Brownson Family Papers

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Creator - Recipient
Allured, Karl
Creator - Recipient
Allured, Paul J.
Creator - Correspondent
Barber, Franklin
Brownson family, (Oscar Brownson)
Creator - Recipient
Brownson, Allie
Creator - Recipient
Brownson, Oscar
Creator - Correspondent
Holman, Hattie
Creator - Correspondent
Johnson, Hosmer
Creator - Recipient
Johnson, Lucy
Brownson family papers
Date [inclusive]
0.25 Cubic feet

Preferred Citation note

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: "Item title, Collection title, Collection Identifier, Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan."

Return to Table of Contents »


Oscar Brownson was of Pontiac and Evart, Michigan. Brownson entered Oberlin College in 1843, but a year later he returned to Pontiac to teach school.

Return to Table of Contents »

Scope and Contents note

The Brownson family papers consist of correspondence between members of the Brownson, Johnson, and Allured families, as well as essays, poetry, and a sermon.

Many of the letters are to Oscar Brownson of Pontiac and Evart, Michigan. Brownson entered Oberlin College in 1843, but a year later he returned to Pontiac to teach school. Several letters from a cousin, Franklin Barber, urged him to join the United States Navy, where he could get a free medical training. Brownson received other letters from family members, as well as from Oberlin friends such as Hosmer Johnson. Johnson, who taught occasional terms of school to finance his education, also wrote frequent letters to his sister, Lucy, a teacher in Almont, Lapeer County, Michigan. All these letters, which cover the years 1843-1852, reflect the enormous impact of evangelical religion on the period. Almost invariably the letters comment on church matters and individual religious experiences. They are also concerned with the issues of temperance and abolition, as well as illness, politics, and the experiences of teaching.

A later series of letters (1873-1877) includes letters to Allie Brownson from her friend, Hattie Holman, a student at the University of Michigan. Holman describes her classes, social activities, and the organization of a "Christian Student Association." Other letters describe the social season in Lexington, Kentucky (1875); a trip to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia (1876); and the city of Chicago with its glamorous new buildings, the Palmer House and the Singer Building (1877).

In addition, the collection contains letters of the Allured family of Evart, Michigan (1902-1905). The majority of these are to Paul and Karl Allured while they were students at Alma College in Alma, Michigan. They also include letters from Karl while he was studying at the Lewis Institute in Chicago.

Finally, the collection contains genealogical charts for the Hoyt and Allen families, probably connected by marriage with the Brownsons. It also includes undated poems and school essays, as well as a funeral sermon (1931)

Return to Table of Contents »

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections September 1997

Conrad Hall
888 Wilson Road, Room 101
East Lansing , MI, 48824

Revision Description

 revised December 2013  March 2000

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Conditions Governing Use note

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Custodial History

Gift of Paul J. Allured, 1962-01-05. Transferred by Michigan State University Museum.

Return to Table of Contents »

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Oberlin College.
  • University of Michigan.

Family Name(s)

  • Allen family
  • Allured family, (Karl Allured)
  • Hoyt family


  • Genealogies (histories)
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Tintype

Geographic Name(s)

  • Chicago (Ill.)
  • Lexington (Ky.)
  • Michigan -- Religion
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)
  • United States -- Centennial celebrations, etc.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 19th century

Personal Name(s)

  • Allured, Paul J.
  • Culver, Abby E.


  • Abolitionists -- United States
  • Education -- Michigan
  • Health
  • Poetry
  • Social reformers -- United States
  • Student activities -- Michigan
  • Temperance -- United States

Return to Table of Contents »

Collection Inventory















Poetry. Sermons. Essays 


Genealogy. Miscellaneous 


Tintype- Culver, Abby E.