J. Crosby Brown collection of steamboat copy photographsCreation: 1795-1930
James Crosby Brown, Jr., was born in Hartford, Conn., in 1929 and spent most of his life in Philadelphia, where he pursued a career in business. After retiring in 1981, he turned full-time to his life-long avocation of maritime history. This collection consists of copy photographs of steamboats, many on the Schuylkill River.
- Creation: 1795-1930
- Brown, J. Crosby (Collector, Person)
27 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. 3 photographic prints : color ; 8 x 10 in. 3 prints : postcards ; 4 x 6 in. 1 print : engraving ; 4.5 x 6.75 in., on sheet 7.75 x 10.25 in.
James Crosby Brown, Jr., was born in Hartford, Conn., in 1929 and spent most of his life in Philadelphia, where he pursued a career in business. After retiring in 1981, he turned full-time to his life-long avocation of maritime history. Starting around 1984 he began research on the early history of the Schuylkill Navigation Company. During that research he found that shortly after being faced with competition from the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, the Schuylkill Navigation Company offered a prize to the first person to build a steamboat suitable to canal operations. Although many designs were tried on different canals, the wash from paddles or propellers generally eroded the banks of artificial waterways, and none were widely adopted. This episode piqued Brown's interest, and he also began to study the pioneers of steamboating on eastern canals and non-tidal rivers, a neglected part of the early history of steam-navigation. In 1989 he began to write a monograph on these two subjects, but he died in Blue Hill, Maine, in July 1990.
Scope and Content
This collection consists of copy photographs of steamboats, many on the Schuylkill River. There is one original item in the collection: an engraving of the Gray's Ferry Chemical Works established by Harrison Brothers and Company (Philadelphia), circa 1876. The Philadelphia firm of Harrison Brothers & Company was the first successful producer of sulphuric acid in the United States. It also manufactured alum, copperas, nitric acid, wood naphtha, red and white lead, and colors.
GL Box 1.
This collection is open for research.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
For research purposes. Reproduction prohibited on all items, except original engraving.
Language of Materials
This collection consists of reproduction photographs collected from historical institutions (Free Library of Philadelphia; Historical Society of Pennsylvania; The Mariners Museum, Newport News, Virginia; New Haven Colony Historical Society; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Philadelphia Maritime Museum; and the University of Baltimore Library, Steamship Historical Society Collection) by Mr. Crosby Brown on the subject of steamboats.
- Gray's Ferry Chemical Works (Organization)
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- J. Crosby Brown collection of steamboat copy photographs
- Description rules:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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- Script of description: