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The Molly Brown House Museum’s collection consists of approximately 9000 objects, photos and archives which help us understand the life and historical context of the “Unsinkable” Margaret Tobin Brown, including her 1889 house on Capitol Hill.
Dip into the past by exploring our artifacts online. Learn about Margaret Brown’s life, her representation in popular culture, Victorian and Edwardian customs, and the history of the Browns’ house at 1340 Pennsylvania Street. You can view some collections highlights by scrolling down this page.
**The “Browse the Collections” button below will (eventually!) allow you to see the entire collection. We will be releasing our artifacts for view overtime as they are ready, so check back regularly to explore more!**
Photo Credit: Linda Little
Our Fashion Collection is a 2000-item collection that includes hats, dresses, shoes, parasols, and many other garments and accessories from the Victorian and Edwardian periods. This collection helps us tell the story of Margaret Brown, who often made local newspaper headlines for her elaborate fashion sense. She wore the latest styles from Europe and Asia, and she often set the trend for Denver women’s fashion.
Margaret Brown’s pearl and amethyst ring
Description: Gold band ring with four amethysts surrounding a pearl.
Provenance: Mrs. Brown eventually gave this ring to her niece Minnie Brown, daughter of J. J. Brown’s brother, James Kevin Brown.
Margaret Brown’s ruby earrings
Description: Screw on earrings with a circular setting: ruby in the center surrounded by 10 diamond chips in gold setting.
Provenance: Mrs. Brown eventually gave these earrings to her sister-in-law, Mary Brown.
Margaret Brown’s gold watch
Description: A gold hunting watch with a pin and chain for wearing it around the neck. Both back facings open to a clock with roman numerals and a second hand. Stamps read, “Keystone Watch Case. Scales 7193387. American Waltham Watch Company 12297762.”
Provenance: Mrs. Brown eventually gave this watch to her niece Minnie Brown, daughter of J. J. Brown’s brother, James Kevin Brown.
Margaret Brown’s purse
Description: Green barrel and bugle beaded pouch purse, with a green cloth lining, cloth top and loop closing with a loop tassel at the bottom.
Provenance: Mrs. Brown eventually gave this purse to her sister-in-law.
Green satin shoes
Description: Green satin sandals with small rhinestone buckles. Open vamp with grosgrain ribbon.
Description: Black and brown checked full-length wool riding coat. Princess seamed with split up the back and double breasted buttons. Long sleeves with attached capelet.
The museum’s Furniture Collection consists of antique sofas, dressers, bed frames, kitchen appliances, and more that date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Each piece of furniture aids visitors in learning about the life and times of the unsinkable Margaret “Molly” Brown who lived in this home at 1340 Pennsylvania Street.
Helen Brown’s four-poster bed
Description: Red mahogany full size bed in neo-classic design with fluted posts that taper slightly, and are divided by baluster turnings which terminate in Corinthian capitals. The headboard is simple and graceful with a bell-shaped curve and molded edge. The cornice of the tester is a combination of overhanging molding decorated with brackets of ornate design, alternating with a motif of draped ribbon and flower swags. The canopy is under-covered with blue silk gathered in the center with a fluffy rosette, and the bed hangings are light blue silk brocade. This four-poster bed is an example of nineteenth-century machine craftsmanship.
Provenance: The bed originally belonged to the Browns in their Denver home, and was used in Helen’s room.
Brown’s horsehair sofa
Description: Sofa upholstered in horsehair with a Victorian Renaissance Revival style serpentine back with removable crest. Arm facings have acanthus leaf carvings.
Provenance: The sofa belonged to the Browns when they lived in Leadville. They gave the sofa to Mrs. Brown’s brother-in-law, J.K. Brown, before they moved Denver. Catherine and Henry Kaiser later rented 1340 Pennsylvania St. from Mrs. Brown. Mrs. Kaiser purchased many Brown family furnishings including this sofa.
Henry Teller’s roll-top desk
Description: Walnut desk with burled walnut panels and a burl and birdseye maple trim. The desk has a machine carved gallery in an open leaf pattern, below which are 4 raised burl veneer panels. The desk is decorated throughout with incised machine carved lines and applied ornaments.
Provenance: The original owner of the desk was Henry Moore Teller, United States Senator from Colorado. It eventually passed into the hands of a relative of Edwin Stanton, who served as Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War.
J. J. Brown’s Daybed
Description: Empire style mahogany daybed with curved arms at each end and slightly curved legs. The bed has a mahogany veneer and patterned upholstery cover.
Provenance: The daybed originally belonged to the Brown family. Catherine and Henry Kaiser later rented 1340 Pennsylvania St. from Mrs. Brown. Mrs. Kaiser purchased many Brown family furnishings including this daybed.
Margaret Brown’s Capehart radio
Description: Capehart Radio-Phone Model 405 D Serial # 6576 E with Chippendale Cabinet.
Provenance: In 1932, Margaret Brown preordered a new Chippendale Capehart Radio from a local store in Denver called Knight-Campbell to replace her old radio. Unfortunately Mrs. Brown died later that year and was never able to enjoy the radio. Her daughter-in-law Mildred, Lawrence Brown’s wife, completed payments on the radio and used it in their own home.
The Molly Brown House Museum’s art collection consists of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century art including paintings, lithographs, sculptures, and more. The art collection helps to illustrate the Browns’ extensive travels to Europe and Asia, and it highlights not only the Browns’ personal taste, but the different artistic styles in Denver and abroad at the time.
Alabaster statue, unknown sculptor
Description: Hand carved alabaster nude female figure in the Classical style with white lace shawl around shoulders.
Provenance: The statue originally belonged to the Brown family. Catherine and Henry Kaiser later rented 1340 Pennsylvania St. from Mrs. Brown. Mrs. Kaiser purchased many Brown family furnishings including this statue.
Painting of the South Platte River
Artist: Helen Henderson Chain (local Colorado artist)
Description: Framed oil painting on canvas that features the South Platte River meandering towards a distant snow-capped mountain range. The river runs through the center foreground of the picture with snow-capped mountains in the background. Artist Helen Henderson Chain was a popular female painter in Colorado during Mrs. Brown’s life.
Provenance: The painting originally belonged to the Browns. It was eventually sold in the 1932 estate sale held following Mrs. Brown’s death.
Lady with Parrot Painting
Artist: Charles Alexandre de Coessin de La Fosse
Description: Painting of a young woman in a night dress, holding a parrot and sitting beside a bed of the Classic Revival style. Colors are principally blues, gold and cream and some crimson on gold. The canvas is highly varnished and is in an elaborate gold frame with a plaster of Paris build-up of acanthus leaves and with beading on the inner edge of the frame.
Provenance: Mr. and Mrs. Brown originally owned the painting and likely picked it up in Paris when they visited in the summer of 1896. Catherine and Henry Kaiser later rented 1340 Pennsylvania St. from Mrs. Brown. Mrs. Kaiser purchased many Brown family furnishings including this painting.
Description: Framed painting of a lake and snow covered mountain landscape by an unknown artist. Marks on the back of the painting read, “Coultrup & Gupton Art CO” and “206 E. Pikes Peak Ave, Colo. Springs, Colo.”
Provenance: Mr. and Mrs. Brown received this painting as a wedding gift.
Lithograph of F Street, Denver, Colorado
Description: Lithograph in a brown wooden frame of F-Street (now 15th Street) in Denver between 1860 and 1869. It depicts local businesses at the time: Partridge & Morrison, T. S. Clayton, Old & Tynom, Cheney’s Billiard Room, and M. L. Rood’s Gun Shop.
China and Glassware Collection
The china and glassware collection at the museum reflects upper middle class Victorian and Edwardian-era décor, dining and entertainment. Pieces such as table settings, teapots, vases and centerpieces decorate the Browns’ house and help illustrate their story.
Teacup and saucer
Description: Short, bulbous teacup with handle and footed base, and round tea saucer. Gold accents with green clover and red berry pattern on the outside and inside rims. Scheiger #98; mark: “Haviland France Haviland Co. Limoges.” Part of a larger set of Haviland chinaware.
Provenance: The antique Haviland clover and berry patterned china set was acquired by the museum to replicate the china used by the Brown family. Although this set is not the Brown’s original set, it is the same pattern and from the same time period.
Blue glass bowl
Description: Round, dark blue glass bowl with metal casing.
Provenance: The donor’s mother-in-law’s mother was Ella Grable, Mrs. Brown’s maid at the time of her death. When Mrs. Brown died, the bowl was passed to Mrs. Grable.
China chocolate pot
Brand/maker: likely Nippon
Description: China chocolate pot with painted flowers leaves, and stems, gold trim.
Provenance: The donor’s mother-in-law’s mother was Ella Grable, Mrs. Brown’s maid at the time of her death. When Mrs. Brown died, the chocolate pot was passed to Mrs. Grable.
Art Leisenring’s blue cracker jar
Description: Blue wedgewood cracker jar with silver lid and handle, and silver ball feet. Greco embossed scene around the circumference in white ceramic.
Provenance: Art Leisenring, owned 1340 Pennsylvania Street from 1958-1970, many years after the Browns. He saved the house from probable demolition by helping form the preservation group, Historic Denver, Inc., to save the Molly Brown House. He also donated antiques to the house, including this cracker jar.
Brown’s salt cellars
Description: Cut-glass salt dishes with snowflake design in the center and swirls along the edge.
Provenance: The salt cellars belonged to the Brown family. Mrs. Brown eventually gave them to her sister-in-law, Mary Brown.
The Molly Brown House Museum has a growing archival collection of primary source documents that help us construct our overall mission and narrative. Our archives contain historic photographs, letters, articles, city directories, oral histories and more relating to the Brown family and their house at 1340 Pennsylvania Street. If you wish to peruse the museum’s archives, please contact the Curator to set up an appointment.
Helen Brown’s drawing of the house
Writer/author: Helen Brown Benziger
Description: Drawing of the first floor room layout of 1340 Pennsylvania Street according to Margaret and James Joseph Brown’s daughter, Helen Brown Benziger. The layout reflects her recollection of room locations during the time she lived in the house.
Provenance: The drawing was part of a scrapbook made by Art Leisenring, owner of 1340 Pennsylvania St. from 1958-1970. It was given to Mr. Leisenring by the owner before him, who invited Helen Brown Benziger to see her old house.
Helen Brown’s recollection of the house
Writer/author: transcribed by James Benziger
Description: A letter from Helen Brown Benziger’s oldest son, James Benziger, in which he recounts some of his mother’s memories of living in the house.
Provenance: The letter was part of a scrapbook made by Art Leisenring, owner of 1340 Pennsylvania St. from 1958-1970. It was given to Mr. Leisenring by the owner before him, who invited Helen Brown Benziger to see her old house.
Photo of James Kevin Brown and wife Mary Brown
Description: Photograph on gray mat of James Kevin Brown, brother of James Joseph Brown, and his wife Mary.
Provenance: The photo was owned by the Brown family.
Photograph of Minnie Brown
Description: Photograph on a cardboard frame of Minnie Brown, niece of Margaret Brown. Minnie is shown wearing Mrs. Brown’s watch that she gifted to her.
Provenance: The photo was owned by the Brown family.
Margaret Brown’s Stationary
Description: Margaret Brown’s personal stationary with her initials “M. B.” embossed in gold.
Provenance: This stationary was found inside the Brown’s oak bookcases. The Cosgriff family rented 1340 Pennsylvania St. from Mrs. Brown and purchased many of her furnishings including the bookcases containing this stationary.
If you have an object you wish to donate that has provenance linking it to Margaret and James Joseph Brown or their families, please email photographs along with any information you have on the item, especially its provenance, to Stephanie McGuire, Curator of Collections, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have an object you wish to donate that is significant to Colorado’s past, we suggest you contact the History Colorado Center at 303-866-2305.
If you have an object you wish to donate to a museum, please contact either the Mountain-Plains Museum Association or the Colorado-Wyoming Association of Museums at:
Mountain-Plains Museums Association (MPMA)
Colorado-Wyoming Association of Museums (CWAM)