Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections Online

For Participating Institutions

Natalie Bayard Brown papers (Ms.2007.011)

Brown University Library

Box A
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Tel: 401-863-2146

Scope & content

The Natalie Bayard Brown (1869 - 1950) papers span approximately seventy-three years from 1877 to the death of Natalie Bayard Brown in 1950. The majority of the collection material encompasses the years 1897 and 1950. The collection consists of manuscripts, typescripts, bound manuscript volumes, travel diaries, books, pamphlets, newspapers, newspaper clippings, bills, canceled checks, financial statements, legal papers, writings, speeches, scrapbooks, photographs, blueprints and a few architectural drawings. The volume of the collection spans approximately thirty-nine linear feet. The collection was organized by content and date.

This collection includes correspondence received and sent regarding Natalie Bayard Brown’s engagement, wedding and death. Correspondence between Natalie Bayard Brown and family members can be found in this collection. The correspondence Natalie Bayard Brown received from her son is quite extensive, whereas the correspondence between Natalie Bayard Brown and other members of her family is limited. The correspondence between Natalie Bayard Brown and her grandchildren is restricted.

Natalie Bayard Brown was a staunch and important supporter of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Newport, Rhode Island. Her participation in the Emmanuel Church community is documented in correspondence, writings and speeches, clippings, and photographs. Natalie Bayard Brown donated a great deal of her personal time to various civic organizations. Information regarding the Newport Civic League and the Newport School Committee, in particular, is found in correspondence, writings and speeches, scrapbooks, clippings, and photographs. Detailed information regarding all charitable contributions is found among the Federal tax return documents.

Correspondence concerning Natalie Bayard Brown’s various memberships as well as her real estate holdings and purchases is located in the correspondence series. Natalie Bayard Brown owned rental properties in Newport; documentation for these properties includes blueprints and architectural drawings. Information concerning the purchase of the Dickey Estate, the building of Harbour Court, and Harbour Court renovations can be found in Series 3. Legal, Subseries C. Newport properties. Additional documentation regarding Natalie Bayard Brown’s Boston property, 181 Commonwealth Ave., is located in Series 1. Correspondence, Subseries L. Real estate, and Series 3. Legal, Subseries D. Boston property.

Natalie Bayard Brown, as an active member of the Democratic Party and President of the Women’s Democratic Club of Newport, corresponded with leading party officials. Enthusiastically, she supported the candidacy of Al Smith in 1928 and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. She actively campaigned for both presidential candidates and for Theodore Francis Green in his several bids for governor. In addition to political correspondence, the papers of Natalie Bayard Brown contain political writings and speeches, political scrapbooks, and an abundance of political newspapers and newspaper clippings.

Due to her position as guardian for her son, John Nicholas Brown, Natalie Bayard Brown corresponded with the President of Brown University, Dr. Faunce, regarding the business of the John Carter Brown Library. She frequently corresponded with the Brown Family’s financial advisors, George and Frank Matteson. 50 South Main Street Correspondence dated 1900 - 1903 are Natalie Bayard Brown’s personal files and contain originals from 50 South Main Street attached to Natalie Bayard Brown’s copies of correspondence sent. Correspondence 1903 - 1933 are original office files kept at 50 South Main Street. It contains copies, often on extremely thin rolls of onionskin, faded and difficult to read at times attached to Natalie Bayard Brown’s original correspondence.

The financial records of Natalie Bayard Brown are extensive and provide a wealth of information regarding her investments, trust income, and personal expenses. Included in the personal expenses are accounts payable, accounts receivable, canceled checks, check registers, bank vouchers, statement sheets and information regarding the NBB special account and the Harbour Court Account. The canceled checks have been retained. Unfortunately, all of the registers for the NBB special account are missing. The legal papers of Natalie Bayard Brown contain various estate settlements, deeds, agreements, Natalie Bayard Brown’s will, legal council correspondence, and correspondence regarding her estate settlement. The Natalie Bayard Brown estate settlement was handled by her son and executor, John Nicholas Brown, and contains correspondence, bills, receipts, account summaries, settlement agreements and bank statements.

Natalie Bayard Brown was an accomplished traveler and often kept detailed diaries. These ten extensive diaries provide a wealth of information and a great deal of insight into her personality. These diaries detail not only expansive European travel, but also worldwide and nationwide travel. Significantly, Natalie Bayard Brown kept photographic scrapbooks documenting many of her travels. The travel photographs beautifully complement the travel diaries. In addition to keeping travel diaries, Natalie wrote short stories. An effective public speaker, she often penned and delivered speeches to support her causes.

Interestingly, Natalie constructed scrapbooks commemorating important events in her life. She created family scrapbooks, political scrapbooks, civic scrapbooks, a society scrapbook and a postcard scrapbook. Concomitantly, Natalie possessed extensive newspaper clippings. At various times in her life, she subscribed to newspaper clipping services to obtain all of the articles written regarding significant events in her life; for example, her engagement and marriage. She also clipped articles concerning family members, friends, acquaintances, civic organizations, memberships, and church related and political articles. Over the course of her life, Natalie Bayard saved entire newspapers highlighting important and significant current events. Due to her interest in politics, she saved many newspapers commemorating the election and inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. These editions were flat-filed and interleaved with buffered tissue. On several occasions, Natalie Bayard Brown created unique document rolls. These rolls contain newspaper clippings, leaflets, and correspondence that are glued end-on-end. Detailing Newport Civic League activities, these glued documents were probably used as a display and later rolled for storage purposes.

The miscellaneous series of the Natalie Bayard Brown collection contains various pamphlets, address books, an autograph book, John Nicholas Brown’s (1900 - 1979) baby books, a written record of visits paid and received in a bound volume, an obstetrics book from the year 1898, and a 1922 Merrymount Press printed keepsake for Natalie Bayard Brown and Georgette Brown.