Fred R. Brown Papers, 1882-1966
- Brown, Fred R., 1888-1966
- Methodist missionary and science teacher in the Kiansi Province of China from 1910 to 1931. He and his wife, a fellow missionary, later settled in DeWitt, New York.
- 8 cubic ft.
- English and English
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Fred R. Brown Papers, 1882-1966. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
- Scope and Content:
The concentration of materials in this Collection is on the period of 1910 to 1931 when Fred R. Brown and his wife, Clella Ernestine McDonnell, served in the Methodist mission in Nanchang, China. The most valuable sources of information are the "Letters home", which contain detailed descriptions of personal activities, travel, weather, and political observations.
The Browns were analytical and observant. They studied the geography of the Kan River District and Kiangsi Province; clan customs, literacy, and superstitions of the people; political conditions; military activities. Their reports and letters are of interest in learning about a time of change in China; their first-hand accounts of the activities of the Nationalist Armies in 1926-1927 are of particular importance to researchers in this period.
Religious instruction and the work of missionary churches is covered in notes on Bible study; dramatic exercises and other teaching materials; reports of church conferences; survey articles.
The ministerial work of Fred Brown upon his return to the United States is covered in the collection of church notices, order of service, notes on specific religious topics, and in the extensive collection of "Sermon Notes" (for the period 1937 to 1961). The material on the Troy Conference of the Methodist Church includes published reports, Brown's notes, and his work on local parish histories.
The items on Clella Ernestine McDonnell (Mrs. Fred R. Brown) deal primarily with her family history, kindergarten instruction, and student papers (many of these are stories based on her experiences in China).
The large collection of photographs supplement the descriptions given in letters and reports. In addition to photographs of China and other locales, there are many family items.
Maps, books, and pamphlets in Chinese, and writings by others on a range of topics, supplement the items produced by Fred and Clella Brown.
- Biographical / Historical:
Fred R. Brown, the son of Reverend and Mrs. Edgar H. Brown, was born in Rensselaer, New York, on May 19, 1888. In 1906, Brown graduated from Albany High School. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in 1910 from Syracuse University where he had studied biology, chemistry, and medicine. In 1916 he received a master's degree in religious education from the School of Education of Boston University. After future study at Syracuse University in 1931-1932 he completed the requirements of the New York State Department of Education for the provisional professional certificate in teaching.
In 1910 Brown was ordained in the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was sent by the Board of Foreign Missions to Nanchang, China. He served as Head of the Natural Science Department at the William Nast College, Kiukiang, from 1910 to 1916; from 1917 to 1931 he taught at Nanchang Academy and also served as Acting Principal (1918-1919) and Head of the Department of Natural Science (1927-1931). From 1918 to 1924 he was Superintendent of Primary Schools in Nanchang, Kan River, and Kienchang districts.
Brown returned to the United States in 1931. He was Head of the Department of Science and Mathematics at Pebble Hill School in Dewitt, New York, and then moved to Troy. In 1938 he became pastor of the Levings Methodist Church and also taught an orientation course in natural science at Russell Sage College.
From 1942 into 1958 Mr. Brown served churches in Richmondville, Warnerville, Fonda, Fultonville, Cambridge, White Creek, Clarksville, and Reidsville. In May 1958 he became pastor of St. James Methodist Church, Cohoes, and retired in May 1961.
He was appointed pastor emeritus of Pine Grove Methodist Church of Colonie where he served as the missions commission head and was in charge of the men's Bible class. He was head of the historical committee and retired ministers' group of the Troy Methodist Conference.
Fred R. Brown married Clella Ernestine McDonnell at Nanking, China, on December 8, 1914. Their first son, Fred R. Brown Jr., was born in 1916 and died in 1920. A daughter, Hester, was born in 1918, and a son, Charles, in 1921.
The Reverend Mr. Brown died on December 31, 1966, at the age of 78.
- Acquisition information:
All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Hester B. Bill, daughter, in 1971, with donations of additional material in 1983.
- Processing information:
Processed in 1995 June 25 by Marion P. Munzer (June 1985).
- Rensselaer County, New York
Military and Armed Conflict
China -- Politics and government -- 1912-1949.
China -- Religion -- 20th century.
China -- Description and travel.
England -- Description and travel.
Communism -- China.
Methodist Church -- Missions -- China.
Methodists -- Missionaries.
- Brown, Fred R., 1888-1966.
Brown, Clella E. McDonnell.
Johnson, William R.