Guide to the F.C. Brown Papers
NMAH.AC.0693

Administrative Information

Repository Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History, August 2000

P.O. Box 37012
 Suite 1100, MRC 601
 Washington, D.C., 20013-7012
 Phone: 202-633-3270
 archivescenter@si.edu

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use note

Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

This collection was donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History by Dr. Brown’s son-in-law, Richard D. Olson, August 1999.

Processing Information note

Collection processed by Jennifer Hecker (intern), August 2000 supervised by Alison Oswald, archivist.

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Summary Information

Repository
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Creator
Brown, F.C., (Fay Cluff)
Title
F. C. Brown Papers
ID
NMAH.AC.0693
Date [inclusive]
1902-1964
Extent
4.50 Cubic feet; 17 boxes
Language
English
Language of Materials note
Some materials in German.
Abstract
F.C. Brown was a physicist and inventor who created and supervised the development of education exhibits, most notably as organizing director of the New York Museum of Science and Industry (part of the Museums of the Peaceful Arts), 1926-1931. He was also curator of physics exhibits at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, 1932-1937. Much of Brown's scientific research focused on the element selenium. He invented the phonopticon, an improvement on the optophone (invented by Fournier d'Albe, 1912). Material focuses on Dr. Brown's professional life: correspondence, photographs, photo albums, scrapbooks, and ephemera from the positions he held and research he conducted. Very little personal information is included.

Preferred Citation note

[Title and date of item], F.C. Brown Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, box number X, folder number XX, digital file number XXXXXXXX

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Biographical/Historical note

Brown was a physicist and inventor who created and supervised the development of education exhibits, most notably as organizing director of the New York Museum of Science and Industry (part of the Museums of the Peaceful Arts), 1926-1931. He was also curator of physics exhibits at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, 1932-1937. Much of Brown's scientific research focused on the element selenium. He invented the phonopticon, an improvement on the optophone (invented by Fournier d'Albe, 1912).

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Scope and Contents note

The material in the F. C. Brown Papers focuses primarily on Dr. Brown’s professional life and includes correspondence, photographs, photo albums, scrapbooks and ephemera. Very little personal information is included. The collection is arranged into ten series.

Series 1, Biographical/General, 1905-1940, contains material which relates to Dr. Brown’s personal life and research. Scientific publications, which do not relate directly to the professional positions he held, can be found here. Also included are some personal financial records and two photographic portraits of Dr. Brown.

Series 2, Correspondence, 1902-1964, undated, is arranged chronologically and pertains directly to Dr. Brown’s career.

Series 3, Inventions, 1904-1942, documents Dr. Brown’s inventions and include invention notebooks, loose notes, patent documents, correspondence, and an article announcing the invention of the phonopticon.

Series 4, U. S. Army Ordnance Department, 1918-1919, contains materials from Dr. Brown’s tenure at the U. S. Army Ordnance Department. It includes a panoramic photograph and various official reports.

Series 5, U. S. Bureau of Standards, 1917-1926, contains assorted papers from the U. S. Bureau of Standards which date from 1917 to 1922, and also a few photographs, including a panoramic portrait of Bureau personnel in 1920.

Series 6, Museum Work, 1927-1940, consists of materials primarily dealing with Dr. Brown’s work in the New York Museum of Science and Industry (part of the Museums of the Peaceful Arts) and the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Of note is material relating to the dedication ceremony at which the airplane Bremen was given to the Museums of the Peaceful Arts and two scrapbooks which contain clippings, brochures, and photos showcasing developments and events in science, industry and the Museums of the Peaceful Arts.

Series 7, Photographs: Museums of the Peaceful Arts, Museum of Science and Industry, New York City, undated, is comprised of photographs from the Museums of the Peaceful Arts including such subjects as events, exhibits, displays, models, objects, machines, devices, and people. The majority of the photographs are undated.

Series 8, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 1932-1937, includes two photo albums and a scrapbook which deal with the planning of the AAAS annual science exhibitions.

Series 9, Photographs: Other Subjects, 1907-1939, is comprised of photographs covering subjects such as exhibits, displays, objects, and people.

Series 10, Miscellaneous, 1910-circa 1945, includes invitations, programs, brochures, miscellaneous publications and other writings, notes and calculations, and papers from a series of radio broadcasts on science. There is also a 1939 textbook, Experimental Heat, Sound and Light, with accompanying notes and annotations.

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Arrangement note

The collection is organized into ten series.

Series 1, Biographical/General, 1905-1940

Series 2, Correspondence, 1902-1964 and undated

Series 3, Inventions, 1904-1942

Subseries 1, Notebook, 1904

Subseries 2, Invention Notebooks, 1910-1942

Series 4, U.S. Army Ordnance Department, 1918-1921

Series 5, U.S. Bureau of Standards, 1917-1926

Subseries 1, Papers, 1917-1922

Subseries 2, Photographs, 1920, 1924, 1926, undated

Series 6, Museum work, 1927-1941

Series 7, Photographs: Museums of the Peaceful Arts, Museum of Science and Industry, New York City, undated

Subseries 1, Events, Exhibits and Displays, undated

Subseries 2, Models, Objects, Machines and Devices, undated

Subseries 3, People with Objects, undated

Subseries 4, People, undated

Subseries 5, Photos of Other Materials, undated

Series 8, American Association for the Advancement of Science (A.A.A.S.), 1932-1937

Series 9, Photographs: other subjects, 1907-1939

Subseries 1, Exhibits, Displays and Objects, 1931-1939, undated

Subseries 2, People, 1907-1928, undated

Subseries 3, Miscellaneous, circa 1918-1920, undated

Series 10, Miscellaneous, 1910-circa 1945

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago, Ill.).
  • Museum of Science and Industry (New York, N.Y.).
  • United States Army. Ordnance Department.
  • United States. Bureau of Standards.

Genre(s)

  • Clippings--20th century
  • Correspondence--20th century
  • Photographs--20th century
  • Scrapbooks--20th century.

Subject(s)

  • Engines
  • Inventions
  • Inventors
  • Museums
  • Physicists
  • Physics
  • Plows
  • Printing presses
  • Selenium
  • Sewing machines
  • Turbines

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Collection Inventory

 Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1905-1940

Box Folder

Biographical Information, undated

1 1

Miscellaneous—Personal, 1924-1934

1 2

Personal Financial Records, 1936-1939

1 3

Investment Portfolio Statements and Receipts, 1931-1937

15 4

Miscellaneous: Professional, circa 1934-1941

1 4

Papers and Publications by F. C. Brown, 1905-1940

1 5

Scrapbooks, 1907-1911

1 5

Scrapbooks—Selenium Articles, 1907-1908

1 6

Scrapbooks—Heat Articles, 1908-1909

1 6

Scrapbooks—Selenium Articles, 1911

1 7

Scrapbooks—Selenium Articles(some in German), 1911

1 7

Photographic Portraits of F. C. Brown, undated

17 1

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 Series 2: Correspondence, 1902-1964, undated

Box Folder

1902-1911, 1902-1911

2 1

1914-1917, 1914-1917

2 2

1918, 1918

2 3

1919, 1919

2 4

1920-1924, 1920-1924

2 5

1925-1929, 1925-1929

2 6

1930, 1930

3 1

1931, 1931

3 2

1932-1933, 1932-1933

3 3

1934-1935, 1934-1935

3 4

1937 January-1937 November, January 1937-November 1937

3 5

1937 December, 1937 December

3 6

1938, 1938

3 7

1939, 1939

4 1

1940, 1940

4 2

1941, 1941

4 3

1946-1964, undated,  1946-1964, undated

4 4

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 Series 3: Inventions, 1904-1942

 Subseries 1: Notebook, 1904

Box
12
Folder
2

 Subseries 2: Invention Notebooks, 1910-1942

Box Folder

Invention Notebook, Selenium Book II, Fall 1910

5 1

Selenium Book III, 1911

5 2

Invention Notebook, Selenium Book IV, May 1911

5 1

Invention Notebook, Selenium Sensitivity, 1912-1914

5 3

Invention Notebook, Selenium, January 1914-May 1915

5 3

Phonopticon Articles, undated

5 4

Phonopticon Correspondence, 1914-1917, undated

5 5

Ground Speed Meter, circa 1941

5 6

Bomb Sight, 1941-1942

5 7

Patent Documents, 1917, 1920, 1923

5 8

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 Series 4 : U. S. Army Ordnance Department, 1918-1921

Box Folder

Photograph: Aircraft Armament Section, Engineering Division, Ordnance Department, Washington, D. C., January 20, 1919

5 1

Research Information Committee, Italian Bomb Tests, 1918

6 1

Assorted Ballistics Reports, 1918-1919

6 2

Report on Ballistics of American Bombs, May 7, 1919

6 3-4

Report on the Determination of the Damping Coefficients of Aircraft Bombs, September 3, 1919

6 5

The Application of Motion Picture Photography to Ballistics and Airplane Performances, undated

6 6

The Application of Motion Picture Photography to Ballistics and Airplane Performance: Report No. II, November 20, 1919

6 7

Bomb Sights, undated

6 8

Reports, undated

6 9

Figures and Tables, undated

6 10

Fort Monroe and Vicinity Map, 1914

6 2

Blueprints, 1917-1921

6 2

Miscellaneous, undated

6 11

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 Series 5: U. S. Bureau of Standards, 1917-1926

 Subseries 1: Papers, 1917-1922

Box
6
Folder
12

 Subseries 2 : Photographs, 1920, 1924, 1926, undated

Box
6
Folder
12
Box Folder

Personnel, Bureau of Standards, Washington, D.C., November 1920

6 1

U. S. Department of Commerce, Sesqui Centennial Exposition, Bureau of Standards Booth, Philadelphia, 1926

6 13

Unidentified Buildings, Safer-Cabinet Laboratory, Marietta, Ohio, undated

6 14

Man in Airplane, undated

6 15

Bomb Models, undated

6 16

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 Series 6: Museum Work, 1927-1941

 Subseries 1 : Museums of the Peaceful Arts, Museum of Science and Industry-NYC, 1927-1932

Box Folder

Aviation Exhibits, circa 1929-1932

7 1

Dedication of the Bremen Airplane, 1929

7 2

Machine Age Exhibit Articles, 1930

17 2

Water Basin Exhibit Blueprint, circa 1930

13-14 1

Scrapbook, 1929-1931

16 1

Scrapbook(Researcher Copy), 1929-1931

17 5

Miscellaneous, circa 1927-1931

7 3

 Subseries 2: Museum of Science and Industry-Chicago, 1937-1941, undated

Box Folder

Papers, 1938-1940

7 4

Publications, 1937-1940

7 5

Newspaper Clippings, 1940-1941

17 3

Floor plans, 1938, undated

17 3

Other Museum Exhibits, undated

7 6

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 Series 7: Photographs: Museums of the Peaceful Arts, Museum of Science and Industry, New York City, undated

 Subseries 1: Events, Exhibits and Displays, undated

Box Folder

Bremen Airplane Acceptance and Display, undated

10 1

Industrial Museum, undated

10 2

Science Forum, undated

10 3

Color Exhibit, U. S. Department of Agriculture, undated

10 4

Aviation Displays, undated

10 5

Toward Civilization Window Display (Brentano's), undated

10 6

Various Exhibits, undated

10 7

 Subseries 2: Models, Objects, Machines and Devices, undated

Box Folder

Daniel Webster Plow, undated

10 8

Hudson River Bridge Model, undated

10 9

Eli Whitney's Milling Machine and Others, undated

10 10

Parsons Steam Turbine and Others, undated

10 11

Locomotive Model, Salamanca, undated

10 12

Milling Machine, undated

10 13

Tesla Coil, undated

10 14

Corliss Engine, undated

10 15

Early Singer Sewing Machine, undated

10 16

Blaew (Printing) Press, undated

10 17

Gases Display, undated

10 18

Earth Inductor Compass, undated

10 19

Unidentified Devices, undated

10 20

 Subseries 3 : People with Objects, undated

Box Folder

Lilienthal - Hang Gliding, August 1, 1897

10 21

F. C. Brown and Woman Electrified!, undated

10 22

Children and Exhibits, undated

10 23

Woman and Switchboard, undated

10 24

Woman and "Father of Typewriters", 1930

10 25

Woman, Microscope and Chesterfields, undated

10 26

Woman and Camco Robot, undated

10 27

Woman and Unidentified Device, undated

10 28

Nathalia Crane and Potter's Wheel, undated

10 29

Man Demonstrates Model for Women, undated

10 30

Man and Model of Kill Van Kull Bridge, undated

10 31

Man and Lathe, undated

10 32

Man and Duryea Motor Wagon, undated

10 33

Men and Devices, undated

10 34

Man and Spencer Automatic Lathe, undated

10 35

 Subseries 4: People, undated

Box Folder

Men and Corliss Engine (Stuart Chase, Ralph Borsodi, Ralph B. Flanders, and F. C. Brown), undated

10 36

Ralph Borsodi, Ralph B. Flanders, Stuart Chase, undated

10 37

Portrait, Unidentified Man, undated

10 38

Portrait, Dr. Karl Compton, undated

10 39

Portrait, Dr. Fred E. Wright, undated

10 40

Portrait, Unidentified Man, undated

10 41

 Subseries 5: Photos of Other Materials

Box Folder

Photos of Correspondence, undated

10 42

Photos of Press Clippings, undated

10 43

Photos of Negative Strips, undated

10 44

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 Series 8: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 1932-1937

Box Folder

Annual Exhibition, 1932

7 7

Photo Album: Annual Exhibition, 1932

9 1

Annual Exhibition, 1933

7 8

Scrapbook: Annual Exhibition, 1934

15 1

Photo Album: Annual Exhibition, 1934

9 2

Annual Exhibitions, 1935-1937

7 9

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 Series 9: Photographs: Other Subjects, 1907-1939

 Subseries 1: Exhibits, Displays and Objects, 1931-1939, undated

Box Folder

World's Fair Exhibit on Time, 1939

11 1

Artist's Representation of Museum Exhibit on Time, 1931

11 2

Cosmic Ray Exhibit and Unidentified Man, undated

11 3

American Association for the Advancement of Science Exhibition, Indianapolis (loose photos from album), 1937

11 4

People Listening on Headphones and Onlookers, undated

11 5

Crowd of People and Statue, undated

11 6

Electrified Man and Onlooker, undated

11 7

Men and Machines (Unidentified), undated

11 8

Children in Museum, undated

11 9

Langley Aerodrome Airplane, 1903

11 10

Professor Moler and First Dynamo Built in U. S., undated

11 11

Edison Storage Battery Display, undated

11 12

Man and Quartz Spirals, undated

11 13

Old Hand Loom, Crompton and Knowles Loom Works, undated

11 14

Unidentified Instruments, undated

11 15

 Subseries 2: People, 1907-1928, undated

Box Folder

American Physical Society, Washington, D. C., April 1920

11 1

Dr. Fox, Director of Brooklyn Museum and F.C. Brown, in Paris, August 1928

11 16

Children, Washington, D.C., March 18, 1919

11 17

General Electric, Edison and Steinmetz, undated

11 18

Portrait S. W. Stratton, undated

11 19

Portrait Unidentified Man, undated

11 20

Portrait and Obituary Lord Rutherford, (1871-1937)

11 21

 Subseries 3: Miscellaneous, circa 1918-1920, undated

Box Folder

Bomb Testing, circa 1918

11 22

Aerial Photos of Town and Clouds, undated

11 23

Photos of Science Paintings by Walter Russell, undated

11 24

Projectile Camera Film, circa 1920

11 25

Smokestack Demolition in South Philadelphia, PA, 1932

11 26

Unidentified, undated

11 27

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 Series 10: Miscellaneous, 1910-circa 1945, undated

Box Folder

General Motors Graph, 1939

11 2

Electronics Supplements, 1930, 1934

11 3

Executive Orders (National Recovery Administration), 1934

7 10

Invitations, Programs and Brochures, 1926-1931, undated

7 11

Miscellaneous: Publications, 1919-circa 1945, undated

7 12

Miscellaneous: Writings, undated

8 1

National Research Council Reports and Minutes, 1930-1932

8 2

Notes and Calculations, undated

8 3

Prints: Bureau of Engraving and Printing, undated

8 4

Radio Broadcasts on Science,  1929-1930

8 5

Radio Broadcasts on Science,  1931, undated

8 6

Science Service Articles, 1937

8 3

Scientific Papers and Publications, 1910-1940

8 7

Textbook: Experimental Heat, Sound and Light: An Analytical College Text, 1939

12 1

"When Wind and Water Strike At Man" Article, 1937

17 4

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