The Dominican University of California Archives & Special Collections is pleased to announce that the Cynthia Stokes Brown Oral Histories are now available for online streaming and download through the institution’s digital repository, Dominican Scholar. The seven audio-recorded oral history interviews with emerita history professor, Cynthia Stokes Brown (1938 – 2017) are part of the Cynthia Stokes Brown Collection which also includes her personal papers and private book collection (in process). Each interview, conducted by separate Dominican Faculty members, focuses on different aspects of Cynthia’s life, work, beliefs, and family. Upon her death in October 2017, donations in her honor funded the processing of the oral histories and her personal papers, which include her research and manuscripts, family correspondence, course syllabi, and photographs. Once the processing is completed, selected records and photographs will also be made available online through Dominican Scholar.
Cynthia directed the secondary teaching credential program in the Education department at Dominican University from 1982 to 1992. She also taught full time in the History and Education departments until 2001. After joining the ranks of Dominican emeriti in 2001, Cynthia taught part time, establishing the first course in Big History within the Colloquium offerings and in 2009 helped to develop the University’s First Year Experience Big History program. She was the University’s resident “Big Historian” and a founding board member of the International Big History Association. Her 2007 bestselling book, Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present was translated into nine languages and she co-authored the textbook, Big History: Between Nothing and Everything (2014).
While at Dominican University, Cynthia’s research focused on oral history, civil rights, and activist, Septima Clark. She published several books including, Ready from Within: Septima Clark and the Civil Rights Movement (1986), which won an American Book Award in 1987, Like It Was: A Complete Guide to Writing Oral History (1988), and Refusing Racism: White Allies and the Struggle for Civil Rights (2002).
Months before her death in the summer of 2017, Cynthia self-published her travel journals and photographic slides entitled, A Romance in High Places: Five Wilderness Treks detailing her mountain climbing adventures with her husband, Jack Robbins from 1987 through 1997. The pair hiked to the K2 base camp, the North Slope of Alaska to Demarcation Bay on the Arctic Ocean, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Khan Tengri, and the Annapurna Massif. The published volume as well as the original journals are included in the Cynthia Stokes Brown personal papers.
Since the oral histories were made available in July 2018, they have been showcased by Mojgan Behmand at the International Big History Association’s biannual conference at Villanova University. The presentation was entitled, “Cynthia Stokes Brown: Death, Dying, and Legacy” and attendees showed great interest in the collection and Cynthia Stokes Brown as a research subject. The Dominican University Archives & Special Collections plans to make the Cynthia Stokes Brown personal papers available for research by the end of the academic year, an endeavor made possible by the generous funding of Cynthia’s colleagues, friends, and family.
To listen to and download the Cynthia Stokes Brown oral histories go to Dominican Scholar:
For more information about the Dominican University of California Archives & Special Collections visit: