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Martin Luther Brown, Warden, Moundsville Penitentiary Records

 Collection
Collection Number: A&M.3786

Scope and Contents

Records of Warden Martin Luther Brown of Moundsville Penitentiary. This collection apparently consists of Brown's records, since his tenure (1911-1914) corresponds to the date range of the series of his incoming letters (1911-1914).

The collection is organized into five series, including:

Historical Records; 1914, undated; box 1, folder 1
Miscellaneous; 1908, 1912, undated; box 1, folder 2
Manuscript; undated; box 1, folder 3
Incoming Letters; 1910-1914, undated; box 1, folders 4-9
Photographs; ca. 1900-1920; box 1, folders 10-14; boxes 2-3

Historical Records; 1914, undated; box 1, folder 1.

Includes clippings from Wheeling Sunday News reporting some of the reforms accomplished in the state prison at Moundsville under Warden M. L. Brown, as well as his reactions to allegations of brutal treatment of inmates during his administration.

Miscellaneous; 1908, 1912, undated; box 1, folder 2.

Includes: pamphlet "A Guide to Future Happiness" authored by Warden Brown (undated); pamphlet "Rules Governing the Convicts in the West Va. Penitentiary", adopted by Warden Brown (1912); poem printed as handbill regarding an outlaw entitled "Song of Tom Wayne" by Coy Reedy of Rugby, Virginia (ca. 1908); poem in typescript entitled "The Effect of Strong Drink" (undated); manuscript of suggested program for 4th of July entertainment at Penitentiary (undated).

Manuscript; undated; box 1, folder 3.

A manuscript article written by J.H. Graham on May 27, 1911 describing what might happen in the conscience not only of a guilty person, but also of an innocent one (such as himself) held unjustly.

Incoming Letters; 1910-1914, undated; box 1, folders 4-9.

The letters and notes in this series are mostly addressed to Warden Brown, many of which are petitions by inmates reporting abuses and corruption, calling for resignations, threatening bodily harm, or thanking the Warden for improvements to living conditions. Among the letters is one by a prisoner facing death containing a statement that he would like made public. Several include poetry or opinion pieces. And one letter to the Board of Control ending with signatures of 39 female prisoners asks that their matron be kept on.

Photographs; ca. 1900-1920; box 1, folders 10-14; boxes 2-3.

Subjects of photos in box 1 include group portraits of inmates and staff, facilities, grounds, Citizens National Bank, and Bank of Morgantown. Subjects of oversize photos in boxes 2 and 3 include group portraits of inmates and staff, interior shots, facilities, and grounds (which appear to be the farm where some of the prisoners worked); there is also a group portrait including US President Taft at inauguration of WVU President Hodges (1911).

Dates

  • ca. 1910-1920

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

No special access restriction applies.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please contact the West Virginia and Regional History Center.

Extent

0.5 Linear Feet (Summary: 5 1/2 in. (1 document case, 2 1/2 in.; 2 flat storage boxes, 1 1/2 in. each))

Overview

Records of Warden Martin Luther Brown of Moundsville Penitentiary. Includes series of historical information, incoming letters (mostly from inmates to Warden Brown), and photographs (related to Moundsville Penitentiary). The date range of the series of incoming letters (1911-1914) corresponds to Martin Brown's tenure as Warden.

Physical Location

West Virginia and Regional History Center / West Virginia University / 1549 University Avenue / P.O. Box 6069 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6069 / Phone: 304-293-3536 / Fax: 304-293-3981 / URL: https://wvrhc.lib.wvu.edu/
Title
Martin Luther Brown, Warden, Moundsville Penitentiary Records, ca. 1910-1920
Author
Staff of the West Virginia & Regional History Center
Date
2011/06/21
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center Repository

Contact:
1549 University Ave.
P.O. Box 6069
Morgantown WV 26506-6069 US
304-293-3536