Mary Ridgely Preston Brown (1857-1895) MSA SC 1545-1068. 1880 by Norval H. Busey (b. 1845). Acquired by state from New York Volunteer Emergency Squad, 1970.
Mary Ridgely Preston Brown was the wife of Frank Brown (1846-1920), the forty-second governor of Maryland, serving in office from 1892-1896. Although a childhood sweetheart of Brown, Mary Ridgely was first married to Horatio Preston, a wealthy Boston merchant, who died shortly after their marriage. In 1879, she married Brown and actively participated in Baltimore's social life. They had a son, Frank, and a daughter, May. During her term as First Lady, Government House was described as being at its social height, "where Mrs. Brown presided in the mansion with rare grace and dignity...she was noted for her beauty and was long one of the belles of Baltimore." In addition to her social skills, Mrs. Brown was known for her generosity in assisting financially with individual cases of suffering or poverty that came to her attention. After leaving Government House, the Browns lived at Springfield, their estate outside Baltimore, the present site of the Springfield State Hospital.
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