Special Update: Isaac Brown 6th April, 1880 – December 4th 1974 – Reading & Writing – Writing Lives

Special Update: Isaac Brown 6th April, 1880 – December 4th 1974 – Reading & Writing

Hello! This is an unexpected update for this blog. As you have read, I have already concluded this blog with my ‘Researching Writing Lives’ update, however I would like to quickly add this update to this blog because I recently received a very polite reply from another member of Isaac’s family. Within it they detail their interest in Isaac’s reading and writings throughout his life. Isaac details on the latter half of his memoir he always had ‘the writing itch’, and as a result, he wrote several pieces. If the descendant of Isaac’s is reading this currently, then I hope this update fills you in on any details. Enjoy!

Within page 135 on Isaac Brown’s memoir, Isaac begins to go into detail about his ‘writing itch’, ‘As you will have gathered from previous chapters, I have always been afflicted with cacoethes scribendi – the writing itch; and I have written all sorts of things at different times – occasional verse at such times as Christmas, birthdays, weddings, coming-of-age…’ (135)

Isaac’s writing unfortunately did not see much to it I’m sorry to inform you. ‘…one full length novel, long since consigned to the flames’ he did however write a play I hope will be interesting for you to discover! I certainly found this interesting. Isaac writes, ‘…a play, remarkable only for the fact that I also produced it and acted the leading part in it’ Isaac diverts away from the topic of the play shortly, but continues to speak of the fact that despite the novel and the numerous articles he wrote pertaining to business life. In terms of his novel and poetic writing, he did so mostly for ‘the pleasure of self-expression than anything else.’ (135) Isaac made a couple of ‘halve-hearted’ attempts to have these works published, with a serious attempt to have his novel published ‘but these came to nothing.’ Isaac did however attain acceptance of his writings in the secretarial aspect of business, ‘And my book was immediately accepted by the first publishers to whom I submitted it.’ Sadly, Isaac really does not go into much detail within the memoir regarding specifics on publishing, so I discovered that trying to find his work quite a challenge. I really struggled to find anything. However, after approximately an hour searching on Gutenberg.org, Google scholar and Google books, I did find one book titled, ‘Introduction to Business Management‘ published in 1930, by a Mr Edward Brown, with its corresponding link here: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=QFpPLWWT29UC&source=gbs_book_other_versions The dates would seem to correspond as would the nature of the book and the name.

As you will read from observing that previous link, the description of the book reads as follows: “INTRODUCTION TO BUSINESS MANAGEMENT A HANDBOOK ADDRESSED PARTICULARLY TO SECRETARIES OF INDUSTRIAL CONCERNS, AND COMMERCIAL STUDENTS BY EDWARD BROWN, F. C. I. S. VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE BIRMINGHAM BRANCH OF THE CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF SECRETARIES LECTURER IN SECRETARIAL WORK AND PRACTICE, CITY OF BIRMINGHAM COMMERCIAL COLLEGE. I hope that, with this, I have provided some light on the situation, but as mentioned, it truly is very difficult finding anything Isaac wrote and published. Other than this piece of literature, I have not managed to uncover much else by that author’s name, and I truly am uncertain whether this book was written by Isaac Edward Brown, all I can say is that I hope I have helped in some manner.

‘A year or two after I commenced lecturing on Secretarial Practice I was asked by a small deputation of the students if I would take a class in Economics…Economics was one of the most difficult – perhaps the most difficult – of the C. I. S. examination subjects, this was a serious matter for the Institute Students. (138)

In addition to writing about such business matters, as you know from a previous post, Isaac loved poetry. He wrote to a close family member a poem each Christmas during and after the war years. Isaac continues on about drama, theatres and plays on page 180. ‘For some years, however, I was more directly interested in theatrical maters, as we ran an amateur dramatic society in connection with the Church we attended…We had a social and literary society…it was suggested that some dramatic sketches should be given at one of its meetings. (180)

‘I joined in with two or three others in producing the Trial scene from “Pickwick”…This was quite a success’ but as Isaac notes, he became slightly too ambitious in organising Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ in which there are 40 or so characters, ‘and we had only two or three people who had previously done anything at all in this way’.

I really hope that this update has shone a bit of light on Isaac’s writing days, I hope you have enjoyed reading!


1:93 BROWN, Edward, Untitled, TS, pp.199 (c.80,000 words). Brunel University Library.

‘Brown, Edward’, The Autobiography of the Working Class: An Annotated, Critical Bibliography (Brighton: Harvester, 1984) vol 1, no. 9

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