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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 852

Additional papers of the Albert Gallatin Browne family, 1805-1997 (inclusive), 1832-1908 (bulk)


Addenda to the papers (MC 298) of the Albert Gallatin Browne family from New England, including correspondence, journals, account books, and business papers.


  • Creation: 1805-1997
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1832-1908

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by the Albert Gallatin Browne family is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


2.08 linear feet ((5 file boxes) plus 3 folio folders, 3 oversize folders)

These Albert Gallatin Browne family additional papers contain correspondence, account books, journals, clippings, cookbooks, etc., that document Browne family members' involvement in the westward expansion of the United States, the Civil War, and South American politics. Family account books record 30 years of domestic spending and the cost of goods in Salem, Massachusetts; printed and handwritten cookbooks add to the documentation of the Browne family's domestic life.

A preliminary inventory for this collection was created in 1997 and made available online using the accession number 87-M44. Materials received by the Schlesinger Library in 2012 were added to the collection in January 2016, and the collection was given a new call number, MC 852. During reprocessing in January 2016, the initial accession (87-M144), which was made up of folders numbered #1-50, was renumbered but left in the same order. A copy of the preliminary inventory created in 1997 is in the first box of the collection. The more recent accessions (2012-M160, 2012-M209), added in January 2016, are represented by folders #3.7-4.4. The collection has been arranged following the order in the first collection of Browne family papers.

Series I, CORRESPONDENCE, 1841-1897 (#1.1-2.2), consists of the family letters of Albert Gallatin Browne, Sarah Smith Cox Browne, and their children, and correspondence with other relatives and with friends. The letters address issues of the day and describe the daily activities and travels of the writers. Letters of condolence to the family on the death of Sarah Ellen Browne in 1864 are in folders #1.3, #1.6, and #2.1. In a letter to Sarah Smith Cox Browne, C. H. Birney tells of her husband General Birney cycling through Washington, DC, in 1885 on his "tricycle" (#1.6). Letters from Mattie Griffith Browne (wife of Albert Gallatin Browne, Jr.) are found in folders with "family" as well as in letters from "others." Letters in folder #1.8 from both Mattie and Albert Gallatin Browne, Jr., describe their travels by steamship to South America in 1883.

Series II, OTHER PAPERS, 1805-1922, 1963-1997 (#2.3-5.13, F+D.1-F+D.4, OD.1-OD.3), includes journals, account books, and personal and business papers of members of the Browne family; most are papers of Albert Gallatin Browne or Albert Gallatin Browne, Jr. Browne family account books record all household expenses over a thirty-year period: produce, meat and fish, baked goods, cloth and notions, charitable donations, rent, school fees, pew fees, etc. Cookbooks with handwritten recipes show give more detail on the kinds of food the Browne family ate; many recipes for gingerbread attest to its popularity among the Brownes. Albert Gallatin Browne's handwritten journals from his 1838 and 1842 trips to New Orleans and Missouri describe the hardships of travel, the people he encountered and cities he visited. Transcriptions by Browne family descendants are also included, making the journals easy to read.The arrangement of this series parallels that of MC 298, series II, with material of Cox family members first, followed by Browne family, Albert Gallatin Browne, and then Albert Gallatin Browne, Jr.


Albert Gallatin Browne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on December 8, 1805, the son of James Browne and Lydia Vincent Browne. In 1833 he married Sarah Smith Cox, born on November 27, 1810, the daughter of Benjamin Cox and Sarah Smith Cox. Four of their children reached adulthood: Albert Gallatin, Jr. (1835-1891), Sarah Ellen "Nellie" (1841-1864), Alice (1843-1912), and Edward Cox (1853-1911); two sons, Benjamin Cox (1838-1840) and Francis Cox (1851-1852), died in infancy.

Albert Gallatin Browne trained as a rope-maker, and eventually became engaged in the manufacture of cordage; he was an agent of the Boston Hemp Company. For a number of years prior to the Civil War, Albert Gallatin Browne was a partner in the firm of Whiton, Browne and Wheelwright, ship-chandlers. During the War he became an agent of the United States Treasury, appraising contraband and other properties that fell into Union hands. The years spent in the South, primarily at the coastal city of Beaufort, South Carolina, contributed to Browne's continued poor health upon his return to Salem. He died on October 9, 1885, two weeks before the death of his wife.

During 1864 Albert Gallatin Browne's wife Sarah and three of their children, Nellie, Alice, and Edward, joined him in Beaufort. Nellie helped nurse wounded soldiers at a military hospital. She also became engaged to Colonel Lewis Ledyard Weld. Weld, from Hartford, Connecticut, had graduated from Yale College in 1854 and served as Secretary of the Colorado Territory before resigning to command the 41st. Colored Infantry. In June 1864 Nellie died of typhoid fever; in January 1865 Colonel Weld died of wounds received at Petersburg, Virginia.

Albert Gallatin Browne, Jr., graduated from Harvard College in 1853 and attended Dana Law School. In 1854 he was jailed for participation in a riot concerning a fugitive slave named Anthony Burns. He subsequently studied at Heidelberg University in Germany, receiving his Ph.D. in 1855. Returning to the United States, Browne looked for opportunities other than a career in law. As a reporter for the New York Tribune, he accompanied Albert Sidney Johnston's expedition to Utah against the Mormons in 1857. However, upon returning to Boston he opened a law practice with John J. Andrew. Im 1860 Andrew became Governor of Massachusetts, and appointed Albert Gallatin Browne, Jr., his personal and then military secretary during the Civil War. After the war Browne, Jr., served as Reporter of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, and married Kentucky native and abolitionist Martha "Mattie" Griffith in 1867. Browne, Jr.'s interest in journalism continued: in 1874 he became managing editor of the New York Evening Post, resigning a year later. In the 1880s he was a correspondent for the New York Herald, undertaking an extensive trip to South America and Mexico in 1883 and 1884. Albert Gallatin Browne, Jr., died in Boston in 1891.


The collection is arranged in two series:

  1. Series I. Correspondence, 1841-1897 (#1.1-2.2)
  2. Series II. Other papers, 1805-1922, 1963-1997 (#2.3-5.13, F+D.1-F+D.4, OD.1-OD.3)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 87-M144, 2012-M160, 2012-M209

These addenda to the Albert Gallatin Browne family papers were given to the Schlesinger Library in September 1987 by Warburton K. VerPlanck, executor of the estate of Charlotte Crowninshield Browne; and were acquired in August and November 2012 from Sarah Chamberlin.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Albert Gallatin Browne family Papers, 1802-1962 (inclusive), 1833-1885 (bulk) (MC 298), and Sarah Ellen Browne Papers, 1856-1859 (MC 232).

Processing Information

Preliminary inventory: October 1987

By: Susan von Salis

Re-processed and additional material added: January 2016

By: Jenny Gotwals

Browne (Family : Browne, Albert G. (Albert Gallatin), 1805-1885). Additional papers of the Albert Gallatin Browne family, 1805-1997 (inclusive), 1832-1908 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women
Language of description
Preservation and digitization of the Albert Gallatin Browne family papers was supported by the Arcadia-funded project Harvard in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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