George William Brown research collection on 19th-century missionary work in India
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
George William Brown (1870-1932) received his Ph.D. in Sanskrit, Hebrew, and Arabic from Johns Hopkins University. He taught at Central Christian College before going to Harda and Jubbulpore in South India, where he worked as a missionary of the Disciples of Christ for sixteen years. From 1917 to 1921, he was a Professor of Semitic languages at the College of the Bible, Transylvania University, and from 1921 to 1927, he was Dean of the Faculty and a Professor of Indology at the College of Missions in Indianapolis. Brown was a founding member of the Linguistic Society of America. His son, W. Norman Brown (1892-1975), was also a noted Sanskrit scholar.
This is a collection of the papers of William George Brown (1870-1932), a missionary to India and professor of Semitic languages and Indology. It consists of materials produced between 1892 and 1932, arranged in four series: I) Typescripts and related notes, II) Lectures, III) Notes and research materials, and IV) Correspondence and records.
Series I comprises two subseries, the first of which contains typescripts of Brown's books and notes related to those books. Titles include: Analysis of Tulsi Das' Ramayana, Brief History of Missions in India, an unidentified typescript that may be a portion of Brief History of Missions in India, a descriptive grammar of Burušaskī, Materials for the History of the Disciples in India, and Synoptic Gospels. The second subseries includes other typescripts, three of which focus on languages and one of which is a review of A Comparative and Etymological Dictionary of the Nepali Language, by Ralph Lilley Turner. More detailed analyses of this series' more substantive contents can be found at the series level.
The physical bulk of the collection is located in Series II, which is made up of lecture notes and related materials on China, comparative philology, religion, missionary work, and general linguistics. All lecture materials have been removed from their original binding for preservation purposes. For further information on individual lectures, see content note at the series level.
Series III. Notes and research material is divided into two major categories: a. regarding peoples and languages and b. notes on missionaries. The former consists mainly of notes on South Asian and Near Eastern cultures and languages, with particular emphasis on the Mitanni people, who lived approximately from 1500 BC to 1300 BC in modern-day Syria and south-east Anatolia. Some maps and typescripts used for research are included, as well as one folder of Brown's research regarding the Gospels. The second sub-series comprises Brown's handwritten notes on each of his missionaries as well as some groups that were involved with his missionary work. These notes are generally brief. The final folder in the series holds a small number of notes that could not be categorized.
Series IV includes correspondence to and from Brown, financial records, and baptism records. Much of the correspondence is related to Brown's academic and missionary work; the only exception to this is one letter discussing gynecology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The financial records date from 1882 to 1894 and appear to be related to Brown's work with the Disciples of Christ. There is a single document with information about baptisms which may span the years 1885 to 1895, but the notations on the document are cryptic and the sources and analysis of the statistics are unclear.
This collection may be of use to those studying the history of missionaries, the spread of Christianity throughout the world (particularly India), the religions of Asia and the South Asian subcontinent, or the history of pedagogy in linguistics and religion.
Gift of W. Norman Brown.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Molly B. Hutt
- Finding Aid Date
- 2014 October 1
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.