(Feb. 20, 1859-Sept. 20, 1958). Hilton Ultimus Brown, an Indianapolis native, received a B.A. in 1880 and an M.A. in 1882 from Butler University. In 1881, after one year as principal at Oaktown Academy, he began his 77-year tenure at the Indianapolis News.

The acclaimed dean of Indiana journalism, Brown began his career as a reporter and subsequently worked as city editor, managing editor, secretary-treasurer, and served on the board of directors. He became vice president of Indianapolis Newspapers, Inc. when it incorporated in 1948 and remained active in the position until his death. Brown also served on the board of directors of the American Newspaper Publishers Association from 1903 to 1935. He represented Indianapolis internationally as a correspondent at the Paris Peace Conference (Jan. 18, 1919-Jan 21, 1920) and served as an escort for Queen Marie of Romania during her visit to the city on November 17, 1926.

In 1885, at age 25, Brown became the youngest member ever elected to the Butler University board of trustees. He served on the board for 70 years, including 52 years as president. Upon his retirement in 1955, the board elected him president emeritus. Posthumously in 1959, he received the Butler medal for distinguished service. The former Hilton U. Brown Theater at Butler University and the Irvington public library were named in his honor (The Brown library branch closed in 2001 when the new larger Irvington Branch opened.) His motivation, leadership, copy desk rules, and knack for scooping the competition helped elevate the Indianapolis News into a major publication. He gained local, national, and international recognition at the annual Associated Press meetings. He is also noted for his series reflecting on Russia and industrial conditions in Europe after World War I. In 1939 he received the Indianapolis Chamber Of Commerce Staff of Honor for his contributions to the city through his journalism and service.

Brown resided in Irvington where he served as president of the town and school boards. A religious man, Brown also held positions as an elder of Downey Avenue Christian Church, president of the board of trustees of the Christian Foundation, and director of the DISCIPLES OF CHRIST (Christian) Board Publication. Brown’s published works include Fifty-Four Forty Or Fight (1912), Hilton U. Brown Jr, One Of Three Brothers In Artillery (1920), and his autobiography, A Book About Memories (1951). He is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

Revised February 2021

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