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Brown Family papers

Identifier: SC 0072

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The Brown Family Papers, 1872-1919, consist of three folders containing 32 items, pertaining to the Brown Family of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. Comprised mainly of correspondence, the collection is arranged in three series: Correspondence and Receipts, Typescript, and Non-Print Materials.

Names figuring prominently in the Correspondence and Receipts series are, Mrs. E.A. Jordon, Mr. Keller, Jacob H. Wysient, Annie Sites (Mrs. William H.), Dr. C.A. Brown, and William R. Brown. Also contained in this series are receipts of purchases printed on letterheads from various Staunton, Va. businesses; notification of dues; an Elementary Professional certificate for Mary A. Brown; photocopies of obituaries for William Rice Brown, Mrs. Mattie Jordon Calhoun, and F.G. Keller; and postcards, one of which is a photograph of the storefront of J.W. Jacobs, est. 1850.

The Typescript series contains a typed translated copy of Johannes Braun's A Treatise Concerning Slavery and Property in Human Beings. This copy was translated from the original German by Harriet Augusta Braun. Ms. Braun's original translation is included here as well as a photocopy.

The Non-Print Materials series includes photographs and printing blocks. The photographs are portraits of Brown family members: Rev. John Braun, William R. Brown, Rosalie Sprinkle, and two portraits of women whose names could not be identified. The printing blocks are images of three plows, likely used for letterheads.


  • 1872-1919


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collection Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (

Bio/Historical Note

Johannes Braun (or John Brown) was a highly educated and dedicated clergymen in western Virginia. Born in 1771 near Bremen, Germany, he came to the United States in 1797, and became the leading minister of the German Reformed Church in Virginia. In addition to his A Treatise concerning Slavery and Property in Human Being published in 1818 by Laurenz Bartman, in Rockingham County, Virginia, he also translated excerpts from Thomas Jefferson on slavery, and was influential in the Rockingham County pauper school system, the forerunner of today's public school system in that county.

Braun was married to Elizabeth Falls, and the couple raised eight children, three sons and five daughters, in the small parsonage near Bridgewater, Virginia. Braun passed away on January 26, 1850 and he was buried in the yard of Friedens Church.


0.18 cubic feet (3 folders)

Language of Materials



The Brown Family Papers, 1872-1919, consist of correspondence and other materials pertaining to the Brown Family of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. Also included are photographs, printing blocks, and a typescript copy of Johannes Braun's 1818 "Treatise on slavery and serfdom."Johannes Braun or John Brown, born 1771 in Germany and later settling in the Shenandoah Valley, became the leading minister of the German Reformed Church in Virginia.


The collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Correspondence and Receipts
  2. Typescript
  3. Non-Print Materials

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated in 1966 by Mrs. Leigh E. Smith of Milmount, Cumberland, Virginia.


  • Braun, Rev. Johannes. Shenandoah Valley Family Data 1799-1813, (translation and introduction by Klaus Wust) Edinburg, Virginia: Shenandoah Historical Publishers, 1978.

Processing Information

The collection was originally processed in September 1983 and updated in September 2008. In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in the spring of 2017. This collection was previously cataloged as SC 1751.

A Guide to the Brown Family Papers, 1872-1919
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

880 Madison Drive
MSC 1704
Harrisonburg Virginia 22807
(540) 568-3612