1948.
  • Leslie, James Edward, 1854-1917.
  • Advice columnists - Biography.
  • Advice columns - United States.
  • Art appreciation.
  • Belle Isle (Park : Detroit, Mich.)
  • Canada - Description and travel.
  • Carillons - Michigan - Detroit.
  • Detroit Institute of Arts.
  • Journalists - United States - Biography.
  • Minneapolis (Minn.) - Description and travel.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Description.
  • Nancy Brown Peace Carillon.
  • Newspapers - Sections, columns, etc.
  • North Dakota - Description and travel.
  • Pacific Coast (U.S.) - Description and travel.
  • United States - Social conditions - 1918-1932.
  • United States - Social conditions - 1933-1945.
  • Women journalists - United States - Biography.
  • Women travelers.

Contributors
  • Blakely, Bertha E. (Bertha Eliza), 1870-1962.
  • Lee, Sarah French, 1869-1958.

Genre terms
  • Letters
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks


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