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  1. Default John A. Brown's Legacy

    I've received an e-mail (with an ".au" address (Australia, I suppose), as follows (this relates to the John A. Brown's department store pics in my vintage downtown Okc pages):
    Hi Doug

    I’m following up an obscure clue in my family history. A story in the family (in London, England) says that my great-grandmother, Amelia Emily Brown (later Dickson, born around 1860 in Woolwich) had affluent relatives with a department store in America. I was wondering if the Brown’s on your web site might be that store. Goodness knows it’s a long shot, but I was wondering, if you happen to know of any Brown’s that might still be around, if you could perhaps pass on my email address. As you can imagine a name like Brown is not easy to do research on so any straw is good enough to clutch at!


    As for me, I don't have any knowledge to pass on to the inquirer, but I thought that some here at OkcTalk might.

    I'd suppose that this person would be interested in the history of the owner of this once fine ... nay, magnificent! ... downtown OKC department store, as well as whether any of his family members are still around.

    If you have information that is personal, it's probably best that you send me a PM or an e-mail (loudenbk@swbell.net), and I'll pass the info on to the inquirer. But, for the history of John A. Brown (and/or the store), that would probably be interesting to post here.

    Thanks! I've directed that person to this thread so that he/she can follow up directly.

  2. Default Re: John A. Brown's Legacy

    Doing a little follow-up googling this morning (trying to find the origins of the John A. Brown Department Store), I've found a little, but not much, as yet. I was somewhat surprised not to find a discussion somewhere of this important part of Oklahoma City's history, though I'd suppose that it exists somewhere already and I just don't know it.

    So, I'm trying to tie various "snippets" of information together to see if I can come up with something more resembling a whole.

    From The Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com/twcentenni..._A3_15kil39915 , I found this:
    John A. Brown and John Dunkin of Oklahoma City had bought Hunt's, Tulsa's dominant department store, in the "largest mercantile deal in the city's history" and were renaming it Brown-Dunkin, the Aug. 21, 1924, World reported.

    Hunt's was in the Hunt Building at Fourth and Main streets, which continued as the site of Brown-Dunkin that became one of Tulsa's dominant stores for several decades before it was sold to Dillard's. The building has since been demolished.

    Brown and Dunkin were associated with Rorabaugh-Brown Dry Goods Co. in Oklahoma City. That company became the John A. Brown Co. Brown remained in Oklahoma City and Dunkin moved to Tulsa to manage the new company here.
    Googling "Rorabaugh-Brown" Dry Goods Co, I found this collectable saucer at http://www.antique-china-porcelain-c.../more_info.asp with the note,
    5-1/2" "Made for Rorabaugh-Brown DG Co, Oklahoma City, OK"

    This saucer is decorated with the Haviland & Co. china pattern "Silver Anniversary" Schleiger 19. The scalloped edge is trimmed in gold. The underside of the saucer is stamped in green: "Haviland France" and in red: "Decorated by Haviland & Co. Limoges Made for Rorabaugh- Brown D.G. Co., Oklahoma City, Okla.".
    Analogous collectables are at http://chinafindersok.com/pages/find...pany=&-nothing .

    This 1933 Oklahoma Supreme Court decision, http://www.oscn.net/applications/osc...p?citeid=33929 , had to do with a workers compensation claim involved with a 1924 incident in which an employee "fell down an elevator shaft". Not much, but at least it creates some sense of a time-line.

    A 1926 article describing successful marketing/display techniques is here: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage...amrlgs:dg1:077 in which the display manager gives his advice to other merchants.

    From here, http://www.oklahomaheritage.com/hallyear.aspx , John A. Brown - Oklahoma City, Merchant" was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1933, and that "Mrs. John A. Brown - Oklahoma City, Civic Leader" received the same honor in 1959.

    Here, http://www.nicholshills.net/SectionI...p?SectionID=63 , we see that Mr. & Mrs. John A. Brown's residence in affluent Nichols Hills is described a little ...
    Moving into the new community in 1930, and still occupying their homes, were Dr. and Mrs. G.A. Nichols, who built their home at 7006 Nichols Road. Dr. Nichols has since passed on. Mr. and Mrs. John A. Brown built their home that year at 1601 Guilford Lane, and Brown has passed on.
    From here, http://www.oufoundation.org/sm/summe...nter.asp?ID=47 , it is evident that the transition from "Rorabaugh-Brown D.G. Co" to "John A. Brown Department Store" had occurred not later than 1939:
    They started out innocently enough. In the time-honored tradition of college students everywhere, newlyweds Roxanne and Bill Thams brightened the walls of their first, tiny apartment with prints—inexpensive reproductions of paintings made affordable through mail order. The year was 1939, and Roxanne Thams was putting her husband, Bill, through geology school at the University of Oklahoma with a newly acquired journalism degree and an advertising position at the fashionable John A. Brown Department Store in Oklahoma City.
    ... and from this link, referencing a 1935 obituary, http://www.rootsweb.com/~txnavarr/ob...s/pg000010.htm , that would seem to have occurred by 1935:
    Fannie Griffen

    Daily Oklahoman, 11 April 1935

    Mrs. Fannie Griffen, 78 years old, died Wednesday afternoon at the home of her son, W. B. Griffen, 2340 Northwest Eleventh street, following a brief illness. Griffen is assistant department manager for the John A. Brown Co. ...
    That's it so far. Anyone want to play around with this a little?

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