Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 22 August 2019

Brown, Mary Elizabeth (Adams )locked

  • Sarah L.B. Brown

Extract

(Adams )

(b New York, May 30, 1842; d New York City, Feb 15, 1918). American collector of musical instruments. Brown was formally schooled until age 16 and married the banker John Crosby Brown in 1864. Family (including six children), church, and charitable work were foremost in her life, but from 1884 her interest in music motivated her to form a systematic, global collection of instruments meant to illustrate their development and diversity. Beginning in 1889, she donated more than 3000 instruments to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, naming the gift in honour of her husband: The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments of All Nations. The collection, of which she was de facto curator, attracted international recognition and remains the core of the museum’s instrument holdings, which also include her correspondence and a collection of musicians’ portraits.

Brown acquired instruments (including replicas to fill gaps in the didactic sequence) largely through correspondence with far-flung family, friends, missionaries, consular officials, and her husband’s international business connections. Although the collection includes some important masterpieces of art and design, Brown strove to collect typical examples illustrative of their times and places. For advice she corresponded with Alfred J. Hipkins, George Grove, Henry Balfour, Victor-Charles Mahillon, Sourindro Mohun Tagore, and other authorities, and she exchanged information and instruments with other collectors and museums in the USA and Europe....

Access to the complete content on Grove Music Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.