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J. Carter Brown papers

Scope & content

The J. Carter Brown papers primarily contain correspondence, administrative materials, lecture notes, photographs, and other materials that span his lifetime. The bulk of the material is related to Brown's consulting business, his work as Director Emeritus of the National Gallery of Art, and his involvement as a board member with many organizations. These materials date between 1990 and 2002.

Series 1 consists of correspondence, meetings schedules, phone logs and miscellaneous papers related to Brown's work at the National Gallery of Art, both as Director and as Director Emeritus. These materials range from 1963 to 2002.

Series 2 is comprised of materials from Brown's work as an independent consultant for various companies and projects including Ovation, the 1996 Olympics Rings exhibition, and Corbis. Items include meeting minutes, publicity and fundraising materials. The Rings exhibition materials also include information about the paintings on loan to the exhibition, how they were insured, and other such information. Among the miscellaneous sub-series items are materials from projects at the Louvre, the Windshield exhibition, and the White House.

Series 3 is comprised of meeting minutes, organizational materials, correspondence, and fundraising materials for the many organizations on whose Boards of Trustees and/or Boards of Directors Brown served. Some of the major organizations represented include the Commission of Fine Arts, Pritzker Architecture Prize, Association of Art Museum Directors, Cafritz Foundation, Brown University Corporation, John Nicholas Brown Center, John Carter Brown Library, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Heinz Endowment, Kennedy Center, Newport Restoration Foundation, Nordstern Insurance Company, Winterthur, and World Monuments Fund. The materials from the Commission of Fine Arts include much about the designs, decision-making processes, and politics of building monuments around Washington, D.C. Overall, there are more than thirty organizations included in this Series.

Lecture notes, research for presentations, articles informing future lecture topics, and articles written by or about Brown are included in Series 4. Box 162 contains materials for Brown's lectures on Richard Neutra and Windshield, with which he toured around the United States.

Series 5 contains materials related to events to which Brown was invited, attended, orchestrated, or declined. Events related to specific organizations with which Brown was involved will be in the Organizations and Memberships series. These events span four decades, from 1960 to 2002. The majority of these events are fundraising galas, art gallery openings, museum events, and parties thrown by friends and acquaintances.

Throughout his career, Brown received many awards and honors in the form of honorary degrees, plaques, medallions, and other formats. These materials comprise Series 6. The awards are from the Postmaster General, the mayor of Washington, D.C., the American Association of Museums, the National Arts Club, and many other organizations. Brown received seventeen Honorary Doctorate Degrees from universities, including: Brown University, Georgetown University, Roger Williams University, Rhode Island School of Design, Univesity of Maryland, College Park, Tougaloo College, and American University.

The Personal materials in Series 7 are divided into eight sub-series. Sub-series A, Education, contains both notebooks and academic work, and correspondence from Brown's experiences at the Arizona Desert School, Groton School, Stowe School, Harvard University, Harvard Business School, and New York University. The correspondence in Sub-series B is comprised of letters primarily between Brown and his family, but also with some from friends. Sub-series C, Travel, is made up of travel brochures, tickets, bills, and some photographs of places Brown traveled with friends and family. Sub-series D, Residences, is comprised of descriptions of properties owned by Brown, plans for renovations, insurance policies, house inventories, and other related materials. The book project material (Sub-series E) is audio cassettes of Brown talking about his father's life, along with the transcripts of those descriptions. The financial materials (Sub-series F) have been restricted as much of the material relates to Brown's family investments. Sub-series G, Miscellaneous, contains materials about family estates and wine interests. The photographs and slides (Sub-series H) show family vacations, jury travels for the Pritzker Prize, and holiday events. The estate papers in Sub-series I contains condolence letters written upon his death in 2002, a DVD video of the memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral. It also contain financial information about his estate which is restricted.

Series 8, Other Media, is comprised of audio cassettes, video cassettes, and computer disks and CD-ROM. The audio and video cassettes feature Brown speaking about art collections, artists, the National Gallery of Art, Ovation, and the Rings Exhibition at the 1996 Olympics. The computer materials contain documents related to Brown's schedule and work as a consultant, and National Gallery of Art director emeritus.