Beverly Brown papers, 1951-2005  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Beverly Brown papers
1951-2005 (inclusive)
16 linear feet, (32 containers )  :  18 manuscript boxes, 1 half-manuscript box, 3 flat boxes, 1 clamshell box, 9 small flat boxes.
Collection Number
Coll 318
Beverly Anne Brown (1951-2005) was an activist for social justice on behalf of rural workers, contingent laborers and other blue-collar workers, and gay and lesbian issues (with an emphasis on rural lesbian life). Brown was the founder and director of The Jefferson Center for Research and Education in Oregon from 1994–2004. This collection includes documents from Brown's early work as well as materials from her later years as the director of The Jefferson Center. Materials include: manuscripts, correspondence, journals, oral interviews, research materials, publications, audio and video, and photographs.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Access Restrictions

UNARRANGED COLLECTION. UNAVAILABLE FOR USE. For more information, please submit a Notice of Interest in Unprocessed Collections


Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Beverly Brown papers include textual, audio, video, and photographic materials. The collection is organized into nine series and includes oral interviews (in text and audio formats), published and unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, photographs and the personal papers of Beverly Brown.

A strength of this collection is the numerous oral and text interviews. They can be found under Series IV: Professional Experience, Subseries E. Interviews in Subseries F are restricted until future dates per interviewee request. Researchers can find audio interviews under Series VII: Electronic Media, Subseries B and C, and video interviews under Subseries A. Some of these interviews are restricted until future dates as well.

Series III: Correspondence offers personal insight into life and relationships among women living in female-only intentional communities in New York and Oregon. More details can also be found under Series I: Personal, Subseries F: Journal and Personal notes where Beverly Brown recorded her thoughts about intentional women only/lesbian communities, her personal relationships and also her varied research interests.

Series III: Correspondence also closely documents Ms. Brown's life between years 2003-2005 during her battle with cancer, as well as her partner, Tee Corinne's battle with the same disease. Correspondence within these years reveal the relationships among her large network of friends and how determined Beverly Brown was that she would die her own way, assisted and surrounded by the things and people she loved. The correspondence series as well as Series VIII: Photographs depicts the core group of helpers who worked as a self-described "Death Brigade" for Beverly Brown during her battle with cancer.

Series V: Manuscripts reveals Ms. Browns research interests and includes manuscript drafts, publisher reviews, and conference papers about rural people and forest workers, gay and lesbian relationships, social justice, commercial irrigation of foods, mining and other natural resource issues. More detailed research of Oregon's mining issues can be found under Series IV: Professional Experience, Subseries C: Josephine's Environment Matters! (JEM). This Subseries details rural Oregonians fight against strip mining proposals in Josephine County, Oregon in the later 1970's and early 1980's.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Beverly Anne Brown was born on February 21, 1951 in Fresno, California to Ann L. Brown and Elton John Brown. Her parents were Lithuanian immigrants who later settled in Redding, California where Ms. Brown attended local public schools. In Redding, Brown learned first-hand about rural blue-collar life and her first foray into intellectualism came from the local chapter of the conservative John Birch Society. She later attended Reed College from 1969-1971 majoring in Philosophy and Theology. In 1972 Brown began what was to become a lifelong career of advocating for social justice. She began in Providence, Rhode Island where she helped organize the unionization of library workers at Brown University and worked with women's consciousness raising groups. It was in Providence where Brown decided to 'come out' officially as a lesbian. From 1974-1975 she lived in Utah and worked as a women's health education organizer.

By 1978 Beverly Brown came back to Oregon where she worked various jobs that allowed her to combine her interests in women and lesbian issues, commercial food preparation, and resource management. She became a member of the group Josephine's Environment Matters!, which was advocating against strip mining in Josephine County, Oregon. She also lived at a women's intentional community in southern Oregon called WomenShare. After these experiences Brown began to think seriously about the necessity for civic involvement and capacity building among communities in rural areas. These questions would later inform how and why she would begin the Jefferson Center for Education and Research.

In 1986 Brown began an internship at the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee, where she encountered an education process called popular education and learned how important infrastructure is to the success of any advocacy group. She took these lessons home with her when she returned to Oregon in 1987. Ms. Brown continued her research by conducting numerous interviews with rural Oregonians which would later form the basis of her book, In Timber Country, Working People's Stories of Environmental Conflict and Urban Flight (1995). She spent time in the early 1990's building up a board of directors for her new non-profit idea. It was during this time that she met the woman who would become her future partner, the artist and lesbian advocate Tee Corinne. Brown and Corinne lived together at their home they named Poppyseed, located in Sunny Valley, Oregon from the early 1990's until 2004.

In 2004 when finalizing the start-up of Jefferson Center, Brown called upon her varied and interrelated interests and asked, "what issues would be important to investigate across lines of culture, class, race and language?" She decided that the Center should concentrate its efforts on issues that were important to rural and other blue collar workers who worked in the non-timber forest product and natural resource arena and who often have no recourse but to work as contingent laborers. Brown wanted the Jefferson Center to help facilitate more civic involvement and engagement among and between these groups. Brown saw that these workers were "invisible" to the elite environmental movement while at the same time being completely dependent on the timber and natural resource industry. The Jefferson Center operated from 1994-2007 and is now dormant following the death of Beverly Brown from cancer on October 27, 2005.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Beverly Brown papers, Coll 318, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Forest management--Northwest, Pacific
  • Forest policy--Oregon.
  • Forest products--Oregon.
  • Lesbians--Oregon
  • Rural conditions
  • Personal Names :
  • Brown, Beverly A., 1951 February 21-
  • Corporate Names :
  • Jefferson Center for Education and Research
  • Geographical Names :
  • United States--Emigration and immigration
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts for publication
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs