Elmer Ellsworth Brown

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For the 1911-1915 Major League Baseball player, see Elmer Brown (baseball).
Elmer Ellsworth Brown

Elmer Ellsworth Brown (1861–1934) was an American educator. Born at Kiantone in Chautauqua County, New York, he studied at New York University (NYU), graduated from Illinois State Normal University in 1881 and at the University of Michigan (A.B., 1889); then he studied in Germany and received a Ph.D. from the University of Halle in 1890.

He was principal of public schools in Belvidere, Illinois, in 1881-84, assistant state secretary of the Y. M. C. A. of Illinois (1884–87), and principal of the high school at Jackson, Michigan, in 1890–91. He taught education at the University of Michigan (1891–93) and at the University of California, Berkeley (1893–1906). After directing the reorganization of the Bureau of Education as U.S. Commissioner of Education (1906–11), he became chancellor of New York University, where he founded NYU Press in 1916 "to publish contributions to higher learning by eminent scholars."

He was made fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and vice president of the education section in 1907. He led the Andiron Club from 1916 to 1922 and was associated with the Eucleian Society. Brown retired from NYU in 1933 and died in 1934 in New York.


His works include:

  • The Making of Our Middle Schools (1903).
  • The Origin of American State Universities (1905).
  • Government by Influences, and Other Addresses (1909).
  • An Efficient Organization and Enlarged Scope for the Bureau of Education (1910).
  • A Few Remarks (1933).



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Government offices
Preceded by
William T. Harris
United States Commissioner of Education
1906 – 1911
Succeeded by
Philander P. Claxton
Academic offices
Preceded by
Henry Mitchell MacCracken
President of New York University
1911 – 1933
Succeeded by
Harry Woodburn Chase