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A Finding Aid for the Ernest E. Brown Papers 1932-1935

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Ernest E. Brown Papers

Creator: Ferris State University. Office of the President.

Dates: 1932-1935

Abstract: Ernest Edward Brown (1892-1958) was president of Ferris from November 1932- February 1936. During his tenure at Ferris, Brown struggled with Ferris Institute's heavy debt load. During one year, Brown served without pay. He also focused on student recruitment as a possible solution. The papers consist of student recruitment and advertising strategy correspondence.

Language: English

Quantity: 1.5 cubic feet; 1 records center box

Identification: UA 1.5

Repository: Ferris State University Archives and Records Management Program

Historical Note

Ernest Edward Brown was born 8 April 1892 in Selville, Illinois. He attended the University of Oklahoma- first earning a B.A and later completing a masters thesis entitled A Statistical Survey By Counties of Education in Oklahoma, in 1925. He completed a Ph.D. from Columbia University just after his arrival at Ferris Institute.

In addition to short teaching periods in 1926 at Indiana University and Colorado State University, Brown held a number of positions in Oklahoma. He was superintendent of multiple school districts, assistant superintendent of public instruction for the state and chief high school inspector.

Prior to his arrival at Ferris, Brown was the president at Southwestern Teachers College in Weatherford, Oklahoma. He served as Ferris Institute's president from November 1932 to February 1936. Despite his glowing references, Brown had a difficult time at Ferris. He had no stock in the incorporated school, only a salary. Ferris Institute existed under extreme fiscal pressures- five faculty members were sent on leave, others were sent out to recruit students. In 1932, the Ferris Weekly student newspaper was born, as a four page supplement to the Big Rapids Pioneer newspaper. By fall 1935, enrollment had increased and Brown had negotiated several loans.

Brown left Ferris in February 1936 to assume the presidency of Northeastern State Teachers College back in Oklahoma. He later published a book entitled Selection and Education of Oklahoma Teachers (1948). He died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on 8 June 1958.

Ernest E. Brown married Etta Marie Beck on 13 April 1914 in Duke, Oklahoma. They had two children: Ernest Warren Brown and Alice Eloise Brown Cooper. 

Scope and Content Note

Ernest Edward Brown served as Ferris Institute's 5th president. Very little material exists from his administration because of fire which consumed most of the offices of the Institute during February 1950. One folder contains copies of his installation program from 1932, and his installation address which outlines his hopes for Ferris future. The remainder of the records consists of prospective student correspondence- responses to requests for catalogs, information on specific programs and similar requests. There is also some correspondence with alumni recruiters, such as Odell Lamb and Eben Pennock, suggesting potential students for Ferris. One folder contains lists of previously enrolled students, and student "targets" from the years 1934-1935.


The papers are divided into a single series.

Access Information

Conditions of Access

The Ernest E. Brown Papers are open for research to all users in accordance with University Archives and Records Management access policies. It is available in the reading room of the Ferris State University Archives.

Conditions of Use

Requests for permission to publish material should be directed to the University Archivist. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Copyright interests for this collection have been transferred to Ferris State University. For more information, contact the University Archivist.

Subject Headings

Below are a list of names, organizations and subjects relating to the collection. Names have been taken from Library of Congress Authority headings whenever possible.

Related Materials

None specified.

Administrative Information


Footnotes and bibliographic references should use the following format:
[Item], Folder, Box. Ernest E. Brown Papers. Ferris State University Archives. Big Rapids, Michigan.

Provenance (Acquisition Information)

These records were located in various storerooms within Ferris State University and transferred to the University Archives prior to 1984.

Processing Information

The Ernest E. Brown Papers were processed to the folder level by Melinda McMartin Isler in October 2003. A finding aid was prepared in a word processing format and converted to EAD 1.0. A revised finding aid was created in November 2007. A collection level MARC-format record was prepared and placed in the library online public access catalog. Description was based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2004).

Technical Requirements

This collection consists of loose papers, generally of the 8.5 x 11 inch paper size. No specialized software or hardware is required for viewing.

Content Listing

Series 1. General Files. 1932-1935.

This series consists consists of approximately 1.5 cubic feet of paper. This collection is primarily student correspondence. In response to catalog requests, or cards filled out at recruitment tours, the President's Office responded, both with form letters tailored to a specific program or for a certain student profile. There is also a file relating to Brown's installation at Ferris in 1932.

The records are arranged alphabetically and chronologically within topics.

Box Folder Contents
1 1 Correspondence. A-Ar.
1 2 Correspondence. As-Ba.
1 3 Correspondence. Be-Bo.
1 4 Correspondence. Br-Bz.
1 5 Correspondence. C.
1 6 Correspondence. K.
1 7 Correspondence. L.
1 8 Correspondence. Ma-Me.
1 9 Correspondence. Mc.
1 10 Correspondence. Mi-Mz.
1 11 Correspondence. N.
1 12 Correspondence. Newton, Roy.
1 13 Correspondence. O.
1 14 Correspondence. P-Q.
1 15 Correspondence. R.
1 16 Correspondence. Sa-Sm.
1 17 Correspondence. Sn-Sz.
1 18 Correspondence. T.
1 19 Correspondence. U-V.
1 20 Correspondence. Wa-We.
1 21 Correspondence. Wi-Wz.
1 22 Correspondence. Y-Z.
1 23 Ferris Institute. Appraisal. 1933.
1 24 Ferris Institute. Installation. 1932.
1 25 Ferris Institute. Student recruitment lists. 1934-1935.
1 26 Ferris Institute. 50th anniversary. 1935.
1 27 Religion. 1933.