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Paul Dennis Brown Family papers

 Collection 0019-MDHC

Paul Dennis Brown was a tobacco specialist in the University of Maryland Extension Service and was active in the civic affairs of Charles County. Important subjects documented in the Brown family papers and photographs include the history of Charles County, the county's public library, county fairs, Physicians Memorial Hospital, the Committee for the Study of Slot Machines, and Smallwood's Retreat.


  • 1890-1973 and undated
  • Majority of material found within 1940-1960

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.


6.50 Linear Feet (6.50 linear feet and 4 items)

6.50 Linear Feet

4 Items

Scope and Content of Collection

The Paul Dennis Brown Family papers span the years from 1879 to 1973 with the bulk covering 1940 to 1960. The collection consists of correspondence, diaries, news clippings, writings, publications, photographs, a scrapbook, blueprints, a map, and memorabilia. The correspondence to P. D. Brown consists mainly of letters regarding his retirement. The majority of the news clippings focus on Charles County history, including the annual Charles County Fair, Maryland's 1958 tercentenary celebration, southern Maryland historic homes, agriculture and tobacco. There are also several articles about the civic activities of P. D. and Margaret Brown and P. D. Brown's retirement. The scrapbook and the photographs document the Charles County Fairs, its pageants and the fair's Queen Nicotina and her Court of the Magic Weed.


Paul Dennis (P. D.) Brown was known as "Mr. Charles County" in Maryland for his many civic and agricultural activities. He was born in Somerset, Kentucky in 1892. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1914 where he studied agriculture. From 1914 to 1916, he was the County (Extension) Agent in Henderson County, Kentucky. From 1917 to 1919, he held the same position in Decatur County, Indiana. He and his family then moved to Maryland where he managed "Causine (or Causiens) Manor," a beef farm in Bel Alton, Maryland, from 1920 to1929. He then assumed the position of County Agent for Charles County, Maryland, a position he held until his retirement in 1959. Tobacco and trees were essential to Charles County agriculture and in 1933 and in 1956, Brown published articles detailing their importance. Following his retirement, he continued to be a leader in many county and state organizations and committees.

P. D. Brown was active in several Charles County civic organizations before and after his retirement. He advocated library service in Charles County and southern Maryland and later served on library boards and committees. He helped organize and was vice president of the Charles County Library from 1923 to 1935 and president of the Charles County Public Library Board of Trustees from 1949 to1953. Brown appeared before U.S. Congressional and Maryland legislative committees to argue for the establishment and financing of public libraries.

Along with others, he organized the Charles County Fair in 1924 and served on its board, holding several leadership positions for many years. He served on the Physicians Memorial Hospital Board of Directors and was its chairman from 1938 to 1948. He was chairman of the Charles County Chapter of the American Red Cross for eight years. For many years, he served as a Director of the Smallwood Foundation and participated in the restoration of Smallwood's Retreat, the home of General William Smallwood, Revolutionary War hero and a governor of Maryland. Brown also served on state committees including the Slot Machine Study Committee (1962-1963) and the Maryland Library Association Legislative and Planning Committee and serving as its chairman for many years.

He received many honors and awards. The National Association of County Agents presented him with its Distinguished Service Award in 1953. The Charles County Chamber of Commerce also recognized his outstanding civic service in the county. In 1960, he was honored by the Maryland Library Association with its Trustee Citation. The following year, the American Library Association awarded him one of two national trustee Citations of Merit for his efforts.

P. D. Brown married Margaret Berry (1894-1973), also of Kentucky on June 26, 1917. She was active in Charles County organizations, notably the La Plata Beautification Committee, the Charles County Garden Club of Maryland and the American Cancer Society, Charles County. She and P.D. Brown had three daughters: Mary Berry (born 1918), Margaret Washington (1922-1994) and Frances (1923-1941). Mary was a U. S. Navy Ensign in 1944 and later married William George Moore (1918-2004). Margaret was a writer and curator of the First Ladies collection at the Smithsonian Institution. In 1954, when she was the associate curator at the Smithsonian Institution's Division of History she escorted Queen Mother Elizabeth of Britain and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the wife of the President, through the First Ladies exhibit. In 1956, she married Frank Edward Klapthor (1914-1994). She and her father co-authored The History of Charles County, Maryland, written in its Tercentenary Year of 1958 (La Plata: Charles County Tercentenary, Inc.). P. D. Brown died in La Plata, Maryland in 1974.


The collection is organized as six series.

Series 1
Family Records
Series 2
Series 3
Subject Files
Series 4
Series 5
Series 6

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The daughters of P. D. and Margaret Brown, Margaret Brown Klapthor and Mary Berry Brown Moore, donated the Papers of the Paul Dennis Brown Family to the University of Maryland Archives in College Park in 1978.

Related Material

Klapthor, Margaret Brown, The History of Charles County, Maryland, written in its tercentenary year of 1958. La Plata, Md., Charles County Tercentenary, Inc., 1958. (UMCP HBK Maryland Room, Maryland Stacks F187.C4K55)

Separated Material

Some materials were removed in 2008 to form the Stoddert Family Papers.

Processing Information

The materials have been placed in acid-free folders in acid-free boxes. The photographs have been placed in Mylar sleeves. Some materials were removed in 2008 to form the Stoddert Family Papers.

Guide to the Paul Dennis Brown Family papers
Processed by Terry Ann Sayler.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742