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Moses Brown School

Coordinates: 41°49′59.2″N 71°23′54.36″W / 41.833111°N 71.3984333°W / 41.833111; -71.3984333
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Moses Brown School
250 Lloyd Avenue

United States
Coordinates41°49′59.2″N 71°23′54.36″W / 41.833111°N 71.3984333°W / 41.833111; -71.3984333
MottoVerum Honorem ("For the Honor of Truth")
Religious affiliation(s)Quaker
Established1784; 240 years ago (1784)
Head of schoolKatie Titus
Enrollment771 total
Average class size13 students
Student to teacher ratio8:1
CampusUrban, 33 acres (130,000 m2)
Color(s)White and Navy Blue    
Athletics30 sports
Moses Brown School
Moses Brown School is located in Rhode Island
Moses Brown School
Moses Brown School is located in the United States
Moses Brown School
Location250 Lloyd Avenue
Providence, Rhode Island
Area30 acres (12 ha)
ArchitectGreene, John Holden; Brown, Joseph
Architectural styleColonial Revival, Second Empire
NRHP reference No.80000088[1]
Added to NRHPJuly 24, 1980

Moses Brown School is an independent, Quaker, college preparatory school located in Providence, Rhode Island, offering pre-kindergarten through secondary school classes. It was founded in 1784 by Moses Brown, a Quaker abolitionist, and is one of the oldest preparatory schools in the country.[2] The school motto is Verum Honorem, "True Honor", and the school song is "In the Shadow of the Elms", a reference to the large grove of elm bushes that still surrounds the school.[3]


Moses Brown

Moses Brown (1738–1836) was the school's founder and a member of the Brown family, a powerful mercantile family of New England. He was a pioneering advocate for the abolition of slavery, a co-founder of Brown University, and an industrialist.


First meeting place of the school from 1784 to 1788

In 1777, a committee of New England Yearly Meeting took up the idea for a school to educate young Quakers in New England. The school opened in 1784 at Portsmouth Friends Meeting House in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. However, there was a shortage of both students and teachers in the years following the American Revolutionary War, and the Yearly Meeting decided to close the school four years later.

Main building in Providence

Brown worked to restart the school as treasurer of the school fund, and he was able to convince the Yearly Meeting to reopen it by donating the land in Providence for the school to be built on. It reopened in 1819 in Providence. Moses Brown joined with his son Obadiah and his son-in-law William Almy to pay for the construction of the first building, which still serves as the main building of the school. Obadiah Brown also left $100,000 (equivalent to $1.99 million in 2023) in his will to the school, a sum unheard of at the time for a school endowment. In 1904, the school was renamed "Moses Brown School" to honor its benefactor and advocate. It offered an "upper" and "lower" school for younger boys.[4]

The Quakers were early advocates of women's education, and Moses Brown School was co-educational. However, in 1926 it became a boys-only boarding school as was the fashion for college-prep schools in America at the time. It again became coed in 1976. Well-known faculty over the years included the twin Quaker educators Alfred and Albert Smiley in the mid-Nineteenth Century[5] and children's author Scott Corbett in the 1960s. It transitioned to a private day school in the 1980s.


Ninth and tenth grade students are offered limited flexibility in their courses, aiming to expose them to a varied selection of topics. English is the only subject mandated through four years in the Upper School. Students must study a single language for three years, and lab sciences for two. There is a requirement for a comparative religions class. Students are also required to take a minimum of two semesters of fine art courses. Students are required to participate in varied school activities, whether athletic, theater, dance, or community service.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

In the 1960's, Moses Brown's Field House was the testing ground for AstroTurf.[6] The school briefly made headlines during the January 2015 nor'easter when Headmaster Matt Glendinning released a music video called "School Is Closed", in which he parodied "Let It Go" from Frozen.[7] The school is mentioned in H. P. Lovecraft's novella The Case of Charles Dexter Ward as the alma mater of the titular villain.[8]


Moses Brown School is located on 33 acres (130,000 m2) on Providence's East Side.

  • Middle House
  • Gifford House
  • Friends Hall
  • Jones Library
  • Collis Science Center – Upper School science complex on the ground floor of Friends Hall.
  • Dwares Family Student Center
  • Hoffman House and Lubrano Science Classroom
  • Fischer Ricci Family Instrumental Music Center
  • Waughtel-Howe Field House
  • Gorgi Family Squash and Education Center
  • Campanella Field
  • Milot Field – Athletic fields belonging to Moses Brown School in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
  • Woodman Center – performing arts facility, connected to the current library by a sky bridge. It was designed by DBVW Architects.
Panoramic view of the Moses Brown School main building


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "History". Moses Brown School. Archived from the original on 2 November 2005. Retrieved 28 Nov 2016 – via web.archive.org.
  3. ^ a b "MB at-a-glance". mosesbrown.org. Moses Brown School. Retrieved 29 Nov 2016.
  4. ^ "Moses Brown School". The Independent. New York City. 6 Jul 1914. Retrieved 29 Nov 2016.
  5. ^ Tyler, Betty (21 Mar 2009). "Smiley twins: the early years". Redlands Daily Facts. Redlands, California: Digital First Media. Retrieved 29 Nov 2016.
  6. ^ Glauber, Bill. "25 YEARS ON THE CARPET Widespread use of artificial turf hasn't yet swept controversies under the rug". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  7. ^ "Rhode Island School Parodies 'Let It Go' In Elsa-Fied Snow Day Announcement". Huffington Post. 27 January 2015.
  8. ^ Lovecraft, Howard Phillips (2005). Tales. Library of America. p. 216. ISBN 978-1931082723.
  9. ^ Barry, Dan (2016-01-29). "Vincent A. Cianci Jr., Celebrated and Scorned Ex-Mayor of Providence, R.I., Dies at 74 (Published 2016)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-27.
  10. ^ "Students Consult Gilson Snow on How to Tell Their Authentic, Unique Story". Moses Brown. Retrieved 2024-04-03.
  11. ^ "MB Cupola fall 2014 / winter 2015: Design Thinking". Issuu. Moses Brown School. Fall 2014. p. 19. Retrieved 2021-01-27.
  12. ^ Hamburger, Ellis (2014-11-05). "The future of books is on your phone, not your tablet". The Verge. Retrieved 2021-01-27.
  13. ^ Pina, Tatiana (October 18, 2013). "Alum gives Moses Brown $5 million for performing-arts, community center". Proividence Journal. LMG Rhode Island Holdings, Inc. Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2021-01-27.

External links[edit]