The Honorable Clarence J. "Bud" Brown Jr.

Clarence J. "Bud" Brown Jr. grew up as the son of a leading Ohio politician, worked as an editor and executive in his family newspaper business, and eventually succeeded his late father in the U.S. House in 1965. He served more than 17 years on Capitol Hill before leaving to run for Governor of Ohio. He later served in the administration of President Ronald Reagan, and then led a nonprofit that promoted congressional and Capitol history.

Featured Audio

Day of Infamy: Part One

Day of Infamy: Part One
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr. remembers being on the House Floor during President Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" speech and sitting next to Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin of Montana.
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded November 22, 2013 Deed of Gift

Abstract & Transcript

U.S. Representative from Ohio (November 2, 1965-January 3, 1983)

Growing up as the son of a prominent Ohio Republican politician (Clarence Brown Sr.), Clarence J. "Bud" Brown was introduced early in life to electoral politics and public service. After his father was elected to the U.S. House in the late 1930s, Bud Brown had a unique vantage point from which to observe the inner workings of the institution. In his interview he discusses his father’s career, elections, and the work lives and social interactions of House Members in the 1940s. He provides a firsthand account of being on the House Floor on December 8, 1941, seated next to Jeannette Rankin of Montana when she cast the lone vote against the U.S. declaration of war on Japan. He recalls other prominent Members of the House, including Joseph Martin of Massachusetts, the Speaker and GOP Leader in the 1940s and 1950s, and Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford, who became Republican Leader in the 1960s and whom Brown describes as an “older brother” figure.

Bud Brown earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University, graduated from Harvard with an MBA, served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, and eventually joined the family newspaper business. Following his father’s death in 1965, he won his first campaign for elected office by capturing the special election to succeed Clarence Sr. in the U.S. House. Brown talks about that unique election, the composition of the district that he sought to represent, the encouragement he received from Representative Ford who was by then the GOP Leader, and campaigning with a largely volunteer group of supporters. He talks about the impact of winning that election on his family life, and how he organized his office and sought out committee assignments, including his post on the Commerce Committee. Brown also discusses his membership in the Chowder & Marching Club, an informal organization, founded in the late 1940s by Republican Representatives (mostly young World War II veterans), that included in its ranks future prominent leaders such as Ford, Richard M. Nixon of California, and Robert Michel of Illinois.

Biography

Clarence J. "Bud" Brown Jr. was born on June 18, 1927, in Columbus, Ohio, the youngest of three children born to Clarence J. Brown and Ethel McKinney Brown. At age 23, Clarence Sr. won the first of two terms as the lieutenant governor of Ohio and later, when Bud was born, he served as the Ohio secretary of state. He became a newspaper publisher, who owned and operated a chain of newspapers throughout the state. The family split their time between Columbus (when the state legislature was in session) and their home in Blanchester, Ohio. In 1938, Clarence Sr. was elected to the U.S. House to represent Ohio’s Seventh District in the west-central part of the state. On the way to accruing more than two decades of service in the House, he became one of the most senior Republicans in the chamber and an important member of the House Rules Committee.

Bud Brown moved with his parents to Washington, DC, at age 12 and spent his teenage years there, after his father won election to Congress. He graduated from Western High School in the capital in 1944. He went to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, as part of the U.S. Navy’s V-12 program, graduating in 1947 (he’d later serve in the Navy during the Korean War from 1950 to 1952). In 1949, Bud earned an MBA at Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and after graduation began working for the family business, Brown Publishing Company. He’d later serve as president (1965–1976) and chairman of the board (1976–2002) of Brown Publishing. He met Joyce Eldridge of Franklin, Ohio, a concert pianist and composer, and they married on June 11, 1955. They raised four children: Elizabeth (who died in 1964), Clancy, Catherine, and Roy.

When Clarence Sr. died in August 1965, Bud Brown entered the special election to succeed his father in the U.S. House, representing a district in west-central Ohio. With the help of Republican leaders in the House, Bud Brown won the November 2, 1965, special election and took his seat in the 89th Congress (1965–1967). He was subsequently re-elected to eight succeeding Congresses, before announcing his retirement from the House to run for Governor of Ohio in 1982. His campaign was unsuccessful and he left the House at the end of the 97th Congress in January 1983.

Afterward, President Ronald Reagan appointed Bud Brown the Deputy Secretary of Commerce, a position he held from 1983 to 1988—at one point serving as the Acting Secretary of Commerce. From 1993 to 1999, Bud served as the president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society in Washington, DC, an organization created in the early 1960s by Iowa Congressman Fred Schwengel to promote the history of Congress and artwork of the Capitol building. Bud and Joyce Brown live in Urbana, Ohio.

Audio

Father-Son Moment

Father-Son Moment
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr. recalls a light moment he had with his father in the car.
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded November 15, 2013 Deed of Gift

Day of Infamy: Part One

Day of Infamy: Part One
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr. remembers being on the House Floor during President Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" speech and sitting next to Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin of Montana.
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded November 22, 2013 Deed of Gift

Day of Infamy: Part Two

Day of Infamy: Part Two
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr. describes the aftermath of Jeannette Rankin's "no" vote when the House approved the declaration of war against Japan on December 8, 1941.
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded November 15, 2013 Deed of Gift

The Hoover Commission: Part One

The Hoover Commission: Part One
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr. explains his father's motivation to start the first Hoover Commission.
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded November 15, 2013 Deed of Gift

The Hoover Commission: Part Two

The Hoover Commission: Part Two
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr. details the beginning stages of the Hoover Commission in 1947.
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded November 15, 2013 Deed of Gift

Significant Committee Assignments

Significant Committee Assignments
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr. recounts his committee placements.
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded November 22, 2013 Deed of Gift

"Chewing Gum on the Floor"

"Chewing Gum on the Floor"
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr. recalls interacting with Ohio Congresswoman Frances Bolton.
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded November 15, 2013 Deed of Gift

Listening to Colleagues

Listening to Colleagues
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr. discusses the value of going to the House Floor to listen to speeches.
The Honorable Clarence J. Brown Jr., U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded November 15, 2013 Deed of Gift

Images & Artifacts

Clarence J. "Bud" Brown Jr.
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Representative Bud Brown successfully ran in a special election to succeed his late father in 1965. He served until 1983.
Image courtesy of Clarence J. Brown Jr., provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Witnessing the "Day of Infamy" Speech
<i>Witnessing the "Day of Infamy" Speech</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_brown_rankin.xml
In his oral history, Representative Brown recalls being on the House Floor with his father on December 8, 1941—the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor—and hearing President Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" speech. In this photo, Brown, the child, is seated close to Jeannette Rankin, the only Representative to vote against the United States entering World War II, and the first women elected to Congress in 1917.
Bettman Collection via Getty Images
The Reverend Billy Graham
<i>The Reverend Billy Graham</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_brown_graham.xml
Representative Brown met with Reverend Billy Graham in 1966.
Image courtesy of Clarence J. Brown Jr., provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Planting an Ohio Tree
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Representative Brown (right) joined members of his state delegation and the Architect of the Capitol to plant an Ohio tree on the East Front of the Capitol in 1967. From left to right: Clarence E. Miller, Architect of the Capitol George Stewart, Charles William Whalen Jr., Samuel Leeper Devine, Robert Taft Jr., Chalmers Pangburn Wylie, and Clarence Brown.
Image courtesy of Clarence J. Brown Jr., provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Ernest Petinaud
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Representative Brown and his wife Joyce posed for a photo with the well-known maitre d' of the Members' Dining Room, Ernest Petinaud, in 1974.
Image courtesy of Clarence J. Brown Jr., provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives