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Leslie Brown Papers

Identifier: MC-245

Scope and Contents

The Leslie Brown papers include materials from Professor Brown's time at Williams College from 2008 to 2016. Materials include course notes, curriculum notes, lecture notes, course syllabi, research and scholarship materials relating to her areas of subject expertise (History, African American studies, race and gender). Also included are transcripts and audio recordings of oral history interviews recorded as assignments for History 301.


  • Creation: 1980 - 2016

Conditions Governing Use

In consultation with Special Collections staff, reproductions may be made upon request. Material in this collection may be subject to copyright.

Leslie Brown

Professor Leslie Brown served on the faculty at Williams College from 2008 to 2016. According to her faculty profile on the Office of Communications website: "Leslie Brown was born in New York City and grew up in Albany, New York. She attended Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, where she received a B.A in sociology and English. After working for the McDonald’s Corporation as a manager and field supervisor she served as a college administrator at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, where she directed the Higher Education Opportunity Program. She returned to graduate school in 1990, and received a certificate in Women’s Studies and her A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. From 1990 to 1995 she co-coordinated “Behind the Veil: Documenting African American Life in the Jim Crow South," a collaborative research and curriculum project at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke. She is the author of Upbuilding Black Durham: Gender, Class, and Black Community Development in the Urban South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008), winner of the 2009 Frederick Jackson Turner Prize from the Organization of American Historians for the best book in U.S. History written by a first time author. With Anne Valk (Brown University), she edited Living With Jim Crow: African American Women and Memories of the Jim Crow South (New York: MacMillan, 2010), which in 2011 received the Oral History Association’s Biennial Book Award. In 2014 she edited a collection of primary source documents, African American Voices: From Emancipation to the Present (London: John Wiley). Brown also co-edited (with Leslie Harris, Emory University) the Oxford University Press Handbook of African American History. Her research focused on gender and migration, urban race relations, and teaching across the color line.

A nationally renowned teacher, Brown was invited invited to teach content and methodology courses on slavery and emancipation, civil rights, and Jim Crow for junior high and high school teachers. Before coming to Williams in 2008, Brown taught a range of courses in race, gender, and documentary studies including American and African American history and studies; American, comparative, and African American women’s history and studies; and oral history at colleges and universities, including Duke University, Skidmore College, Washington University-St. Louis."

Leslie rown died on August 5, 2016. According to the letter from President Adam Falk to the Williams community found on the Williams College website, he writes: "It is with profound sadness that I write to you about the death of Professor of History Leslie Brown. Leslie passed away August 5 in Boston after a battle with cancer. Leslie had been a member of the Williams faculty since 2008, and her impact on this place—and on all of us who had the enormous privilege of knowing her—will long endure. She was a widely respected scholar of American history, and in particular of African American and American women’s history, admired by her colleagues here and everywhere, and beloved by her students as an inspirational professor who gave back to them at least as much as she demanded. She was boisterous in all the best ways, wonderfully complex, and impressively free of pretense. She was devoted to the essential work of moving forward this institution together with students, faculty, and the administration. And she led by example, showing her students the importance of history and context in advancing a cause. She also was incredibly warm and caring, mentoring junior faculty, giving valuable feedback to colleagues on their manuscripts, and supporting students through difficult times. Born in New York City and raised in Albany, N.Y., Leslie received her bachelor’s degree in 1977 from Tufts University, majoring in English and sociology. ... Leslie is survived by her partner Annie Valk, and as we mourn this tremendous loss for each of us individually and for Williams, our thoughts are with Annie especially."


1.8 Linear Feet (6 boxes)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Library Shelving Facility.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Annie Valk, 2016-2017.

Separated Materials

Some printed books and pamphlets have been cataloged separately using Library of Congress classification and are shelved with the Archives Rare Books collection. These include provenance and acquisition notes: "From the papers of Leslie Brown" and "Gift of Annie Valk, 2016-2017."

Leslie Brown papers
Sanchez, Aramis, Fohrhaltz-Burbank, Schuyler, and Conathan, Lisa
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Williams College Archives Repository

Sawyer Library
26 Hopkins Hall Drive
Williamstown, MA 01267