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David Tilden Brown Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-BrownD

Scope and Content of the Collection

Manuscript journal kept by physician David Tilden Brown when a medical student in New York City, 1841-1847. Also, a few pencil sketches, architect’s drawings of the Sheppard Asylum in Baltimore, an Asylum Fifth Annual Report in 1897, two clippings relating to the Asylum, and a photo of Dr. Brown, approximately 1865-1870.


  • Creation: 1841-1897



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The David Tilden Brown Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The David Tilden Brown Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of David Tilden Brown

Illinois physician, explorer and businessman.

A graduate of medical school in New York City, Brown practiced psychiatry from 1844-1849 in various asylums in eastern United States. When gold was discovered in California, Brown traveled to Central America in 1849, planning to establish a cheaper and faster commercial route west from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans across the isthmus of Nicaragua. He and his associates formed the Compania de Vapores de Nicaragua, but the company eventually was absorbed by Cornelius Vanderbilt’s American Atlantic and Pacific Ship Canal Company.

Brown returned to the practice of medicine from 1852-1877. He was the medical advisor along with the architect Calvert Vaux, for plans to build the Sheppard Asylum, a modern hospital for mental patients, in Baltimore, Maryland, which opened in 1891.

Brown suffered poor health and retired to his home in Batavia, New York. It was there that he committed suicide in 1889.


0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)


Manuscript journal of physician David Tilden Brown, April 1, 1841-Nov. 22, 1847, with partial transcription, kept while Brown was in medical school in New York City. Also, a few pen sketches, three architect’s drawings of Sheppard Asylum in Baltimore, MD, a Sheppard Asylum Fifth Annual Report, 1897, two clippings, and a photo of Dr. Brown ca. 1865-1870.


The papers are arranged by type of material.

Collection Stack Location

1 7 6


Gift of Mrs. Barton S. Snow (Cornelia B. Snow), 1973.

Related Archival Materials note

For manuscript materials of David Tilden Brown's letters, receipts, contracts, maps, and drawings pertaining to his activities in Nicaragua, 1848-1866 (bulk 1849), consult the Newberry Library's online catalog: Call number VAULT oversize Ayer MS 1819.

For manuscript diary of David Tilden Brown's "Recollections of Travels in Nicaragua" [between 1849-1866], consult the Newberry Library's online catalog: Call number VAULT oversize Ayer MS 1818.

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2007.

Inventory of the David Tilden Brown Papers, 1841-1897
Virginia Hay Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States