THE MAN IN THE URN: THE STORY OF JOSEPH STANLEY-BROWN AND HIS PIVOTAL, THOUGH QUIET, ROLE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY AND THE GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA
Brown's grandfather had come to the United States from Great Britain to avoid debtor's prison, using the false name Brown. As a young man, Joseph Brown joined John Wesley Powell's expedition to the Rocky Mountains, initially as an unpaid substitute worker. Soon he became a secretary to Powell, who enlisted the help of James Garfield (1831-1888) in the formation of a single, consolidated U.S. Geological Survey. Garfield was an advocate of geological work, but lacked secretarial help. Powell lent Stanley-Brown to Garfield, allowing Garfield to work on legislation regarding the Survey, and also resulting in Brown eventually becoming Garfield's permanent secretary. Brown also became a close family friend, attended Garfield's autopsy, and organized Garfield's papers after the president's death. Brown then returned to the field of geology, obtaining a degree from Yale, marrying Molly Garfield, and traveling with her to study in Germany. He also hyphenated his name to regain the link to his grandfather's real name (Stanley). He subsequently worked for the USGS, helped to form the National Geographic Society, and joined a series of corporations, including railways and a Wall Street investment house. Stanley-Brown published several papers, but an even greater service to geology was his volunteer half-century stint as editor of the GSA Bulletin. His financial acumen also served the Society well, as he oversaw the investment of the Penrose bequest, which had a profound effect on the fiscal health of the organization. GSA Council agreed to honor Stanley-Brown's sustained and key contributions to the Society with a special watch, but Stanley-Brown died before it could be presented to him.