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 Tribute to Wm Brownlee by Joseph Hough

William H. Brownlee  |  Sarah Louise Dunn Brownlee

William H. Brownlee

    Professor William H. Brownlee died unexpectedly on July 16 [1983] of complications following surgery.  His death only a year after his retirement as Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate School came as a shock to the academic community.  He will be greatly missed at the Institute, where he has been active over the years as the Director of the Institute’s Dead Sea Scrolls Project.
     Brownlee was a junior Fellow at the American Schools of Oriental Research in Jerusalem at the time the Dead Sea Scrolls surfaced.  The scrolls were brought to the school when its Director was away on a field trip.  So it fell to Brownlee and John Trever, the other Fellow in residence that year, to make the first assessment of the scrolls.  Their conclusions as to the age, authenticity and importance of the scrolls could have been passed off as youthful exuberance, if it were not that their report, sent to the dean of Old Testament scholars William F. Albright, received his stamp of approval. 
     Brownlee published the first study of the Habakkuk commentary in 1948.  It was followed, in 1959, by a study of The Text of Habakkuk in the Ancient Commentary from Qumran, and in 1964 by a more general volume entitled The Meaning of the Qumran Scrolls for the Bible.  His project at the Institute in more recent years produced the first commentary on the ancient Habakkuk commentary:  The Midrash Pesher of Habakkuk, published in 1979.
     Memorial services were held in Claremont on July 19, at Claremont Presbyterian Church.  The interment was at the family home in Kansas.  Contributions may be made to the memorial fund of the Claremont Presbyterian Church or to that of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity.

--IAC Bulletin vol. 10, no. 3 (September 1983): 6.

Sarah Louise Dunn Brownlee


* The Brownlee children have since moved to other various and sundry locations, and there are now 8 grandchildren.

(updated info April 2006)

     Mrs. Sarah Louise Dunn Brownlee, the widow of former CGS Professor of Old Testament Studies and the IAC Project Director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Project, William H. Brownlee, died on August 5, 1994 at the UCLA Medical Center.  Shortly before her death Mrs. Brownlee had donated $30,000 to the already existing Wm. H. Brownlee Memorial Endowment at the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity at The Claremont Graduate School.  This generous gift will largely increase the existing endowment as well as provide funds for purposes beyond the annual Brownlee Lecture....
     ...Louise Brownlee was brought up on a farm in Kansas but she was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, on February the 2nd 1918.  She held a college degree from Sterling College in Kansas and taught English after her graduation.
     The Brownlees were married in 1948 and moved to Claremont at the end of the fifties when Prof. Brownlee started teaching at the Graduate School  In Claremont Mrs. Brownlee gave piano lessons and took care of the home at Wells Court in Claremont.
     They are survived by their five children:  Mary Conner (in Englewood, CO), David (in San Diego, CA), Hugh (in Azusa, CA), Martha Brownlee-Terry (in Ventura, CA), and Linda Pearson (in Paoli, PA) and six grandchildren.*
     The Institute is profoundly thankful to Mrs. Brownlee for her dedication to the Brownlee endowment which will proudly maintain the memory of Prof. and Mrs. Brownlee for years to come.
     The Institute also thanks all the family members and friends of Mrs. Brownlee who honored her memory by gifts to the Wm. H. and Sarah Louise Brownlee Memorial Endowment of The Claremont Graduate School.

--IAC Bulletin Vol. 21, no. 3 (September 1994): 4-5.