Rhode Island Stampless Covers & Letters
The History of Brown and Ives - 1792-1874
Part II
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Nicholas Brown, Jr.
Nicholas Brown, Jr. was the son of Nicholas Sr. and Rhoda Jenckes Brown. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island on April 4, 1769. He graduated Rhode Island College, (Brown University) in 1786. After his father died Nicholas took over the reigns of the family business. He had previously entered into a partnership with his brother-in-law, Thomas Poynton Ives and in 1792 the name of the firm was changed to Brown, Benson and Ives. In 1796 George Benson retired from the firm and the firm became Brown & Ives. Brown and Ives was one of the leaders in American commerce and industry for many years; first under Nicholas Jr. and later under his son, John Carter Brown.

Nicholas was a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly for many years and one of the electors for the state of Rhode Island. He was one of the original founders of the Athenaeum and a major benefactor of Rhode Island College. He was elected as a trustee of the college in 1791 and performed the duties of treasurer for over 29 years. Nicholas began his contributions to the college in 1792 with a gift of $500.00 and in 1804 he donated a gift of $5000.00. His brothers were also strong supporters of the college and the college voted in that year to change the name to Brown University in honor of the family's generosity and support. In 1822, Nicholas paid for and built another hall for the University which was named "Hope College" after his sister Hope Ives. He continued to contribute funds and material to the university until his death in 1841.

Nicholas Brown married Anne Carter  on November 3, 1791. Nicholas and Anne had 6 children; one of whom, John Carter Brown, took over the management of Brown and Ives on his father's death. Anne died on June 16, 1798 and Nicholas married Mary Bowen on July 22, 1801. Nicholas died in Providence, RI on September 27, 1841.

Thomas Poynton Ives
Thomas Poynton Ives was born in Beverly, Massachusetts on April 9, 1769. He was raised by relatives in Boston after the early deaths of both his mother and father. In 1782 at the age of 13, he was apprenticed to the firm of Nicholas Brown & Co as a clerk in the accounting department. 

Thomas rose through the company ranks and by 1791, he was in charge of most of the company's affairs. In 1792, Thomas married Nicholas' only daughter Hope Brown and entered into a partnership with Nicholas Jr. 

Thomas was heavily involved in the firm's shipping business and the success of the company's Far Eastern trade was largely due to his efforts. 

Thomas also introduced the concept of using fleets of small vessels in foreign countries to take lesser cargos from the larger ports to the smaller markets and then return to the central port and load the bigger company vessels, which would enter the major ports at pre-stated times. Brown and Ives was the first Rhode Island firm to introduce this method. Thomas Ives remained active in the company's affairs until his death in 1835. In 1811 he was appointed as the President of the "Providence Bank" and in 1819 he he became President of the "Providence Institute for Savings," (The Old Stone Bank).

John Carter Brown

John Carter Brown was the son of Nicholas Jr. and Anne Carter Brown. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island on August 28, 1797 and was a graduate of Brown University in 1816. He became a partner in the firm of Brown and Ives in 1832 and assumed the full management of the company in 1841 on the death of his father. John was more interested in scholarly and literary pursuits than in running the business and he left most of the company's affairs in the hands of his able managers. 

John had developed a love of rare and unusual books and he began collecting books and publications very early in life. He traveled abroad in 1841; spending several years in the capitals of Europe where he continued to acquire books for his collection. His collection included the most complete library on American History in the country.

John became a trusty of Brown University in 1828 and was selected as a fellow in 1842. Following in his father's footsteps; he gave generously to the University. His donations of funds and land to Brown University included the library which was subsequently named after him. He also donated funds and gifts to other colleges and schools throughout the country. He was one of the original founders of the Butler Hospital for the Insane and continued to support the institution throughout his lifetime. He was also a major contributor to the Rhode island hospital and served as president of the New England Emigrant Aid Society

John married Sophia Augusta Browne of Great Britain in May of 1859, (a direct descendent of Roger Williams). They had three children; John Nicholas, Harold, and Sophia Augusta. John Carter Brown died in Providence, Rhode Island on June 10, 1874.

NOTE: During my previous research, I had thought that the firm of Brown and Benson became Brown and Ives in 1792, however during my research for the 1799 Brown, Benson and Ives Stampless Folded Letter, I discovered that Thomas Poynton Ives became a partner in 1792, however George Benson did not leave the firm until 1796. Thus the firm was known as Brown, Benson and Ives during the period 1792 to 1796.

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RI Historical Society
Stampless I
Stampless II

Stampless III
Stampless IV
Stampless V
Stampless VI
Brown & Ives Letters
The Hazard Family Letters
Joseph Tillinghast
Free Franked Letters
DeWolf Family Letters

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