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date: 22 November 2019

Brown, John Carterlocked

(28 August 1797–10 June 1874)
  • Robert S. Freeman


Brown, John Carter (28 August 1797–10 June 1874), book collector and philanthropist, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Nicholas Brown, a merchant and philanthropist, and Ann Carter, daughter of John Carter, the second printer of Providence. In 1816 he received an A.B. from Brown University, named for his father, and immediately joined the family mercantile firm, Brown & Ives. Although he was involved in several aspects of the shipping business and became a partner in 1832, he found time to travel extensively in Europe and the United States and to pursue his interests in historical subjects and books. Accustomed from childhood to a growing family library, he and his elder brother, Nicholas, “were predisposed to infection with the epidemic Bibliomania” and belonged to “a small group of American gentlemen of means who found in the London and Continental bookshops a reason for a European holiday” (Winship, pp. 9, 12). He resided in Europe from 1823 to 1826 and bought many books, most of which he shipped back to Brown University as gifts. The university made him a trustee in 1828 and a fellow in 1842. He continued to make donations to the university and to be involved in its affairs throughout his life....

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