Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing


A Finding Aid to the

Edward Benjamin Morris Browne Collection

Manuscript Collection No. 639

1865-1929. 0.8 Linear ft.


The EDWARD BENJAMIN MORRIS BROWNE COLLECTION was donated to the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives by Janice R. Blumberg, Browne's great-granddaughter. Portions of the collection were donated in 1976 and 1978. The bulk of materials, however, were donated in July, 1999.

Janice R. Blumberg, by the act of donating the EDWARD BENJAMIN MORRIS BROWNE COLLECTION to the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, assigned the property rights to the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives. All literary rights to materials authored by E.B.M. Browne are held by the Browne heirs. Questions concerning rights should be directed to the Executive Director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.


Rabbi Dr. Edward Benjamin Morris Browne was born in Hungary in 1845 and received his early Hebrew and rabbinical training in Europe. He emigrated to the United States in the 1860's. He obtained a medical degree from the University of Cincinnati and taught at the Medical College of Evansville. He also held several rabbinical posts in the Midwest and South - Milwaukee, Evansville, Peoria, Montgomery (Ala.) and Atlanta. During this time, he was associated with Rabbi Isaac M. Wise until they had a disagreement and subsequent falling out in 1878.

During the 1870's, Browne began to build a national reputation as an orator and lectured widely on Jewish topics, mainly to non-Jewish audiences. He began his involvement with Republican Party politics, both nationally and in New York, where he moved in the 1880's. In 1885, he was a pallbearer at the funeral of President Grant.

In New York City, Browne was rabbi of Congregation Gates of Hope where in addition to his speaking engagements, he was also active in legal and civic work. Starting in the 1890's, Browne moved several times, living mainly in the Midwest and South. He served congregations in Toledo (Oh.), Chicago and Columbus (Ga.).

In addition to his medical and rabbinical degrees, Browne also held a law degree from the University of Wisconsin. He became known as "Alphabet" Browne because of the preponderance of letters after his name. Browne led a controversial and visible public life and was involved in numerous activities including the unsuccessful attempt to establish a Jewish chaplaincy at the turn of the century. Browne died in 1929 in Columbus, Georgia.


The Edward Benjamin Morris Browne Collection consists of correspondence, nearprint, legal records, and writings of E.B.M. Browne, rabbi, doctor, and lawyer. The collection contains materials pertaining to his efforts to establish a Jewish chaplaincy, his rabbinic and oratorical activities, and his interactions with political figures of his day. The collection is arranged into the following series:

  • SERIES A: Correspondence
  • SERIES B: Legal
  • SERIES C: Writings
  • SERIES D: Nearprint materials
  • SERIES E: Miscellaneous
  • SERIES F: Oversize materials
  • Span dates for the collection are 1865-1929.

    The correspondence in SERIES A covers a wide range of topics including political and legal affairs, rabbinical activities, speaking engagements, travels, and family matters. Browne corresponded with a number of prominent public figures of his day including Theodore Roosevelt, Benjamin Harrison, Isaac M. Wise, Theodor Herzl, John Sherman, Louis Marshall, and Jacob Schiff. The correspondence covers the years 1869-1929 and is arranged chronologically.

    SERIES B consists primarily of court records and depositions from civil actions that Browne was involved in. There are lengthy and detailed depositions from Browne and other witnesses connected to his slander suit against a New Orleans newspaper (Browne vs. Sue Burke, et al) in the early 1880's, a deposition from Browne connected to his work with the Louis Berkowitz case in 1919, and court records from the Browne vs. Forward Association civil suit, 1917. Also included in this series are Browne's application for the New York Bar, deeds, and a marriage certificate. Span dates for the series are 1865-1919.

    Nearprint in SERIES C includes chronologically arranged newspaper clippings about Browne, copies of the Congressional Record when Brown offered the opening prayer in the House (1917) and the Senate (1918), miscellaneous pamphlets, and page proofs of an article, "Jews of the South" which describes Browne's work with the Reich murder case. Also in this series are pages from a book by and about Browne, published ca. 1888, with his handwritten notations and comments in the margin. There is a table of contents, but the title and portions of the book are missing. The publication describes some of Browne's legal and rabbinic activities. Span dates for the series are 1869-1929.

    SERIES D contains a handwritten book of poems by Browne written in the years 1868-1869. The miscellaneous material in SERIES E consists of handwritten notes, information and clippings pertaining to Browne's service as a pallbearer at President Grant's funeral, a catalog from the Evansville College of Medicine where Brown was on the faculty, and a commendation to Browne from his congregation, Gates of Hope, in New York City. Span dates for Series E are 1872-1922. The final SERIES F is a collection of oversize materials consisting of Browne's medical diploma as well as resolutions of commendation from Congregation Gates of Hope and the Medical College of Evansville. There is also a copy of the publication, The Silesia Excursion Echo, detailing a trip abroad by Browne in 1880. Span dates for the oversize series cover 1869- 1880.


    Box  File Contents
    1    1    Correspondence.                               1867-1899
         2    Correspondence.                               1900-1909
         3    Correspondence.                               1910-1929
         4    Correspondence.                               undated
         5    Browne - Herzl correspondence.               1897   
         6    Marriage certificate of Herman Strasoburger
                and Fanny Lape                              1865
         7	   Browne vs. I.M. Wise                         1883
         8    Browne vs. George Jones                       1882-1883
         9    Deeds                                         1903
         10    E.B.M. Browne certificate of admission to the Illinois Bar and application for admission to 
                  the New York Bar.                         1910, 1913
         11   Browne vs. Burke                              1884
         12   Browne vs. Burke - depositions & exhibits     1880-1883
         13   Browne vs. Forward Association.               1917
         14   Browne's Louis Berkowitz deposition.          1919
         15   Portion of  book re: Browne's  activities, 
                    Adolph Reich case, etc.                 ca. 1888
         16   Proofs of article re: Jews of the South.      undated
         17   Pamphlet re: The Immigrants National 
                Encyclopedia of Biography.                  1907
         18   "The Talmud" and "The Crucifixion and the 
                Jews"                                       1869, 1877, 1904
         19   Congressional Record.                         1917, 1918
         20   Newspaper clippings                           1881-1929
         21   Newspaper clippings                           undated
    2    1    Handbills, announcements, programs            1871-1896
         2    Poem: "Hymn of Praise"                        undated
         3    Floral House Weeds: A Collection of
                Poems, Volume I. by E.B.M. Browne
                pp. 1-120                                   1868-1869 
         4    Floral House Weeds: A Collection of
                Poems, Volume I. by E.B.M. Browne
                pp. 121-278                                 1868-1869
         5    Miscellaneous handwritten notes               undated
         6    U.S. Grant monument                           1919-1922                
         7    Commendation to Browne by congregation
                of Gates of Hope, NYC                       1885
         8    Catalog of The Medical College of 
                    Evansville                              1872-1873
         9    Cambroman Sketches                            1902
         10   Miscellaneous calling cards, receipts, etc.   undated
         11    Theodore Roosevelt photograph [signed]  		25 October 1904
    SERIES F: OVERSIZE ITEMS (Cabinet 5, Drawer 9)
         1    Resolution commending Browne 
                    The Medical College of Evansville       1873
              E.B.M. Browne's medical diploma               1869
              Certificate of commendation from 
                Congregation Gates of Hope, NYC             1886
              The Silesia Excursion Echo                    June 18, 1880
    Copyright © 2003 The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives