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John Brown Collection
1 linear foot
Correspondence and papers of John Brown (b. 1800 d. 1859), American abolitionist. Also, correspondence of several relatives and persons associated with him in Brown's Kansas and Virginia insurrections.
Over half the correspondence, spanning from 1826-1849, consists of John Brown's letters to business associate Seth Thompson. The letters reflect his financial difficulties, but deal principally with his activities as a tanner and land speculator. A few of the letters written by his father, Owen Brown, his uncle, Abiel Brown, and his brother, Oliver Brown, concern family and business matters and only occasionally reference politics. Another group of letters is from Brown's fellow abolitionist, Franklin Benjamin Sanborn concerning the Free-Soil contest in Kansas, the National Kansas Committee, and various state committees. The letters concern finances and the amassing of arms for Brown's insurgencies on Kansas soil. Two letters concerning Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, from local resident D.E. Henderson, give a detailed account of the foray. A military order, signed by Robert E. Lee, details a guard to escort Brown and his fellow prisoners to the Charleston jail. Included also are two diaries and some personal papers of Judge Richard Parker, Brown's trial judge. The papers do not bear on the Brown trial at all, but concern Parker's day-to-day affairs.