Virginia Mae Brown

Clarksburg Sunday Exponent-Telegram
October 11, 1964

'Woman's Viewpoint' Subject Of Mrs. Brown's Talk Here

"Call Her Madam? Madam Commissioner? Or Commissioneress?

This was the dilemma of the press when President Lyndon Johnson appointed West Virginia's Virginia Mae Brown to the Interstate Commerce Commission last March.

For the first time since the Commissioner's inception in 1887, a member of the ICC would not be addressed as "Mr." Commissioner!

This was not the first time, however, that Mrs. Brown had broken such a precedent. She was well known in West Virginia as the "first" woman to hold a variety of very important government positions.

Mrs. Brown was born and raised in Pliny, West Virginia. She earned her A.B. degree at West Virginia University. After teaching a year and a half at Winfield High School in Putnam County, she enrolled in the West Virginia College of Law.

Upon earning her law degree in 1947, she was appointed law clerk to the late Attorney General Ira J. Partlow. Then she began to receive appointments which no woman had ever held.

She was appointed executive secretary to the West Virginia Judicial Council in 1949. No woman in the entire country had ever served in this capacity.

In 1952 Attorney General John G. Fox appointed her the first woman assistant attorney general in West Virginia. She was reappointed by Governor Barron in 1956.

Then she was appointed counsel to Governor Barron in 1961. In May of that year she was named West Virginia's Insurance Commissioner, making her the first woman insurance commissioner in the United States.

In September, 1962 she was appointed to the West Virginia Public Service Commission for the unexpired term ending May 31, 1963. She was the first and only woman ever to hold this job in West Virginia.

She was reappointed for a six year term ending May 31, 1969. However, upon her appointment to the ICC, she resigned.

Mrs. Brown is married to James V. Brown, an attorney of Logan. She is the mother of [t]wo daughters, Victoria Ann, age 8 and Pamela Kay age 4.

Madam Commissioner will speak to the members of the Woman's Club of Clarksburg at their Oct. 29 luncheon meeting. Her topic will be "A Woman's Point of View."


West Virginia Archives and History