Guide to the F.C. Brown Papers
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0693
Creators:
Brown, F.C. (Fay Cluff)
Dates:
1902 - 1964
Languages:
English
Some materials in German.
Physical Description:
4.5 Cubic feet
17 boxes
Repository:
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.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
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.

Arrangement
Arrangement
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

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
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).

Administration
Processing Information
Collection processed by Jennifer Hecker (intern), August 2000 supervised by Alison Oswald, archivist.
Author
Jennifer Hecker
Immediate Source of Acquisition
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.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
F.C. Brown Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Conditions Governing Use
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.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research use.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Printing presses Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Plows Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Physics Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Physicists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Selenium Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inventors Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inventions Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museums Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sewing machines Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Engines Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Turbines Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago, Ill.). Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum of Science and Industry (New York, N.Y.). Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Association for the Advancement of Science Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Army. Ordnance Department Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Bureau of Standards. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives