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Charles Harvey Brown papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 25/1/19

Scope and Content

This collection (1907-1986, n. d.) contains biographical information, correspondence, publications, reports, and exchanges. The correspondence, with other Iowa State faculty members, relates to collecting and maintaining books for the library and with colleagues associated with him while active in library committees and the American Library Association (ALA). Dr. Brown wrote numerous papers throughout his career focusing on research libraries, libraries during the depression, rural libraries, and libraries (budgets and purposes) during World War I and World War II.

Dr. Brown’s papers and reports focus on college libraries, ALA activities, and the National Diet Library of Japan. The National Diet Library of Japan organized following World War II as an effort to re-establish public access to research publications lost during the war.

The exchange files refer to a program that allowed Iowa State College (University) to exchange its research journals with other organizations, primarily foreign universities, and are listed by country. These exchange files contain correspondence regarding publication requests.

A highlight of the collection are research notes complied by Edward G. Holley for his biography on Dr. Brown. Holley was Dean of the School of Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1972-1985) and president of ALA (1974-1975).


  • 1907-1986, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Charles Harvey Brown was born December 23, 1875 in Albany, New York. Dr. Brown received a Bachelor of Arts (1897) and a Master of Arts (1899) at Wesleyan University. He also received a Bachelor of Library Science (1901) at the New York State Library, and his Literary Doctorate (1937) from Wesleyan.

Dr. Brown began his career at Wesleyan University (1897-1899); he then worked for the Library of Congress (1901-1903); John Crerar Library (1903-1909) in Chicago, Illinois; Brooklyn Public Library (1909-1919); and the United States Navy (1919-1922). He joined the Iowa State College (University) Library and was the Dean of the Library (1922-1946) until he retired, when he became Librarian Emeritus.

Dr. Brown was the President (1941-1942) of the American Library Association (ALA). An active proponent of research libraries, he is credited with founding the American College and Research Libraries (ACRL). After his retirement, he was still associated with the Iowa State College (University) Library as a Bibliographer, and also taught courses in the winter in Florida. He traveled to Japan in the 1950’s as an assistant to help organize the National Diet Library in Japan. He died in 1960, and is buried in the Iowa State University Cemetery.


9.36 Linear Feet (16 document boxes)


The collection is organized Alphabetically.

Items in related collections

RS 25/1. Iowa State University. Library records

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 25/1/19. Charles Harvey Brown papers, 1907-1986, undated
January 23, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672