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Letters from the Corporation of Brown University

Cover Image For <I>Letters from the Corporation of Brown University</I>

Letters from the Corporation of Brown University

Price: $39.95

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Item: 163331098

Ed. Lauren Zalaznick, Class of '84

From the archives of Brown University, this collection of letters tells a story of progress and passion in American higher education from a never-before-seen perspective.

Since the school’s founding, the trustees and fellows of the Corporation of Brown University have written resignation letters as they complete their terms. From the quill-and-ink manuscripts of Brown’s founders to the emails of today, the letters are wise, witty, and heartfelt. Many also reflect the country’s social, cultural, and political transformations.

Presented as a curated collection for the first time, these letters from members of Brown’s highest governing body provide a unique glimpse into the evolution of the institution’s enduring traditions and help inform our perspectives on the range of issues with which the University still grapples. The Corporation members’ personal reflections yield insights into what it means to lead through societal changes, helping to build bridges to future generations.

This rich tapestry of accounts spans more than two and a half centuries from 1764 to 2023. It includes an entry from a trustee who was admitted as an undergraduate despite being unable to even afford the application fee; reflections from another who spearheaded the adoption of Brown’s groundbreaking Open Curriculum; and several letters from “firsts,” including the first woman to serve as an Alumnae Trustee.

This is a book designed to be looked at, as well as read. Many of the letters are textured reproductions, from original manuscripts to “modern” faxes. Others are accompanied by archival photos of the seminal events they describe from commencements to campus protests. All present a previously untold story about the leaders of one of the country’s oldest and most influential institutions.

These profound, human stories speak to the grand ambition of leading “lives of usefulness and reputation,” as set forth in the preamble to the University’s Charter of 1764. The ultimate power of the collection comes from recognizing that we cannot know each other’s stories until we take the time to listen.
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