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May 16, 2007
Contact: Deborah Baum
(401) 863-2476

Brown Library Launches Digital Archive of Military Collection

Thousands of prints, watercolors, and drawings from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection are now available online from the Brown University Library. The newly launched digital archive is part of an ambitious, multiyear endeavor that will digitize 15,000 individual works in the collection. The Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection is the foremost American collection devoted to the history and iconography of soldiers and soldiering, and one of the world’s largest devoted to the study of military and naval uniforms.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The Brown University Library has launched a digital archive of more than 6,200 prints drawn from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection. This unparalleled visual resource documents all aspects of military and naval history and uniforms, and offers a vast array of portraits, caricatures, military genre and posters. Ultimately, the Web-based collection will include more than 15,000 digital images.


History of soldiers and soldiering
Krishna and Balarama setting off from a palace with important personages. Jaipur, India: c. 1840. Original unsigned goucahe drawing.
Image: Brown University /
Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection

“We are pleased to share this unique resource with scholars and Web users around the world,” said Harriette Hemmasi, the Joukowsky Family University Librarian. “The Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection is one of the crown jewels of the University’s special collections, and it is exciting to be able to offer researchers remote access to this peerless material.”

Covering a period from the 16th century through World War II, the collection offers prints, drawings, paintings, watercolors and photographs. Among the artists represented are Hogarth, Millais, Remington, and Detaille. Additionally, visitors to the site will find extensive material pertaining to military decorations and insignia, armor, weaponry, flags, costume, travel, and the general history of military costume.


Europeans in battle dress
A colored engraving by or after Martin Engelbrecht (ca. 1743) shows three soldiers equipped with sabre, blunderbuss and spear.
Image: Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection

The Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, curated by Peter Harrington, is the foremost collection in North America of material devoted to the history and iconography of soldiers and soldiering. Housed in the John Hay Library, it is one of the world's largest collections devoted to the study of military and naval uniforms. Formed over a period of 40 years by the late Mrs. John Nicholas Brown (1906-1985), the collection contains approximately 14,000 printed books, 18,000 sketchbooks, scrapbooks and portfolios, more than 15,000 individual prints, drawings and water-colors and 6,000 miniature lead soldiers.

“The digital archive is representative of the Brown Library’s philosophy – that access to our holdings should be open to all interested parties,” Hemmasi said. “In the last decade, the library has digitized more than 20,000 items from our collections. This is a significant accomplishment, but as this ambitious digital initiative demonstrates, we are continuing to work assiduously to improve access to important material and artifacts from our common cultural heritage.”

The Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection is available at

Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews, and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call (401) 863-2476.