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Jean Brown papers on the William Watts Sherman House

Biographical and Historical Note

Jean Margaret Young "Jeannie" Brown was a Newport Public librarian and member of the Circle of Scholars at Salve Regina University. Born in Rochester, New York, she graduated from Oberlin College in 1954 and went on to Iowa State University to study juvenile justice. She later earned a Master of Laws degree in Singapore and Master of Library Science degree at Southern Connecticut University.

She married David Brown in 1956, and they traveled throughout the United States and internationally as part of their involvement with outreach education and international technical aid programs, living in Singapore, Malaysia, Texas, Peru, Iowa, Tennessee, Italy, Indonesia, and Pakistan. The Browns settled in Newport in 1993, where Jean became involved in civic causes such as the Newport Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force, and Newport Art Museum, and the Circle of Scholars and David became an adjunct Professor of Economics at Salve Regina University. As part of the community and the Circle of Scholars, Jean became knowledgeable about historic preservation, art, and cultural history.

Built between 1874 and 1876, the Williams Watts Sherman House is the only example of Shingle Style (Queen Anne Style) architecture designed by Henry Hobson Richardson, assisted by Stanford White. William Watts Sherman (1842-1912) was a prominent New York banker who married Annie Derby Rogers Wetmore (1848-1884) in 1871. After several summers in Newport, Rhode Island, the couple decided to construct a "cottage" on land that Annie Wetmore Sherman had inherited from her father, William Shepard Wetmore, along Shepard Avenue. After its completion in 1876, the William Watts Sherman House underwent several enlargements and renovations. John La Farge created a six-panel stained glass window, "Morning Glories," for the house in 1878. In 1970, it was designated a National Historic Landmark and added to the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1982 became part of Salve Regina University.