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Charles Reynolds Brown Papers

Call Number: RG 37

Scope and Contents

The first series, Correspondence, is divided into Family Correspondence and General Correspondence. Within each of these sections the correspondence of Brown's wife is separated from his own. The Family Correspondence dates from 1886 to 1944. It includes letters to or from Brown, his wife, mother, father, sister, niece and cousins. Brown wrote long and detailed letters to family members regarding his trips abroad in l894 and l897 and regarding the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. During trips to Europe in 1911 and 1931 Brown wrote daily to his wife.

General Correspondence dates from l894 to 1951 and consists primarily of letters received by Brown. The letters in this section are useful for tracing the development of Brown's own career. Factors influencing his decisions first to accept a call to Oakland and later to become dean of the Divinity School are evident in his correspondence with friends and colleagues. Matters regarding Brown's extensive publications and his involvement in the affairs of the Congregational Church are also dealt with in the General Correspondence section. An abbreviated list of notable correspondents would include: Henry Sloane Coffin (1919, 1922, 1943), Alfred Coit (1920), David E. Fitzgerald (1922\Washington Gladden (1906), Herbert Hoover (1917, 1920, 1940), John R. Mott (1921), William Lyon Phelps (1928, 1939) , John D. Rockefeller Jr. (1919) , Theodore Roosevelt (1926, 1932, 1933), William H. Taft (1914, 1916, 1923, 1926) and Booker T. Washington (1902).

The second series, Notebooks and Journals, dates from 1883 to 1947 and includes material written by Brown and by his wife. Engagement record books and a record of sermons preached document Brown's long and active life. Other notebooks include notes for sermon illustrations. The journals of Alice Tufts Brown record daily activities during trips abroad in l897, l898, 1928, and 1931.

The Writings of Series III are divided into four sections.

  1. a) Addresses and Sermons (1891-1946, n.d.); primarily in manuscript form.
  2. b) Published works (l898-1944, n.d.); primarily in printed form with a few typescript drafts
  3. c) Miscellaneous (1860-1946, n.d.); including notes for lectures and published works, an unpublished manuscript, publication agreements and a few writings by others.
  4. d) Reviews of Brown's books (1924-1944, n.d.)

The material in this series supplemented by the newspaper clippings in bound volumes 1 through 7 gives a reasonably complete picture of Brown's career as a preacher and writer. The collection contains little which deals with issues or events at Yale Divinity School during Brown's tenure as dean.

The fourth series, Personal Items and Memorabilia (1883-1951, n.d.), includes biographical material, memorabilia, newspaper clippings which spotlight important events in Brown's career, and one folder of photographs.

Bound volumes 1 through 7 contain primarily newspaper clippings about Brown, by him or reviewing his publications. These volumes are recorded on microfilm. Bound volume 8 is apparently a record of members received by the churches Brown served from 1889 to 1896. Bound volumes 9 and 10 contain the International Sunday School Lessons written by Brown from 1911 to 1917. Bound volumes 8 - 10 and microfilm (vol. 1-7) are found in the oversize box.


  • 1860-1957


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Brown family.


  1. I. Correspondence, 1886-1951
  2. II. Notebooks and Journals, 1883-1947
  3. III. Writings, 1860-1946, n.d.
  4. IV. Personal Items and Memorabilia, 1883-1951, n.d.


9 Linear Feet (17 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection documents Brown's long and active career as a Congregational minister, Dean of Yale Divinity School and author. Prominent correspondents include William Lyon Phelps, Washington Gladden, Booker T. Washington, Henry Sloane Coffin, Herbert Hoover, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., John R. Mott, William H. Taft, Theodore Roosevelt and Luther A. Weigle. Charles Reynolds Brown was born in Bethany, West Virginia on October 1, 1862. He was educated at the University of Iowa and Boston University, and received several honorary degrees. He was a prominent Protestant clergyman in Congregational churches across the United States, Dean of Yale Divinity School (1911-1928) and an author. He served as Moderator of the National Council of Congregational Churches and as Chairman of the Congregational Education Society. He died on November 28, 1950.

Biographical / Historical

1862 Oct 1
Born in Bethany, W. Va., son of Benjamin F. and Sarah T. Brown
A.BUniversity of Iowa
A.M., University of Iowa
S.T.B., Boston University
Pastor of Wesley Chapel, Cincinnati, Ohio
Pastor of Winthrop Congregational Church, Boston
1896 Sep 23
Married Alice Tufts
Pastor of First Congregational Church, Oakland, Ca.
Professional study in Egypt and Palestine
Dean of the Yale Divinity School -Pastor of Yale University Church for twelve years
Moderator of the National Council of Congregational Churches
Honorary degrees from Yale, Boston U., Brown, Mills College, Oberlin, U. of Vermont, Wesleyan
Chairman of Congregational Education Society
During the years of his retirement Brown continued to preach and write extensively. He was considered to be one of the nation's foremost Protestant clergymen.
Dean Emeritus
1950 Nov 28
Guide to the Charles Reynolds Brown Papers
Compiled by Martha Lund Smalley
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Divinity Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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