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John E. and Elizabeth Savage Brownlee Family Papers
The Brownlee Collection includes 79 manuscripts, ranging in date from 1852 to 1898. The majority of the items are letters written to John E. and/or Elizabeth Savage Brownlee in the decades following their emigration from Ireland. The greater number were written by family members, including John Brownlee's father Robert (ten letters); his half brothers Thomas and Hugh Young (eight and six letters, respectively); Elizabeth Brownlee's sister Sarah Ann McKee (five letters), and many others besides. Also among the Brownlees' correspondents were John Ward (four letters) and James Stott (six letters), older men who were good friends of Robert Brownlee. The heart of the collection is a group of 32 letters (mostly personal letters to John Brownlee) dating from 1852 to 1857, the years immediately following John and Elizabeth's arrival in America. Nine different correspondents are represented in this group; almost all either preceded or followed John and Elizabeth to America, in the 1840s and 50s. Six of the letters were written from Ireland, and a seventh from Liverpool. As a persistent theme, the letters of the 1850s treat the personal and vocational adaptations necessary in making the transition from the old world to the new. Also among the earlier letters are two written by Thomas Lowry Young concerning an army expedition from Salt Lake to Fort Yuma, California in 1855. The post-Civil War letters in the collection are generally of lesser interest than the antebellum material. They include around ten business letters directed to John Brownlee, mostly in the 1870s; a group of personal letters written to Elizabeth Brownlee in the early 1880s, whose prevailing topic is Elizabeth's failing health; and some letters written by and to the Brownlees' children, mostly after 1890. There are also a small number of non-epistolary manuscripts, most notably a pair of small account books belonging to John Brownlee, with content dating from the 1870s.