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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 281: M-22: M-133, B1

Papers of Gertrude Foster Brown, 1822-1978 (inclusive), 1910-1949 (bulk)


Autobiography, correspondence, etc., of Gertrude Foster Brown, suffragist, pianist, and editor.


  • Creation: 1822-1978
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1910-1949

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted. #1v is closed; use microfilm M-133, B1. Portions of #8 are available only on microfilm M-22.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Gertrude Foster Brown 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.


.42 linear feet (1 file box)

These papers consist of Brown's autobiography, records of the Woman Citizen Corporation, suffrage correspondence, and miscellany. The clippings of Alice Duer Miller's column, "Are Women People?" (New York Tribune, 1914-1916), collected by Brown, were microfilmed in 1979 and discarded (see Schlesinger Library microfilm M-22).


Gertrude (Foster) Brown was born in Morrison, Illinois, on July 29, 1867, to Charles Foster and Anna (Drake) Foster. Musical as a child, Brown studied piano at home and then entered the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, graduating in August 1885 after completing the four-year course in two years. She taught piano for a year at a private school in Dayton, Ohio, then studied in Berlin with Xaver Scharwenka and in Paris with Delaborde. She made her professional debut as a pianist with the Philharmonic Orchestra in Berlin on January 25, 1889.

In 1889, Brown joined the staff of the Chicago Conservatory of Music, teaching and performing in conservatory concerts. In August 1893 she married Arthur Raymond Brown, an artist and newspaperman. They had no children. In 1896, the Browns moved to New York, and by 1900 she was touring the United States lecturing on Richard Wagner's operas.

After an illness in about 1905, Brown began to focus increasingly on the issue of woman suffrage. She organized a Woman Suffrage Study Club (later merged with the Woman Suffrage Party) in 1909, attended the 42nd annual convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1910, and was elected president of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association (NYSWSA) in 1914. While chairman of the NYSWSA, she wrote Your Vote and How to Use It, which was published by Harper's in 1918. In 1921 Carrie Chapman Catt asked Brown to take control of The Woman's Journal. The magazine was renamed The Woman Citizen and Brown was the general manager until its demise in 1931.

During World War I, Brown served as liaison officer for the Women's Overseas Hospitals in France. She was also an active member of the League of Women Voters and the New York Woman's City Club. In the 1930s, Brown and her husband traveled extensively in Europe and North Africa. During World War II she was active in the Women's Action Committee for Victory and Lasting Peace.

Raymond Brown died on April 30, 1944. Gertrude Foster Brown died on March 1, 1956.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 74-151, 77-M81, 78-M97

These papers of Gertrude (Foster) Brown were given to the Schlesinger Library in June 1977 by her niece, Mildred Adams (Kenyon). The autobiography, "Suffrage and Music - My First Eighty Years" (see 1v) was microfilmed as part of a Schlesinger Library/University Publications of America project; the inventory was revised for this project by Jane Ward in March 1989.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Gertrude Foster Brown Additional papers, 1732-1956 (inclusive), 1815-1956 (bulk) (81-M48--81-M251).

Processing Information

Processed: December 1978

By: Lisa Thomas

Brown, Gertrude Foster, 1867-1956. Papers of Gertrude Foster Brown, 1822-1978 (inclusive), 1910-1949 (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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