Biographical / Historical
William Little Brown, 1789-1830, was a Kentucky grist mill operator, Transylvania University student, and early nineteenth century attorney. Brown was a native of the old Cheraw District in South Carolina. In 1795 Brown's father took his family to Tennessee where he laid out the town of Palmyra.
In 1811 William Little Brown entered Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. He was admitted to the Tennessee bar a year later and was appointed solicitor in 1814 by Tennessee Governor Willie Blount. Brown was elected to the state senate in 1819 and served as a commissioner to fix the boundary line between-Kentucky and Tennessee the same year. In 1822 he was appointed judge of the state Supreme Court but resigned less than two years later. Brown died in 1830 at the age of forty at his home, Rose Cliff, near Nashville.
From 1805 to 1814 William Little Brown kept a diary in which he described his youth in Tennessee, mill operations, student days at Transylvania, the books he read, his trips, visitors to his home, and monetary matters. There are several references to the treatment of slaves. Only the second volume of the Brown diary,is in the collection; typescript copies of both volumes, however, are present.
In the late 1920s, Randle Bond Truett, a Nashville native, apparently planned to publish (the diaries with annotated footnotes. While his publication project failed, Truett's biographical notes, bibliography, annotations, and other research materials survive in the collection. Truett was a historian, lecturer, restorationist, author, and philatelist who served as chief historian for the National Park Service in the Washington D.C, area. From 1930-1932, he served as a history and political science instructor at the University of Louisville.