Areas of Specialty
Colonies, Revolution, and pre-industrial society and culture
Current Research Interests
Racial, Ethnic, and Religious Equality in Early America
Richard D. Brown, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus, is a 1961 graduate of Oberlin College who attended Harvard on a Woodrow Wilson Scholarship, earning his Ph.D. in 1966. Before coming to the University of Connecticut in 1971, he taught as a Fulbright lecturer in France and at Oberlin College. His research and teaching interests have been in the political, social, and cultural history of early America. A past president of the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic and the New England Historical Association, Brown has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others. He is the author of Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War (Yale University Press, 2017). He is also the author of Knowledge is Power: The Diffusion of Information in Early America, 1700-1865 and The Strength of a People: The Idea of an Informed Citizenry in America, 1650-1870. With Irene Quenzler Brown he is the co-author of The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler: A Story of Rape, Incest, and Justice in Early America.
Taming Lust: Crimes Against Nature in the Early Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014). Co-authored by Doron S. Ben-Atar and Richard D. Brown.
“‘Tried, Convicted, and Condemned in Almost Every Bar-room and Barber’s Shop’: Anti-Irish Prejudice in the Trial of Dominic Daley and James Halligan, Northampton, Massachusetts, 1806,” New England Quarterly, 84 (2011): 205-33.
“‘No Harm to Kill Indians’: Equal Rights in a Time of War,” New England Quarterly, 81 (2008): 34-62.
The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler: A Story of Rape, Incest, and Justice in Early America (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003), with Irene Quenzler Brown.
Massachusetts: A Concise History, with Jack Tager (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2000)
Major Problems in the Era of The American Revolution, 1760-1791, edited, (Lexington, Mass.: D.C.Heath, 1992). Second edition, revised. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000). Third edition, revised by Richard D. Brown and Benjamin L. Carp (Boston: Cengage Learning, 2012)
The Strength of a People: The Idea of an Informed Citizenry in America, 1650-1870 (Chapel Hill, N.C.: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1996). Paperback edition 1997.
Knowledge is Power: The Diffusion of Information in Early America, 1700-1865. (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1989). Paperback edition 1991.
Modernization: The Transformation of American Life, 1600-1865 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1976). Reissued by Waveland Press, Prospect Heights, Ill., 1988.
Revolutionary Politics in Massachusetts: The Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Towns, 1772-1774 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1970). Paperback edition by W.W. Norton: New York, 1976.
“The Emergence of Urban Society in Rural Massachusetts, 1760-1820,” Journal of American History, 61 (1974): 29-51.