Please Help Provide Universal Access to the JCB Collections


In the middle of the nineteenth century, inspired by his own exposure to the rarest tomes of history and the connections they could make to the wider world and its past, John Carter Brown began to build his Bibliotheca Americana for the universal benefit of scholars and citizens alike. He believed that the knowledge held in his collection should be made available to anyone, anywhere, who cared in any way about the history of the Americas - a topic he called "The Great Subject." In those days, opening up the collection meant welcoming researchers to his elegant family home on Benefit Street, in Providence, a mighty privilege for a select few.

Today, the JCB opens its physical doors to audiences who can visit us in Rhode Island. But with an increasingly global network of scholars, and a reaffirmed commitment to digitization, everyone should have the opportunity to explore the Library’s spectacular rare materials.

Together, we are building a Library with the capacity to reach people everywhere.

Will you help the JCB shape how future generations discover history? Make a donation here

To date, the Library has made just over twenty percent of its collections available online – more than 11,000 books, maps, and manuscripts! This has required a substantial investment of resources, putting pressure on an already limited budget. Nevertheless, the Library is steadfast in its commitment to digitize its collections.

Why? Because more than 40,000 items remain inaccessible to scholars and citizens who cannot make the journey to Providence.

The Library has always been an international resource, but it has now committed itself to expanding its digitization program at an even more ambitious pace.

The Library's digitization program costs $150,000 per year. Please help the Library to realize its commitments and vision.

Your gift will support the JCB’s work to make knowledge freely accessible to all: a value of tremendous consequence in a democratic society and in the interconnected world in which we live. The Library will provide these digital resources – in the form of rare, primary materials – to a worldwide community of scholars and citizens – regardless of their location, language, or economic circumstance.

As the JCB makes its peerless collection accessible online, the Library is empowering new discoveries and insights that deepen our understanding of the history and culture of the early Americas. Thank you sincerely for supporting this important work.

With warmest wishes and deep appreciation,

Neil Safier
Director and Librarian