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Brown University: 1764-1898

Materials to research the early years of Brown University.

President's Papers

James Manning papers, (tenure: 1765–1791), MS-1C-1. See finding aid for digital surrogates. 

Jonathan Maxcy (tenure: 1792–1802) (University Archives does not have his papers)


Asa Messer papers, (tenure: 1802–1826), MS-1C-3

Frances Wayland papers (tenure:1827–1855), MS-1C-4  


Barnas Sears papers (tenure: 1855–1867), MS-1C-5


Alexis Caswell papers (tenure: 1868–1872), MS-1C-6


Ezekiel Robinson papers (tenure: 1872–1889), MS-1C-7


Elisha Andrews papers (tenure: 1889–1898), MS-1C-8


William Faunce papers (tenure: 1899–1929), MS-1C-9

Corporation Records

Rhode Island College miscellaneous papers, 1763-1804, MS-1E-1.  See finding aid for digital surrogates.

Brown University Corporation Papers, 1763-1904, MS-1B-1 (contact to view inventory)

I. Minutes of the Corporation; II. Reports, etc. for Corporation Records; III. Corporation proceedings and reports; IV. Executive Board Minutes V. Advisory and Executive Committee Minutes; minutes; VI. Advisory and Executive Committee reports; VII. Correspondence (chronological).

Faculty Records

Reports of the Faculty,1829-1976,  MS-1L-1 (contact to view inventory)

I. Faculty records (minutes); II. Recommendations for degrees; III. Reports of the Faculty; IV. Reports of instruction by individual faculty members; V. Miscellaneous reports and correspondence of the Faculty.

Faculty Meeting Minutes (bound volumes), 1-L B81rec

Academic Publications

Catalog, 1-G

The Annual Catalogue of Brown University contained the academic calendar, lists of Corporation Trustees and Fellow, administrators, faculty, students, course of instruction by year and department, and information about campus facilities.

Between 1800 and 1820 the Catalog was published as broadsides.  1820-1824 the Catalog was published as broadsides and volumes.  Beyond 1824 the Catalog was published in volumes only.


Bulletin, 1-P B812

The academic University Bulletin is the official document of record concerning academic programs and regulations. Each calendar year has a unique bulletin listing the course offerings.  The first Bulletin was published in 1904 (volume 1).

Student Publications

The Brunonian, 1-P B829 (student publication) (contact to view printed index). See The Brunonian, Encyclopedia Brunoniana, for historical information.


Junior burials, Encyclopedia Brunoinana. To see examples of Junior burials broadsides (posters) contact


For a list of Junior and Senior Exhibitions see list of Broadsides (broadsides are posters that announce events).  See Junior and Senior Exhibitions, Encyclopedia Brunoniana, for historical information.


The "Andrews Controversy"

This is an early academic freedom case, brought about by an opinion voiced by President E. Benjamin Andrews in 1896 on free coinage of silver and his resignation from Brown, which gained national attention and support for Andrews.

Andrews, Elisha Benjamin (Encyclopedia Brunoniana)

Elisha Benjamin Andrews papers, 1844-1959,n.d. (bulk 1890-1914), MS-1C-8

Bronson, Walter C. The History of Brown University, 1764 - 1914 (1914)

Hansen, James E. Gallant, Stalwart Bennie : Elisha Benjamin Andrews (1844-1917), an Educator's Odyssey. 1969.  University of Denver dissertation.

Additional materials in University Archives:

Two contemporary scrapbooks of clippings on the subject.

Several articles on the case.

Reference Sources

Please see the Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell ror the definitive reference work on the history, people, and places of Brown University.

Entries regarding Brown University's early history:



Bronson, Walter C. The History of Brown University, 1764 - 1914 (1914)

Brown, Robert Perkins, et al. Memories of Brown : Traditions and Recollections Gathered From Many Sources. Providence, R.I.: Brown Alumni Magazine (1909)

Guild, Reuben A. Early History of Brown University, Including the Life, Times, and Correspondence of President Manning (1897)

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