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Addison Brown

Judge/Botanist

Centurion, 1867–1913

Born 21 February 1830 in West Newbury, Massachusetts

Died 9 April 1913 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Woodlawn Cemetery and Conservancy, Bronx, New York

Proposed by Joseph H. Choate

Elected 3 March 1867 at age thirty-seven

Century Memorial

Rarely will a man reach eminence both as a Federal Judge and as a botanist. Addison Brown achieved these two distinctions. A classmate at Harvard of our President, Joseph H. Choate, and of his brother, Judge William G. Choate, Judge Brown became the latter’s successor as United States District Judge in 1881. Unfaltering diligence, great learning, a kindly nature, a clear mind, the keenest interest in the determination of intricate questions, and the perfect courage of his convictions, contributed to the praiseworthy discharge of his judicial duties through a period of twenty years, when he resigned because of illness. More especially in admiralty law his decisions were masterly. His mind desired no rest, and took none. A Federal Judge is not a man of leisure; yet it was while he so efficiently discharged the functions of that office that he worked with his heart’s love upon the Illustrated Flora of the United States, a noble work in three volumes, done in collaboration with Dr. Britton, and published in 1896–1898. Moreover, from a moderate fortune, Addison Brown devoted a large sum to the expenses of its publication; and also gave generously to the New York Botanical Garden. He drew its charter, and was one of its scientific directors. Still inspired by the unresting cravings of an intellectual nature, he worked during his last years of physical weakness upon a revised edition of his book.

Henry Osborn Taylor
1914 Century Association Yearbook