Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Brown Robert

Brown, Robert, one of the greatest British botanists, was born at Montrose in 1773, and educated at Montrose grammar school, Marischal College, Aberdeen, and the University of Edinburgh. At Edinburgh his first paper, on the plants of Forfarshire, was read before the Natural History Society in 1792, and he became a correspondent of Withering. In 1795 he went to the north of Ireland as ensign and assistant-surgeon in the Forfarshire Fencibles, in which Dugald Carmichael was captain, and by him Brown was introduced to Sir Joseph Banks. In 1798 he was made associate of the Linnean Society, and in 1801 started as naturalist with Flinders's expedition to Australia, with Ferdinand Bauer as artist, and the future Sir John Franklin as one of the midshipmen. In 1805 he returned with 4,000 species of plants from New Holland, which he partly described in his Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae, 1810-30, the first important work introducing the Jussieuian or Natural system of classification to English botanists. This work Brown recalled, its Latinity having been criticised. Brown became librarian to the Linnean Society and to Sir Joseph Banks, who at his death, in 1820, bequeathed him his house in Gerard Street, Soho, and his library and collections for his life. These were transferred to the British Museum in 1827, Brown becoming the first keeper of the botanical department. In 1811 he was made F.R.S.; in 1832, D.C.L. of Oxford; in 1833, associate of the Institute of France; and from 1849 to 1853 president of the Linnean Society, of which he had been a fellow since 1822. In 1839 he received the Copley medal of the Royal Society, and he also received the Prussian order "pour le merite." He died in 1858, and was buried at Kensal Green. There is an oil portrait of him by Pickersgill at the Linnean Society, and he was commemorated by Smith in the genus Brunonia. Humboldt styled him "botanicorum facile princeps." A collected edition of Brown's miscellaneous botanical works was published in 1866.