Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Brown, John (1800-1859) to Mary Ann Brown

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00929.01 Author/Creator: Brown, John (1800-1859) Place Written: Osawatomie, Kansas Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 24 April 1856 Pagination: 2 p. ; 23.5 x 20 cm.

Defeat of a pro-slavery judge. Recounts story of "one of the most deeply exciting times..since our arival in the territory. A United States Judge came here & attempted to hold a Court, & to enforce the enactment of the Bogus Legislature but was most effectually routed." The laws the court was attempting to enforce made it a crime to oppose slavery in any way, even verbally. Brown and other anti-slavery men drove the judge away and prevented them from enforcing these laws. Also discusses family health and says her brother, Orson Day, and his family have just arrived. Written at "Brown's Station."

Mary Ann Brown was John Brown's second wife.

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