Brown, the name of a family important in Rhode Island history.

Nicholas Brown (1729–1791)

established an internationally known trading firm. During the American Revolution, Brown used his ships and foreign connections to import supplies and munitions. In 1764 he and his brothers helped to found Rhode Island College (later renamed Brown University).

Moses Brown (1738–1836)

the youngest brother of Nicholas Brown, was a manufacturer and philanthropist. He persuaded Samuel Slater to come to the United States and financed Slater's cotton-spinning mill at Pawtucket, Rhode Island. This was the first such mill in this country and marked the beginning of the American textile industry. Moses Brown was a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly (1764–71) and was active in religious and peace societies.

John Carter Brown (1797–1874)

the grandson of Nicholas Brown, was a book collector. His valuable library of 7,500 books on the Western Hemisphere from its discovery to 1801 was left to Brown University.