Archive Collection: Catharine Brown, Cherokee
We recently had a reference request for one of the folders in our "Small Collections" -- those are the individual records that are no more than a folder or two, so are grouped together for efficiency's sake (aka, an artificial collection).
There are hundreds of folders split between the 7 boxes of Small Collections, so it's often that I am not familiar with an item requested. This week I had a researcher inquiring about the Catharine (not Catherine) Brown file. Miss Brown was a Cherokee who was educated through the ABCFM in the early 19th century. She ended up teaching once she completed her training at Creek Path. Sadly, she died young. The ABCFM used Catharine as an example on several occasions as a success story. Some could say she was a symbol. Rufus Anderson wrote up her memoir, which can be found on the University of Virginia's Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture site.
Our collection contains letters by Catherine as well as from some of her family members and the missionaries. A number of items are written about Catharine after her death. Not all the items are original, but are very early hand-written copies; all the papers have annotations written after the fact and it's safe to say they were gathered in order to write the memoir. I will be combing through all the papers and creating a much more detailed guide than the hand written one that was done within the past 20 years. Points of description will be the obvious bibliographic information, the physical description and disposition of the paper itself, transcriptions of the annotations and the first line /sentence of text. It's been a fascinating project and it's giving me an opportunity to get into nitty-gritty item-level detail that I normally do not have the opportunity to indulge.