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John L. Brown Papers 4

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS353

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

The John L. Brown Papers: Part 4 represent the extensive personal papers of author, poet, critic, diplomat, and man of letters John L. Brown, who served as U.S. cultural attache to Brussels (1954-1958), Rome (1958-1962), and Mexico City (1964-1968) and as a longtime professor of literature at the Catholic University of America. The massive collection contains correspondence with noted individuals, chronological correspondence, manuscripts by Brown, notebooks, materials for lectures and courses offered by Brown, a large quantity of subject files, articles by Brown, photographs and clippings from his diplomatic posts, inscribed books, medals, and journals. The bulk of the documents date between 1930 and 2000. The John L. Brown Papers: Part 4 supplement several smaller collections of Brown's materials already in the Georgetown University Library Special Collections Division: the John L. Brown Papers [Part 1], the John L. Brown Papers: Part 2, and the John L. Brown Papers: Part 3. Due the size of the John L. Brown Papers: Part 4 (141 boxes totaling 168.75 linear feet), the collection has been divided into four separate segments (these segments have been reattached as of 11/28/2011). Segment 1 includes the following series: correspondence with individuals, correspondence with John Halit Brown (the son of John L. Brown), and chronological correspondence through 1974. Segment 2 consists of chronological correspondence from 1974 on, manuscripts, Brown's agendas and notebooks, materials for courses given by Brown, and Brown's lecture materials. Segment 3 consists exclusively of subject files. Segment 4 is comprised of printed articles, photographs and clippings, books, medals, phonographic records, oversized materials, and journals. Please note, John L. Brown's journals are restricted. John L. Brown took great care to organize his personal files and papers. The folder headings used in this collection along with many of the dates are based on Brown's own labeling of folders. The original order has been preserved as much as possible. * * * * * * *

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: John L(ackey) Brown was born on April 29, 1914 in Ilion, New York, the son of Leslie Beecher Brown and Katherine (Lackey) Brown. After graduating from Ilion High School, John L. Brown attended Hamilton College, from which he received an A.B. in 1935. From 1936 to 1938, Brown pursued his studies at the Ecoles des Chartres, Paris and the University of Sorbonne. In 1939, he obtained a Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America. Early in his career, from 1939 to 1941, John L. Brown served as an instructor of Romance languages at the Catholic University of America. During World War II, Brown served as assistant chief of foreign publications in the Office of War Information (1942-1943) and staff member of the European Theater of the Office of Strategic Services (1943-1945). After the war, from 1945 to 1948, he worked as the European editor for Houghton Mifflin Co. and, simultaneously, as a correspondent for the "New York Times." Between 1948 and 1950, Brown was in Paris, directing the information division of the Marshall Plan. Remaining in Paris until 1954, he worked as the chief of regional services for the United States Information Service. John L. Brown served as U.S. cultural attache in three cities: Brussels, Belgium (1954-1958); Rome Italy (1958-1962); and Mexico City, Mexico (1964-1968). Brown subsequently returned to the academy, teaching comparative literature at the Catholic University of America from 1968 to 1979. John L. Brown also held a number of other important posts. He was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut (1962-1963); Barry Bingham Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the University of Louisville (1966-1967); lecturer at the Catholic Institute of Paris (1969); senior Fulbright professor for the American Fulbright Association in Lisbon, Portugal (1979); and Brown Visiting Professor at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee (1987). John L. Brown received the Grand Prix de la Critique in 1954 for his "Panorama de la Litterature Contemporaine aux Etats Unis." He also won the Newstadt Prize in 1982. John L. Brown was married to Simonne L'Evesque Brown. The couple had two sons: Michel-Simon Brown and John Halit Brown. John L. Brown died on November 22, 2002 in Washington, D.C. [Sources: "Contemporary Authors." New Revision Series. Vol. 46. Detroit: Gale, 1995; "Washington Post" obituary online.] * * * * * * *

ACCESSION DATA: Status: Open to researchers, but John L. Brown's Journals are restricted. Provenance: Gift of John Halit Brown, January 2003. Processed by Scott S. Taylor, June 2006.


  • 1787 - 2003
  • Majority of material found within 1930 - 2000

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.


124.75 Linear Feet (200 boxes)

Language of Materials


John L. Brown Papers 4
Scott S., Taylor. Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057