Virginia Mae Brown

Charleston Daily Mail
March 5, 1964

Can't Refuse President

Mrs. Brown Gets ICC Appointment

"I feel I couldn't turn down the President of the United States, and I'm going to get in there and do the very best job I can.["]

With those words, Mrs. Virginia Mae Brown of Charleston said today she will accept President Johnson's appointment to the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Now a member of the State Public Service Commission, Mrs. Brown said, "I didn't even know it," meaning Johnson's announcement of her appointment in Washington last night. Newspaper reporters told her, reading from a White House press release.

Mrs. Brown said she was asked to go to the White House yesterday where Johnson interviewed her, "but I didn't know what it was about."

The President, she added, did not mention the ICC specifically, but talked as though "he wanted to be sure I was qualified." An aide to Johnson did mention it, she continued, but said there were "other federal jobs my qualifications would meet."

She would be the first member of her sex to serve on the ICC, but that kind of distinction isn't new for her. She was the first woman insurance commissioner in the United States.

"An appointment like this is a high honor for a woman or a man," Mrs. Brown said of the ICC post.


A native of Pliny, Putnam County, where he father operates a bank, Mrs. Brown is married to a local attorney, James Brown, and they have two children.

After graduating from West Virginia University College of Law, Mrs. Brown, 40, served as an assistant to the Attorneys General John G. Fox and W. W. Barron.

When Barron became Governor in 1961, she served as his legal advisor on legislation and later was named state insurance commissioner. Barron put her on the Public Service Commission in 1962.

She is one of 10 women Johnson said he is appointing to high government places. And he announced it at the Women's National Press Club, saying:

"Our determination to enlist women in this administration is no sporadic, election year objective.

"It will be a continuing aim not because it is politic, but because it is sound."

Given the setting, the President's affirmation was no unexpected. But his list of 10 appointees was, [sic] Amid applause he reeled them off.

Others are:

Pauline Tompkins, North Edgecomb, Maine, General director of the American Association of University Women, to the Advisory Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs of the State Department.

Mrs. Norman Chandler, wife of the president of the Los Angeles Times-Mirror Corp., to be a member of the Advisory Committee to the U.S. Information Agency.

India Edwards, former vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to be special consultant to the secretary of labor on youth employment.


Katharine E. White, chief of New Jersey's Garden State Parkway, to an ambassadorship, the country to be designated later.

Mary Keyserling, economist, to be director of the women's Bureau in the Labor Department.

Rose McKee, former newspaper woman, to be director of the Office of Public Information of the Small Business Administration.

Dr. Eleanor Poland, health and housing researcher, to be specialist on the research grants program of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Barbara Bolling, former wife of Rep. Richard Bolling, D-Mo., to be special assistant to the U.S. chief of protocol.

Mrs. Herbert Stats, editor, to be consultant to the U.S. Office of Aging and coordinator of Senior Citizens Month in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.


West Virginia Archives and History