Norris Brown, 1863-1960 [RG1804.AM]


RG1804.AM:  Norris Brown, 1863-1960

Papers:  1883-1960
Omaha, Douglas County, Neb.: U.S. Senator
Size:  0.7 cu.ft.; 2 boxes and oversize


Norris Brown was born in Maquoketa, Iowa, May 2, 1863. The son of William Henry Harrison and Eliza Ann Phelps Brown, he was educated at the Jefferson Iowa Academy and later the University of Iowa. He received a BA in 1883, was admitted to the bar in 1884, and received an MA in 1885.

After moving to Nebraska, he practiced law in Kearney from 1885-1892. Brown served as Buffalo County attorney from 1892-1896, and state attorney general from 1904-1906. He distinguished himself in this post by winning a tax suit of over a million dollars against the railroads. The money was used to open schools in Nebraska.

Brown was elected to the United States Senate in 1906 and served until 1913. During this term, the Republican senator sponsored the 16th Amendment, which legalized the federal income tax.

After his defeat for a second Senate term, Brown returned to Nebraska to resume his law practice. He was senior partner in the firm of Brown, Crossman, West, Barton, and Quinlan of Omaha. He served as attorney for the Omaha Stockyards for 30 years. In 1943, Brown moved to Seattle, where he died in 1960 at the age of 96.

Brown was married twice. In 1885, he married Lula K. Beeler, who died in 1925. They had two daughters. Ann L. Howland became his second wife in 1927, and died in 1937.


The Norris Brown collection consists of one box of manuscript material containing correspondence, 1905-1953; speeches, 1908-1911 and undated; printed matter, 1953-1960; certificates, 1883-1906; scrapbooks, 1898-1928; and miscellany.

The collection deals primarily with the political career of Norris Brown and the years following his term in the Senate. The correspondence consists mainly of telegrams congratulating Brown on his senatorial nomination and election in 1905-1906. Speeches included are those presented in Congress, some dealing with the 16th amendment, and an undated and untitled speech. Printed matter includes interviews with Brown on his Congressional career, accounts of his death, an undated article from the Journal of the American Bar Association relating to Brown’s activities with the passage of the sixteenth amendment, and an account of his death as published in the 1960 Congressional Record.

Certificates include diplomas of Brown’s educational degrees, Masonic/fraternal certificates, certificates of election, etc. The scrapbooks are mostly collections of clippings referring to Brown’s senatorial activities, particularly his involvement with the 16th amendment. Also included are articles relating to Brown’s legal career in Omaha after 1913 and his social and political activities. Some letters and telegrams are also included in the first scrapbook. The miscellany consists of one oversized folder containing broadsides with portraits of Norris Brown.


Box 1

  1. Correspondence, 1905-1953
  2. Speeches, 1908-1911, n.d.
  3. Printed matter including newspaper clippings, 1953-1960 (see also oversize)
       The Advance, Feb. 7, 1907
       Congressional Record, 1960
       Journal of the American Bar Association article, n.d.
  4. Certificates, 1883-1906 (see also oversize)
  5. Scrapbook, 1898-1928
  6. Scrapbook, 1906-1909 (see oversize)
  7. Scrapbook, 1909-1911

Box 2

  1. Scrapbook, 1910-1911
  2. Miscellany (see oversize)


Subject headings:

Brown, Norris, 1863-1960
Income tax — United States
Legislation — United States
Legislators — United States
Nebraska — Politics and government
Taxation — Law and legislation — United States
United States. Constitution. 16th Amendment
U.S. Congress. Senate

05-31-2007 Revised TMM/tmm
03-07-2014 Revised TMM/tmm

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