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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 185

Papers of John Graham Brooks, 1805-1938 (inclusive), 1900-1938 (bulk)


Correspondence, scrapbooks, reviews, etc., of John Graham Brooks, Unitarian minister, writer, and founder of the National Consumers' League.


  • Creation: 1805-1938
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1900-1938

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by John Graham Brooks as well as 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.


1.67 linear feet ((4 boxes) plus 1 oversize folder, 1 folio+ folder, 1 folio folder)

All but the first (Compulsory Insurance in Germany, 1893) of Brooks' six books on social and economic questions are represented in this collection by leaflets, reviews and correspondence. In addition to two early drafts of sermons, some pamphlets, newsclippings, family correspondence, and scrapbooks containing notes, letters and clippings, there are letters from many notable writers, scholars, statesmen, diplomats, businessmen, educators, and others. There is also a group of papers, mainly correspondence, of Grace Norton.

Aside from the light it sheds on economic and labor questions, social thought, and reform from the 1880s through the 1930s, this collection illuminates the history of women with its material on the Consumers' League and its letters from outstanding women, notably Jane Addams, Alice Stone Blackwell, Ednah Dow Cheney, Ada Louise Comstock, Florence Kelley and Lillian Wald.


John Graham Brooks was born in Acworth, New Hampshire, on July 19, 1846; he attended Oberlin College from 1869 to 1871 and graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 1875. While ordained and serving as a Unitarian minister in Roxbury, he took an interest in economic affairs, organizing classes for workingmen, later lecturing at Harvard on socialism, and for many years acting as investigator of strikes for the U.S. Department of Labor. In 1880 he married Mrs. Helen Washburn and from 1882 to 1885 traveled and studied in Europe, mainly in Germany. He was the first president of the National Consumers' League, president of the American Social Science Association in 1904, and a lecturer for the League for Political Education for many years. He died on February 8, 1938.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 71-64, 73-102

The papers of John Graham Brooks were deposited with the Schlesinger Library in May 1971 by Judge and Mrs. Lawrence G. Brooks.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; John Graham Brooks Additional papers, 1845-1938 (84-M38).


The following items have been removed from the collection:

  1. One folder of printed material re James Russell Lowell, sent to Houghton Library.
  2. A Trial Bibliography of American Trade-Union Publications, edited by George E. Barnett (Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, Series XXII, Nos. 1-2), Baltimore, 1904, sent to Gifts and Exchange Section, Widener Library.


  1. Box 1: Folders 1-22
  2. Box 2: Folders 23-55
  3. Box 3: Volumes 1-4, Folders 56-57
  4. Box 4: Volumes 5-8, Folders 58-60

Processing Information

Processed: September 1973

By: Eva Moseley

Brooks, John Graham, 1846-1938. Papers of John Graham Brooks, 1805-1938 (inclusive), 1900-1938 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

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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