Brown, Bob (1886-1959) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
American author, journalist, publisher, and collector Robert Carlton Brown (1886-1959) was born in Chicago. Brown wrote pulp fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks, avant-garde publications, and experimented with a book of visual poetry; he also contributed pieces to various magazines and newspapers in New York City and established journals in Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, and London. Popular works of Brown's include the novel What Happened to Mary? (1913), an adaptation of which became one of the first successful motion pictures. He was involved with an informal poetry group with avant-garde and modernist writers and artists like William Carlos Williams, Alfred Kreymbourg, and Man Ray in 1913 and 1914. The group put forth a publication entitled Glebe in 1913 and later the influential poetry journal Others. In 1929, he and his wife temporarily settled in France where they became involved in the expatriate literary community in Paris. While there, he also established Roving Eye Press to promote a reading machine that he invented. Brown published a book of verse to be used with the machine, Readies for Bob Brown's Machine (1931), which included contributions from Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, James T. Farrell, Kay Boyle, Paul Bowles, Kreymborg, Eugene Jolas, and Robert McAlmon.
The Browns eventually reestablished residence in Rio de Janeiro, where they lived until Rose Brown's death in 1952. Following his wife's death, Bob Brown returned to New York, remarried, and continued to write. He ran a shop called Bob Brown's Books in Greenwich Village until his death in 1959.