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Collection Overview

Brown, Clarence, 1929-2015
Clarence Brown Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
5 boxes and 2.0 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001076 to B-001080
English Russian


Consists primarily of correspondence, travel diaries, and photographs of former Princeton University comparative literature professor Clarence Brown (1929-2015) relating primarily to his scholarship on Russian writers Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam (1891-1938) and Nadezhda Mandelstam (1899-1980). Correspondence with writer and illustrator Guy Davenport as well as with poet W. S. Merwin, Princeton Class of 1948, is also included.

Collection Description & Creator Information


This collection consists primarily of correspondence along with some travel diaries, photographs, and teaching materials of comparative literature professor Clarence Brown (1929-2015). Much of the content, with the exception of correspondence with Guy Davenport, relates to the principal subject of Brown's scholarship, Russian poet Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam (1891-1938), as well as Mandelstam's wife, Nadezhda Mandelstam (1899-1980). This includes documentation about Brown's collaborative publication, Osip Mandelstam: Selected Poems (1974); Nadezhda Mandelstam's memoir Hope Against Hope (1970); and Osip Mandelstam's personal papers, which Nadezhda donated to Princeton University Library in 1976; among other topics. Correspondents who are well represented include writer and illustrator, Guy Davenport (1927-2005); poet W. S. Merwin (1927-), Princeton Class of 1948, with whom Brown collaborated on Osip Mandelstam: Selected Poems; and Nadezhda Mandelstam.

Collection Creator Biography:

Brown, Clarence, 1929-2015

A scholar of modern Russian literature and translation, Clarence Brown (1929-2015) was a professor of comparative literature at Princeton University. He started at Princeton as an instructor in 1959 and became a professor in 1969, retiring in 1999. Brown first taught courses on Russian language and literature in the Department of Romance Languages and then in the Program in Slavic Languages and Literatures, which became a formal department in 1967. In 1971, he joined the Department of Comparative Literature.

Brown was most known for his scholarship on the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam (Mandelʹshtam) (1891-1938), which was facilitated by the relationship he formed with Mandelstam's widow and fellow writer, Nadezhda Mandelstam (Mandelʹshtam) (1899-1980), who was invested in preserving her husband's work. The Prose of Osip Mandelstam (1965) was nominated for a National Book Award. Brown's 1973 book Mandelstam earned him the Christian Gauss Award in Literary Criticism. Mandelstam's papers, entrusted by Nadezhda to Brown in 1976, were donated to the Princeton University Library.

Brown earned his bachelor's degree in classics at Duke University in 1950. After graduation, he was drafted and served four years in the Army Security Agency, including a year of intensive training in Russian at the Army Language School in Monterey, California, after which he was sent to Berlin as a German translator. He earned a master's degree in linguistics in 1955 from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and his Ph.D. in Russian Literature from Harvard University in 1962.

A lifelong cartoonist, Brown's work appeared in several publications, including Saturday Review, where he was cartoon editor from 1977 to 1984.

Collection History


Gift of Jacqueline Brown, 2017 . (AM 2018-3)


No materials were separated during 2017 processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Faith Charlton in September 2017 with assistance from Julia English '19. Finding aid written by Faith Charlton in September 2017.

Some photographic negatives were treated during 2017 processing.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research. Student coursework is restricted until 2044 or 75 years from the date of creation (1969) (housed in box B-001080).

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Clarence Brown Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001076 to B-001080