Brown, Mary Elizabeth, 1842-1918

Alternative names
Birth 1842
Death 1917

Biographical notes:

Mary Elizabeth Brown (Mrs. John Crosby Brown) was a collector of musical instruments from all over the world. According to the introduction to the catalog of the Crosby Brown collection, it was her intention to bring together specimens of all the representative musical instruments known to have been used by man. Her collection of nearly 300 instruments was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1889 with the stipulation that during her lifetime she would have charge of the arrangement of the collection and be free to make any additions or changes she might see fit. During the ensuing years, the number of objects increased enormously, numbering 3,390 by 1904 when a catalog of the collection was compiled. In addition to acquiring actual specimens of musical instruments, Mrs. Crosby Brown corresponded with experts and curators throughout the world, with a view toward purchasing additional items, as well as to elicit information about the various kinds of instruments that she collected. Correspondence and published materials that were part of her estate were bequeathed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by a Miss Morris, and assigned to the Library for cataloging.

From the description of Papers of Mary Elizabeth Brown, ca. 1885-ca. 1909. (Metropolitan Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 199942532


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  • Musical instruments--Private collections


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