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About the Collection

About the Authors | Access to the Collection | Resources for the Study of Romance Fiction

The romance novels included in this database, along with the working papers of their authors, were acquired in conjunction with the establishment of the Christine Dunlap Farnham Archives, which is "dedicated to preserving and the continued collection of materials documenting the history of women in Brown University and Pembroke College, the post-graduate lives of Brown University and Pembroke College alumnae, and the lives of Rhode Island women."   In 1988 Karen Lamoree, then Archivist of the Farnum Archives, invited Brown alumnae and local romance writers to donate their papers and published works to the Archives.  In the Spring of 1989 the Archives and the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women sponsored a symposium, "Romancing Women: Gender and Popular Culture," which featured sessions on the romance genre.

This collection reflects the Library's continuing commitment to the acquisition of primary source materials for the study of American popular culture, a collecting emphasis begun in the 19th century with the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays.  Among the most significant of these holdings are popular and genre fiction, fantasy and science fiction, detective fiction and true crime stories, theater and theatrical ephemera, performance magic, wit and humor, comic books and graphic novels, and gay and lesbian literature, including an emphasis upon pulp fiction and erotica. For further information see: Leaves of an Hour.

In addition to works by the Brown and Rhode Island authors listed below, works by over 30 other romance authors appear in the database in cases where they have been anthologized with these four authors.

Barbara Keiler graduated from Smith and received her A.M. in creative writing from Brown in 1976.  For a time she pursued a career as a playwright and saw several of her plays professionally produced at regional theaters around the country. In 1983 she began writing romances, specializing in the contemporary subgenre.  She has written as Ariel Berk for Silhouette Desire, as Judith Arnold for Harlequin, and as Thea Frederick for Second Chance at Love (published by Berkley/Jove). An article in the Providence Journal-Bulletin (October 30, 1986), "Feminist romances: Ex-Brown student liberates the genre",  says "She describes her heroines as independent, professional women who enjoy men, but don't need them to find fulfillment".  Many of her works are set in Rhode Island and Connecticut.  For more information about the author see:

To date there are 316 records for works by Keiler  in the database including translations into 15 languages (Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish.)  Keiler's papers include manuscripts of her works, fan letters, and press kits. (see josiah record)

See also Keiler's articles on the romance genre:

  • Judith Arnold.  "This I Do For Me", in: North American romance writers / edited by Kay Mussell and Johanna Tuñón, Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 1999 josiah record)
  • Judith Arnold.  "Women Do", in: Dangerous men & adventurous women : romance writers on the appeal of the romance / edited by Jayne Ann Krentz, Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c1992 (josiah record)

Jo Ann Ferguson specializes in historical romance and writes under the pen names J. A. Ferguson, Joanna Hampton and Rebecca North.  Very active professionally she served as national president of Romance Writers of America from 1998-2000.  The service award of the Rhode Island Romance Writers is named in her honor. She is the editor of Now That You've Sold Your Book ... What Next?: A Guide for Newly Contracted Authors published by the New England Chapter of Romance Writers of America.  For more information see the author's web site:

At the present time the collection contains 73 of Ferguson's published novels including translations into 4 languages (Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Norwegian). The manuscript collection contains copyedited versions of her writings, publicity broadsides and correspondence between Ferguson, her agent, and publishers.  (see josiah record).

Patricia Coughlin graduated from Providence College and has been writing romance novels since 1982.  She writes contemporary romances under her own name for Silhouette Special editions, Harlequin Temptations, and Warner Books and under the pen name Liz Grady for the Second Chance at Love series.  She was the 1987 recipient of the Romantic Times award for best new romantic adventure author.  Many of her books are set in Rhode Island. In an article in Rhode Island Parents' Paper in May 1990 she says, "romances deal with a lot of important issues.  No, never abortion but child abuse, emotional dilemmas, alcoholism, chronic depression, they're all dealt with in romances -- and in real life."  

The database contains 26 titles including translations into German, Italian and Swedish.  Correspondence and manuscripts relating to Coughlin's work are available in the Manuscripts Division. (see josiah record)

Sylvia Rosen Baumgarten graduated from Brown in 1955.  In the early 1980s she began writing historical romances.  With the exception of Forever Wild all of her books are set in sixteenth and seventeenth century France.  In 1982 and 1983, writing under the pen name Ena Halliday, her three first novels, Marielle, Lysette and Delphine were published by Tapestry Books.  She then moved to Warner's Popular Library and published Dreams So Fleeting, Forever Wild, and Stolen Spring under the pen name Louisa Rawlings.  In 1986 she was a finalist for the Romance Writers of America Golden Medallion Award for Best Historical Romance. There are 6 novels by Baumgarten in the database

Baumgarten's papers are available in the Manuscripts Division (see josiah record) and include press kits, book reviews, news clippings, public relations material (including photographs), interviews, correspondence about her books, and the manuscripts of Stolen Spring and Dreams So Fleeting.  

See also her oral history in the Pembroke Oral History Collection located in University Archives.

Access to the collection:

The romance novels and associated manuscripts in this collection do not circulate but are available for consultation by all researchers.  Contact John Hay Library Reader Services at or 401-863-3723 to arrange for access to these materials.  The novels are housed in off-site storage; arrangements for retrieval must be made in advance.

Selected resources for the study of romance fiction:


Dangerous men & adventurous women : romance writers on the appeal of the romance / edited by Jayne Ann Krentz, Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c1992 PS374.L6 D3 1992 Rock

Romance and the erotics of property : mass-market fiction for women / Jan Cohn, Durham : Duke University Press, 1988.  PS374.L6 C6 1988 Rock

Fantasy and reconciliation : contemporary formulas of women's romance fiction / Kay Mussell, Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, c1984. PS374.W6 M79 1984 Rock 

Love's $weet return : the Harlequin story / Margaret Ann Jensen, Bowling Green, Oh. : Bowling Green State University Popular Press, c1984. PN56.L6 J45x 1984 Rock

North American romance writers / edited by Kay Mussell and Johanna Tuñó, Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 1999 PS374.L6 N67 1999 Rock

Reading the romance : women, patriarchy, and popular literature / Janice A. Radway ; with a new introduction by the author, Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c1991. Z1039.W65 R32 1991 Rock

Romance fiction : a guide to the genre / Kristin Ramsdell, Englewood, Colo. : Libraries Unlimited, 1999 Z1231.L68 R37 1999 Rock

The romance revolution : erotic novels for women and the quest for a new sexual identity / Carol Thurston, Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c1987 PS374.E75 T4 1987 Rock

Women and romance : a reader / edited by Susan Ostrov Weisser, New York : New York University Press, c2001 HQ1386 .W65 2001 Rock 

Words of love : a complete guide to romance fiction / Eileen Fallon, New York : Garland, 1984 PN3448.L67 F35 1984 Rock


Language & Literature E-Resources (Brown only) 

Romance Writers of America
   Site includes genre definitions and statistical information

New England Chapter Romance Writers of America

Rhode Island Romance Writers

Harlequin Enterprises: Guidelines for Writers

The Lure of Romance  
    Rita Mackin Fox - academic in approach, this site has not been updated in a few years but contains a good starting bibliography

Romantic Times Magazine
    Includes author and pseudonym search

All about romance

Romancing the Web

Subversion: Celebrating Women's Fiction

Ultimate Romance Book Site


Browne Popular Culture Library

Michigan State University Romance Fiction

Leaves of an Hour:  Developing Literary and Popular Culture Collections at Brown University Library

For other source materials in the Brown University Library relating to women, see: Karen Lamoree. Research Guide to the Christine Dunlap Farnham Archives, Providence, RI: Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women and the University Library, Brown University, 1989 josiah record

Illustration at top from: Judith Arnold, Going Back, Toronto, New York: Harlequin, 1998.