John Carter Brown

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John Carter Brown

Birthdate: (76)
Birthplace: Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Death: June 10, 1874 (76)
Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States
Place of Burial: Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Nicholas Brown, II and Anne Brown
Husband of Sophia Augusta Brown
Father of John Nicholas Brown I; Harold Brown and Sophia Augusta Sherman
Brother of Nicholas Brown, III; Anne Carter Francis and Moses Brown

Managed by: Gene Daniell
Last Updated:

About John Carter Brown

John Carter Brown the younger son of Nicholas and Ann Carter Brown, was born in Providence 28 August 1797. He married Sophia Augusta Brown, daughter of Patrick Brown. In 1816, he graduated at Brown University. He then entered into business in connection with the house of Brown and Ives of which his father was the senior partner, and became a member of the firm in 1832. On the death of his father in 1841, he inherited a large estate and became more fully identified with the business interests of the community, bringing to the management the fruits of careful training and matured judgment. He resided in Europe at different times for several years. He was chosen a trustee of Brown University in 1828. To him his alma mater is indebted for many gifts. His will contained legacies of land valued at $32,000, as the site for a new library building, and $50,000 to be added to the $20,000 previously given for the erection of the structure. His entire benefactions to the University amounted to nearly $160,000, a sum larger than it had received from any other one, except his father. He frequently aided struggling academies and colleges in other parts of the country, especially in the new states of the West. His provisions for the Rhode Island Hospital exceeded the sum of $84,000. Mr. Brown collected a splendid library of American History, making a specialty of materials of every kind for the history of the early voyages of discovery, the methods of colonizations and settlement, and the subsequent development of the continent of America. For more than forty years he prosecuted this work. It was his purpose to secure every work relating to North or South America which was published in any part of the world between the first voyage of Columbus and the close of theEighteenth Century. He thus accumulated nearly all the publications which are now extant in any language beginning with the Columbus letters of the 1493, and ending with the political pamphlets of 1800. The collection is said to be more complete in its special department than any other that is known to exist. The great part of the works were substantially bound under his directions. He had a catalog prepared containing over 6,400 titles, and the total number of volumes in the library is about 10,000. John Carter Brown died 10 June 1874.

His children were:

1. John Nicholas Brown b. Dec. 17, 1861, Providence, R.I.; d. May 1, 1900, New York (Manhattan) New York; m. Natalie Bayard Dresser

2. Harold Brown, b. Dec. 24, 1865, Providence, R.I.; d. May 10, 1900, New York (Manhattan) New York; m. Georgette Wetmore Sherman

3. Sophia Augusta Brown b. Apr. 21, 1867, Providence R.I.; d. Jun. 28, 1947, Newport; m William Watts Sherman of New York.

Burial: North Burial Ground, Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island


John Carter Brown II (1797–1874) was a book collector whose library formed the basis of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.


He was born in 1797 to Nicholas Brown, Jr., the namesake patron of Brown University. Collecting American books in the mid-19th century, John Carter Brown amassed thousands of early American volumes. He was the first American to join the Hakluyt Society as a charter member in 1846. He fathered a son at age 64, John Nicholas Brown I (1861–1900) continued his father's collection and in his testament assigned funds for the library building. John Carter Brown died in 1874.


He was an ancestor of J. Carter Brown, director of the National Gallery of Art.

Other Sources:

John Carter Brown findagrave memorial, created by: Jen Snoots -

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John Carter Brown's Timeline

August 28, 1797
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
December 17, 1861
Age 64
Providence, RI, USA
Age 65
August 21, 1867
Age 69
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
June 10, 1874
Age 76
Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States
Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States