Philip S. Brown (1909-2009)


Philip Stoddard Brown, a graduate of Harvard University in 1930 and a PhD in Commercial Science, in 1937, died on November 17th, 2009 in his home at the age of 100.

Mr. Brown was born August 12, 1909 in Philadelphia, PA and grew up in Harrisburg, PA. He attended Harrisburg Academy from 1914 -1926, where his father Arthur E. Brown was headmaster for 28 years.  He met his wife Adele Smith, manager of the New York Museum of Modern Art’s Washington Gallery (the first female manager of an art gallery in Washington DC), when, in a tumble while ice skating, she literally fell into his arms. They were married for 69 years until her death in 2001.

Mr. Brown received his BA from Harvard in 1930. After teaching for a year at William Penn Charter school in Philadelphia he returned to Harvard where he received his masters in Business Administration and a doctorate in Commercial Science in ’37. Mr. Brown first moved to Washington DC in 1936 as a fellow for the Brookings Institute. He then worked for the US Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and on the War Trade Staff of the Board of Economic Warfare, before being stationed in England during WWII with the Office of Strategic Services.  After the War he worked briefly in the State Department, and with the Economic Cooperation Administration on the Marshall Plan. This past September, at age 100, he was honored with The Intelligence Community Commemoration Medal from Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence in honor of his service in the O.S.S.   In 1952 he became self-employed working as an economic consultant. For 19 years, he published a economic newsletter that was distributed by major commercial banks to their desired clients.  He also published an automobile-Digest that banks purchased and distributed to their dealer clients.  Philip was also called on to testify in over fifty major proceedings before the Interstate Commerce Commission and State regulatory agencies.

In addition, he also wrote a weekly column for the Washington Post and the Times Herald entitled “Our Economic Times” from 1956 thru 1961. His articles, criticizing racially discriminatory hiring practices in Washington DC, caused considerable debate.

Philip was also a very good amateur athlete, setting a new high jumping record in his freshman year at Harvard. He won many medals in tennis and squash, and played well into his eighties. 

A man of great curiosity who read voraciously, Mr. Brown was a lifelong learner.  His grandchildren remember fondly his way of marveling at things and asking questions of them to engage their sense of wonderment and curiosity. On watching a spider walking on the ceiling he would ask– “How does he do that without falling?” “Why does the moon change shapes” etc.  He was devoted to his grandchildren and they to him.

He was a very principled man with old-fashioned ethics of honor, hard work, providing for one's family, giving back to those less fortunate, and working for social justice through peaceful means. 

Adele Brown (1910-2001)


Adele Brown, was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford University in 1930.  Her letters, clippings and proposals for exhibits were donated to the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington D.D. in 1966 

Adele grew up in Burlingame, California.  She moved with her family to Washington D.C. in 1922.  After graduating from Stanford in 1931, she moved back to Washington D.C.  She and Phil met when she fell while ice skating.  She was managing the Studio House at the Phillips Memorial Gallery in Washington D.C. from 1937 TO 1939. She then became an exhibition assistant (1940-1942) for the Section of Fine Arts.  She was then asked to became a manager of the New York Museum of Modern Art’s Washington gallery.  Later she was assistant to a New Deal agency charged with exhibiting art in public buildings.

In 1940 they bought a piece of property on a beautiful rural hilltop in Alexandria, Virginia and built a home where they raised Tim, Carin and Rex.  The earnest money on the home was $5 and a handshake.

Adele and Phil were early founders of Burgundy farm Country Day school, the first school to be integrated in Virginia and before the court mandated integration.  In 1951, she started an art department at Burgundy.  She and another teacher introduced the idea of “theme learning” where each year all the classes were taught around a theme such as American Indians or Egyptology.  She imparted her creativity to her students and peers.  Then from 1960 to 1064 she taught at the National Cathedral School for Girls in Washington D.C.  She frequently volunteered to teach art to poor children in the District of Columbia and Alexandria.

Adele was a fast and voracious reader, and instilled in her offspring the love of history, adventure and reading.  Like Phil, she was extremely well rounded and concerned about the happenings of the world.  In 1956, she drove her 3 children (ages 7, 9, & 12) across the country, which was quite an adventure as this was before interstate highways.  Visiting farms, wilderness area, old mines, planetariums, orchards, Indian reservations, Sequa forests, the building of Hoover Dam, and museums instilled in her children the desire for adventure, travel and see the world.

Adele possessed a unique capacity to understand people.  When you had a conversation with her, you left realizing something special just happened.  She had a way of asking penetrating questions in the most gentle, non-threatening way which encourage openness and sharing.

She was also a wonderful writer and wrote two books. Family Portrait, a book written to capture and pas on the personalities of her parents and paternal grandfather. Her second book, Letters Written During World War II, is a delightful and penetrating compilation of letters and observations she and Phil exchanged between 1943 through 1945, when he was in Europe with the O.S.S. during the war.

She cared about the world around her and fought for equal rights and the freedoms of others.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN ABOUT ADELE’S PAPERS from the Archives of American Art

Washington Post Articles



October 1st, 1056 : Best Summer
October 29th, 1956 : Big Ticket Items
November 26th, 1956 : Untitled Article
December 31st, 1956 : Medical Care


January 28th, 1957 : Food Business
April 1st, 1957 : DC Financial Center
April 29th, 1957 : Auto Sales
May 27th, 1957 : New Housing
July 1st, 1957 : Domestic Wages
September 30th, 1957 : Retail Trade Lags
October 27th, 1957 : Real Estate Fortunes
December 2nd, 1957 : Consumer Credit
December 29th, 1957 : Illness


January 5th, 1959 : Economic Seer
January 12th, 1959 : Inflation Depicted
January 19th, 1959 : Bank Mergers
January 26th, 1959 : US Hiring
February 2nd, 1959 : Credit’s King
February 9th, 1959 : Investors Reapers
February 16th, 1959 : Auto Insurance
February 23rd, 1959 : DC Business Level
March 2nd, 1959 : Tax Audit
March 9th, 1959 : Growth Prospect
March 16th, 1959 : Credit Agencies
March 23rd, 1959 : Auto Insurance
March 30th, 1959 : Output Increases
April 6th, 1959 : Summer Work
April 13th, 1959 : Discrimination
April 20th, 1959 : New Theory
April 27th, 1959 : Current Upturn
May 4th, 1959 : Mixing Thrift & Debt
May 11th, 1959 : S & L’s Growing
May 18th, 1959 : DC Transportation
May 25th, 1959 : Unfair Distribution
September 14th, 1959 : Stability Painful Price
September 21st, 1959 : Shabby Downtown
September 28th, 1959 : Arms Spending
October 5th, 1959 : Housing Survey
October 12th, 1959 : Business of Religion
October 19th, 1959 : Highway Need
October 26th, 1959 : Summer Heat
November 2nd, 1959 : Tuition
November 9th, 1959 : Budget Not Need
November 16th, 1959 : Firms Pick Image
November 23rd, 1959 : Strike’s Sting
November 30th, 1959 : Spending
December 7th, 1959 : Big Government
December 14th, 1959 : Area Growth
December 21st, 1959 : Nostalgia Saturnalia

Phil's Business Card

For 19 years (January 1950 to September 1969), Philip Brown published a weekly news-card like the one below for commercial banks.  These cards were mailed to their most desired customers.  He also published an Automobile–Digest card used by many banks for mailing to their dealer clients.  In 1969, he sold the business to Peter Nagan who paid him 12% of gross revenue from the cards for 10 years.