Carlyle Brown papers
Scope and Contents
Carlyle Brown's papers holds four series and contains his personal and professional career documents which includes his numerous playscripts, screenplays, literary productions, correspondence, clippings and various materials relating to his lifelong work as a playwright and crewman and sea captain of tall ships.
Series 1. Biographical Documents: 1920s-2010, and undated; bulk 1960-2003
Holds Brown's identification cards, high school and college yearbooks, organizational affilations. A larger subseries contains photographs of Brown in various stages of his life, and of his immediate family members and friends. Includes scattered and various items from family members; memorial book, and emphemera. Another subseries holds documents pertaining to Brown's maritime involvement with Outward Bound and as a tall ship crewman and captain. Contains photographs, Brown's essays and magazine articles, licences and certificates, newspaper articles, and correspondence. Correspondence holds brief personal messages of mostly greeting and postcards.
Series 2: Playscripts and Screenplays: 1865-2005, and undated
Comprises handwritten and mostly typed playscripts and screenplays of over forty works written by Brown. Includes a variety of playbills, event programs, photographic images, stage setting blueprints, contracts, magazine and newspaper reviews and essays, interviews, grant proposals, audio recordings, rack cards, and flyers, with photocopied research documents from 1865.
Series 3: Various Writings and Projects: 1800-2000, and undated; bulk 1982-2000 Various Writings highlights Brown's earlier writings in the form of poems and essays with a few playscript drafts. Various Projects consists of projects which Brown originated or collaborated with other individuals and/organizations. Includes the John Parker Story Theater project, A Proposal for U-Side U-Dey Go: A Black-American's Adventures in Africa, and Way Up North in Dixie: (A Work-In-Progress).
Series 4: Various Documents-1972-2001, and undated
Holds a music book; letters and other documents pertaining to The Avery Institute's "Charleston Grand Reunion," and scattered newspaper clippings and magazines of interest to Brown.
- 1800s-2010, and undated
- Majority of material found in 1960s-2001
- Brown, Carlyle (Person)
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Biographical / Historical
Carlyle Brown (May 6, 1945-) a Charleston, South Carolina native, who was raised in New York City, is an award-winning playwright/performer, curator and artistic director of Carlyle Brown and Company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is also the Founding Director of the Laughing Mirror Theatre, an experimental ensemble company devoted to the research and development of Black American theatrical forms in New York.
His various plays have been produced at theatres across the country and internationally. His early works include The Little Tommy Parker Celebrated Colored Minstrel Show produced Off-Broadway by The Negro Ensemble Company. Followed by The African Company Presents Richard III for the Penumbra Theatre Company. With the Penumbra premier of Buffalo Hair in 1994, and a National McKnight Fellowship, Brown moved to the Twin Cities which is his artistic home.
Brown is an alumnus of New Dramatists and a Lifetime Core Writer at the Playwrights' Center. He has received numerous commissions, fellowships and awards including the 2006 Black Theatre Network's Winona Lee Fletcher Award for outstanding achievement and artistic excellence, a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2010 Otto Rene Castillo Awards for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theater, and a 2019 Helen Merrill Award recipient. Brown's expansive theatre productions include The Beggar's Strike at the Children's Theater Company; the Mixed Blood production of Pure Confidence , which moved to Off-Broadway in New York. His plays include The Negro of Peter the Great, A Big Blue Nail, Dartmoor Prison, Yellow Moon Rising, among others. He is also a poet and screenwriter ("The Epitaph"), and he performed his own one-man play, "Sea Never Dry," at the South Street Seaport Museum, in New York City.
"A scholar and historian, Brown has been an artist-in-residence or visiting professor at several colleges and universities and has worked as a museum exhibit writer and story consultant. He is a curator of the Cultural Diaspora Playwrights' Festival presented in partnership with The Playwrights' Center in July 2019. His solo shows include The Fula from America: An African Journey, Therapy and Resistance , The History of Religion, and Acting Black: Demystifying Racism, created to inspire open and honest conversations about race and diversity. Brown is a trustee of the Camargo Foundation and is currently an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Illusion Theater in Minneapolis. Additionally, Brown is a recipient of the 2022 Legacy Award from the Legacy Playwright's Initiative of the Dramatist's Guild Foundation." (From www.carlylebrownandcompany.org)
Prior to his career in the theater, Brown was a specialist in outdoor adventure education working with organziations including Outward Bound, as a maritime educator. Brown was also a Chief Mate and licensed Captain of sailing vessels specializing in 19th century schooners in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Baltic Sea, for nearly twenty years.
15 linear feet (36+ boxes)
Language of Materials
Carlyle Brown (May 6, 1945-) born in Charleston, South Carolina, and raised in New York City, is an award winning playwright/performer, curator and artistic director of Carlyle Brown and Company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is also the Founding Director of the Laughing Mirror Theatre, an experimental ensemble company devoted to the research and development of Black American theatrical forms in New York. For many years Brown was specialist in outdoor adventure-based education though Outward Bound and a licensed captain of 19th century sailing vessels.
Brown collection comprises four series:
Biographical Documents holds extensive photographs of Brown in his youth and adolescence, and images of his immediate family (parents, and son) and family friends. His maritime experience with Outward Bound and as captain of 19th century sailing vessels are display through his writings, magazine articles and photographs.
The largest series, Playscripts and Screenplays, holds typescripts and supporting documents (playbills, reviews, photographic images) of over thirty (30) plays, and stage productions of Brown's earlier works including The Little Tommy Parker Celebrated Colored Minstrel Show, The African Company Presents Richard III, and Buffalo Hair, to list a few. Brown's drafts of screenplays are also included, some derived from his plays.
Various Writings and Projects highlights Brown's earlier writings in the form of poems and essays with a few playscript drafts. Various Projects consists of projects and proposals which Brown originated or collaborated with other individuals and/organizations. Includes the John Parker Story Theater project, A Proposal for U-Side U-Dey Go: A Black-American's Adventures in Africa, and Way Up North in Dixie: (A Work-In-Progress)
Various Documents holds scattered and brief ephemera which was of interest to Brown, mostly newspaper clippings and magazines.
1. Biographical Documents: 1920s-2010, and undated
2. Playscripts and Screenplays: 1865-2005, and undated
3. Various Writings and Projects: 1800s-2000, and undated
4. Various Documents: 1972-2001, and undated
Processed by Georgette Mayo 2023
- Inventory of Carlyle Brown papers
- Under Revision
- By Georgette Mayo, 2022-2023
- Description rules
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English
- October 2023: Recent acquisitions are in the process of being added to Brown's inventory.