Vassar College Digital Library
Guide to the Laura Brownell Collier Papers, 1874-1944

Table of Contents

Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Collier, Laura Brownell
Title: The Laura Brownell Collier Papers
Dates: 1874-1944
Quantity: 3.5 cubic feet (5 boxes)
Abstract: Material relating to and created by Laura Brownell Collier covering her time at Vassar and beyond. Mostly personal correspondence, notes, and diaries.

Biographical Note

Laura Brownell Collier was born on January 27, 1851 in Williston, Vermont. A member of a prominent New England family, she was descended from Governor William Bradford and John and Priscilla Alden. Laura's father, Chauncey Wells Brownell, was prominent lawyer and Vermont state senator, and her mother, Laura Chapin Higbee Brownell, had been head of the Williston Academy.

At the age of 13 Laura began teaching in a one-room school in Williston and later taught in the Burlington, Vermont public schools for $1.50 a week. She entered Vassar College as a senior and was graduated in 1874 as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After Vassar, she taught at Abbot Academy in Andover, Massachusetts for three years, and then studied at Berlin University from 1877 to 1878.

In 1882, Laura married John Austin Collier, a research chemist who worked on experiments involving sorghum, rice production, and milling. They then moved to Brooklyn, New York where Laura found a job teaching Latin at Packer Collegiate Institute. They had two daughters, Elizabeth and Katharine, who attended both Packer and later, Vassar College. From 1902 until 1911, John was the manager of the Vermont and Arizona Copper Company, which was located in Arizona, although Laura and the girls remained in New York. Laura was widowed on September 11, 1920.

Active in various historical and social organizations, Laura was a member of the Alden Kindred Association, the Meridian Club, the League of Women Voters, and other groups concerning the antiwar and woman suffrage movements. She took pride in the fact that she voted at every regular and special election. Laura also wrote a number of editorials for the New York Press, on topics ranging from the Mexican Revolution to the College Settlement movement.

In 1942 she moved back to Vermont with her younger daughter, Katharine, where she remained until her death in 1949.


Scope and Content Note

Like the rest of the Collier Family Papers, the papers of Laura Brownell Collier tend to be weak on substance and superficial in areas. For example, there is little or no information concerning her teaching career or the program she initiated between Packer Collegiate Institute and Vassar College. The collection's strength lies in the amount of personal correspondence, notes and diaries kept by Laura Brownell Collier, and newspaper articles written by her.



This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Librarywithout any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to quote (publish) from unpublished or previously published material must be obtained as described in the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library.

  • Researchers interested in more of the personal aspects of Laura Brownell Collier's life are encouraged to examine the Class of 1874 Bulletins, which form part of the Class Box collection as well as the Alumnae/i Biographical Files in the Archives and Special Collections Library.
  • The papers of Laura's two daughters, Elizabeth Brownell Collier, VC 1906, and Katharine Brownell Collier, VC 1908, are also available for research.

Subject Headings


  • Brownell, Chauncey W.
  • Brownell, Laura Higbee
  • Collier, Elizabeth Brownell
  • Collier, John A.
  • Collier, Katharine Brownell


  • Vassar College--Alumni and alumnae

Document Types:

  • Diaries
  • Photographs

VCL Categories

  • Family
  • Vassar College

Encoding Information

Encoded by Madeleine Amodio, June 2011.


Preferred Citation

The Laura Brownell Collier Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

Collection processed by the Vassar College Library and Archives in November 1994. Last updated 29 June 2011

The bulk of this collection is the papers of Laura Brownell Collier; However, Box 4 contains both Laura Brownell Collier and Katharine Brownell Collier, as well as mixed papers that could have originated from either woman.

Acquisition Information

These papers came in three accessions.

Custodial History

This collection was brought to the Vassar College Libraries in the early 1980s by Elizabeth Daniels, the Vassar College Historian, who received them from Mr. Lincoln Brownell, Laura Brownell Collier's closest living relative.


Series List










Container List


Correspondence to Laura Brownell Collier
Folder 1.1 Collier, Elizabeth Brownell (daughter of LBC), 1908-37 (10 items)
Folder 1.2 Collier, John A. (husband of LBC), 1908 (3 items)
Folder 1.3 Collier, Katharine Brownell (daughter of LBC), ca. 1904-08 (2 items)
Folder 1.4 Collier, Katharine Brownell, 1907-09 (14 items)
Folder 1.5 Collier, Katharine Brownell, 1936-42 (3 items)
Folder 1.6 Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1880-84 (10 items)
Folder 1.7 Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1903-21 (7 items)
Folder 1.8 Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1923-38 (13 items)
Folder 1.9 Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1939-47 (8 items)
Folder 1.10 Miscellaneous Correspondence, n.d. (5 items)
Folder 1.11 Miscellaneous Correspondence, n.d. (9 items)
Folder 1.12 Miscellaneous Correspondence, n.d. (3 items)
Folder 4.2 Miscellaneous Correspondence,
Folder 4.3 Miscellaneous Correspondence,
Folder 4.9 KBC- Correspondence to KBC,
Correspondence from Laura Brownell Collier
Folder 1.13 Brownell, Chauncey W. (brother of LBC), 1932, n.d. (5 items)
Folder 1.14 Brownell, Laura Higbee (mother of LBC), 1879, n.d. (3 items)
Folder 1.15 Collier, John A., 1912 (1 item)
Folder 1.16 Collier, Katharine and Elizabeth, 1923 (1 item)
Folder 1.17 various friends(form letter), 1941 (1 item)
Folder 4.1 Letters From LBC,


Burlington Public Schools
Folder 1.18 Correspondence from the Superintendent (annotated by LBC), 1867-68 (4 items)
Folder 1.19 Correspondence from the Superintendent, 1869-70 (7 items)
Vassar College
Folder 1.20 Booklet-Associate Alumnae Annual Meeting, 1922 (TS, 19 p.)
Folder 1.21 Report of the Associate Alumnae (annotated by LBC), 1929/30 (TS, 69 p.)
Folder 1.22 Vassar Quarterly (annotated by LBC), Feb 1931 (TS, 90 p.)
Folder 1.23 Address given by LBC at an Alumnae Luncheon, 9 June 1934 (TS, 2 p.)
Folder 1.24 Letter from President MacCracken, 21 June 1934 (TS, 1 p.)
Folder 1.25 Letter from Allan Richardson, Comptroller, re: Brownell-Collier Scholarship Fund, 17 Dec 1937 (TS, 1 p.)
Folder 1.26 Alumnae questionnaire, 1939 (MS, 1 p.)
Folder 1.27 Commencement week invitation (annotated by LBC), 1941 (1 item)
Folder 1.28 Draft of a speech by LBC re: VC, n.d. (MS, 2 p., 1 draft, 1 fragment)
Folder 4.12 Vassar College,
Abbott Academy
Folder 1.29 The Abbot Courant (annotated by LBC), Nov 1881 (TS, 48 p.)
Folder 1.30 Memorial to Philena McKeen, Principal of Abbot Academy, May 1898 (TS, 58 p.)
Folder 1.31 Abbot Academy Club constitution (annotated by LBC), 1914 (TS/MS, 10 p.)
Folder 1.32 Letter from Alumnae Association incl. draft of LBC's reply, 5 June 1923 (3 items)
Folder 1.33 Abbot Academy prospectus or circular, ca. 1940s (TS, 23 p.)
Folder 4.4 LBC- Abbot Academy,
Acadia University
Folder 1.34 Acadia Bulletin, April 1934 (TS, 24 p.)
Folder 1.35 Correspondence from the Office of the President (annotated by LBC w/ an explanation of connection to Acadia), 1935 (2 items)
Folder 1.36 Acadia University Calendar, 1935/36 (TS, 164 p.)
Miscellaneous Institutions
Folder 1.37 Princeton University Commencement program (annotated by LBC), 1913 (TS, 11 p.)
Folder 1.38 Hamilton College Bulletin (see p. 12 for obituary of John Collier), 1938 (TS, 51 p).
Folder 1.39 Pratt Institute library card, 1942 (1 item)


Alden Kindred of America
Folder 1.40 Roster notes, n.d. (TS, 6 p.)
Folder 4.5 LBC- Alden Kindred and Clinton Ave. Congregational Church,
American Red Cross
Folder 1.41 Correspondence and program (annotated by LBC), 1942 (TS, 3 p.)
Brooklyn Church and Mission Federation
Folder 1.42 Correspondence (annotated by LBC), 1933-34 (3 items)
Folder 1.43 Pamphlet (annotated by LBC), 1942 (1 item)
Brooklyn Colony of the National Society of New England Women
Folder 1.44 By-laws, n.d. (TS, 20 p.)
Folder 1.45 Programs (annotated by LBC), 1936-38 (4 items)
Clinton Avenue Congregational Church
Folder 1.46 Church bulletins, 1929 (TS, 10 p.)
Meridian Club
Folder 1.47 Correspondence, 1938-40 (3 items)
Folder 1.49 Constitution, 1930 (TS, 12 p.)
Folder 1.49 Membership list and receipt (annotated by LBC), 1938-42 (TS, 7 p.)
Folder 4.6 LBC- Meridian Club,
Phi Beta Kappa
Folder 1.50 Correspondence, 1940-42 (4 items)
Folder 1.51 Publications (some annotated by LBC), 1937-43, n.d. (14 items)
Folder 4.13 Phi Beta Kappa,
Woman Suffrage Party
map case 5P drawer 9 sash, yellow w/ black letters, "Woman Suffrage Party", n.d. (1 item)
Women's University Club (KBC)
Folder 4.10 KBC- Women's University Club,
Miscellaneous Organizations
Folder 4.14 Miscellaneous Organizations,


Notes Written by Laura Brownell Collier
Folder 1.52 To S.A.B. and C.W.B. Compensations (brothers of LBC), Apr 1922 (TS, 1 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.53 A Priceless Heritage, 1935 (TS, 1 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.54 All Shall Have Joy, n.d. (MS, 1 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.55 The Blizzard, n.d. (TS, 2 p., 2 drafts)
Folder 1.56 Contrasts, n.d (TS, 1 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.57 The Eternal Conflict/High Tide, n.d. (TS, 4 p., 4 drafts)
Folder 1.58 In The Park, n.d. (TS, 3 p., 3 drafts)
Folder 1.59 Just to say..., n.d. (TS, 1 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.60 Lo! First comes our...,, n.d. (TS, 4 p., 1 draft (?))
Folder 1.61 Nature's Work, n.d. (TS, 1 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.62 The Recluse, n.d. (TS, 3 p., 3 drafts)
Folder 1.63 Suppressed Desires, n.d. (TS, 1 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.64 Threescore and Ten, n.d. (TS, 1 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.65 Training Tells (short story), 1917 (TS, 9 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.66 An Interesting Old Plant (bryophyllum), n.d. (TS, 1 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.67 Autobiographical notes, n.d. (MS, 4 fragments)
Folder 1.68 Mrs. Elizabeth Collier (upon the death of), 1889 (TS, 1 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.69 Woman's place is in the home..., n.d. (MS, 2 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.70 Fragments of verses, n.d. (MS, 10 fragments)
Folder 4.7 By LBC: Manuscript (Memoir) and Letters,
Folder 4.15 Written by KBC/LBC,
Notes Written by Others
Folder 1.71 Sketches: ink/pencil artist unknown, n.d. (5 items)
Folder 1.72 This is the... author: John Gadge (?)(facsimile), [1564] (MS, 1 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.73 I knew the trees would leaf... author: Martha Dickinson Bianchi, 1942 (TS, 1 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.74 Guilty or Not Guilty author: Leah Sinsky, n.d. (MS, 4 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.75 Oh Laura Collier bless your heart..., 1941 (MS, 3 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.76 Love suffereth long... author unknown , n.d. (MS, 1 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.77 Magnum iter... author unknown, n.d. (MS, 1 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.78 O true and tried... author unknown, n.d. (MS, 1 p., 1 draft)
Folder 1.79 Notecards w/ verses, 1903-05 (MS, 18 items)
Folder 1.80 Notecards w/ verses, n.d. (MS, 28 items)
Folder 1.81 Miscellaneous fragments, n.d. (MS, 17 fragments)
Notebooks of Laura Brownell Collier
Folder 1.82 "South Hall Chronicles" diary while at Abbot Academy and beyond, 1881-1903, 1943 (MS, 113 p., incl. enclosures)
Folder 1.83 Calendar, 1910, 1910 (no handwritten notations)
Folder 1.84 "Travel Notes L.B. Collier", 1912 (MS, 61 p.)
Folder 1.85 Daily Calendar, 1943 removed from metal stand, 1943 (MS, 322 p.)
Folder 1.86 Notebook, probably not LBC's handwriting, n.d. (MS, 118 p.)


Folder 2.1 Massachusetts Teacher (see p. 490), Dec 1874 (TS, 41 p.)
Folder 2.2 Keith Johnson's Political Atlas , ca. 1870s (1 book)
Folder 2.3 Vocal Culture and Selections for Reading, n.d. (TS, 11 p.)
Folder 2.4 The Chicago Amateur , n.d. (TS, 8 p.)
Folder 2.5 History Facts and Worth of the Bible , n.d. (TS, 32 p.)
Newspaper Articles Written by Laura Brownell Collier
Folder 2.6 op-ed articles source: New York Press , July-Aug 1915 (TS, 9 p.)
Folder 2.7 op-ed articles source: New York Press , Sept-Dec 1915 (TS, 15 p.)
Folder 2.8 op-ed articles source: New York Press , 1916 (TS, 5 p.)
Folder 2.9 letter to editor; publ. poem source: Burlington [VT] Free Press, 1937-42 (TS, 2 p.)
Folder 2.10 "Popular Humorists of the Decade;" op-ed articles sources unknown, n.d. (TS, 8 p.)
Newspaper Articles About Laura Brownell Collier
Folder 5.1 "The Women's College Alumnae Associations" source: Harper's Bazar , 1896 (TS, 2 p.)
Folder 2.11 Articles re: donation to Canastota Hospital, NY, 1920-21 (TS, 5 p.)
Folder  Article re: LBC's Vassar College semi-centennial reunion, ca. 1924 (TS, 1 p.)
Folder 2.12 Articles re: travel, advice, and awards of LBC ,(some annotated by LBC), 1930-42 (TS, 4 p.)
Folder 2.13 Obituaries for LBC, Dec 1949 (TS, 2 p.)
Folder 2.14 Obituaries - Clark, Kate Upson, Feb 1935 (TS, 1 p.)
Folder 2.15 Obituaries - Collier, Helen M. (sister-in-law of LBC), Sept 1903 (TS, 1 p.)
Folder 2.16 Obituaries - Darling, Frank W., Feb 1941 (TS, 10 p.)
Folder 2.17 Obituaries - Dinsmoor, Alice, n.d. (TS, 1 p.)
Folder 2.18 Obituaries - Frost, Elinor White, n.d. (TS, 1 p.)
Folder 2.19 Obituaries - Kimball, Mrs. James P., n.d. (TS, 1 p.)
Folder 2.20 Obituaries - Montague, Amy Collier (niece of LBC), 1941 (TS, 1 p.)
Articles About Honorable Guy Charteris
Folder 2.21 Articles re: Guy Charteris (shipmate of LBC in 1912), 1912-23 (TS, 6 p.)
Folder 5.1 Articles re: Guy Charteris (shipmate of LBC in 1912), (2 items)
Folder 2.22 Articles re: Guy Charteris, n.d. (TS, 8 p.)
Miscellaneous Articles
Folder 2.23 Miscellaneous articles, 1936-42 (TS, 4 p.)
Folder 2.24 Miscellaneous articles, n.d. (TS, 15 p.)
Folder 4.16 Newspaper Articles,


Folder 2.25 Letter from The Republican re: publishing LBC, 1877 (MS, 1 p.)
Folder 2.26 Correspondence re: memorial to John A. Collier, Canastota Memorial Hospital, 1921 (MS/TS, 3 p.)
Folder 2.27 Correspondence and account statements from White, Weld and Co., a Wall Street firm, 1940-41 (TS, 8 p.)
Folder 2.28 Bills and receipts, 1941, n.d. (10 items)
Folder 2.29 Canceled checks, 1939-41 (2 items)
Folder 2.30 Business cards, n.d. (3 items)
Folder 2.31 Notes re: financial matters, n.d. (MS, 3 fragments)


Photographs of Laura Brownell Collier
Folder 2.32 Portrait of LBC seated, holding a book photographer: Sarony's, ca. 1874 (1 item)
Folder 2.33 Portrait of LBC profile, seated at desk photographer unknown, ca. 1898 (1 item)
Folder 5.2 Portrait of LBC -head and shoulders -head and torso wearing white dress photographer: Curtis Bell, Inc., 1924 (2 items)
Folder 2.34 Photo of LBC full length, standing sideways photographer unknown ref. number 3.599, 1931 (1 item)
Folder 2.35 Portrait of LBC head and torso, wearing dark dress photographer: Alice Boughton ref. number 3.598, 1931 (1 item)
Folder 5.2 Portrait of LBC head and torso, wearing dark dress photographer: Alice Boughton ref. number 3.598, (1 Item)
Folder 2.36 Portrait of LBC w/ Peace Committee of Federation of Protestant Churches, 1933 (1 item )
Folder 10.2 Portrait of LBC w/ Peace Committee of Federation of Protestant Churches, (1 item)
Folder 2.37 LBC w/ Helen Jackson Sellers, VC 1874, at their Vassar College 60th reunion, 1934 (1 item)
Folder 2.38 LBC w/ unidentified man and woman in a wooded area ref. numbers 6.560 and 6.561, n.d. (2 items)
Photographs of Friends and Family
Folder 1.87 Collier, Helen M., n.d. (1 item)
Folder 1.88 Marvin, Mary, n.d. (1 item)
Folder 1.89 Prentiss, Mrs. George H., n.d. (1 item)
Folder 1.90 Stanton, Maggie, n.d. (1 item)
Folder 1.91 Talmage, David, 1883, n.d. (2 items)
Folder 1.92 VC: Avery, Alida; Backus, Truman J.; Farrar, Charles, n.d. (3 items)
Folder 1.93 VC photo album of students & faculty, [ca. 1874]
Photographs of Trips Taken by Laura Brownell Collier
Folder 1.94 View of Lake George, 1882 (1 item)
Folder 1.95 Adirondacks-7th Lake, Fulton, Chain, Wheeler's Camp, 1906 (14 items)
Folder 1.96 Niagara Falls, 1909 (15 items)
Folder 1.97 Canastota Memorial Hospital, 1920 (3 items)
Folder 1.98 Mt. Vernon and Washington, DC, n.d. (4 items)
Folder 1.99 Sleepy Hollow [NY], n.d. (2 items)
Folder 1.100 Miscellaneous photos of houses, n.d. (2 items)
Photographs of Artwork
Folder 1.101 Photos of paintings, unmarked, artists unknown, n.d. (2 items)
Folder 4.17 Miscellaneous,


Trips Taken by Laura Brownell Collier
Folder 1.102 European trip-German landscapes, 1877-78 (4 items)
Folder 1.103 European trip-German monuments, 1877-78 (4 items)
Folder 1.104 European trip-famous Germans, 1877-78 (7 items)
Folder 1.105 European trip-Masterpieces in the Dresden Gallery (annotated by LBC), 1877-78 (8 items)
Folder 3.1 European trip-famous Europeans, 1877-78 (4 items)
Folder 3.2 European trip-view of Rome, 1878 (1 item)
Folder 3.3 Trip to United Kingdom-view of ship, 1912 (1 item)
Folder 3.4 Trip to United Kingdom-view of Ireland, 1912 (1 item)
Folder 3.5 Trip to United Kingdom-views of England, 1912 (2 items)
Folder 3.6 Trip to United Kingdom-Investiture of the Prince of Wales, 1912 (3 items)
Folder 4.18 Miscellaneous,
Folder 3.7 Long Island and ocean views, n.d. (3 items)
Folder 3.8 Cazenovia Seminary-attended by John A. Collier, n.d. (6 items)
Folder 3.9 Brownell Homestead, Williston, VT, n.d. (1 item)
Folder 3.10 Miscellaneous houses, n.d. (2 items)


Travel Information
Folder 3.11 Brochure of Adirondacks, ca. 1906 (TS, 7 p.)
Folder 3.12 Niagara Falls information, ca. 1909 (TS, 2 p.)
Folder 3.13 United Kingdom trip: brochures and programs re: Atlantic Transport Lines, 1912 (5 items)
Folder 3.14 U.K. trip: Ireland information, 1912 (TS, 3 p.)
Folder 3.15 U.K. trip: Scotland information (some annotated by LBC), 1912 (TS, 5 p.)
Folder 3.16 U.K. trip: England information, 1912 (TS, 20 p.)
Folder 3.17 Miscellaneous travel information, n.d. (4 items)
Miscellaneous Memorabilia
Folder 3.18 Marriage certificate: John Austin Collier and Laura Higbee Brownell, 1882 (1 item)
Folder 3.19 Programs, 1910-12, n.d. (4 items)
Folder 3.20 Material re: World War II, incl. war ration booklets, ca. 1940-45 (3 items)
Folder 3.21 Material re: Brooklyn area; LBC's Senators, n.d. (3 items)
Mapcase World War I poster “Imprunt National 1918 Societe General Pour nou rendre entiere….”, ca. 1918 (1 item)
Folder 4.8 LBC- Miscellaneous
Folder 4.11 KBC- Political Material

Return to the Table of Contents


Material relating to and created by Laura Brownell Collier covering her time at Vassar and beyond. Mostly personal correspondence, notes, and diaries.

Finding Aid Date
Dates: 1874-1944
Document Types
Subject (Topical)
Collection Title
The Laura Brownell Collier Papers