Figure 1. Flower pot Figure 2. Homemade exhibition announcement for show of Lee Godie, a French Impressionist Figure 3. Page of a letter and sketch by Roger Brown Figure 4. Decal by Roger Brown, 1969 Figure 5. Detail, tattoo flash Figure 6. Map of USA drawn on by Roger Brown Figure 7. Envelope and letter to Brown from H.C. Westermann, 1973 Figure 8. Letter to Brown from H.C. Westermann, “IMPEACH NIXON” Figure 9. Excellent ephemera: Tomato Earliest of All, seed package Figure 10. Excellent ephemera: Tip Top Sunset recto Figure 11. Excellent ephemera: Tip Top Sunset verso Figure 12. Excellent ephemera: Alka Selzer ad Figure 13. Excellent ephemera: Bandage package diagram Figure 14. Excellent ephemera: Bickmore Easy-Shave Cream ad Figure 15. Excellent ephemera: Blaren playing card Figure 16. Excellent ephemera: Meyercord Decals Figure 17. Excellent ephemera: Jo Reggelt babies print Figure 18. Excellent ephemera: Card, man with hair Figure 19. Excellent ephemera: HOMERUN cigarettes pack Figure 20. Excellent ephemera: Mendets Figure 21. Excellent ephemera: THE BANG GUN FOR LOTS OF FUN

Named after Roger Brown's parents, the James Gordon and Elizabeth Palmer Brown Archive includes materials from all three of his homes: Brown's sketchbooks, libraries, slides and photographs, personal and professional correspondence, writings about art and life, architectural records, studies and models for large-scale projects, prints and works on paper, phonograph records, video, audio, and cassette tapes, a treasure trove of excellent ephemera, and sundry other materials. Brown's archival materials are augmented by a gift of the documentation of Chicago Imagist Artists from the Phyllis Kind Gallery.  (You can click here to view some highlights from the archive).

Brown clearly knew the value of an artist's papers, and he saved a broad range of documents, both personal and professional, including multiple drafts and/or copies of many items. His habit of saving all manner of correspondences may also relate to his extensive research into his family's genealogy, which engaged him from the early 1970s until 1997. This project must have reinforced the importance of saving and organizing documents and records, with every new discovery about his family history. 

In 2005 the Roger Brown Study Collection (RBSC) received a grant from the Historic Artists' Homes and Studios Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for an archive organization project, addressing materials which were, at the time, in a rough-sort state, largely inaccessible, and in need of organization and rehousing. This project enabled us to provide access to a broad range of research materials to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago community, scholars, and the public. We continue to organize materials for access.

Materials in the archive reveal dimensions of Brown's life that can be found in life's "paper trail." In the archive we glean a keen awareness for how the fabric of an artist's life is recorded and preserved through materials that vary from "strictly business," to deeply personal items. The archive reveals how integrally the physical evidence of Brown's personal and professional life reflected his philosophy and was expressed in his work, often in surprising and unexpected ways.

The archive is accessible by appointment (based on staff availability). Please contact us at rbsc@saic.edu.