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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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Series I: Research and Scholarship, 1792-1980
Series II: Personal and Professional, 1944-1980
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in 3 series.
Scope and Content
The collection contains material related both to Browne's work as an activist and an academic. A significant portion of the collection consists of Browne's research material on John Hughes, including Hughes's correspondence, letter books, and scrapbooks.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Henry Joseph Browne papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Part of Abraham Lincoln collection MS#2028: Lincoln, Abraham To John Hughes, Washington, D.C., 21 October 1861, 1 a.l.s.; 2 pages
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Ownership and Custodial History
Gift of Flavia Alaya, 1986.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Papers: Source of acquisition--Alaya, Flavia. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--07/11/86. Accession number--M-86-07-11.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers Processed CEH 07/--/08.
2009-02-12 File created.
2009-04-15 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Father Henry Joseph Browne, born in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan in 1919, was an historian, archivist, and community activist. He entered the Catholic priesthood as a young man and devoted himself, for a while, to a scholarly and ecclesiastical life. He received his Ph.D. in history from the Catholic University of America where he went on to serve as a faculty member in church history and the University Archivist. Upon leaving that position he returned to New York to teach first at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, then Cathedral College, and finally Rutgers University in New Jersey.
His primary research interests were in social and labor history as well as church history, particularly in New York City. He published a number of pamphlets and articles on these issues, and a book on the history of the Catholic Knights of Labor. Additionally, he did extensive research on and drafted a biography of John Hughes, the first archbishop of New York.
Upon Browne's return to New York after his tenure at the Catholic University of America, he became deeply involved in left-wing political activities and made a name for himself as a committed community and anti-war activist in the 1960s. He was active in both religious and secular social justice organizations such as the New York City Council against Poverty, the Catholic Committee on Urban Ministry, and the Priests' Senate. He strongly opposed the urban renewal activities displacing lower income tenants on New York's Upper West side and worked actively with community housing organizations such as the Strycker's Bay Housing Development to retain low-income housing options in New York City.
In the last decade of his life Browne left the priesthood, though he was never officially defrocked, and settled in Paterson, NJ with his long-time partner, Flavia Alaya, and their three children. He took a job with Rutgers University and continued teaching almost until his death in 1980.