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John Nicholas Brown (1861-1900) papers

Brown University Library

Box A
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Tel: 401-863-2146
email: hay@brown.edu


Series 1. Correspondence, 1874-1900
The bulk of the John Nicholas Brown (1861-1900) collection is located within the Correspondence series (12 linear feet). This series contains both correspondence received and correspondence sent. There are ten subseries in this series, covering a wide variety of topics. Through this correspondence, it is possible to obtain a glimpse into the life and lifestyle of John Nicholas Brown. He corresponded frequently with his mother while traveling, and he kept in close contact with his wife, Natalie, whenever out of town. John Nicholas Brown maintained a good relationship with his brother, Harold Brown, and his sister, Sophia Augusta Brown Sherman.

Through the correspondence of John Nicholas Brown, we learn that he was a well-liked and generous individual. He was endowed with a philanthropic spirit and donated a great deal of money to numerous charitable, civic and church causes. He was especially interested in the Episcopal Church's missionary efforts in the western United States. John Nicholas Brown was a civic-minded individual and was on the board of many local organizations. In his early years, he dabbled in politics as a staunch supporter of the Republican Party. His correspondence reveals a love of the sea and of his steamship, the Ballymena. He was an avid collector of rare books, wine, and impressionist art.

Series 1. Subseries A. Family, 1874-1900
John Nicholas Brown (1861-1900) was born on December 17, 1861, to John Carter Brown and Sophia Augusta Brown (Brown). He had two younger siblings, Harold and Sophia. Sophia married William Watts Sherman of Newport in 1885 while she was still under age; she was Sherman's second wife. Harold married Georgette Wetmore Sherman, the daughter of W. W. Sherman by his first marriage, on October 4, 1892.

The Dresser family is well represented among the family correspondence papers. This sub-subseries consists of correspondence from Natalie's sisters and their husbands. Susan married the Viscount d'Osmoy and resided in France. Edith's first husband was George Vanderbilt and her second was Senator Peter Gerry. Pauline married a minister, George Grenville Merrill, and lived in Tuxedo Park, New York.

Desmond Fitzgerald was a cousin of John Nicholas Brown (1861-1900). His mother was the sister of Sophia Augusta (Brown) Brown. Although quite a bit older than his cousin, Desmond Fitzgerald greatly influenced John Nicholas Brown, especially after the death of John Carter Brown. Desmond Fitzgerald was quite beloved by the Brown family, and the two families at times celebrated holidays together. Desmond was a civil engineer by trade. He lived in Brookline, Massachusetts, and had a large family.

Subseries 1. Sophia Augusta Brown, 1896-1900
Sophia Augusta Brown corresponded with her son frequently while he was traveling Europe on his honeymoon. Her correspondence includes an itinerary of John Nicholas Brown and Natalie Bayard Brown's travels throughout Europe. She kept her son abreast of the news from home. She wrote about family members, their daily activities and general health. At times, she commented upon the politics of the day, referring to the onset of the Spanish-American War, and the commissioning of the Ballymena.

Container Description Date
Box 1, Folder 1 Correspondence
Box 1, Folder 2 Correspondence
Box 1, Folder 3 Correspondence
1898 Apr-May
Box 1, Folder 4 Commissioning
1898 Jun
Box 1, Folder 5-8 Correspondence
1898 Jul-Dec
Box 1, Folder 9-13 Correspondence
1899 Jan-Dec
Box 1, Folder 14 Correspondence

Subseries 2. Natalie Bayard Brown, 1897-1900
John Nicholas Brown became engaged to Natalie Bayard Dresser in August 1897. Natalie was a resident of New York and summered in Newport. She was born in 1869 to Susan Fish LeRoy and Major George Warren Dresser. A descendant of Peter Stuyvesant and Col. Nicholas Fish, a veteran of the American Revolution, Natalie, her sisters, and brother were raised by her maternal grandparents Daniel LeRoy and Susan Elizabeth Fish. Her aunt, Mary Augusta LeRoy married Edward King of Newport, and Natalie spent time in Newport visiting her aunt, uncle and cousins.

John Nicholas Brown received a great deal of congratulatory correspondence on the advent of his engagement to Natalie Dresser. He amassed letters from family and friends, as well as business associates and acquaintances. Following a brief engagement, John Nicholas Brown and Natalie Bayard Dresser were married on Wednesday, September 8, 1897, at Trinity Church in Newport. The Rev. George Magill presided. Following the wedding, the couple journeyed to Europe for an extended honeymoon.

John Nicholas Brown (1900- 1979), son of John Nicholas Brown (1861-1900) and Natalie Bayard (Dresser) Brown, was born in New York City on February 21, 1900. The couple rejoiced in the birth of their son. John Nicholas Brown's brother, Harold, was asked to be godfather, and Natalie Bayard Brown's sister, Pauline, and her husband, Grenville, were asked to be godparents as well. They received congratulatory letters from a great many family members, friends and acquaintances. John Nicholas Brown was busy writing and sending birth announcements while his wife was recuperating. Interestingly, many of the congratulatory notes received were addressed to John Nicholas Brown solely.

On May 1, 1900, John Nicholas Brown died at his home in New York City at 931 Fifth Avenue. His relatively sudden death greatly stunned his family, friends and acquaintances. His widow was besieged with numerous sympathy notes, telegrams, and condolences. The funeral was held in Providence at St. John's Church and he was buried in the family plot at the North Burial Ground in Providence, Rhode Island.

The correspondence between John Nicholas Brown and his wife Natalie Bayard Brown is quite personal. The letters show a great deal of love and affection, and each deeply missed the other's company when they were parted.

See also:

  • Natalie Bayard Brown papers

Container Description Date
Box 1, Folder 15 Engagement
Box 1, Folder 16-20 Engagement
1897 Aug 5 -1897 Sep 8
Box 1, Folder 21 Wedding
Box 1, Folder 22 Wedding
Box 1, Folder 23 Wedding
Box 1, Folder 24 Wedding
1898 Dec-1899 Oct
Box 1, Folder 25 Correspondence
1899 Nov-Dec
Box 1, Folder 26 Correspondence
1900 Jan-Feb
Box 1, Folder 27-30 Birth of John Nicholas Brown (1900-1979)
1900 Feb-Apr
Box 1, Folder 31 Death of John Nicholas Brown (1861-1900)
Box 1, Folder 32-42 Death of John Nicholas Brown (1861-1900)
1900 May 1 - 1900 Sep 7
Box 1, Folder 43 Death of John Nicholas Brown (1861-1900) (telegrams)
1900 May 2
Box 1, Folder 44 Death of John Nicholas Brown (1861-1900) (telegrams)
1900 May 3-12

Subseries 3. Harold Brown, 1898-1900
Harold and John cooperated in business endeavors and maintained similar interests. The brothers enjoyed collecting art. Harold particularly enjoyed collecting watercolors and furniture. Harold, like John, was very generous with his inheritance. He frequently donated money to various causes, and was especially charitable to the Episcopal Church. These letters portray a close relationship between the two brothers. The majority of the correspondence sent to Harold Brown was written while John was in Europe with his wife, Natalie. Also included in this subseries is one letter John Nicholas Brown sent to Harold's wife, Georgette, in 1896.

See also:

  • Harold Brown papers

Container Description Date
Box 2, Folder 1 Correspondence
1898 May-Aug
Box 2, Folder 2 Correspondence
1898 Dec-1900 Apr
Box 2, Folder 3-5 Correspondence - Harold Brown

Subseries 4. Dresser family, 1897-1900
The Dresser family, comprising Natalie's three sisters, was ecstatic on the announcement of the engagement between Natalie and John Nicholas. They welcomed John Nicholas Brown to their family, and corresponded with him periodically.

Container Description Date
Box 2, Folder 6 Correspondence
1897 Jan-Dec
Box 2, Folder 7 Correspondence
1898 Jun-1900 Apr

Subseries 5. Sherman family, 1897 Mar-1898 Dec
Box 2, Folder 8
The correspondence between the Sherman family and John Nicholas Brown is limited. Sophia Augusta Brown, sister of John Nicholas Brown, married William Watts Sherman on October 7, 1885. Due to her tender age and considerable inheritance, an ante-nuptial agreement was contracted between Sherman, then a widower, and the Brown Family. Sophia and William Watts Sherman had twin daughters, Irene and Mildred. Irene married Lawrence Gillespie, while Mildred wed Ralph Julian Stonor, Lord Camoys. Sherman also had children by his first wife, Anne Wetmore, the sister of George Peabody Wetmore, Esq., who owned Chateau-Sur-Mer. Harold Brown married Georgette Wetmore Sherman, a daughter born of this first marriage, in 1892. The Shermans and the Browns were neighbors in Newport.

Subseries 6. Desmond Fitzgerald, 1874-1896
John Nicholas Brown wrote frequently to his cousin Desmond Fitzgerald while overseas and traveling throughout the United States. He discussed travel plans, his itinerary, and often commented upon the places, people and things that he saw. In these letters, John Nicholas freely discussed his reasons for leaving Brown University, his continued studies abroad, his love of art, his commissioning of Bonnat for a portrait, his pursuit of Monet, his detailed visits to the Salon and Exhibition, his purchases, whether books or art. Unfortunately, there are only a few letters received from Desmond Fitzgerald in these papers.

Container Description Date
Box 2, Folder 9 Correspondence
Box 12X, Folder 1 Desmond Fitzgerald
Box 2, Folder 10 Correspondence
Box 2, Folder 11 Correspondence
Box 2, Folder 12 Correspondence
Box 2, Folder 13 Correspondence
Box 2, Folder 14 Correspondence
Box 2, Folder 15 Bonnat portrait
Box 2, Folder 16 Monet visit
Box 2, Folder 17 Correspondence
Box 2, Folder 18 Desmond Fitzgerald

Series 1. Subseries B. Friends and acquaintances, 1880-1900
The John Nicholas Brown (1861-1900) correspondence sent to Frank Mauran, Jr., was found among the papers of John Nicholas Brown (1900-1979). Frank Mauran III sent these letters to John Nicholas Brown (1900-1979). Frank Mauran, Jr., was a classmate of John Nicholas Brown (1861-1900) at Brown University. They kept in touch during the college years, especially while John Nicholas Brown (1861-1900) was abroad.

This subseries contains copies of letters written to family, friends and acquaintances, and correspondence received from friends and acquaintances. Most significant are letters written to G.W.R. Matteson, the executor of the estate of John Carter Brown. He managed the business affairs and investments of the Brown family after the death of John Carter Brown. This subseries includes correspondence from Lewis Herreshoff, John Carter Brown, John Muir and Charles Adams, and copies of correspondence to John Russell Bartlett, Gilman and Sons, and George Parker Winship. Correspondence received and sent by John Nicholas Brown while on his western tour with his tutor, Professor Poland, is also included.

Container Description Date
Box 2, Folder 19 Frank Mauran, Jr.
Box 2, Folder 20 General
Box 2, Folder 21 Matteson
Box 2, Folder 22 Family
Box 2, Folder 23 Correspondence
Box 2, Folder 24 Western trip
1880 Jul-Aug
Box 2, Folder 25 Letters of introduction for western trip
1880 Jul-Aug
Box 2, Folder 26 Correspondence
Box 2, Folder 27 John Muir
Box 2, Folder 28 Correspondence
1893 Jan 19
Box 2, Folder 29 Charles Adams
Box 2, Folder 30 Correspondence
Box 2, Folder 31 Correspondence
Box 2, Folder 32 Correspondence
Box 2, Folder 33 Correspondence

Series 1. Subseries C. Philanthropic activities, 1883-1900
John Nicholas Brown generously funded numerous organizations and needy individuals. He frequently gave assistance to his widowed relative, Emily Jenckes, of Washington, DC. Minority groups such as the Southern Negro Orphan Asylum and the Indians Rights Association benefited from his altruistic nature. Nonprofit organizations, namely the Providence Public Library, the Young Men's Christian Association, the Rhode Island Historical Society, the Newport Historical Society, and the Providence Athenaeum were assisted by John Nicholas Brown. Schools, hospitals, and parks received funding from John Nicholas Brown, as did various individuals.

Container Description Date
Box 2, Folder 34-41 Correspondence

Series 1. Subseries D. Civic activities, ca. 1886-1889
John Nicholas Brown was a board member of various local community service organizations. He was concerned with the affairs of Newport Hospital and Butler Hospital, and Brown University. He was a board member of several local banks, notably the Providence Institution for Savings, the National Exchange Bank and the Mechanics National Bank.

Newport Hospital
Box 2, Folder 42

Newport Hospital
Box 12X, Folder 2

Brown University
Box 2, Folder 43

Butler Hospital
Box 2, Folder 43

Box 2, Folder 44

Providence 250th Anniversary
Box 2, Folder 45

Centennial of George Washington Inauguration
Box 2, Folder 46

Subseries F. Memberships, ca. 1898-1900
John Nicholas Brown was a member of numerous clubs and organizations. He was active in various social, business, scholarly and church clubs in Providence, Newport and New York City. John Nicholas Brown was a member of several Providence business organizations. The Advance Club, to promote Providence; the Municipal League of Providence, designed to encourage good government; and the Providence Board of Trade. He was a member of the Newport Business Men's Association. In New York, he socialized with members of the Metropolitan Club, comprised of New York businessmen. The Metropolitan Club was co-founded by William Watts Sherman.

The Churchmen's Club was a religious organization that worked to bring together members of the Episcopal Church throughout the state of Rhode Island to foster a greater love for the church. The club tried to spark interest among members of the Episcopal community to work for common goals and the betterment of society.

The Society of the Cincinnati was formed at the close of the Revolutionary War by commissioned officers of the Continental Army and Navy for patriotic and social purposes. John Nicholas Brown was admitted as a hereditary member of this exclusive organization through his ancestor in the Thayer line. Concomitantly, John Nicholas Brown joined the Sons of the American Revolution. This organization consisted of descendants of those who fought in the American Revolution.

Spouting Rock Beach Association at Bailey's Beach in Newport was located off of Bellevue Avenue. It was a private club founded in 1897. John Nicholas Brown was the first secretary and treasurer.

Among the legion of miscellaneous memberships that John Nicholas Brown subscribed to, the following are the most prevalent: the Newport Golf Club, the American Forestry Association, the American Historical Review, the American Historical Association, the American Antiquarian Society, the Newport Natural History Society, the American Ethnological Society, the Grolier Club and the American Yacht Club. In 1888, John Nicholas Brown corresponded with the Smithsonian Institute's Bureau of Ethnology regarding the preservation of Native American mounds located in Ohio.

Container Description Date
Box 3, Folder 22 Business
Box 3, Folder 23 Churchmen's Club
Box 8C, Folder 1 Rhode Island Bible Society
Box 3, Folder 24 Society of the Cincinnati, R.I. Chapter
Box 3, Folder 25 Sons of the American Revolution
Box 3, Folder 26 Spouting Rock Beach Assn.
Box 3, Folder 27 Smithsonian Institution/Bureau of Ethnology
Box 3, Folder 28 Society of Colonial Wars
Box 3, Folder 29 Sons of the Revolution
Box 3, Folder 30 Spouting Rock Beach Assn.
Box 3, Folder 30 Miscellaneous
Box 3, Folder 31 Miscellaneous
Box 12X, Folder 5 Annual Subscriptions

Series 1. Subseries E. Episcopal Church, 1886-1900
A patron of the Episcopal Church, John Nicholas Brown was an ardent proponent of his own parishes in addition to countless Episcopal missions and schools scattered throughout the United States. He was involved in the debates of the local diocesan convention. On a national level, he was elected a delegate to the National Episcopal Convention and partook in the discussion concerning the Episcopal Church in America.

Subseries 1. St. John's Church
Box 2, Folder 47-50
Originally known as King's Church, St. John's was the third Episcopal Church in colonial Rhode Island. John Nicholas Brown was the chairman of the music committee at St. John's Church. He donated the organ in the north transept in addition to some of the service books. A majority of the funds needed for the erection of the Parish House were donated by John Nicholas Brown.

Subseries 2. Emmanuel Church
Box 3, Folder 1-2
Although they were married at Trinity Church, John Nicholas and his wife Natalie formed a special bond with Emmanuel Church in Newport. John Nicholas was a corporation member for the church during his lifetime. After his death in 1900, Natalie had the present stone church built in her husband's memory, to replace the original wooden Gothic structure. Emmanuel's interior furnishings were purchased with donations made by Natalie Bayard Brown, her mother-in-law Sophia Augusta Brown, and sister-in-law Georgette Brown.

See also:

  • Natalie Bayard Brown papers

Subseries 3. Episcopal schools
Box 3, Folder 3
John Nicholas Brown was a very enthusiastic supporter of Episcopal theological Schools and Episcopal mission schools. He generously donated funds to Cambridge Theological School, Kansas Theological School, All Saints School, St. John's College at Shanghai, and the Virginia Theological Seminary. The Rhode Island State Sunday School Association was also a beneficiary of John Nicholas Brown's munificence.

Subseries 4. National Convention
Box 3, Folder 4-6
As a delegate to the National Episcopal Convention, John Nicholas Brown was concerned with providing monetary relief for clergy in poor districts. He was occupied with liturgical revision as well as the revision of the Church's Constitution and Canons. This series also contains correspondence regarding candidates for the Episcopal Church's governing board.

Subseries 5. Diocesan Convention
Box 3, Folder 7-8
John Nicholas Brown was one of the principle organizers of the Diocesan Convention of 1894 to honor Bishop Clark. This series includes correspondence concerning local diocesan affairs.

Subseries 6. Episcopal missions, 1886-1900
There is a wealth of correspondence written to John Nicholas Brown from Episcopal missions and missionaries from around the country. As an important benefactor of the Episcopal missions, John Nicholas Brown received a great many letters from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. The Bishops of Kansas, Wyoming, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Montana, Minnesota, Tennessee and Missouri frequently wrote to John Nicholas Brown asking for assistance. John Nicholas Brown was interested in fostering the growth of the Episcopal Church by sponsoring ethnic Episcopal missions, namely among the Swedish and French communities. The rectors of local Episcopal churches constantly requested assistance from Brown.

Container Description Date
Box 3, Folder 9 Correspondence
Box 12X, Folder 3 Board of Missions enrollment committee
Box 3, Folder 10-18 Correspondence
Box 3, Folder 18 Correspondence
Box 12X, Folder 4 Report of St. Columba's

Subseries 7. Religious pamphlets, ca. 1886-1889
These pamphlets address issues that confronted the national Episcopal Church during the later half of the nineteenth century.

Container Description Date
Box 3, Folder 19 Rome's Tribute to Anglican Orders, by Rev. Montague R. Butler
Box 3, Folder 19 A Book of Offices and Prayers set forth by the General Convention of 1886
Box 3, Folder 20 Shall the Name be Changed?, by Rev. John H. Elliott
Box 3, Folder 20 Shall the Protestant Episcopal Church Change its Name?, by Kinloch
Box 3, Folder 21 Notes on Liturgical Revision, 1889, by Samuel Hart
Box 7C, Folder 1 General Convention, 1889 Report of Liturgical Committee
Box 3, Folder 21 The Sermon Preached before the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA
1889 Oct 2

Series 1. Subseries G. Political, ca. 1888-1900
John Nicholas Brown throughout his lifetime was interested in politics. He was intensely immersed in the election of 1888, serving as president of the Republican League of Rhode Island and an elector for Benjamin Harrison. In subsequent years, his enthusiasm waned, but he was nonetheless an important contributor to Republican candidates and causes. He was interested in the Civil Service Law as well as the tariff versus free trade debates. The volume within this series contains copies of letters written by John Nicholas Brown regarding political issues. Noteworthy is one bound copybook, entitled JNB letters no. 2. This book contains onionskin copies of letters written to local political figures, Senator Aldrich, Col. Harris and the Honorable B. Capron as well as Governor Wetmore.

Container Description Date
Box 3, Folder 32 Correspondence
Box 3, Folder 33 Correspondence
Box 8C, Folder 2 Correspondence
Box 3, Folder 34 Political
Box 3, Folder 35 Political
Box 12X, Folder 6 Political
Box 3, Folder 36 Correspondence
Box 3, Folder 37 Correspondence
Box 3, Folder 38 Correspondence
Box 7C, Folder 2 Copybook

Series 1. Subseries H. Collections, 1882-1900
John Nicholas Brown was a connoisseur of a great many things, notably rare books, wine and art. He corresponded with famous artists, and admired and purchased their works. He enjoyed fine wine imported from Europe. Tiffany's was his favorite place to purchase jewelry, china and other accessories.

See also:

  • John Nicholas Brown (1861-1900)papers, Series 3. Financial records, Subseries C. Personal expenses

Subseries 1. Art
John Nicholas Brown spent a great deal of time in Europe admiring art and artists. He favored portraits as opposed to landscapes, and greatly admired the work of the great impressionist painters. He commissioned Bonnat to paint his portrait, and corresponded with various artists, notably Bellecour, Detaille, de Neuville, Billotte, Meissonier, and Monet.

Container Description Date
Box 3, Folder 39 Art
Box 3, Folder 40 Monet-Bonnat
Box 3, Folder 41 Tapestry

Subseries 2. Books, maps, charts
Box 3, Folder 42-43
John Nicholas Brown was an enthusiastic collector of rare books, maps and charts. He inherited the famous John Carter Brown Library from his mother and was constantly hunting for rare books to add to his collection. He corresponded frequently with Parker Winship, who was to become the first librarian of the John Carter Brown Library, and William Foster of the Providence Public Library. Included in this series is Daniel Berkeley Updike correspondence regarding the commissioning of a prayer book, and with the Rhode Island Historical Society regarding the Moses Brown letters.

Subseries 3. Carriages and horses
Box 3, Folder 44-45
There is a great deal of correspondence between John Nicholas Brown and various carriage merchants. Brewster & Co.'s correspondence occupies a prominent place within this grouping. In addition to his carriages, John Nicholas Brown purchased horses.

Subseries 4. Wine, 1882-1900
William Fearing assisted John Nicholas Brown in the selection and purchase of rare imported European wines.

Container Description Date
Box 3, Folder 46 Correspondence
Box 3, Folder 47 Correspondence
Box 3, Folder 48 Correspondence

Subseries I. Yachts, ca. 1893-1900
The Ballymena was a 125-foot steam yacht purchased by John Nicholas Brown in 1893 for $55,000 from Alexander Brown of Baltimore, Maryland. The Ballymena was used as a means of transportation, as well as a place to entertain. He entertained various club members, business associates, churchmen, as well as the commander of the French Atlantic Division Fleet. There is also correspondence regarding Ballymena's commissioning during the Spanish-American War in 1898.

In 1895, John Nicholas Brown explored the idea of purchasing a new yacht, but he decided to refurbish Ballymena instead. Ballymena was known in sailing circles as first-rate vessel, and numerous requests to purchase her came to John Nicholas Brown.

The Ballymena Logs provide a detailed itinerary of the activities of Ballymena during the summer seasons of 1894 through 1896. It provides mileage, weather conditions, days in use, and captain's notations, among other information. It is a useful record to decipher the summertime activities of the Brown family members.

See also:

  • Natalie Bayard Brown papers

Container Description Date
Box 4, Folder 1 Miscellaneous
Box 4, Folder 2 New Testament
Box 4, Folder 3 Negotiation purchase
1893 May-Jul
Box 4, Folder 4 Ballymena - Bill of Sale
Box 4, Folder 5 Ballymena
Box 4, Folder 6 Melville Bull letter
1893 Aug
Box 4, Folder 7 Correspondence
1893 Sep
Box 4, Folder 8 Correspondence
1893 Oct
Box 4, Folder 9 JW Vanderbilt letter
1893 Nov
Box 4, Folder 10 China Inventory
1893 Dec
Box 4, Folder 11 Correspondence
1894 Jan-Feb 20
Box 4, Folder 12 Correspondence
1894 Feb 21-Mar
Box 4, Folder 13 Correspondence
1894 Apr-Jun
Box 4, Folder 14 Ballymena
Box 4, Folder 15 Correspondence
1894 Jun-Aug
Box 4, Folder 16 Correspondence
1894 Sep-Dec
Box 4, Folder 17 Purchase new yacht
1895 Feb
Box 4, Folder 18 Correspondence
1895 Mar
Box 4, Folder 19 Refurbishing Ballymena
1895 Apr
Box 4, Folder 20 Refurbishing Ballymena
1895 May-Jun
Box 4, Folder 21 Accident Ballymena and Iroquois
1895 Jul-Nov
Box 4, Folder 22 Senate Bill #291 regarding Steam Crafts
1896 Jan-Jul
Box 4, Folder 23 Uniforms
1896 Mar-Jun
Box 4, Folder 24 Correspondence
1896 Aug-Oct
Box 4, Folder 25 China Inventory
1897 Aug-Dec
Box 4, Folder 26 Commissioning of Ballymena for war service
Box 4, Folder 27 Correspondence
Box 4, Folder 28 Correspondence
Box 4, Folder 29 Log
Box 7C, Folder 3 Log
Box 4, Folder 29 Log
Contents Note: Navigation notes removed from log.


Series 1. Subseries J. Real estate, ca. 1899-1900
Until his marriage in 1897, John Nicholas Brown lived in Providence at 357 Benefit Street, and in Newport at the family mansion on Bellevue Avenue. He spent an exorbitant amount of time abroad residing in hotels and visiting friends and family. After their marriage, the Browns set up households in Providence and New York City. During the summer months, they rented the Fearing House in Newport.

Subseries 1. Fearing House
John Nicholas Brown and his wife, Natalie Bayard Brown, rented the Fearing House in 1899 from George W. Fearing. The Fearing House, located on Narragansett Avenue in Newport, was partially renovated by architect Dudley Newton at the request of John Nicholas Brown.

Container Description Date
Box 4, Folder 30 Fearing House
Box 4, Folder 31 Fearing House
Box 4, Folder 32 Fearing House
Box 8C, Folder 3 Fearing House

Subseries 2. 931 Fifth Avenue, New York City
Box 4, Folder 33
In November 1899, the Browns resided at 931 Fifth Avenue in New York City. John Nicholas Brown opened a checking account at the Plaza Bank, and remained at this address until his death on May 1, 1900.

Subseries 3. 35 Brown Street, Providence
When in town, John Nicholas Brown and Natalie Bayard Brown rented 35 Brown Street, located near Brown University on the East Side of Providence. This had previously been the home of Thomas Poyton Ives Goddard.

Container Description Date
Box 9C, Folder 1 Guest Book

Subseries 4. Miscellaneous
This sub-subseries contains correspondence regarding 50 South Main Street, the North Burial Ground, Benefit Street, and the rental of Hazard's Stable in Providence and Grace's Stable in New York City. Also, information regarding the proposed purchase of property in New York City located at 84th and Fifth Streets can be found within this miscellaneous grouping. John Nicholas Brown, Harold Brown, and William Watts Sherman purchased Fort Lot located in Middletown, Rhode Island.

Container Description Date
Box 4, Folder 34-37 Miscellaneous
Box 12X, Folder 7 Miscellaneous

Series 1. Subseries K. Purchases
John Nicholas Brown's purchases of a more personal nature are found within this category, items such as articles of clothes, cigars, and jewelry. In 1900, there are letters referencing baby carriages and sterilizers.

Container Description Date
Box 4, Folder 38-39 Miscellaneous

Series 2. Travel, 1874-1890
During the summer of 1880, John Nicholas Brown and his tutor, Professor Poland, toured the western United States. They brought letters of introduction with them and visited many of the major western cities. Between 1874 and 1888, John Nicholas Brown kept detailed diaries of his European travels. Also, this series contains two late nineteenth century pamphlets probably obtained by John Nicholas Brown while in England and the Continent. Additionally this series contains one pocket map of the "New York Wilderness, the Adirondacks."

Series 2. Subseries A. Diaries, 1874-1888
These travel diaries provide a glimpse into the life of young John Nicholas Brown. The earliest diaries are academic in format, but as John Nicholas matured, he wrote more freely. His diaries provide a detailed itinerary of the Brown family's travels, and record numerous visits to churches, libraries, museums, and bookshops. He visited many historical sights including various castles, cathedrals, and the Paris sewers. He witnessed the funeral of George V, King of Hanover on June 18, 1878, and saw the castle and apartments of Catherine de Medicis. He frequented the Baths at Luchon and partook in several treatments. He journeyed across the Pyrennes and visited the Cite. John Nicholas Brown saw the Austrian Emperor: "His majesty was dressed in uniform and touched his cap in military style when we bowed to him. He was smoking a cigar. He is not very good looking. His chin is shaved and his whiskers are very heavy. It struck me that he looked rather troubled as well he may at the way affairs are going on in Bosnia."

Container Description Date
Box 4, Folder 40 Europe
1874 Oct 15-1875 Apr 17
Box 4, Folder 41 Europe
1875 Apr 18-Aug 13
Box 4, Folder 42 Europe
1875 Apr 18-Aug 13
Box 4, Folder 43 Europe
1875 Aug 14-Dec 27
Box 4, Folder 44 Europe
1875 Dec 28-1876 Sep 25
Box 5, Folder 1 Europe
1878 Apr 4-Aug 7
Box 5, Folder 2 Europe
1878 Aug 8-1879 Apr 19
Box 5, Folder 3 Europe
1879 Apr 21-Sep 5
Box 5, Folder 4 Adirondacks
Box 5, Folder 5 United States
1882 Jul 5- Aug 19
Box 5, Folder 6 Europe
1883 Apr 12-1884 Sep 4
Box 5, Folder 7 Nassau
1886 Mar
Box 5, Folder 8 Obituary removed from Nassau diary
Box 5, Folder 9 Adirondacks
1886 Aug-Sep
Box 5, Folder 10 Europe
1887 Apr 15-Sep 30
Box 5, Folder 11 Alaska and western United States
1888 Jul-Sep

Series 2. Subseries B. Map
This pocket map of the "New York Wilderness, the Adirondacks" is folded into a small bound volume. It was published by G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. of New York in 1882.

Container Description Date
Box 5, Folder 12 Pocket map

Series 2. Subseries C. Travel pamphlets, 1887-1890
A French pamphlet entitled, "Notice du Baptistere Saint-Jean De Poitiers" by le Lieutenant Emidle Esperandieu, published by E. Druinaud, in 1890. The second pamphlet is a sermon preached before the Honourable House of Commons, in commemoration of Her Majesty's Jubilee, Printed in London by Macmillan and Co. in 1887. This pamphlet was given to John Nicholas Brown by Mrs. Charles Kingsley in 1887.

Container Description Date
Box 5, Folder 12 Pamphlets

Series 2. Subseries D. Travel Photographs - RESTRICTED, circa 1874-1888
Photographs that he acquired or took himself during his travels to: Alaska, New Caledonia, Ireland, and Glastonbury. All the photographs are tightly rolled and need conservation. They are not currently available for research use due to their fragile condition.

Container Description Date
Box 13 Alaska - RESTRICTED
circa 1888
Box 13 Ireland - RESTRICTED
circa 1874-1888
Box 13 Glastonbury - RESTRICTED
circa 1874-1888
Box 13 New Caledonia - RESTRICTED
circa 1874-1888

Series 3. Financial records, 1878-1900
This series contains valuable information regarding John Nicholas Brown's personal expenses, investments and trust income. The living expenses and general funds of John Nicholas Brown derived from the Estate of John Carter Brown, who passed away in 1874. Under the provisions of the trust, when the youngest child of John Carter Brown, Sophia, reached her majority at age twenty-one, the trust was distributed among the three children. G.W. Matteson, a trustee of the estate of John Carter Brown and an employee of Brown & Ives, managed the trusts for each child.

Series 3. Subseries A. Investments, 1878-1893
Contained within this subseries is information regarding investments in which John Nicholas Brown held stock, investments he was researching, and family investments.

Container Description Date
Box 5, Folder 13 Allen's Print Works
Box 5, Folder 14 Allen's Print Works
Box 5, Folder 15 Atlantic Cotton Mills
Box 5, Folder 16 Kidder, Peabody & Co.
Box 5, Folder 17 Tax assessment
Box 5, Folder 18 Assignment of Mortgages
Box 5, Folder 19 Miscellaneous
Box 5, Folder 20 Miscellaneous

Series 3. Subseries B. Trust income
The Estate of John Carter Brown, under the trusteeship of Thomas P.I. Goddard and George W.R. Matteson, administered the inheritance of John Nicholas Brown and his brother Harold and sister Sophia. Cash Books for each child of John Carter Brown were carefully maintained from 1888 forward. The trust money was invested in western lands, building projects, property management and mortgage lending. Income from stock and bonds was also included in this portfolio.

Container Description Date
Box 5, Folder 21-23 Assignment of Mortgages
Box 1 Cash Book

Series 3. Subseries C. Personal expenses, 1882-1905
Check registers from two banks, canceled checks, and bills provide clues as to John Nicholas Brown's personal expenses. There are few bills, checks or other evidence of John Nicholas Brown's financial/personal expenses prior to marriage. However, there is an abundance of information regarding the personal expenses of John Nicholas Brown after his marriage in 1897. This series contains correspondence from various merchants. The Subscription Book contains a detailed account of the donations given by John Nicholas Brown for a two-year period. The book was also used as a notebook by John Nicholas to record his library purchases and to keep an account of his European expenses. This journal was also used for a few years by Natalie Bayard Brown to record her charitable donations following the death of John Nicholas Brown in 1900.

Subseries 1. Charity and subscription books, 1882-1905

Container Description Date
Box 5, Folder 24 Charity and subscription books
1882-1884, 1901-1905
Box 5, Folder 25 Charity and subscription books
Box 2, Folder 37 Items removed

Subseries 2. Check registers, 1895-1900

Container Description Date
Box 10C, Folder 1 Plaza Bank, NY (temporary)
Box 10C, Folder 2 National Bank of Rhode Island, Newport
1895 Jul 3-1899 Jul 12
Box 10C, Folder 3 National Bank of Rhode Island, Newport
1899 Jul 12-1900 Apr 7
Box 10C, Folder 4 Plaza Bank, NY
1899 Dec 1-1900 Apr 7
Box 5, Folder 26 Plaza Bank, NY (temporary, canceled checks)
Box 5, Folder 27 Plaza Bank, NY (canceled checks)
1899 Dec 1-1900 Apr 7
Box 5, Folder 28 National Bank of Rhode Island (canceled checks)
1895 Jul 3-1900 Apr 7

Subseries 3. Bills, 1896-1900

Container Description Date
Box 5, Folder 29 Bills
undated; 1896
Box 5, Folder 30-31 Bills
Box 5, Folder 32 Bills
1897 Nov-1898 May
Box 8C, Folder 4 Bills
Box 5, Folder 33-39 Bills
1898 Jan-Dec
Box 5, Folder 40 Footman, butler expenses
Box 5, Folder 41-46 Bills
1899 Jan-Jun
Box 6, Folder 1-18 Bills
1899 Jul-Dec
Box 8C, Folder 5 Bills
Box 6, Folder 19 Bills
Box 6, Folder 20 Bills
1900 Jan-Apr
Box 6, Folder 21 Bills
1900 Jan
Box 12X, Folder 8 Bills
1900 Feb-Mar
Box 6, Folder 22-29 Bills
1900 Jan-May

Series 4. Legal records, ca. 1883-1898
This small series contains a copy of the will of Nicholas Brown and the deed for the John Carter Brown library, which was transferred from Sophia Augusta Brown to her son John Nicholas Brown in 1898. John Nicholas Brown's Notary Public Certificate is also contained in this series.

Container Description Date
Box 6, Folder 30 John Carter Library deed
1898 Jan 28
Box 6, Folder 31 Copy of Nicholas Brown's will
Box 6, Folder 32 Notary public certificate
1883 Feb 9

Series 5. Genealogy
This series reflects John Nicholas Brown's active interest in the history of the Brown family. The research pertaining to Chad Browne is an extract from the New York "Nation" (March 9, 1893) detailing Chad Browne's emigration from England. Other individuals researched in this series include Simeon Thayer, William Thayer, and Ann Brown. The Brown family Ancestral Tablet was not heavily utilized and contains only a few entries.

Container Description Date
Box 6, Folder 33 Chad Browne
Box 6, Folder 34 Brown family
Box 6, Folder 35 Brown and Thayer families
Box 6, Folder 36 Brown family Ancestral Tablet
Box 6, Folder 37 Brown and Thayer families (removed from tablet)
Box 6, Folder 38 Providence land ownership
ca. 1600-1800

Series 6. Writings and speeches, 1871-1900
This series contains one diary, kept in 1880 while John Nicholas Brown lived at 357 Benefit Street in Providence and on Bellevue Avenue in Newport. Several copybooks and some school essays are included in this series, as well as a copy of a testimonial speech written by John Nicholas Brown on the occasion of William Goddard's retirement from Goddard Brothers. The speech was given by John Nicholas Brown at a dinner honoring William Goddard for his fifty years of dedication to the family business.

Series 6. Subseries A. Diary

Container Description Date
Box 6, Folder 39 Diary

Series 6. Subseries B. School essays/copy book

Container Description Date
Box 6, Folder 40 Burial Places, Kings of England
Box 6, Folder 41 Italian lesson copybook
Box 6, Folder 42 School essays
Box 6, Folder 43 School essays, "Memoirs of an Ox named John"

Series 6. Subseries C. Testimonial

Container Description Date
Box 6, Folder 44 William Goddard testimonial

Series 6. Subseries D. Miscellaneous

Container Description Date
Box 6, Folder 45 Samuel de Champlain essay
Box 6, Folder 46 America

Series 7. Memorabilia, 1876-1897
This series includes a scrapbook that contains memorabilia of John Nicholas Brown's life at Brown University and an 1887 address book that recorded friends and acquaintances from around the United States and throughout Europe.

Series 7. Subseries A. Scrapbook, 1881-1883
This scrapbook highlights John Nicholas Brown's years at Brown University. It contains newspaper clippings regarding activities about town, as well as fraternity information. It also contains memorabilia on the class of 1885, specifically regarding class day. Although John Nicholas Brown left school in 1882 due to his frail condition, a degree was conferred upon him by the University faculty, officially recognizing him as a member of the class of 1885.

Container Description Date
Box 9C2 Scrapbook

Series 7. Subseries B. Events, 1876-1897

Container Description Date
Box 6, Folder 47 Visitor's Guide to the Centennial Exhibition and Philadelphia
Box 6, Folder 48 Brown University
Box 6, Folder 49 Thanksgiving for the Long Reign of Queen Victoria
1897 Jun 20

Series 7. Subseries C. Wallet contents

Container Description Date
Box 6, Folder 50 Silver Certificate-$1. ID card
Box 6, Folder 51 Railroad pass, calling cards, plaster

Series 7. Subseries D. Address book
This address book, dated 1887, belonged to John Nicholas Brown, and recorded vendors, shops and acquaintances in the United States and abroad.

Container Description Date
Box 6, Folder 52 Address book
Box 6, Folder 53 Address book - 178 Madison letterhead removed

Series 7. Subseries E. Miscellaneous, ca. 1887-1892

Container Description Date
Box 6, Folder 54 Amory Estate checkbook
Box 6, Folder 55 Ballymena Invitations
Box 6, Folder 56 Bookplates, samples, one each size
Box 6, Folder 57 Calling cards, samples
Box 6, Folder 58 Directions to loan offices in Brooklyn and New York City
Box 6, Folder 59 Merchants and Manufacturers Board of Trade of New York

Series 8. Personal artifacts, ca. 1890
The personal artifacts series contains a miscellaneous collection of artifacts and items that belonged to John Nicholas Brown (1861-1900).

Container Description Date
Box 11C Quill pen JNB used as an elector
Box 11C Telephone address book from wallet
Box 11C Ballymena insignia
Box 11C Ballymena Silver Tiffany calling cardholder
Box 11C Ballymena Bible
Box 11C Invitation card (blank) from John Nicholas Brown to sail on his yacht Ballymena