Nicholas Brown II, 1769-1841, Providence businessman and philanthropist, was the son and heir of of Nicholas Brown, one of the five famous Brown brothers of late eighteenth-century Providence. In 1796 he formed the highly successful mercantile-industrial partnership Brown & Ives, which made a fortune in the China trade. When the name of Rhode Island College was changed to Brown University in 1804, the change was made in recognition of the gifts and services rendered to the school by Nicholas and his uncles. Nicholas II served as a member of the Brown Corporation for fifty years, twenty-nine of them as treasurer. In 1823 Nicholas presented to Brown the dormitory known as Hope College, and in 1834 he donated Manning Hall as a chapel and library in honor of the university’s first president.
Harding, Chester, “Nicholas Brown (1769-1841),” Brown University Portrait Collection, Brown University, Providence, R.I., 1836.