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John Brown Papers

Scope & content

The bulk of this collection consists of correspondence, much of it with family members. As these papers were gathered from several different sources, few of them are actually letters addressed to Brown. Many are letters Brown sent to his son James, his daughter Sarah (Brown) Herreshoff, or his son-in-law John Francis. Only a small portion of the correspondence deals directly with Brown's mercantile concerns.

Also included are deeds, a few scant business records, "cyphering books" in which Brown practiced his school lessons, many of his estate papers, and miscellaneous papers of his widow.

Among the more interesting items are a 1790 letter written by future president John Adams expressing his great annoyance that Rhode Island had not yet ratified the U.S. Constitution; and a long series of letters in which John Brown attempts to impart business precepts and other rules for living to his son James.