Williams College Receives the Archives of Alumnus Sterling Brown

Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, has received collections of books, manuscripts, and record albums documenting the life and work of Sterling Brown, one of America’s most influential poets and scholars. Brown was a member of the Class of 1922 graduate at Williams College.

Brown’s family made the donation to the Williams College Archives, where the materials will be preserved, cataloged, and made accessible to researchers in Special Collections. The gift includes Brown’s personal library, manuscripts, photographs, and sound recordings, providing deeper insight into his legacy, especially his devotion to the development of a literature about authentic Black folklife.

“The Sterling A. Brown archive will be the cornerstone of our 20th-century American literary collections,” said Lisa Conathan, head of Special Collections. “With this generous gift, Williams Libraries has acquired an extraordinary resource for the study and teaching of African American poetry.”

Brown was a graduate of Dubar High School in Washington, D.C. After graduating from Williams College in 1922, he earned a master’s degree at Harvard University. Brown taught in the English department at Howard Univesity for more than 40 years. He died in 1989.

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