The autobiography of William J. Brown, a 19th century freed black man,  is causing a stir in Providence Rhode Island in the 21st century. Ray Rickman has been studying Mr. Brown for over 20 years and he recently spoke on RI’s NPR station, WRNI. Next month he will be leading walking tours around Providence, highlighting Mr. Brown’s life. The events schedule is posted on their website.

What, you might ask, does this have to do with the Athenaeum? Well, from within our rich special collections we have found an original edition of The Life of William J. Brown, donated to us by his daughter, Mrs. Freelove Case Peters.

The book has been republished by the University of New Hampshire with a forward by Rosalind Wiggins and an introduction by Joanne Pope Melish. It can be purchased from the William J. Brown website. There is an electronic copy available from the Internet Archives, or you can make an appointment to come and see ours.