Swordgate 2011

The Annmary Brown Memorial / library.brown.edu

The Annmary Brown Memorial, even more historic in black-and-white

The Annmary Brown Memorial on Brown St., with its forbidding and usually-closed bronze doors, might be the most mysterious building on campus. Luckily, a Library website details what students would find there if they went in: portraiture, bodies, swords. Former Civil War General Rush C. Hawkins established the memorial in 1903 for his wife, a descendant of Brown’s namesake family. They were both buried there and have been more-or-less resting in peace for decades.

But now, the Hawkinses are part of another North/South feud. A sword presented to Hawkins (then a Colonel) for his service during the war disappeared from the memorial in the 1970s. Recently, Brown identified the sword as part of a collection at Lee Hall Mansion, now a Civil War museum in Newport News, Virginia, and sued last week for its return. A federal judge granted an injunction to prevent the collector currently in possession of the sword from selling it–a good sign that it’s coming back to Brown soon.   Continue Reading