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John Brown's Family in California

Recent Letters from Jean Libby and other scholars

September 19, 2006
Jean Libby to "John Brown Scholars" list.  New Books on John Brown:

Tomorrow morning I will have the happy experience of a visit from John Brown's greatest (four times great) granddaughter, Alice Keesey Mecoy. I'll ask her about the program, because she is the relative who is keeping best track.

Anyone who has anything you would like to send for Alice and our quest please drop it on the email [email protected]  or [email protected]  and I will print it for her.

The reason for our visit is my gift to the family of the new book John Brown's Family in California, which has Alice's photograph (and that of her grandmother, Beatrice Keesey) when she was sixteen, in 1976. It has taken me this long to develop the right publication avenue for these photos. It was Alice's grandmother, who is the granddaughter of Annie Brown, and had a direct memory of her in relation to the John Brown raid, that inspired me to research oral history near Harpers Ferry among the African American congregations. They welcomed me as much as the Keesey family!

What Mrs. Keesey said to me is that her grandmother, Annie Brown, would ask the children for their history textbooks. She would turn to the section on the John Brown raid and write firmly in the margins: "This is not true!."

I am asking Alice and my good friend Lori Deal, who inherited a John Brown letter which was featured on "History Detectives" a couple of years ago and who has since donated it to The Bancroft Library for public access, to autograph these new books as well as myself for those whom I have promised copies--the Allies for Freedom authors, Gwen Robinson, the Newby descendants, the contributors to John Brown's Family in California (April Halberstadt, Eric Ledell Smith, John M. Lawlor, Louis A. DeCaro, Jr.), and for new author Bob O'Connor who is bringing his adult education class to the Kennedy Farm for a history party on October 16.

Bob O'Connor's book, The Perfect Steel Trap; Harpers Ferry 1859 is in novel style but is very factual and features the real persons Osborne Anderson, Annie Brown, and Owen Brown telling the story from John Brown's side. You can find it on

You can find John Brown's Family in California with beautiful new color cover, on

Please write a letter or question for Alice Keesey Mecoy and I will give them to her in the morning.

Best regards to all, thank you for writing, Bryan,
Jean 1

Bryan Prince <[email protected]> wrote:
Hello Jean,

We had an elderly lady come to the Buxton (Canada) museum on the weekend who said that she had watched the tv show "Antiques Roadshow" earlier this year. She said that there was a lady on that show who had letters from and family photos that included John Brown. She could not provide any other details - she suggested contacting the show's producers.

I expect that you may be aware of this, but thought I would pass it along, just in case.

Bryan Prince 2

1. Correspondence, Jean Libby to Afrolumens Project, 19 September 2006.
2. Correspondence, Bryan Prince to Jean Libby, forwarded by Jean Libby, 19 September 2006.

Other Correspondence from Jean Libby 


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This page was updated October 7, 2006.