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C. A. Brown Papers

Identifier: MSS-277-BC

Scope and Content

This collection is mainly comprised of personal correspondence between Dr. Charles A. Brown and his wife, Maggie Brown, during their separations as he tried his hand at mining in the west, leaving her in Virginia. Additional letters reflect Maggie's move to the west and efforts to maintain ties to her family in the east. Letters tell of mining and frontier life in such places as Bonanza, Colorado, economic conditions of the time, health problems of the era, the deaths of six children, and other family details. Many of these letters are included in the unpublished manuscript entitled "Whistling in the Wind," which is also included in the collection, and was written by Mildred Holman and Mary Augusta Brown, also known as Mary Brown Gose, daughter of Dr. Charles A. and Maggie Brown.

Additional items in the collection include diplomas and licenses to practice medicine in various places granted to Dr. Charles A. Brown, receipts for basic goods, for pharmaceutical products, business cards, land sales records, bank receipts (which provide the option of making deposits in currency, gold, or silver), tax records from Doña Ana County, prescriptions written by Dr. Brown, letters from friends, and two wallets, one which contained old photographs of the Browns' youngest child, Mary Augusta, and two locks of hair referred to in letters and perhaps taken from Maggie Brown and her first child, Mattie.


  • 1827-1958


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.


Dr. Charles A. Brown, graduate of Virginia Medical College, was a physician from Virginia who migrated west in the mid- to late 1800s to seek his fortune in mining. Throughout his time as a frontiersman in both Bonanza, Colorado and Rinc?n, New Mexico (among other western towns), Brown managed to eke out a living at various professions, including medicine, mining, ranching and livestock raising, working on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway as surgeon and clerk, and always looking for a plan to get-rich-quick. The letters to his wife, Martha Magdalene (Maggie) Brown, nee Keller, contained in this collection demonstrate that none of these schemes or professions were all too lucrative. Dr. Charles A. Brown is mentioned as one of the few doctors located in Doña Ana County, New Mexico (in Rinc?n, specifically) in 1884 by Ralph Emerson Twitchell. Otherwise, as Byrd Gibbens notes, the Browns' "presence [in what are now ghost towns in New Mexico and Colorado] was wiped out, as if they had never been there at all."


1 box (1 cu. ft.) + 1 oversized folder


This collection contains correspondence, business records, and other assorted items pertaining to Dr. Charles A. Brown and family, who resided in Colorado and New Mexico in the late 1800s.

Collection Available Online

Selected materials listed in this guide to the C. A. Brown Papers are available in digital format at the Center for Southwest Research's Manuscripts digital collections. Search for the word "Brown" under "Name of Collection" to find them.

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to C. A. Brown Photograph Collection

A black pottery bowl and a Navajo blanket which were donated with the manuscript collection have been transferred to the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, University of New Mexico.
Finding Aid of the C. A. Brown Papers, 1827-1958
Edited Full Draft
Processed by Karen Stocker
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 277 BC::C. A. Brown Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss277bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131