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John Nicholas Brown II (1900-1979) was born February 21, 1900. Two months later, his father John Nicholas Brown I died of typhoid fever, followed shortly by the unexpected death of his uncle Harold Brown. Thus, as an infant JNB became heir of his family's fortune and was dubbed by the public the "richest baby in America." John Nicholas Brown traveled the world in his youth and would continue to do so throughout his life.

John Nicholas Brown in his Harvard Yearbook, 1920

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JNB graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1922 from Harvard, having completed a concentration in History & Literature of Classical Cultures. In the biographical notes for the JNBII Papers, historian Holly Snyder wrote, "Far from a well-earned vacation, John viewed this tour as a continuation of his studies at Harvard." Although the memory of the eighteenth century "Grand Tour" would have been well known to this young wealthy American man, Brown's post-collegiate voyage overstepped the bounds of the conventional Tour, as he also visited Egypt, Lebanon, and Palestine. JNB returned to Egypt and the Middle East several more times in his life.

JNB's great-grandfather was Nicholas Brown, for whom Brown University was named in 1804. Upon returning to Providence, Rhode Island in 1923, JNB took up residence at 357 Benefit Street-- a 1792 Georgian wood-frame home which Nicholas Brown purchased from Col. Joseph Nightingale. Four generations of Nicholas Brown's descendants lived in the house until 1985, including the family of John Nicholas Brown. The building is now the John Nicholas Brown Center at Brown University, and home to the travel albums represented in this forum.

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John Nicholas Brown at "Gizeh" on his 23rd Birthday: February 21, 1923


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