BROWN, Mrs Albert Oldfield (Mary [May] W. Arents)

Seated before a wood, in a velvet dress with a fur boa and a feather hat. Signed lower right ‘A. Muller Ury.’

Present Whereabouts Unknown.

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Mary W. Brown was the daughter of George Arents, a Director of the American Tobacco Company whose home was at 38 West 57th Street.  Their son was called George Arents Brown and died on 22 February 1904 in his eighth year and the funeral was held at his grandparents’ house. George Arents himself apparently died of pneumonia on 22 February 1918, aged 83, at 820 Fifth Avenue. Mr. Albert Oldfield Brown and Mary [May] W. Arents were married in January 1894 in New York and in 1902 lived at 17 West 48th Street, New York, and had two children, one of which was Natalie Brown whom Muller-Ury painted that year.

Her husband was a member of the New York Stock Exchange from 5 May, 1898 and worked for C. I. Hudson & Co in 1900 when he applied for membership of the Cotton Exchange, and eventually he formed A. O. Brown and Co. which became one of the largest wire houses in the country, with over 30 branches across the United States, telegraphing sales and purchases of shares at a rapid rate. Albert Oldfield Brown’s brokerage firm failed on 25 August 1908, then with losses reported in September as $3 million and assets of only $750,000, and he was expelled from the Stock Exchange. He sought a discharge from bankruptcy in May 1898, but was refused apparently at that time. In 1913 he was finally discharged of bankruptcy by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, and the New York Times of 12 March reported his company had liabilities of $4,695,930.  He later seems to have become President of the Amoskeag Savings Bank in Manchester, New Hampshire, and in 1920 was Chairman of the New Hampshire State Tax Commission and running for Governor on the Republican ticket which he won.

The couple were divorced in January 1903, according to the New York Times of 7 January, 1903, due to her husband’s infidelity with a chorus singer.