The J. Mason Brewer Collection consists of materials related to Dr. Brewer’s career as an academic and teacher, author of African American folklore & history, and personal life. The collection is organized into eight series: Biographical Materials, Correspondence, Activity Files, Newspaper Clippings, Literary Works, Photographs, Three dimensional objects & Scrapbooks, & Books.
Series I, Biographical Materials, 1896-1975, consists of materials that focus on the life of Dr. J. Mason Brewer and his immediate family, including his second wife Ruth, his son J. Mason Jr., and his sister Stella Brewer Brookes. The series includes personal papers, financial, legal, and admissions papers, & awards and tributes. Included in this series are two yearbooks that show Dr. Brewer’s career as an educator in high school and college environments.
Series II, Correspondences, 1945-1975, n.d. are organized by subseries (Family, Professional, and Chronological), with the letters in each folder organized by date. Many of the letters focus on Dr. Brewer’s works, his academic career, or research interests. Two of the letters to Dr. Brewer are in Spanish (Box 2, Folder 3), but the rest are entirely in English. There are also letters from U.S. politicians thanking Dr. Brewer for literature, including President Lyndon Johnson and U.S. Representative Ray Roberts.
Series III, Activity Files, 1945-197, consists of various material during Dr. Brewer’s career in academia, as both a student and a professor. The series is divided by topic (Folklore Seminar, Faculty Files, Folklore studies packet, & Pamphlets, Programs & other materials). The Folklore Seminar discussed various forms of folklore study from a number of his colleagues & mentors during his time as a Graduate student. Folklore packets contain stories by folklorists from around the world. Faculty files include syllabi and lecture ideas, as well as the works of some of his students from Livingstone College & East Texas State University.
Series IV, Newspaper Clippings, 1950-1975, n.d. is organized by subject/topic. Majority of the folders contain clippings that focus on Dr. Brewer’s works or research. Series includes papers from Hunt County, including Greenville, Commerce, and ETSU student newspaper, that detail his works on campus and in the community.
Series V, Literary Works, 1930s-1975, consists of subseries major works, unpublished works, early works, poetry & plays, short stories, & speeches. A sizeable part of the series focuses on Dr. Brewer’s unpublished work on African influence in Mexican Folklore and history. Also prominent were speeches Dr. Brewer made at college symposiums and folklore conferences.
Series VI, Photographs, 1900s-1975, consists of primarily personal, family, and photos of colleagues. Included are photos of Dr. Brewer’s time at Livingstone College and East Texas State University, of him on campus and within the community. Noteworthy photos include signed portraits from Harlem Renaissance luminary Alain Locke and actress Isabelle Cooley.
Series VII, Three dimensional objects and scrapbooks includes a hunter’s horn from one of his folklore displays, and ceramic and wooden figurines that depict the image of African Americans during the early 20th Century. Scrapbooks contain clippings and other material on his major works, one chronicling his Graduate school career at Indiana University, and one dedicated to folklore in different parts of the world.
Series VIII, Books brought into the collection can be found in the library catalogue. Most of the books in the collection are from colleagues, fellow folklorists, and admirers of Dr. Brewer’s works. Other works include Ancient, World War I, and African American history.