Library Collections -- University Archives
The John Hay Library is under renovation June 1, 2013 until Fall 2014
Update: The John Hay Library is closed for a major renovation. Staff are spending the summer months preparing the newly renovated building for reopening in early September 2014. Due to the enormous amount of work involved in re-shelving materials and reorienting staff and services in the new space, requests for assistance during the summer (June-August) will be reserved for research related to Brown University’s 250th anniversary. There will be no other Special Collections services during Summer 2014.

250th Anniversary Researchers: Please contact the University Archives ( for reference or access assistance. The temporary Special Collections Reading Room in the Rockefeller Library will close August 15, 2014.

Faculty needing University Archives for Fall 2014 courses: Please contact at immediately.

The John Hay Library will reopen in early September 2014, at which time the Special Collections Reading Room and reference services will resume.

Please visit the renovation website for additional information.
Summer Hours (June-Aug 15): M-F, 9:30-3
Reading Room hours are subject to change.
Visit Library Hours & Locations for holiday schedules.

Rockefeller Library, A-10
10 Prospect Street
Providence, RI
(401) 863-3723


250th Anniversary Researchers: University Archives materials may be recalled for in-Library use by contacting the University Archives at or (401) 863-2148. 250th researchers may view materials in a designated reading area at the Rockefeller Library.

Requesting access to University Archives materials is a two-step process:

  • Request materials: Contact University Archives at or (401) 863-2148 to request materials. In order to ensure requests are met in a timely manner, researchers are encouraged to request materials at least one week in advance of visits.

  • Make an appointment: E-mail before noon on Friday the week prior to the requested appointment(s). Please specify the preferred date(s) and time(s). Due to staffing and space limitations, the number of appointments available each day will be limited.
Please visit the John Hay Library Renovation website for updates and changes to services.

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University Archives is located in the
John Hay Library.

For information contact:
(401) 863-2148



The University Archives serves as the institutional memory of Brown University by collecting, preserving, and making accessible the materials that provide evidence of past University actions and contribute to an understanding of the university's structure and its history.

The University Archives documents the intellectual, social, cultural, and visual history of Brown University from its beginnings in 1764 to the present through the university's official records, the papers of Brown's presidents, administrators, faculty and alumni, the records of related student, alumni and faculty organizations, and university publications.

In support of research, teaching, and the dissemination of Brown University's rich history, the University Archives offers reference services to the Brown University community, including administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni, as well as the general public.


University Archives staff provide access to archival materials and research assistance via e-mail and by appointment. Researchers may view materials in the Reading Room of the John Hay Library during regular business hours.

Archival collections are paged four times a day: twice in the morning (9:30 am and 11:30 am) and twice in the afternoon (2 pm and 3:30 pm). Materials with a location of "Annex Hay" require two business days advance notice. The Brown Daily Herald, Brown Alumni Monthly, and yearbooks are available to researchers in the Reading Room of the Hay Library and do not require paging.

In order to keep secure and preserve the material collected in the University Archives, all researchers, including administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni are asked to observe the following rules:

  • All visitors must present valid identification and sign the visitor's register.
  • No food or drink is allowed in the reading room.
  • No briefcases, satchels, backpacks, purses, pocketbooks, coats, or jackets are allowed in the reading room. Secure lockers for coats and personal property are available in the Reader's Services area on the main floor of the John Hay Library.
  • No material other than note paper, notebooks, or laptop computers may be on the desk where you are conducting research.
  • Use care when handling material - PENCILS ONLY - no pens or markers may be used when taking notes.
  • White cotton gloves may be required to handle more fragile items and photographs. These will be provided for by the staff.
  • Researchers can only use one box and only one file from the box at a time, and one book at a time. Please take care to keep the documents in the file in the order in which you find them.
  • All material in the University Archives must be used in the reading room.

Some records are restricted for use or are stored off-sight so please contact the Archives before making a visit.


The Archives contains many published histories of Brown University, including:

Reuben A. Guild, Early History of Brown University, Including the Life, Times, and Correspondence of President Manning (1897)

Walter C. Bronson, The History of Brown University, 1764 - 1914 (1914)

Anne T. Weeden, The Women's College in Brown University, Its Origin and Development (1912)

Grace Hawk, Pembroke College in Brown University; The First Seventy-Five Years (1966)

Jay Barry and Martha Mitchell, A Tale of Two Centuries: A Warm and Richly Pictorial History of Brown University, 1764-1985 (1985)

Jay Barry, Gentlemen Under the Elms (1982)

Polly Welts Kaufman, ed., The Search For Equity: Women at Brown University, 1891-1991 (1991)

Janet M. Phillips, Brown University: A Short History (2000)

For the definitive reference work on the history, people, and places of Brown University, please use the Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell available in print and online.