Ben Brown World War II drawings collection
Language of Materials
The collection contains 131 loose drawing and two sketchbooks of drawings and paintings in graphite, colored pencil, pen and ink, pastel, and watercolor. The drawing are of soldiers and their daily lives during World War II as well as landscapes of Italy and North Africa. There is also a photograph album documenting Brown's experiences during the war.
Ben Brown was born Ben Hurwitz in 1921 in the Bronx, New York. He attended the High School of Music and Art in New York and after graduation studied art at the University of Iowa before enlisting in the United States Army in 1942. In 1943, after basic training, he was shipped to North Africa and then to Italy a few months later. During his two years in the service, he kept a record of his experiences by sketching and painting whenever he had the chance.
Hurwitz changed his name to Brown after the war. He put aside his war sketches but continued to work in the arts as a painter, cartoonist and photographer. In 1995, just two years before his death, his son Joshua Brown convinced him to revisit his wartime drawings. A selection of his work, along with Brown's comments, can be found online on the History Matters website: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/text/s1.html.
The collection is organized in three series:
Series I. Drawings
Series II. Sketchbooks
Series III. Album
The drawings are further sorted by size and arranged by subject and location, when known.
Scope and Contents
The Ben Brown World War II Drawings Collection spans the period from 1943 to 1945 and contains 131 loose drawings and painting and two sketchbooks made during Brown's time in the United States Army during World War II. Images primarily include soldiers in North Africa and Italy, on duty and at rest. It also contains a photo album and clippings from Brown's tour of duty.
Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit www.nyhistory.org/library/visit.
Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff.
Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.
Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit: https://www.nyhistory.org/about/rights-reproductions
This collection should be cited as: Ben Brown World War II Drawings Collection, PR 274, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.
Location of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Joshua Brown, 2008 and 2017.