Nicholas Brown, 1769–1841, American manufacturer and philanthropist, b. Providence, R.I., grad. Rhode Island College (renamed Brown Univ. in 1804 for him), 1786. He extended the internationally known mercantile business of his father, Nicholas Brown. Later his own firm, Brown and Ives, came to control most of the waterpower on the Blackstone River, where his uncle, Moses Brown, and Samuel Slater had pioneered in the cotton textile industry. He was the treasurer (1796–1825) and, for a long period of time, the benefactor of his alma mater. Butler Hospital was founded (1847), in Providence, by his bequest for the care of the mentally ill.
See J. B. Hedges, Browns of Providence Plantations (2 vol., 1952; repr. 1968).