Robert Carlton Brown (1886-1959) was a writer, editor, publisher, and traveler. From 1908 to 1917, he wrote poetry and prose for numerous magazines and newspapers in New York City, publishing two pulp novels, What Happened to Mary and The Remarkable Adventures of Christopher Poe (1913), and one volume of poetry, My Marjonary (1916).
During 1918, he traveled extensively in Mexico and Central America, writing for the U.S. Committee of Public Information in Santiago de Chile. In 1919, he moved with his wife, Rose Brown, to Rio de Janeiro, where they founded Brazilian American, a weekly magazine that ran until 1929. With Brown's mother, Cora, the Browns also established magazines in Mexico City and London: Mexican American (1924-1929) and British American (1926-1929).
Following the stock market crash of 1929, the Browns retired from publishing and traveled through Asia and Europe, settling in France from 1929-1933. Brown became involved in the expatriate literary community in Paris, publishing several volumes of poetry, including Globe Gliding (1930), Gems (1931), Words (1931), and Demonics (1931), as well as 1450-1950 (1929), a book of visual poetry. While in France, Brown also made plans toward, and wrote a manifesto for, the development of a "reading machine" involving the magnified projection of miniaturized type printed on movable spools of tape. Arguing that such a device would enable literature to compete with cinema in a visual age, Brown published a book of "Readies"---poems by Gertrude Stein, Fillipo Marinetti, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, and others, typeset in a manner appropriate to operation of his projected reading machine. Although Brown's reading machine was never developed, his papers include letters and papers pertaining to its projected design and technical specifications, as well as a collection of his own published and unpublished visual and conceptual writing.
In 1933, Brown returned to New York. In the 1930s, he wrote a series of international cookbooks in collaboration with Rose and Cora Brown. He also lived in cooperative colonies in Arkansas and Louisiana, visited the USSR, and wrote a book, Can We Co-Operate (1940), regarding the parameters of a viable American socialism. In 1941, he and Rose returned to South America. While traveling down the Amazon they amassed a substantial collection of art and cultural artifacts and collaborated on a book, Amazing Amazon (1942). The Browns eventually reestablished residence in Rio de Janeiro, where they lived until Rose Brown's death in 1952. Following his wife's death, Bob Brown returned to New York, where he married Eleanor Parker in 1953. Brown continued to write and ran a shop called Bob Brown's Books in Greenwich Village until his death in 1959. Shortly after Brown's death, a new edition of 1450-1950 was published by Jonathan Williams's Jargon/Corinth Press.