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Katherine A. Browning papers, 1850-2018
1.75 linear feet (2 letter document boxes, 3 half letter document boxes)
Collection number: SSC.MS.00781

Abstract:
Collection consists of diaries, mostly of the "line-a-day" variety, kept by Katherine Browning, pianist and teacher, from the age of 17 until her 69th year (with a few gaps). Also included are two diaries of her adopted daughter, Marian (1910 and 1928). Additions include correspondence, photographs, tintypes, family history notes, and miscellaneous items related to the Browning and Scurrah families.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, Abby Burnett has assigned the copyright of Browning's works to Smith College; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Browning, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Sophia Smith Collection

Biographical Note

From the donor's detailed notes: "Katherine A. Browning (1855-1936)...was born June, 1855, in New York State. Her widowed mother was living with the Brownings on the 1880 and 1900 censuses, giving her name as Mary Bliven and Mary D. Bliven, respectively, born July, 1830 in New York; according to the 1900 census she had given birth to two children, with only one living. Based on the census, the journals, and what my mother told me, she and her husband farmed. As you can see from the diaries, her days were spent doing the jobs required of a farm wife, including laundry, gathering eggs, trips to town, etc." She married William Q. Browning (1846-1936) at the age of 18 (1873). In 1900, the Brownings, who had no living biological children, adopted Marion Lamson when she was five years old. Again, according to the donor: "After the Brownings adopted Marian...[they] did not adopt other children. They gave Marian piano lessons and she went on to play the organ and piano professionally, to give lessons and to teach music in the Sodus, NY school system. She married Fred O. Scurrah, a Presbyterian minister, and served as organist in the churches he pastored. She was Fred Scurrah's second wife (the first, Celestia Swain, was killed shortly after their marriage) and Marian and Fred had two children, my mother, Mary Catherine (Scurrah) Boewe, born 1921, and Mark Scurrah, now deceased."

Scope and Contents

Collection consists entirely of diaries, mostly of the "line-a-day" variety, kept by Browning from the age of 17 until her 69th year (with a few gaps). Also included are two diaries of her adopted daughter, Marian (1910 and 1928). Additions include correspondence from Marian to her parents from 1910-1930, photographs, tintypes, family history notes, and miscellaneous items related to the Browning and Scurrah families.


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

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, Abby Burnett has assigned the copyright of Browning's works to Smith College; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Browning, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Preferred Citation

Katherine A. Browning papers, Sophia Smith Collection, SSC-MS-00781, Smith College Special Collections, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

The collection was gifted by Abby Burnett in 2016, with two additions in 2018.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English

Contents List
2016-S-0103. Browning, Katherine A., 1855-1936, Katherine A. Browning diaries

.5 linear feet(2 half document boxes)

Collection consists entirely of diaries, mostly of the "line-a-day" variety, kept by Browning from the age of 17 until her 69th year (with a few gaps). Also included are two diaries of her adopted daughter, Marion (1910 and 1928).

Katherine A. Browning diaries
(bulk 1872-1889, 1899-1900, 1902, 1904-05, 1908-09, 1913-16, 1919-24)
.5 linear feet(2 half document boxes)
Box 1 Box 2
Marian Browning Scurrah diaries
(bulk 1910, 1924)
2 items(2 diaries)
Box 2
2018-S-0081. Browning family photographs

.5 linear feet(1 letter document box)

From the donor: "Among the photos are ones of my grandmother's mother, who died, orphaning Marian. Unless you'd prefer not to have them, I would like to send these, too, with everyone identified. They provide some backstory on Grandma's adoption, and several of Marian's letters to Kate mention how grateful she is to Kate for adopting her and giving her a good life. There are also tintypes labeled "Browning family" but no names on the actual photos. My guess is that Grandma found them when cleaning out the Browning home, and very likely never knew who the people were." Includes photographs and tintypes of the Browning and Scurrah families and other related individuals, as well as an older daguerrotype in a case. Also includes a baby book, marriage certificate of Marian's birth parents, and obituaries of Marian and Fred Scurrah's first wife.

Lamson and Meade family photographs, bridal souvenir, and marriage certificate
1870-1898
1 folders(1 folder)
Box 3
Browning family photographs and tintypes
approximately 1850-1930
1 folders(1 folder)
Box 3
Marian Browning Scurrah photographs
approximately 1910-1980
1 folders(1 folder)
Box 3
Photographs and baby book, Mary and Mark Scurrah
approximately 1920-1960
1 folders(1 folder)
Box 3
Photographs of Fred O. Scurrah, family homes, churches; obituaries of Marian Browning Scurrah and Fred's first wife; family history notes written by Abby Burnett
1919-2018
1 folders(1 folder)
Box 3
2018-S-0082. Marian (Browning) Scurrah correspondence

.75 linear feet(1 letter document box and 1 half letter document box)

Scope and content:

From the donor: "collection of letters written by Browning's adopted daughter, Marian (Browning) Scurrah to her parents. The letters do not mention world events or anything out of the ordinary, but they document the life of a minister's wife through several decades, mostly in the 1920s and early '30s as she raised two children (my mother and uncle), moved often as her husband changed pastorates and helped him farm. Marian was a trained musician and, in addition to playing the organ for her husband's Presbyterian church, she gave music lessons, played for weddings and funerals, and eventually taught music in grade school and high school after her husband retired to Sodus, NY." Also includes greeting cards, event programs, and older letters between Katherine Browning and others.

Biographical note:

Marian Browning Scurrah was born Marion (spelling changed) Sylvia Lamson to Grace Meade and Charles Lamson in 1894. Both her parents died within five years of her birth, and while her older siblings were adopted by an aunt in California, Marian stayed in foster homes in upstate New York until she was adopted by the Brownings on March 1, 1900. From a young age, she studied arts and music, and was sent to school in Detroit specifically to pursue music later in her education. She married Fred O. Scurrah, a church minister, and raised two children (my mother and uncle). They moved often as her husband changed pastorates and Marian helped him farm. In addition to playing the organ for her husband's Presbyterian church, Marian gave music lessons, played for weddings and funerals, and eventually taught music in grade school and high school after her husband retired to Sodus, NY, where she died in 1986 at age 91.

Greeting cards and older correspondence between Katherine A. Browning and others
ca.1861-1900
2 folders(2 folders)
Box 4
Correspondence between Marian Scurrah and her parents
1900-1932
.75 linear feet(1 letter document box and 1 half document box)
Box 4 Box 5

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
  • Browning, Katherine A., 1855-1936
  • Burnett, Abby
  • Burnett, Abby
  • Family -- United States -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
  • Family -- United States -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
  • Farm life -- New York State
  • Scurrah, Marian Sylvia Lamson Browning
  • Scurrah, Marion Lamson (1895-1986)
  • Women -- United States -- Social conditions -- History -- Sources

Genre terms
  • Daguerreotypes
  • diaries
  • photographs


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