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.