Five College Archives and Manuscript Collections
Mount Holyoke College seal
Brown papers, ca.1916-1980.
3 boxes (1.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 0777 (LD 7096.6 1920 Brown)

Abstract:
Brown, Rachel Fuller, 1898-1980; Chemist. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1920. Papers consist of course records, writings, correspondence, memorabilia, an autograph album, biographical information, and photographs. Primarily documenting her coursework at Mount Holyoke College and her collaboration with Elizabeth Lee Hazen in the discovery of the antibiotic Nystatin.

Terms of Access and Use:

Unrestricted

Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Rachel Fuller Brown was born on November 23, 1898 in Springfield, Massachusetts to George Hamilton Brown and Annie Fuller Brown. After her father left the family when Brown was twelve, her mother worked as a secretary and director of religious education at various churches. Brown entered Mount Holyoke College in 1916 and graduated with an B.A. degree in history and chemistry in 1920. In 1921 she received an M.S. degree in organic chemistry from the University of Chicago. For the next three years Brown taught at the Frances Shimer School in Chicago, Illinois before returning to the University of Chicago to study for her Ph.D. She completed her doctoral research in 1926 and received her Ph.D. in organic chemistry and bacteriology in 1933. In 1926 Brown began her career as a research chemist at the New York State Division of Laboratories and Research in Albany, New York. In 1948 she began collaborating with Dr. Elizabeth Lee Hazen, a microbiologist, to isolate the first antifungal antibiotic for human use. In 1950 they announced the discovery of Nystatin, an antibiotic named for the New York State Laboratory where they worked. The patent process was completed in 1957 and handled by the Research Corporation, a private foundation that worked closely with Brown and Hazen to distribute about $13,000,000 in royalties over the following decades to fund scientific research. Among its other projects, the Brown-Hazen Fund financed grants and fellowships at Mount Holyoke College. Brown retired from the Division of Laboratories and Research in 1968. She was the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Squibb Award in Chemotherapy, honorary degrees from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Mount Holyoke College, and the Chemical Pioneer Award. She also taught Sunday school for many years at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Albany. Brown died on January 14, 1980 at the age of eighty-one in Albany.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Rachel Brown Papers consist of course records, writings, correspondence, memorabilia, an autograph album, biographical information, and photographs. Most of the collection consists of documents that reflect Brown's coursework as a student at Mount Holyoke College, 1916-1920. This material includes notebooks, notes, essays, assignments, and laboratory reports for courses in Biblical history and literature, chemistry, English literature, history, mathematics, philosophy and psychology, and physics. The collection also includes reports and copies of her M.S. thesis and Ph.D. dissertation that relate to her graduate work at the University of Chicago, 1920-1926. Most of the remaining material in the collection relates to Brown's collaboration with Elizabeth Lee Hazen and their discovery of the antibiotic Nystatin in 1950. This material includes correspondence, articles, and photographs pertaining to projects supported by the fund that Brown and Hazen established with income from the Nystatin patent. There are also congratulatory notes to Brown, certificates, medals, award nominations, lists of awards received, acceptance speeches, honorary degrees, and photographs of awards ceremonies all relating to Brown's achievements in science. Other information includes lists of Brown's publications, biographical articles, press releases, descriptions of Nystatin, formal photographs of Brown, and obituaries. There is also biographical information about Hazen, a formal photograph of her, and informal photographs of her with Brown. In addition, the collection includes Brown's scientific journal articles reflecting her research concerning pneumococcus and syphilis. The autograph album dates from circa 1914-circa 1920s and includes numerous autographs that appear to have been clipped from letters and other documents.


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:

Rachel Brown Papers, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, MA.

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
1916-circa 1926
2 boxes

Arrangement:

By form of material or alphabetically by course name

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

Primarily consists of documents reflecting Brown's academic work as a student at Mount Holyoke College from 1916 to 1920. This material includes notebooks, notes, essays, assignments, and laboratory reports. The records are for courses in Biblical history and literature, chemistry, English literature, history, mathematics, philosophy and psychology, and physics. There are some instructor comments on the coursework for Chemisty 1. There are also reports for graduate school courses at the University of Chicago dated circa 1920-circa 1926.

1921-1945, 1972-1980
3 Folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

Consists of Brown's MS thesis and Ph.D dissertation, scientific journal articles, other articles, and speeches dating from 1921-1945, 1972-1980. The MS thesis, dated 1921, is entitled "Methyl-Phenylbutyrate." The Ph.D. dissertation is entitled "A Molecular Rearrangement of Para- Phenylbenzbromoamide" and was published in 1936. The scientific journal articles primarily relate to her research about pneumococcus and syphilis. The speeches include a statement about the accomplishments of the Brown-Hazen Fund, dated April 22, 1972, and Brown's acceptance speech for the Chemical Pioneer Award, May 22, 1972. There is also a short article about the progress of women scientists from 1980.

circa 1955-1979
2 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

Consists of letters to and from Brown, dating from circa 1955-1979. Many of the letters are congratulatory notes from friends and others for her many awards and honors. One of these letters, dated July 19, 1957, is from New York Governor Averell Harriman. There is correspondence from various organizations conferring honors on Brown. There are some letters from the Research Corporation regarding different projects of the Brown-Hazen Fund. Also, there are a few personal letters, including a thank you card from Brown's niece, Diana Brown, dated December 27, 1976.

circa 1916-circa 1978
4 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged by type of material.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

Contains awards, certificates, invitations, programs, medals, and a poster, dating from circa 1916-circa 1978. The certificate and medal for the 1955 Squibb Award are included, as are the certificates for honorary degrees awarded at Mount Holyoke College and Hobart and William Smith Colleges. In addition, there is a colorfully and intricately printed resolution praising Brown and Elizabeth Hazen adopted in 1971 by the Board of Directors of the Research Corporation. There is a program from the American Institute of Chemists Annual Meeting in 1975 and the certificate for the Chemical Pioneer award that Brown was presented with at the meeting.

circa 1914-circa 1920s
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged by type of material.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

Consists of an autograph album, dating from circa 1914-circa 1920s. The autographs appear to have been clipped from letters and other documents. Autographs of people such as John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Raymond Adams, Warner F. Gookin, and others are included.

1955-1980
3 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

Consists of newspaper articles, lists of Brown's publications, biographical articles, press releases, award nominations, descriptions of nystatin, lists of awards Brown received, biographical information about Elizabeth Hazen, and obituaries, dating from 1955-1980. The articles primarily concern her scientific discoveries, the awards she won, and her financial contributions to Mount Holyoke College. There is some information about the Research Corporation, including a description of the corporation, a grants program report from in 1976, and articles about grants made to Mount Holyoke College.

1920-1975
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

Consists of formal photographs, informal photographs of Brown with other people, and photographs of awards Brown received, dating from 1920-1975. There are four formal photographs that date from 1920-circa 1960s. There is also a formal photograph of Elizabeth Hazen, circa 1930s. A photograph dated circa 1957 is of Hazen and Brown working in a laboratory. There is a photograph of Brown presenting Mount Holyoke College president Richard Glenn Gettell with a check from the Research Corporation in 1968. Two photographs are of Brown when she received an honorary degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 1969. In addition, there is a photograph of Brown being presented with the Chemical Pioneer Award in 1975.

Contents List
Course Records,
1916-circa 1926
2 boxes

Biblical History & Literature 1 & 2: Notebook,
Sept. 1917-June 1918

Box 1: folder 1
Biblical History & Literature 1 & 2: Essays & assignments,
Sept. 1917-June 1918

Box 1: folder 2
Chemistry 1: Laboratory assignments & reports,
Sept. 1917-Feb. 1918

Box 1: folder 3
Chemistry 2: Laboratory assignments & reports,
Feb. 1918-June 1918

Box 1: folder 4
Chemistry 5: Notes,
Sept. 1918-Feb. 1919

Box 1: folder 5
Chemistry (5, 6, 7, or 8): Essays, assignments & notes,
Sept. 1918-Feb. 1920

Box 1: folder 6
Chemistry 14 & 15: Notebook,
Sept. 1919-June 1920

Box 1: folder 7
Chemistry 21: Notebook,
Feb. 1920-June 1920

Box 1: folder 8
English Literature 1 & 2: Notebook,
Sept. 1917-June 1918

Box 1: folder 9
English Literature 1 & 2: Notes,
Sept. 1917-June 1918

Box 1: folder 10
History 3 & 4: Notebook,
Sept. 1916-June 1917

Box 2: folder 1
History 5 & 6: Notebook,
Sept. 1917-June 1918

Box 2: folder 2
History 15: Notes,
Sept. 1918-Feb. 1919

Box 2: folder 3
History 16: Notes,
Feb. 1919-June 1919

Box 2: folder 4
History 22: Notes,
Feb. 1919-June 1919

Box 2: folder 5
Lecture notes,
1920

Box 2: folder 6
Mathematics 2a: Notes,
Feb. 1917-June 1917

Box 2: folder 7
Philosophy & Psychology A3: Notes,
Sept. 1918-Feb. 1919

Box 2: folder 8
Philosophy & Psychology B2: Notes,
Sept. 1918-Feb. 1919

Box 2: folder 9
Physics 1 & 2: Notebook,
Sept. 1919-June 1920

Box 2: folder 10
Graduate school reports,
1925

Box 2: folder 11
Reports, possibly from graduate school,
circa 1920-circa 1926

Box 2: folder 12
Writings,
1921-1945, 1972-1980
3 Folders



Box : folder 3
M.S. thesis,
1921

Box 3: folder 1
Articles & Ph.D. Dissertation,
1931-1945

Box 3: folder 2
Articles & speeches,
1972-1980

Box 3: folder 3
Correspondence,
circa 1955-1979
2 folders



Box : folder 3
Correspondence,
circa 1955-1969

Box 3: folder 4
Correspondence,
1970-1979

Box 3: folder 5
Memorabilia,
circa 1916-circa 1978
4 folders



Box : folder 3
Awards, certificates...,
circa 1916-1948

Box 3: folder 6
Awards, certificates...,
1953-1976

Box 3: folder 7
Medals,
1958, 1968, 1972

Folio
Awards, certificate & poster,
1955-circa 1978

Folio
Autograph Album,
circa 1914-circa 1920s
1 folder

Autograph album,
circa 1914-circa 1920s

Box 3: folder 10
Biographical Information,
1955-1980
3 folders



Box : folder 3
Biographical information,
1955-1969

Box 3: folder 11
Biographical information,
circa 1972-1975

Box 3: folder 12
Biographical information,
circa 1976-1980

Box 3: folder 13
Photographs,
1920-1975
1 folder

Photographs of Rachel Brown,
1920-circa 1960s

Box 3: folder 14
Photograph of Elizabeth Lee Hazen,
circa 1930s

Box 3: folder 15
Photographs of Rachel Brown with others,

Box 3: folder 16
circa 1957-1975


Box 3: folder
Photographs of awards,
1968

Box 3: folder 17

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, Rachel, 1898-1980.
  • Hazen, Elizabeth Lee, 1888-
  • Antiobiotics - Research.
  • Chemists - United States.
  • College students - Massachusetts.
  • Microbiologists - United States.
  • Nystatin.
  • Women chemists - United States.
  • Women college students - Massachusetts.
  • Women microbiologists - United States.

Genre terms
  • Autographs.
  • Letters.
  • Photographs.


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