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Brownson family papers

Identifier: c-00178

Scope and Contents

The Brownson family papers consist of correspondence between members of the Brownson, Johnson, and Allured families, as well as essays, poetry, and a sermon.

Many of the letters are to Oscar Brownson of Pontiac and Evart, Michigan. Brownson entered Oberlin College in 1843, but a year later he returned to Pontiac to teach school. Several letters from a cousin, Franklin Barber, urged him to join the United States Navy, where he could get a free medical training. Brownson received other letters from family members, as well as from Oberlin friends such as Hosmer Johnson. Johnson, who taught occasional terms of school to finance his education, also wrote frequent letters to his sister, Lucy, a teacher in Almont, Lapeer County, Michigan. All these letters, which cover the years 1843-1852, reflect the enormous impact of evangelical religion on the period. Almost invariably the letters comment on church matters and individual religious experiences. They are also concerned with the issues of temperance and abolition, as well as illness, politics, and the experiences of teaching.

A later series of letters (1873-1877) includes letters to Allie Brownson from her friend, Hattie Holman, a student at the University of Michigan. Holman describes her classes, social activities, and the organization of a "Christian Student Association." Other letters describe the social season in Lexington, Kentucky (1875); a trip to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia (1876); and the city of Chicago with its glamorous new buildings, the Palmer House and the Singer Building (1877).

In addition, the collection contains letters of the Allured family of Evart, Michigan (1902-1905). The majority of these are to Paul and Karl Allured while they were students at Alma College in Alma, Michigan. They also include letters from Karl while he was studying at the Lewis Institute in Chicago.

Finally, the collection contains genealogical charts for the Hoyt and Allen families, probably connected by marriage with the Brownsons. It also includes undated poems and school essays, as well as a funeral sermon (1931)


  • Creation: 1843 - 1931

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.


Oscar Brownson was of Pontiac and Evart, Michigan. Brownson entered Oberlin College in 1843, but a year later he returned to Pontiac to teach school.


0.25 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gift of Paul J. Allured, 1962-01-05. Transferred by Michigan State University Museum.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Brownson Family Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
September 1997
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US