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Name:    Brown Group Inc.
Profession:  Merchant
Born/Started:    1873
Description:    Bryan, Brown & Company was formed in St. Louis by George Warren Brown and his partners, Alvin Bryan and Jerome Desnoyers, as a manufacturer of shoes. In 1893, the company name changed to Brown Shoe Company.

The rights to the Buster Brown name were purchased in 1904 after the Buster Brown brand was introduced to the public at the St. Louis World´s Fair. A succession of midgets, dressed like Buster Brown and accompanied by dogs, toured the country from 1904 to 1930, playing to audiences in rented theaters, department stores and shoe stores.

Brown Shoe Company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1913. Following Brown´s death, the George Warren Brown School of Social Work was endowed at Washington University in St. Louis by Brown´s widow.

The Naturalizer, Connie, and LifeStride brands of shoes were developed in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1951 Brown Shoe Company acquired Wohl Shoe Company, operator of 350 specialty stores and 800 shoe departments for many major department stores.

In 1952 the Company moved its headquarters from 1600 Washington Avenue to Clayton. From 1970 to 1974, Cloth World, Eagle Rubber, Hedstrom, BottomHalf and Meis Department Stores were bought by Brown Shoe. Juvenile and Recreational Products Divisions were also formed.

In 1972 the company name changed to Brown Group, Inc. and, in 1981, the 36-store Famous Footwear chain was acquired.

In the 1980s and 1990s Brown Group started selling its non-footwear businesses and closing all domestic manufacturing plants. In 1991 Brown signed long-term license for Dr. Scholl´s brand. The company changed its name back to Brown Shoe Company in 1991, and Buster Brown & Co. was established as the Kids´ Division of Brown Shoe. [http://www.browngroup.com/history/index.asp]

Brown, George

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