Historical Collections
  • Alcohol and Addiction Studies: A Guide to Resources at Brown

  • Davenport Collection
    The Davenport Collection, an endowed gift from Dr. James Henry Davenport, containing "books on medical history, medical biography and extra-curricular writings of physicians." It is these extra-curricular writings that give the collection its eclectic flavor. Included are books by physician authors in the fields of history, biography, travel narratives,fiction, poetry and drama, as well as many other works from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (London, 1892) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Oliver Wendell Holmes's The Poet at the Breakfast-Table(Boston,1872). Part of the Rhode Island Medical Society Collection. ...more information


  • Drowne family papers, 1636-1936 (bulk 1750-1885)
    In 1940, the personal library of botanist and physician Dr. Solomon Drowne, Class of 1773, plus over 1,000 documents and letters relating to members of the Drowne family (1770 through 1940) were moved from Mt. Hygeia, Dr. Drowne's home in Foster, Rhode Island, to Brown. This fine example of an 18th century American private library is preserved intact within Special Collections. ...more information


  • Anne Fausto-Sterling Papers
    The Anne Fausto-Sterling papers contain a number of publications from the early Women's Liberation Movement and about revolutionary movements in Latin America. The collection also includes correspondence, syllabi, lecture notes, conference materials, and drafts of articles for publication. The materials date from 1960 to 2009, with the bulk of materials dating between 1970 and 1999. ...more information


  • Albert E. Lownes Collection of Significant Books in the History of Science
    In January of 1979, the Collection of Significant Books in the History of Science arrived as a bequest from Albert E. Lownes. His final gift of over 5,000 volumes plus hundreds of prints and manuscripts spanned the centuries of scientific thought from Ptolemy to Einstein. This was one of the three most important private collections of books of science in America and ranks as one of the most significant single collections ever received by the Brown University Library. Its greatest strength and depth is in natural history although its scope embraces significant works in all scientific fields. Lownes defined significance as being "books that have changed the world or man's way of seeing it. Significance also meant books that I found interesting." The collection contains over three-quarters of those texts recognized by scholars as the "great books" of science published since the middle of the 15th century.

    Earlier, on the occasion of his 50th reunion, in 1970, Albert E. Lownes presented Brown University with the double elephant folio edition of John J. Audubon's Birds of America (London, 1827-1838),the most significant work of 19th century ornithology. Lownes also donated the library's one millionth item, a copy of Rene Descartes's early work on physiology, De Homine Figuris et Latinitate Donatus a Florentio Schuyl (Leyden, 1662), in 1954. ...more information


  • Charles Reitman Pharmacopoeia Collection
    Charles Reitman, a graduate of the Rhode Island College of Pharmacology, compiled this collection over the course of his long career as a Providence pharmacist and chemist. The 1,500 titles in the collection cover materia medica worldwide, including works on medicinal plants, homeopathic remedies, and formularies for the making of medicines and drugs from the 17th through the 20th centuries. ...more information


  • Rhode Island Medical Society (RIMS) Library

    Two important groups of rare or unusual materials collected by the Rhode Island Medical Society in its 175 years can be found in Special Collections at the Hay Library.

    The first group comprises the contents of the Society's De Jong Rare Book Room plus titles selected from its general collection. Here are medical classics such as Pliny's Historia Naturale (Venice, 1501), Galen's works (Venice, 1525), Avicenna's Liber Canonis (Venice, 1555), Vesalius's De Humani Corporis Fabrica (Amsterdam, 1642) and works by Celsus, Harvey, Boerhaave, Pare, Morgagni and Osler along with other authoritative texts including the ubiquitous Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical (London, 1858) of Henry Gray. The collection includes numerous 18th and 19th century medical tracts published in America from Nicholas Culpeper's Pharmacopoeia Londinensis (Boston, 1720) to the "ether controversy" of the 1850's and beyond. There is also a substantial selection of pamphlets dealing with homeopathy, hydropathy, naturopathy and other less orthodox medical doctrines more frequently practiced in the 19th century.

    The second group consists of the Society's own records, and includes a collection of historically significant antique medical instruments, given to the Society by William James Burge, M.D. (1831-1921), a fellow of the Society since 1874, as well as by other members of the Society over the course of many decades.

    Supplementing these historical medical materials are two associated literary collections compiled by physicians, the James Henry Davenport collection (comprising books on medical history, medical biography and the extra-curricular writings of physicians), and the personal library of Providence Superintendant of Health Charles Value Chapin (consisting primarily of Greek and Latin classics in English translation).

    ...more information


  • Meyer Saklad Collection on Surgical Anaesthesia
    Compiled by Rhode Island anaesthesiologist Meyer Saklad, this collection consists of more than 300 books and publications which trace the development of surgical anesthesia, focusing on the period from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. The collection does include a smattering of earlier material, including a 1588 edition of Hippocrates. ...more information


  • Rhode Island Women's Health Collective
    The records of the RIWHC include financial, legal, funding, and donor records, mailing lists, newletters and publications relating to women's health issues. ...more information


  • Charles V. Chapin Papers
    Charles V. Chapin, Class of 1876, was instructor in physiology at Brown from 1882 to 1886 and professor from 1886 to 1895. He held the post of superintendent of health in Providence for forty-eight years. The collection consists of correspondence chiefly with workers in public health in America, Europe, and Australia about Dr. Chapin's work in communicable diseases. ...more information


  • Walter H. Snell and Esther D. Snell Mycology Collection

    The Snell mycology collection contains more than 500 books, pamphlets and serials from around the world pertaining to various species of mushrooms and funghi. It encompasses materials published between 1640 and 1980, many with detailed color illustrations, in a variety of languages. The collection documents the life's work of Prof. Walter H. Snell, a Brown alumnus and longtime faculty member in Botany, along with that of his second wife, Esther Dick Snell (Pembroke '31). ...more information


  • Heath (Dwight B.) Collection
    Collection of international gray literature (conference papers, proceedings, reports, newsletters, government documents, bulletins, fact sheets, etc.), offprints, reprints, and articles pertaining to the topic of cross-cultural patterns of alcohol use and abuse, the principle focus of Dr. Heath's research interests during his years in the Department of Anthropology at Brown. Also includes newsletters of some key, but minimally documented, organizations such as: Kettil Bruun Society, and Alcohol and Drug Study Group. This collection consists of three different accessions. Accession A2009-45 covers the topic of alcoholism among Native Americans. ...more information


  • Butler Hospital records, 1840-1892
    The Butler Hospital records contain many of the hospital's records from its founding in 1841 to approximately its 50th anniversary in 1891. These records document the changing attitudes toward the mentally ill in Europe and the United States in the early 19th century as well as communal responsibility for the less fortunate, the responsibility of the wealthy for sharing both their wealth and their expertise, the financial practices of the period, detailed specifications on the construction of the first hospital of any kind in Rhode Island, the hospital's expansion, and the day-to-day expenses of such an institution. ...more information


  • Patent Medicine Bottle Collection
    Consists of over two hundred patent medicine bottles from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, a collection assembled by Dr. David S. Greer, Dean of Medicine at Brown University from 1981-1992 and professor emeritus in the Community Health Department in the Division of Biology and Medicine.

    Researchers are required to view the inventory and color slides of the bottles before requesting to see specific bottles. The binder of the inventory and color slides is located in the Manuscripts processing area. ...more information


  • Lewis (David C.) papers
    The David C. Lewis papers contain information on his efforts to collect historical collections concerning alcoholism and his work at the local, state and federal level concerning alcoholism and addiction, as well as administrative materials on the founding of the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown. The collection contains correspondence, legal papers, memoranda, writings, printed materials, meeting minutes, audiovisual materials and financial papers including appraisals of collections which David Lewis had acquired or was exploring acquiring for the Brown University library. ...more information


  • Rossi (Jean J.) papers, 1961-1998
    This collection consists largely of Dr. Jean J. Rossi's articles on the subject of alcoholism and its treatment. There are also articles on these topics by other psychologists, conference handouts and notes as well as information on Willmar State Hospital. ...more information


  • Providence Medical Association Milk Commission records
    The records of the Providence Milk Commission consist of financial and business records related to the Commission's activities from 1931 to 1985. The series concerning Hillside Farms contains reports on the health of its employees and the results of tests to determine the quality of the milk produced there. ...more information


  • Anderson (Daniel J.) papers, 1975-2002
    This collection consists of the research files of Daniel J. Anderson, one of the developers of the Minnesota Model for the treatment of alcoholism. There are magazines, newspaper clippings, speech outlines on index cards, books, pamphlets, and conference materials. ...more information