(Arts Department, currently unavailable) An amateur musician and avid collector, Allen A. Brown donated his collection to the Boston Public Library in 1894. Clearly delineated in the terms of his gift was the fact that it was to be a non-circulating, research collection. At the time of the gift, there were approximately 6,900 volumes. By the time of his death, the collection had grown to around 16,000 volumes. The collection is particularly strong in music of the turn of the century. One of its particular strengths is in 19th-century opera, both published and manuscript scores: several of these are performance manuscripts. Part songs, chamber music, orchestral music and oratorios only represent part of the collection. It also contains pamphlets, musical polemics, biographies, monographs, and serials dating from all periods of music. A regular concert-goer, Brown amassed collections of concert programs from the Boston area and from the places he visited while on business. For certain performing groups such as the Handel & Haydn Society, he approached friends and acquaintances for their files to make his more complete. His collection also includes autographed scores dedicated to him by Boston composers. Today the collection continues to grow and now contains over 40,000 volumes.
Online access: The digitized four-volume catalog of the Allen A. Brown collection (published 1910-1916) is available online. Selections from the Allen A. Brown Music collection are accessible through Digital Commonwealth and through the Internet Archive.