Nina Elizabeth Browne Papers
Scope and Contents
Dates of Materials
- 1860 - 1956
- Majority of material found within 1878 - 1954
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
Columbia did not grant degrees to the classes prior to 1889 and the library program was moved to the University of the State of New York (now SUNY Albany). After being appointed State Librarian of New York in 1889, Dewey petitioned the university to offer a test to graduates from his early classes which required submitting to sixteen proficiency examinations, a compiled subject bibliography, and a thesis. Browne and one other student were the sole participants of this program. Browne was awarded a Bachelor of Library Science from the university in 1891.
She returned to Massachusetts and became an assistant librarian at Harvard and the Boston Athenaeum while working unofficially for the Smith College Alumna Association. A highly active advocate, she served as the Registrar for the American Library Association, compiling their portrait index and travelling to London for the International Conference of Librarianship.
In 1921, Smith College hired Brown as the first Archivist of the College in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the college. Much of the initial collection was acquired by Browne's mother during her daughter's time as a Smith student. Although the 50th anniversary project was completed in 1925, Browne continued to build and develop the historical collection. Active well into her 90s, she received her Litt.D. 1930. Partial blindness forced her retirement in 1937. Browne did not leave the position immediately; she continued to advocate the importance of a college archive and argued for a physical space. Margaret Storrs Grierson, then a professor, assisted Browne during this transition before ultimately being appointed the first College Archivist by Elizabeth Morrow in 1940. Browne passed away in 1954 at the Trinity Church Home in Jamaica Plain at the age of 94.
0.229 linear feet (1 container)
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Finding aid to the Nina Elizabeth Browne Papers
- Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
- Finding aid prepared by Madison White (Class of 2016) and Daniel Michelson.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2018-11-01: Containers added and finding aid updated as part of College Archives survey
Part of the Smith College Archives Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063