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Herman and Margarett Root Brown Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS 697
Finding aid note: Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via woodson@rice.edu or call 713-348-2586.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of a range of keepsakes memorializing the lives of Herman and Margarett Root Brown and their family. The oldest in time are the high school senior class yearbook of Herman Brown and a framed loan document bearing his signature. There are many photographs, both formal portraits and small snapshots as well as intermediate size pictures. Among the people featured in addition to Herman, Margarett, and their children are the mother and sisters of Herman and George Brown, the wife and daughters of George, and some business associates.

Related to Herman Brown’s business achievements are an article published in Fortune Magazine and proclamations from the Texas House of Representatives and Senate honoring him at the time of his death.

Dates

  • 1890 - 2016
  • Majority of material found within 1940 - 1965

Conditions Governing Access

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via woodson@rice.edu or call 713-348-2586.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from the Herman and Margarett Root Brown family papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University, Houston, Texas.

Biographical / Historical

Herman Brown, born in Belton, Texas in 1892, and Margarett Root, born in 1895, were married in 1917. Having begun doing construction work in Belton in 1914 and being paid in used equipment and mules, Herman formed a business which his brother-in-law Dan Root joined in 1919. They were in turn joined by Herman’s younger brother George in 1922. For the first twenty years their work was primarily road paving and bridge building throughout Texas. In 1942, with federal government involvement through freshman congressman Lyndon Baines Johnson, they completed a 1.3-mile-long dam near Austin.

World War II prompted the company’s expansion into ship-building, and it produced 359 destroyer escorts and other ship types. After the war Brown and Root expanded by acquiring (for $143 million) the U.S. government’s Big Inch and Little Big Inch pipelines (originally built to replace tanker ships vulnerable to German submarines).

In 1951 Herman and George Brown and their wives set up the Brown Foundation, which has made large gifts beginning with Rice University, Southwestern University (Margarett Root Brown’s alma mater), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Two children joined the family of Herman and Margarett Brown, who had no children of their own. Louisa and Michael Stude were adopted and raised by the Browns but kept their birth names because their natural parents were still living.

Herman Brown died on November 15, 1962, and Margarett followed in 1963. To honor the memory of Margarett, George Brown and his wife Alice donated funds used to establish a residential college at Rice University. Margarett Root Brown College was dedicated October 3, 1965.

Extent

1.5 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Overview

The collection consists of a range of keepsakes memorializing the lives of Herman and Margarett Root Brown and their family. The oldest in time are the high school senior class yearbook of Herman Brown and a framed loan document bearing his signature. There are many photographs, both formal portraits and small snapshots as well as intermediate size pictures. Among the people featured in addition to Herman, Margarett, and their children are the mother and sisters of Herman and George Brown, the wife and daughters of George, and some business associates.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These materials were donated by the Brown Foundation and Louisa Stude Sarofim in 2016.

Related Materials

Brown and Root archives, MS 466, Woodson Research Center Builders: Herman and George Brown Book Research Files, MS 464, Woodson Research Center
Title
Guide to the Herman and Margarett Root Brown Family Papers, 1890-2016, bulk dates 1940-1965
Status
Completed
Author
Mary Tobin
Date
2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Contact:
Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA