|Birth: ||Aug. 28, 1797|
Rhode Island, USA
|Death: ||Jun. 10, 1874|
Rhode Island, USA
Hon. John Carter Brown, son of Hon. Nicholas and Anne (Carter) Brown, was born in Providence, R. I., August 28, 1797, and was a graduate of the class of 1816, Brown University. On completing his collegiate education, he entered business life, and in 1832 became a partner in the house of Brown & Ives. In 1841, on the death of his father, he came into possession of an ample estate, and was able to indulge his tastes, which were not mercantile, but rather of a literary, scholarly nature. Shortly after 1841 he went abroad, and spent several years in the continental capitals.
Early in life he began to develop a love for rare and curious books, and with unwearied pains and at great expense, he collected one of the best, if not the best library, of American History in this country. He procured nearly all the publications found in different languages relating to this subject, beginning with the Columbus letters of 1493, and ending with the political pamphlets of 1800. The catalogue of this truly incomparable collection of works on American history, which with explanatory notes, was prepared by Hon. J. R. Barlett, contained, at the time of its publication, 5925 letters, in a large number of instances representing two or more volumes. The number was considerably increased, however, during Mr. Brown’s lifetime, after the printing of the catalogue.
The collection forms a perfect thesaurus of the best books on the history of the entire continent of America, and, as a taste for historical investigation grows stronger, assumes inestimable value as a reference library. Indeed, it has always been “accessible,” remarks Professor Gammell, “to scholars and authors who were studying the subjects to which it relates. Eminent men from other States, and even from Europe, have visited Providence on purpose to consult or to study some work which they could find nowhere else than in Mr. Brown’s library. So great, indeed, has been his readiness to make this collection useful to historians in other countries, that in at least three instances he has sent across the Atlantic books which, if they had been lost, could never have been replaced. In one instance this was done to meet the wishes of Sir Arthur Phelps, the historian of ‘The Spanish Conquest in America,’ who in one of the volumes of that work makes a graceful acknowledgment of the unexampled courtesy which he had thus experienced.”
Mr. Brown was chosen a trustee of Brown University, in 1828, and a fellow in 1842. His gifts to various departments of the college were liberal in the extreme. The library of the college was especially benefited by his support, in the departments of English and Continental literature. His contributions gave most timely aid to the philosophical department, and were largely the means of erecting some of its buildings and extending its real estate.
His gifts in this direction amounted to upward of $70,000. the library, since named in his honor, with the land on which it stands, the whole valued at the time at not far from $100,000, was his gift. The total of his benefactions to Brown is not less than $175,000, and his name stands far in the front rank of the benefactions to Brown University, his father’s name only taking precedence of his. His interest in educational affairs was not confined to the institutions of Providence. His aid went to colleges and seats of learning all over the country.
He was also deeply interested in the benevolent institutions of the city and State, and was one of the original corporators of the Butler Hospital for the Insane, and throughout his life contributed generously to its support. At the time of his death he was president of the Corporation.
The Rhode Island Hospital was also an object of continued generosity, and he gave to it all different times what in the aggregate amounted to over $84,000. For more than a year he was president of the New England Emigrant Aid Society, which was founded for the purpose of encouraging emigration to Kansas in the effort to make the territory a free state. During the Rebellion he upheld the cause of the Union ardently, and placed all his resources at the call of the nation. While upholding to the fullest his duty as a citizen, he eschewed public life and, unlike his father, remained outside the field of public affairs all his life.
He was essentially the scholar and student, when removed from business activity, a man of culture, refinement, and high ideals, whose influence on the life of the city of Providence of his day cannot be overestimated. Mr. Brown died in Providence, June 10, 1874, in the seventy-seventy year of his age. (from The History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical, by the American Historical Society, Inc., 1920)
Nicholas Brown (1769 - 1841)
Anna Carter Brown (1770 - 1798)
Sophia Augusta Browne Brown (1825 - 1909)
John Nicholas Brown (1861 - 1900)*
Harold Brown (1865 - 1900)*
Sophia Augusta Brown Sherman (1867 - 1947)*
Nicholas Brown (1792 - 1859)*
Moses Brown (1793 - 1794)*
Ann Carter Brown Francis (1795 - 1828)*
John Carter Brown (1797 - 1874)
North Burial Ground
Rhode Island, USA
Created by: Jen Snoots
Record added: Dec 07, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 12621890