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Matthew Alec Brown Collection

 Unprocessed Material — Multiple Containers
Identifier: H2019-072

Content Description

The collection consists of items pertaining to Matthew Alec Brown, Judge James Brown and Captain James H. Brown USN, all with connections to Chamberlain (S.D.). The collection includes family histories and a genealogy on the Brown family titled, The Browns of Chamberlain, South Dakota. The bulk of the collection consists of three photograph negative albums which contain over 350 negatives of photographs taken by Matthew Alec Brown from 1904 to 1911. An index to each image was provided by the donor and is included with the collection, various topics include: Stanley County, ranching scenes, Yankton (S.D.), Yankton College (Yankton, S.D.), football, Yankton College Literary Society (Y.C.L.S.), Chamberlain (S.D.), railroads, railroad bridges, University of South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D.), White Lake (S.D.), Ree Heights (S.D.), Aberdeen (S.D.), Pierre (S.D.) and Mitchell (S.D.). Other locations include Nashville (TN), Sioux City (IA), and trips to Nebraska and Wisconsin. Images from negative volume four include foreign locations such as Turkey, Greece, Italy, Austria, Germany, France, England, Ireland and Scotland. A comb bound index to each of the negatives is included in the collections as well as reprint images of a majority of the negatives. The negatives were placed in box 9069C. The collection also contains newspaper clippings, photographs and other documents concerning Captain James H. Brown, son of Matthew Alec Brown, who survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 aboard the USS Shaw and his participation in the Pacific during World War II. Two photographs of James Brown in uniform were placed in MD 330. A hard-bound copy of Matthew Alec Brown (1887-1962): Youthful Photographer from South Dakota by George-Anne Brown and a softbound copy of The Browns of Chamberlain, South Dakota are both in this collection and within the State Archives Library. Various writings, indexes, inventories and descriptions as well as a collection of 26 scanned images were also donated and ran through the State Archives Digital Preservation program. Matthew A. Brown was born in Kimball on October 10, 1887 to James and Jessie (Schuyler) Brown. After graduating from high school in Chamberlain, Matthew was a student at Yankton College and was selected as a Rhodes Scholar in 1908. He studied law at Oxford University from 1908 to 1911. He was admitted to the South Dakota Bar in 1911 (he was later president) and lived in Chamberlain the rest of his life. He married Olive Gerald on February 7, 1912 and they had four children. In 1935, Matthew was appointed to Special Attorney for the United States Department of Justice and in 1944 was appointed to the position of Assistant United States Attorney for South Dakota. Matthew was involved with numerous local and state level organizations and was a strong advocate for road and bridge development in South Dakota. Matthew A. Brown died on July 29, 1962 and is buried at Riverview Cemetery in Chamberlain. Matthew’s father, James Brown was born October 12, 1858 in Scotland. James came to the United States in 1881 and lived with his Uncle in Iowa. He studied law at the University of Iowa and moved to Dakota Territory in 1885, becoming a practicing attorney in Chamberlain. James married Jessie B. Schuyler on November 19, 1886 and they had five children. James served as a judge in Brule County and was also president of the South Dakota Bar Association. James was later appointed to the South Dakota Supreme Court, serving from November 1927 to January 1931. Judge Brown died on December 19, 1936 and was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Chamberlain.

Acquisition Type


Restrictions Apply



  • ca. 1900s-1940s
  • 1904-1911



1.5 Cubic Feet

121 Megabytes