John Mason Brown

John Mason Brown (July 3, 1900 – March 16, 1969) was an American drama critic and author.[1]

Born(1900-07-03)July 3, 1900
Louisville, Kentucky
DiedMarch 16, 1969(1969-03-16) (aged 68)
New York, New York
Occupationcolumnist, journalist
Genredrama criticism
Notable works"Seeing Things" column


Born in Louisville, Kentucky, he graduated from Harvard College in 1923. He worked for the New York Evening Post from 1929 to 1941. He served as a lieutenant in the United States Navy during World War II, beginning in 1942. His book, To All Hands, documents his activities aboard the USS Ancon (AGC-4) during Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily.

Upon his return, his "Seeing Things" column appeared in The Saturday Review starting in 1944 until his death in New York City. In a 1948 radio broadcast, Brown attacked comic books as "the marijuana of the nursery; the bane of the bassinet; the horror of the house; the curse of the kids; and a threat to the future."[2] (These charges were echoed during this period by other public figures like Sterling North, J. Edgar Hoover, and most notably Dr. Fredric Wertham, until Congressional hearings led to the mid-1950s self-censorship and rapid shrinkage of the comics industry.)

Brown resigned from the Pulitzer Prize drama jury in 1963 when the advisory board rejected his recommendation, and that of theater historian John Gassner, that the prize go to Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.[3]

He was inducted, posthumously, into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (March 17, 1969). "John Mason Brown, Critic, Dead." The New York Times
  2. ^ Thompson, Maggie. "April 21, 1954: Mr. Gaines Goes to Washington," "The 1900s: 10 biggest events from 100 years in comics," (December 12, 2005). Archived October 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence, "John Mason Brown, Critic, Dead"; The New York Times, March 17, 1969
  4. ^ The New York Times, March 3, 1981 - 26 Elected to the Theater Hall of Fame

Further readingEdit

  • Brown, Preston (July 1939). "John Mason Brown, 1837-1890". Filson Club History Quarterly. 13 (3). Retrieved November 30, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit