Collection ID: LMC 1846
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Collection context


Browne, Lewis, 1897-1949
The Browne mss., 1878-1949, consists of the papers of Lewis Browne, 1897-1949, author, radio commentator, lecturer, and world traveler.
14 Boxes
Materials are in English
Preferred citation:

[Item], Browne mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.


Biographical / Historical:

The Browne mss., 1878-1949 contains the letters, diaries, writings, and illlustrations of author, educator, and world traveler Lewis Browne (1897-1949). Born in London, Browne later emigrated with his family to the United States. There, he received his B.A. from the University of Cincinnati in 1919, and another B.A. in Hebrew from Hebrew Union College in 1920. He subsequently became ordained as a rabbi in Connecticut, and wrote histories and comparative studies of religion such as Stranger than Fiction(1925) and This Believing World (1926). Throughout his lifetime, he wrote other similar studies, lectured on book tours, and traveled the world to explore different cultures' religions.

The collection includes Browne's correspondence with notable authorial figures like Joseph Conrad, George Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, among other famous educators, scientists, and politicians. Alongside personal diary and confessional writings, the collection also spotlights Browne's authorial typescripts and illustrations."

Scope and Content:

The Browne mss., 1878-1949, consists of the papers of Lewis Browne, 1897-1949, author, radio commentator, lecturer, and world traveler.

The correspondence is with novelists, poets, dramatists, journalists, educators, scientists, politicians, diplomats, physicians, army officers, artists, actors, lawyers, businessmen, and clergymen. Among the subjects covered are the American Socialist Party allied occupation of Austria, California election of 1934, communism, emigration and immigration, Hebrew Union College, Industrial Workers of the World, migration and persecution of Jews, Jews in Cincinnati, Jews in Mexico, pacifism, and World War II. There is extensive correspondence between Browne and his parents from 1914 to 1948 as well as with his sister, Rebecca (Browne) Tarlow from 1929 to 1946. A few letters were written by Myna Eisner (Lissner) Browne to Browne's parents during 1933. Browne also provides a provocative commentary about the life he led and the education he received at the Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio, during the early twentieth century as well as his impressions of the renown leader of American reform Judaism, Rabbi Stephen Samuel Wise.

Signatures had been removed from a card by George Bernard Shaw dated March 21, 1918; and from letters by Joseph Conrad, March 27, 1918; by Israel Zangwill, April 3, 1918; by John Galsworthy, May 16, 1918; by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, June 1918; and by Sir Oliver Joseph Lodge, December 13, 1918. Signatures of these men had been removed from other documents and clipped to the above-mentioned card and letters. These signatures have now been permanently attached to the card and the letters listed above.

The diaries, 1910-1946, vary both in size and content. A diary kept in 1914 contains excellent character descriptions of his parents, brothers, and sisters. Another diary, 1921, kept while he was at Waterbury, Connecticut, is of interest because of the comments about people and on conservative versus reform Judaism. Browne's European travel journal from May 22 to November 8, 1926, contains an excellent account of Jews in the countries he visited and the influence of Catholicism on French Jews in regard to services and dress. He remarks that there is no trace of discrimination against Jews in France. In the diary of a trip to Hawaii and Japan in 1932-1933 the comments about a concert by Hawaiian women beneath the palms, their singing, their dancing, and their wearing apparel as well as Japanese customs are amusing. The observations of the people, cities, and buildings on the trip to Russia and the Mediterranean in 1935 are entertaining. Seven pages of notes describing a lecture tour Browne made with Sinclair Lewis in November 1941 are significant because of an interesting character portrayal of Lewis made by Browne. Undated notes on the temples and priests in the Far East are interesting.

Writings include:

  • All Things Are Possible;
  • Blessed Spinoza;
  • The Gilded Ghetto;
  • Godly Mischief, and essay in the liberal ministry (preface by Sinclair Lewis);
  • The Graphic Bible;
  • How Odd of God;
  • Oh say Can You See;
  • The Road to Nowadays;
  • See What I Mean;
  • Since Calvary;
  • Something Went Wrong;
  • Stranger than fiction;
  • That Man Heine;
  • This Believing World;
  • Wild Tongues;
  • Wisdom of Israel
A detailed description of each of the writings is available in the Library.

Among the short articles are:

  • "And David Saw,"
  • "Around the World,"
  • "Around the World With a Portable,"
  • "Autobiography,"
  • "Beware of the Brawn-Trusters!,"
  • "By Jingo,"
  • "The Case of Miss Hope O'Keefe,"
  • "Chapters from the Life of Elijah Elman,"
  • "Charles Garland's Experiment,"
  • "A Conversation,"
  • "Cross Winds,"
  • "The Devotee of Democracy,"
  • "Even in Tahiti,"
  • "Excerpts from a Rabbi's Diary,"
  • "Experiences in Russia,"
  • "Hot Shots from Rowanis,"
  • "If Jesus Were Here Today,"
  • " It's a Small World After All,"
  • "The Jew,"
  • "A Jew Goes to Russia,"
  • "Jonah,"
  • "The Making of a Radical Rabbi,"
  • "The Mother of "Boh-Boh" Mike,"
  • "Must We Wipe Out the Germans?,"
  • "Old Sarah,"
  • "On American Judaism,"
  • "On the Contrary,"
  • "The Plight of the Liberal Synagogue,"
  • "A Primer for Moderns,"
  • "The Rabbi,"
  • "Rotary of the Booster's Club,"
  • "Soldiers Can Forget to Cough,"
  • "Teitelbaums of Tahiti,"
  • "Those Hot-Aryans,"
  • "The Tresca Case,"
  • "Twelve Great Jews of Tomorrow,"
  • "The Undying Book,"
  • "What Can the Jews Do About It?,"
  • "What is the Heritage of the Jews?,"
  • "What's Wrong with the Jew?,"
  • "Why Are Jews Like That?,"
  • "You Think Jews Are Clever"

Illustrations consist of pencil sketches and pen and ink drawings by Lewis Browne and his wife Myna Eisner (Lissner) Browne for Browne's writings.

Miscellaneous material deals with the twentieth century revolutionary figure, Lev Trotskii including notes by Lewis Browne about Trotskii and typescripts of an article about Natalia Ivanova (Sedova) Trotskii (Mrs. Lev Trotskii). There are two articles by Ludwig Lore, an American-Socialist-editor, about Trotskii's visit to the U.S. in March 1917. Of interest is also a leaf with possibly authentic signatures of Lev Trotskii and Alexandra Kollontai alongside a hen drawing. There are also a few short articles by lesser known writers. Also included: a small notebook entitled "Fiction Notes--Tour Notes" which contains an outline for a novel, radio broadcasts, speeches, teaching material, school notes, book reviews by Browne, and reviews of his books.

Newspaper clippings, other printed material about Browne or his writings, etc. and galley proofs with corrections for All Things are Possible, Blessed Spinoza, How Odd of God, Oh Say Can You See, See what I Mean, Something Went Wrong, Stranger than Fiction, That Man Heine, The Wisdom of Israel, and The World's Great Scriptures complete the collection.

Manuscripts index in the Lilly Library contains entries at item level.

Note on Indexing Term - "Labor unions and socialism": Includes correspondence with politicians, journalists and others, dealing with the American Socialist Party allied occupation of Austria, communism, and Industrial Workers of the World.

Note on Indexing Term - "Slavs": Of particular interest is a diary of a trip to Russia in 1935. There is also a file of material concerning Lev Trotskii.

Note on Indexing Term - "Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968": There is correspondence with Sinclair.

Acquisition information:
Purchase, 1969.

The collection is organized into the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Diaries; III. Writings; IV. Articles; V. Illustrations; VI. Miscellaneous; and, VII. Printed matter.

Physical location:
ALF (Auxiliary Library Facility)
General note:
  1. All Things Are Possible;
  2. Blessed Spinoza;
  3. The Gilded Ghetto;
  4. Godly Mischief, and essay in the liberal ministry (preface by Sinclair Lewis);
  5. The Graphic Bible;
  6. How Odd of God;
  7. Oh say Can You See;
  8. The Road to Nowadays;
  9. See What I Mean;
  10. Since Calvary;
  11. Something Went Wrong;
  12. Stranger than fiction;
  13. That Man Heine;
  14. This Believing World;
  15. Wild Tongues;
  16. Wisdom of Israel
  1. "And David Saw,"
  2. "Around the World,"
  3. "Around the World With a Portable,"
  4. "Autobiography,"
  5. "Beware of the Brawn-Trusters!,"
  6. "By Jingo,"
  7. "The Case of Miss Hope O'Keefe,"
  8. "Chapters from the Life of Elijah Elman,"
  9. "Charles Garland's Experiment,"
  10. "A Conversation,"
  11. "Cross Winds,"
  12. "The Devotee of Democracy,"
  13. "Even in Tahiti,"
  14. "Excerpts from a Rabbi's Diary,"
  15. "Experiences in Russia,"
  16. "Hot Shots from Rowanis,"
  17. "If Jesus Were Here Today,"
  18. " It's a Small World After All,"
  19. "The Jew,"
  20. "A Jew Goes to Russia,"
  21. "Jonah,"
  22. "The Making of a Radical Rabbi,"
  23. "The Mother of "Boh-Boh" Mike,"
  24. "Must We Wipe Out the Germans?,"
  25. "Old Sarah,"
  26. "On American Judaism,"
  27. "On the Contrary,"
  28. "The Plight of the Liberal Synagogue,"
  29. "A Primer for Moderns,"
  30. "The Rabbi,"
  31. "Rotary of the Booster's Club,"
  32. "Soldiers Can Forget to Cough,"
  33. "Teitelbaums of Tahiti,"
  34. "Those Hot-Aryans,"
  35. "The Tresca Case,"
  36. "Twelve Great Jews of Tomorrow,"
  37. "The Undying Book,"
  38. "What Can the Jews Do About It?,"
  39. "What is the Heritage of the Jews?,"
  40. "What's Wrong with the Jew?,"
  41. "Why Are Jews Like That?,"
  42. "You Think Jews Are Clever"



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[Item], Browne mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Indiana University Bloomington
1200 East Seventh Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-5500, USA
Indiana University Bloomington
(812) 855-2452