W. Burlie Brown

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William Burlie Brown (March 3, 1922 - June 29, 2005) was a historian at Tulane University, in New Orleans for nearly three dozen years.

W. Burlie Brown, who never used his first name, was a native of New Orleans. He entered Tulane as a pre-law student to please his parents. He was the first in his family to go to college.

After two years in the Pacific during World War II, as part of the Marines, Brown received his law degree (presumable from Tulane) and even practiced for two years, but eventually went back to school as a student in 1949, and left with a Doctorate in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Brown joined Tulane's history faculty in 1951. He was awarded a Danforth teacher grant in 1955 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1957. He was a consultant to the federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare from 1963 to 1967.

"We talked as adults -- as colleagues, almost. That was very refreshing," said Christina Vella, who turned her dissertation on the Baroness de Pontalba into the book Intimate Enemies. "He was relaxed," Vella said. "In academia, you don't encounter that often. Professors are posing when they talk to students -- if not to them, then to themselves. He was not a poser."

Joe Louis Caldwell, a history professor at the University of New Orleans, remembered the morning that the habitually punctual Dr. Brown was late for class because he had been helping neighbors look for their missing daughter.

"He was really shaken by that experience," Caldwell said. "That certainly was not the stereotypical image of the aloof university professor in the ivory tower."

Dr. Brown, who retired in 1987, also was active in the Episcopal Church, serving on local and national committees and teaching classes for people considering joining the church. He was a member of the vestry at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, the campus ministry for Tulane and Loyola universities.

At 83, he died leaving behind his wife, Gillian Fansler Brown, along with a son Robin Ernest Brown, and a daughter Jennifer Jo Brown. He also had three step sons, Stephen Hammond, Justin Hammond, and John Hammond. Eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.