The indenture that conveyed the John Carter Brown Library into the keeping of Brown University in 1901 stipulated that in perpetual trust the Library was to “preserve its individual identity as a whole,” with a separate endowment, always to have “its own separate and special housing. . ., and to be kept separate and distinct from any other Library.” The care, oversight, and management of the Library and building were delegated to a five-member Committee of Management to be elected by the Trustees and Fellows of Brown University.
In 1984, the Corporation of Brown University approved an extension of the Library’s original governance structure by establishing the Library’s Board of Governors, which includes both elected members and three ex officio non-voting members: the Chairman of the Associates of the John Carter Brown Library (now Chairman of the Association of Friends and Fellows of the JCB), the University Librarian, and the Chairman of the Faculty Liaison Committee (now Chairman of the Academic Advisory Committee). The President of the University and the Chairman of the Association of Friends and Fellows must always be members of the Board of Governors.
Responsibility for the care, oversight, and management of the Library continues to be vested in the Committee of Management, which became known as the Executive Committee and consists of the President of the University, ex officio, and four other voting members of the Board of Governors elected by the Corporation. At least one member of the Executive Committee must also be a member of the Brown Corporation.
Members of the 2017-2018 Board of Governors are:
Sylvia M. Brown
Timothy C. Forbes
Paul R. S. Gebhard
Harriette Hemmasi, ex officio
Robert N. Gordon
Gilbert C. Meister
Christina H. Paxson, ex officio
Clinton I. Smullyan, Jr.
William Twaddell, Chairman