Our Founder, Moses Brown (1738-1836)

About Moses Brown

Excerpts taken from the Rhode Island Historical Society Moses Brown papers:

“Moses Brown (1738-1836) was an influential opponent of slavery; patron of education, religion and agriculture; and prominent Quaker. He also was a central figure in the birth of the Industrial Revolution, founding what was generally considered to be the first factory in America. In a busy life that spanned 98 years, he was prominent in virtually every aspect of life in his home town of Providence, Rhode Island.

Moses Brown was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the youngest son of James and Hope (Power) Brown. He was the grandson of Baptist minister James Brown (1666-1732), and his father was a prosperous merchant.

Brown’s final great contribution to Rhode Island life was his role in the revival of the New England Yearly Meeting School. It had existed intermittently in the 1770s and 1780s but died out through lack of interest.

In 1814, Brown presented the Yearly Meeting with 43 acres of land in Providence and worked diligently toward the creation of a school on this land. He rendered important financial assistance, and also donated his impressive book collection to the school library. His son Obadiah was a major supporter of this effort until his untimely death in 1822. Moses Brown served as the school’s treasurer until shortly before his own death in 1836, at the age of 98. The school was later renamed in his honor as the Moses Brown School and remains the leading preparatory school in the state.”

Read more about our founder at RIHS.org

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