Researchers are required to create an account in order to make requests to view materials in the John Hay Library Special Collections Reading Room or to request digital images. All requests for special collections materials are made through Aeon, Brown University Library Special Collections Request System.
The Library holds more than 500 named collections which are distinguished by their specialized subject matter, age, uniqueness, or value. Most of the listed collections on this page are located in the John Hay Library. To locate digitized collections, search the Brown Digital Repository. This page also lists collections by subject area.
The BDR is a service of the Brown University Library that provides a place to gather, index, store, preserve, and make available digital assets produced via the scholarly, instructional, research, and administrative activities at Brown.
Primary Source Databases
These are just a few of our many primary source collections. Please also see other subject guides for more specific collections.
Adam Matthew publishes unique primary source collections from archives around the world on a variety of subjects including gender, slavery, race relations, medieval life, American history and culture, modern advertising, war and medical services, global economics, the Far East, the Middle East, women in America, and many more.
With more than 1.5 billion names in over 4,000 databases, Ancestry Library includes records from the United States Census; military records; court, land and probate records; vital and church records; directories; passenger lists and more!
Fold3 provides convenient access to military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served. The Fold3 name comes from a traditional flag folding ceremony in which the third fold is made in honor and remembrance of veterans who served in defense of their country and to maintain peace throughout the world.
A digital archive prepared by students of Brown University and Tougaloo College, to document the Mississippi Freedom Movement of the 1960s, as well as the historic partnership between Brown and Tougaloo.
Colonial-1950; ongoing. When complete, the collection will include approximately 150,000 pages of published letters and diaries from individuals writing from Colonial times to 1950, plus 7,000 pages of previously unpublished materials. Includes materials from more than 1,000 sources, including journal articles, pamphlets, newsletters, monographs, and conference proceedings.