Virginia Historical Society
Department of Manuscripts and Archives
AUBREY NEBLETT BROWN, JR.
Description & Guide
Main Entry: Brown, Aubrey Neblett, 1908- Title: Papers, 1944-1995. Size: ca. 730 items. Biographical Note: Aubrey Neblett Brown was born May 6, 1908, in Hillsboro, Texas. He attended Davidson College in North Carolina and earned a graduate degree in Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He married Sarah Dumond Hill (1910-1995) of Richmond and they had eight children. Brown returned to Richmond in 1943 and served as editor of the Presbyterian Outlook until his retirement in 1978. Throughout his career, Brown participated in several organizations that fostered improved race relations. Scope Note: The Aubrey Brown papers include a wide variety of documents related to race relations and the civil rights movement dating from 1944. The collection includes newspaper clippings, pamphlets, correspondence from a variety of sources, and some of the organizational records from the Richmond Area Council on Human Relations and the Virginia Council on Human Relations (organized by the Southern Regional Council). Also included in the collection are materials related to the Presbyterian Outlook, such as papers pertaining to the history of the magazine and articles related to race that appeared in the publication. Part of the collection also includes annual family newsletters generated by Brown. Provenance: Gift of Aubrey N. Brown, Jr., Richmond, Va., in 1990. Accessioned 17 May 1996. Restrictions: None.
Aubrey Neblett Brown, Jr., was born May 6, 1908, in Hillsboro, Texas. In 1929 he earned his undergraduate degree at Davidson College in North Carolina and in 1932 he earned his graduate degree at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. During that same year he married Sarah Dumond Hill (1910-1995) of Richmond. Their family grew to include eight children: Aubrey N. Brown, III (b. 1937); Zaida E. (Brown) Gilmour (b. 1939); Julia H. (Brown) Diehl (b. 1941); Virginia S. (Brown) Ashworth (b. 1943); Eleanor B. (Brown) Bigger (b. 1945); William H. Brown (b. 1948); Ernest T. Brown (b. 1951); and Katherine P. (Brown) Weisiger (b. 1959).
After graduating from Seminary Brown served as a Presbyterian pastor in Ronceverte, WV (1931-1938), and then in Montgomery, WV (1938-1943). In 1943 Brown relocated to Richmond and became the editor of the Presbyterian Outlook from 1943 to 1978. Throughout his career he was awarded numerous honors and was affiliated with several organizations. For example, from 1957 to 1959 he served as the first president of the newly founded Richmond Area Council on Human Relations and from 1963 to 1965 as president of the Virginia Council on Human Relations.
The unifying theme to the papers of Aubrey Brown is race relations during the civil rights era. The collection includes records compiled by Brown while serving on the Virginia Council on Human Relations and the Richmond Area Council on Human Relations, as well as numerous other religious and secular organizations with which he was affiliated. Many of the documents concern the Presbyterian Outlook, the most liberal of the three national Presbyterian U. S. publications of the era. The remaining documents include newspaper clippings, articles, and various publications (each relating to matters of racial justice); and a smaller assortment of documents relating to the brown family. The collection is arranged topically and each series is arranged chronologically.
Series One: Materials concerning Richmond Area Council on Human Relations, 1960-1967 and n.d.
The RACHR was an interracial council that was established during the mid-1950s. This council was one of many local councils in Virginia that functioned under the wing of the Virginia Council of Human Relations (a subsidiary of the Southern Regional Council). The purpose of the RACHR was to facilitate cooperation between the races through meetings and events. They also supported the efforts of activists who were agitating for racial equality.
The portion of organizational records in this collection includes membership and solicitations lists; meeting minutes, which include attendees, progress notes, and future goals.
Series Two: Material about the Richmond Sit-Ins, 1960.
This section includes a variety of documents concerning the sit-ins in Richmond which occurred during March 1960. It includes letters from some of the participants to Aubrey Brown, as well as a letter by Brown to the administration at Union Theological Seminary in which he voices his support for the students' protest; magazine articles about the sit-ins in Richmond, as well as local newspaper clippings; and a brief report about the establishment of the Richmond Citizens Advisory Committee which was established during the sit-ins (ca. 15 items).
Series Three: National Student Christian Federation, 1960.
This section contains 4 items which include correspondence about Christian students involved with the Civil Rights Movement and documents about the protest resignation of Dr. J. Robert Nelson, Dean of the Vanderbilt University Divinity School (4 items).
Series Four: Virginia Council on Human Relations, 1960-1968, n.d.
The Virginia Council on Human Relations was one of several state councils established in the South by the Southern Regional Council. The purpose of the organization was to help to establish local councils and to provide them with support activities and news of events held by other councils. The VCHR and the local councils worked toward easing racial tensions by providing interracial gatherings, sponsoring speakers, and disseminating information about race relations.
This is one of the larger sections in the collection and is arranged chronologically. It contains some of the organizational records that include minutes from the board of directors meetings, membership solicitations, financial records, correspondence, newsletters, newspaper clippings about activities of and appointments to the VCHR, organizational brochures, and miscellany (ca. 140 items).
Series Five: Southern Regional Council, 1952-1968.
Established in 1944, the Southern Regional Council was an outgrowth of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation. One of the goals of the SRC was to collect and disseminate data bout issues related to race, particularly civil rights agitation and discriminatory policies.
This section includes documents generated by the Southern Regional Council to disseminate information about race relations and civil rights agitation. This section is arranged topically: miscellaneous documents, news releases disseminated by the SRC, some issues of New South magazine (the official organ of the SRC), publications and pamphlets, reports and special reports that focus on specific struggles within the Civil Rights Movement. Within each folder, the documents are arranged chronologically (ca. 50 items).
Series Six: Presbyterian Outlook, 1943-1990.
This section contains articles about race that were published in the Presbyterian Outlook; documents pertaining to the history of the Presbyterian Outlook, edited by Brown; and two memos from Brown soliciting information about the Civil Rights Movement to be used for publication (ca. 40 items).
Series Seven: Speeches by Aubrey N. Brown, Jr., 1957-1963, n.d.
This section contains a collection of speeches made by brown, arranged chronologically. The speeches reflect his thoughts about race relations. Some include the place and date at which the speech was given (ca. 15 items).
Series Eight: Correspondence, 1958-1963, n.d.
Most of the letters in this section are addressed to Brown. The correspondence reflects the wide variety of sources from which Brown received information. A particular letter of interest is from Newman Hamblet, Vice President of Thalhimer Bros., Inc., and member of the RACHR, updating Brown on the status of an employee in 1963 (this employee was an African-American who was given a job at Thalhimers at the request of Brown) (ca. 15 items).
Series Nine: News Releases, 1960-1961.
This section contains two news releases. One concerns segregation at public schools in Georgia; the other concerns resistance to desegregation at the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee (2 items).
Series Ten: Religious News Service, 1959-1963.
This section contains news excerpts about activities and events in the religious community from the Religious News Service (ca. 10 items).
Series Eleven: Organizational Newsletters, 1960-1989.
This section includes three newsletters from the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which was established during 1960 to help organize student protesters. The additional newsletters are from a wide variety of religious and civil rights organizations, 1960-1989 (ca. 15 items).
Series Twelve: Conference on Integration of a Segregated Society, 1962
Documents relating to this conference held at Vanderbilt University in 1962 include correspondence and planning notes for the conference, a press release, and a speech given at the conference. The folder with correspondence includes a letter from author Lillian Smith (1897-1966) to Brown about race relations and her book Killers of the Dream (ca. 30 items).
Series Thirteen: Virginia State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, 1966.
Brown served as chairman of the Virginia State Advisory Committee. The two documents in this section consist of a conference program and a list of organizations that met with the committee in March 1966 (2 items).
Series Fourteen: Conference on People, Religion, and a Changing Virginia, November 1966.
Brown served as the chairman of the conference planning committee. The conference was held at the John Marshall Hotel in Richmond in November 1966; its purpose was to bring together Virginia's religious community to discuss the role of churches in social change. The documents in this section include conference information, such as announcements and a program guide; correspondence; a discussion guide used for groups during the conference, and several pages of handwritten discussion notes that summarize what each group concluded about race relations; expenditures; participants; a press release and newspaper clippings; and speeches (ca. 30 items).
Series Fifteen: Miscellaneous Publications, 1944-1967, n.d.
Included in this section are pamphlets and publications about segregation and racial issues. Publications about Virginia include "When a City Closes Its Schools," which is about public schools in Norfolk (1960); "Events in Virginia," a pamphlet distributed by the Virginia State Chamber of Commerce in Richmond (1962); and "Danville, Virginia," a booklet about the violent civil rights demonstrations there (1963). This section is arranged chronologically according to the dates given on each publication (ca. 60 items).
Series Sixteen: Newspaper Clippings, 1951-1966, n.d.
This is the largest section of the collection and contains a variety of newspaper clippings from several different papers, which include the Richmond Times Dispatch, the Richmond News Leader, the Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times. The articles focus on racial issues and the Civil Rights Movement and are arranged chronologically (ca. 150 items).
Series Seventeen: Miscellaneous Documents, 1945-1980, n.d.
The documents in this section include articles about race relations. Many were generated by religious organizations that were concerned with social action or made resolutions about race relations. This section contains three folders: the first contains dated documents; the second contains documents without dates; and the third includes handwritten notes (ca. 20 items).
Series Eighteen: Brown Family, 1956-1990.
The Brown family section includes two types of Brown family newsletters--"Brown's Bugle" (1956-1970) and "Anno Domini" (1971-1972, 1974-1977, and 1979-1995); excerpts from letters written by Aubrey Brown III (b. 1937) while serving in the Peace Corps in Nigeria from 1961-1964; the resumes of Aubrey N. Brown, Jr. (1990 and 1995); a brief biography of Brown written by Patricia Cornwell; and biographical sketches (written by Brown) about some of the founding members of the Ginter Park Presbyterian Church (ca. 40 items).
Series One: Richmond Area Council on Human Relations
6 Folders: 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1967, and misc. documents (n.d.)
Series Two: Richmond Sit-Ins
4 Folders: correspondence, magazine articles, newspaper clippings, Richmond Citizens Advisory Committee.
Series Three: National Student Christian Federation
Series Four: Virginia Council on Human Relations
10 Folders: 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, misc. documents (n.d.).
Series Five: Southern Regional Council
6 Folders: Misc. documents (1960-1968), News Releases, New South, Publications, Reports.
Series Five: Southern Regional Council
Folders cont: Special Reports.
Series Six: Presbyterian Outlook
3 Folders: Articles, History, Memos.
Series Seven: Speeches by Aubrey Brown
14 Folders: individual speeches
Series Eight: Correspondence
2 Folders: 1958-1960, 1962-1963 and n.d.
Series Nine: News Releases
Series Ten: Religious News Service
Series Eleven: Organizational Newsletters
3 Folders: Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, 1960, 1961-1989.
Series Twelve: Conference on Integration of a Segregated Society
4 Folders: Correspondence, Planning Notes, Press Release, Speech.
Series Thirteen: Virginia Advisory Committee to the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights
Series Fourteen: Conference on People, Religion, and a Changing Virginia
12 Folders: Conference information, announcements and programs; correspondence; discussion guide; discussion guide notes (3 folders); expenditures; participants; press releases and newspaper clippings; speech (3 folders).
Series Fifteen: Miscellaneous Publications (cont.)
12 Folders: 1940's, 1950-1954, 1955-1957, 1958-1959, 1960 (2 folders)
Series Fifteen: Miscellaneous Publications (cont.)
Folders cont.: 1961, 1962, 1963 (2 folders), 1964-1965 and 1967, n.d.
Series Sixteen: Newspaper Clippings
12 Folders: 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, n.d.
Series Seventeen: Miscellaneous Documents
3 Folders: 1945-1968, n.d., handwritten notes.
Series Eighteen: Brown Family
4 Folders: Brown's Bugle, Anno Domini, Aubrey Brown III, Aubrey Brown Resume
INDEX TO SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
- Afro-Americans - Employment, 8
- "Anno Domino," 18
- Brown, Aubrey Neblett, III, 18
- Brown family, 18
- "Brown's Bugle," 18
- Civil rights, 1, 13
- Civil rights movement, 2-3, 5-6, 11, 15-16
- Commission on Interracial Cooperation, 5
- Conference on Integration of a Segregated Society, 12
- Conference on People, Religion, and a Changing Virginia, 14
- Cornwell, Patricia, 18
- Danville, Va., 15
- Discrimination, 5
- Editors, 6
- Georgia - Schools, 9
- Ginter Park Presbyterian Church, Richmond, VA., 18
- Hamblet, Newman, 8
- John Marshall Hotel, Richmond, Va., 14
- Killers of the Dream, 12
- Massive resistance, 15
- National Student Christian Federation, 3
- Nelson, J. Robert, 3
- New South, 5
- Nigeria, 18
- Norfolk, Va. - Schools, 15
- Peace Corps, 18
- Presbyterian Outlook, 6
- Race relations, 1, 4-7, 12, 15-17
- Religious News Service, 10
- Religious newspapers and periodicals, 6, 10
- Richmond, Va. - Race relations, 1, 2
- Richmond Area Council on Human Relations, 1, 8
- Richmond Citizens Advisory Commission, 2
- Segregation, 15
- Segregation in education, 9
- Sit-ins, 2
- Smith, Lillian, 12
- Southern Regional Council, 4, 5
- Speeches, 7, 12
- Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, 11
- Thalhimer Bros., Inc., Richmond, Va., 8
- Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Va., 2
- United States Commission on Civil Rights, 13
- University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn., 9
- Vanderbilt University, 12
- Vanderbilt University Divinity School, 3
- Virginia - Race relations, 14, 15
- Virginia Council on Human Relations, 4
- Virginia State Advisory Committees to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, 13
- Virginians in Nigeria, 18