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Cherokee Sister

The Collected Writings of Catharine Brown, 1818-1823

Theresa Strouth Gaul

Publication Year: 2014

Catharine Brown (1800–1823) became Brainerd Mission School’s first Cherokee convert to Christianity, a missionary teacher, and the first Native American woman whose own writings saw extensive publication in her lifetime. After her death from tuberculosis at age twenty-three, the missionary organization that had educated and later employed Brown commissioned a posthumous biography, Memoir of Catharine Brown, which  enjoyed widespread contemporary popularity and praise.

In the following decade, her writings, along with those of other educated Cherokees, became highly politicized and were used in debates about the removal of the Cherokees and other tribes to Indian Territory. Although she was once viewed by literary critics as a docile and dominated victim of missionaries who represented the tragic fate of Indians who abandoned their identities, Brown is now being reconsidered as a figure of enduring Cherokee revitalization, survival, adaptability, and leadership.
In Cherokee Sister Theresa Strouth Gaul collects all of Brown’s writings, consisting of letters and a diary, some appearing in print for the first time, as well as Brown’s biography and a drama and poems about her. This edition of Brown’s collected works and related materials firmly establishes her place in early nineteenth-century culture and her influence on American perceptions of Native Americans.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Series: Legacies of Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-5


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pp. 6-7

List of Illustrations

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pp. 8-9

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pp. ix-x

Profuse thanks go to the following: for fi nancial support during the completion of this project, tcu?s Research and Creative Activities Fund, Brad Lucas; for archival information and support, archivists and librar-ians at Houghton Library, Chattanooga Public Library, the Cornwall Historical Society, and especially Jessica Steytler at the Congregational ...

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Statement of Editorial Method

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pp. xi-xvi

Th is edition attempts to balance readability with adherence to currently accepted editing practices. To this end, the following editorial principles Brown?s letters survive in a variety of forms. Of the thirty-two letters in this volume, nineteen of the letters were included in Rufus Ander-son?s Memoir of Catharine Brown, a Christian Indian of the Cherokee ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xvii-xx

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Editor’s Introduction

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pp. 1-58

...breathe through every sentence, not only interest the feelings, In the frontispiece illustration to the second edition of Memoir of Cath-arine Brown, a Christian Indian of the Cherokee Nation (1825), the mem-oir?s subject, Catharine Brown (1800??1823), reclines on her deathbed. Dressed in a nightcap and gown and lying on a four-poster bed bor-...

Part 1. Collected Writings, 1818-1823

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pp. 61-114

Manuscript, cbp Item 21;? Panoplist, July 1819; Guardian, or Youth?s Religious I have been wishing to write to you ever since you left us.? you can hardly tell how my heart ached when I parted with you, expecting never to see you again in this world, but when I remembered that you were in the hands of the Lord, and that he would dispose of you as ...

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pp. 115-124

May 30. Tomorrow morning I shall leave this School, perhaps never to return. Th ree years since I entered the school at Brainerdt. I was baptised in the name of the holy Trinity, on the 25. day of Jan. 1818 and admitted to the holy Communion at the Lords table on the 29 part with my dear christian friends; Th ose with whom I have spent ...

Part 2. Nineteenth-Century Representations of Catharine Brown

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Catharine Brown, the Converted Cherokee: A Missionary Drama, Founded on Fact (1819)

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pp. 127-156

...mr. olm. I don?t see what you fi nd so very entertaining in those reli-gious newspapers. I seldom come in, without fi nding you reading a magazine, or a report of some charitable society, or some publication of that kind. It is as much as I can do, to read the political news; and mr. tho. I confess it is my greatest joy to witness the wonderful im-...

Excerpt from Traits of the Aborigines of America (1822)

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pp. 157-158

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“Inscription: For the Grave of Catharine Brown” (1825)

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pp. 159-160

...* ?A neat monument of wood, erected by her bereaved relatives, covers the grave where she was laid. Th ough a few years hence, this monument may no longer exist, to mark the spot where she slumbers, yet shall her dust be precious in the eyes of the Lord, and her virtues shall be told for a memo-...

“The Grave of Catharine Brown” (1825)

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pp. 161-162

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Memoir of Catharine Brown, a Christian Indian of the Cherokee Nation (1825)

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pp. 163-258

...be it remembered, that on the twentieth day of December, ad 1824, in the forty-ninth year of the Independence of the United States of America, Samuel T. Armstrong,?? of the said District, has deposited in this offi ce the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as Proprietor, in the words following, to wit:?Memoir of Catharine Brown, a Christian Indian of the Cherokee nation. ...

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Source Acknowledgments

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pp. 259-260

Sections of the introduction fi rst appeared as ?Cherokee Catharine Brown?s Epistolary Performances? by Th eresa Strouth Gaul, in Letters and Cultural Transformations in the United States, 1760?1860 (Burling-ton vt: Ashgate, 2009), edited by Th eresa Strouth Gaul and Sharon M. Harris, 139?60. ? Th eresa Strouth Gaul. Letter from Laura Potter ...


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pp. 261-280

Works Cited

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pp. 281-289

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Further Reading

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pp. 311-311

In the Legacies of Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers seriesTo order or obtain more information on these or other University of Nebraska ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780803248953
E-ISBN-10: 0803248954
Print-ISBN-13: 9780803240759

Page Count: 352
Illustrations: 1 photograph, 1 illustration
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Legacies of Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers
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OCLC Number: 862614782
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Cherokee Sister

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Cherokee Indians -- Missions -- Tennessee -- History -- 19th century.
  • Brainerd Mission -- History -- 19th century.
  • Cherokee women -- Tennessee -- Biography.
  • Brown, Catharine, 1800?-1823 -- Correspondence.
  • Brown, Catharine, 1800?-1823 -- Diaries.
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