Browsing the Collections — John Mason Brown, 1900-1969, Diary

John Mason Brown, a native of Louisville, was a prominent New York theater critic, who wrote for such newspapers as the New York Evening Post from the late 1920s to the early 1940s.  He was so respected, in fact, that he served on the Pulitzer Prize drama jury, from which he resigned in 1963 after the advisory board refused his recommendation of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

The first page of the diary features these photos of a young John Mason Brown.

The first page of the diary features these photos of a young John Mason Brown.

But in 1914, he was just a young teenager in Louisville, beginning a diary that he would keep almost daily through 1918.  The diary, which was recently cataloged and made available to researchers, reveals numerous insights into the life of youth in the city during the early part of the 20th Century.  It also sheds light on the city's broader cultural scene, and the early tastes of a young critic, as Brown meticulously recounts each movie and performance he sees at the city's numerous theaters.

The diary would be a rich resource for researchers interested in a number of topics, including education, childhood, and the social aspects of World War I, but would also satisfy the curiosity of anyone interested in the finer points of Louisville's history in the early 20th Century.

James J. Holmberg

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