History

The John Carter Brown Library, an independent research library established in 1846 and located since 1904 on the campus of Brown University, has undergone extraordinary changes since its mid-nineteenth-century inception as the private collection of bibliophile and New World aficionado John Carter Brown. What began as a gentleman’s library has blossomed, through careful cultivation and management, into one of the most important research libraries in the United States and, indeed, the world. Renowned for its collection of “Americana,” a term that traditionally has denoted books, maps, and manuscripts related to the history of the Americas from the arrival of Europeans c. 1492 to the independence movements of the late-eighteenth and early- nineteenth centuries, it presently boasts a sought-after fellowship program that attracts between 40 and 50 scholars from around the world each year; an ever-expanding digitization program, with ambitions to become even better connected to today’s dynamic environment of digital scholarship; a world-class curatorial staff, with professional expertise in the fields the library serves; cutting-edge academic programming; and an intimate and elegant research environment that is the envy of its peers.