In Memory

Richard Holbrook Brown - Class Of 1945

Richard Holbrook Brown

Richard Holbrook Brown, distinguished historian, educator, and Academic Vice President of the Newberry Library, died January 16, 2019, after a brief illness. He was 91. Born in Boston, Massachusetts to Joseph and Sylvia Brown, he grew up in Pasadena and graduated from Yale College in 1949. He earned a PhD in American History, also at Yale in 1955. He taught at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and at Northern Illinois University, and directed the Amherst Project, formally known as the Committee on Teaching History, an innovative program for training teachers of history to use primary source materials.

He was author of The Hero and the People:  The Meaning of Jacksonian Democracy (1964), a number of influential textbooks, and The Ideal Library of the Continent (2012), which recounts the founding of the Newberry Library. At the Newberry he served successively as director of the Seminar in the Humanities, Associate Director for Research and Education, and Academic Vice President until his retirement in 1994. He is credited with creating the Newberry's groundbreaking research and education programs, which have been imitated widely in research libraries around the US and he was mentor and friend to many young historians who passed through the Newberry. He was also a co-founder of the Chicago Metro History Fair, a member of the Ogden School Local School Council, and a lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs. He was preceded in death by his partner of 38 years, William Lloyd Barber.

Chicago Sun-Times, January 27, 2019