Partner Albert Gilman, buried together
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Stati Uniti
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, Stati Uniti
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138, Stati Uniti
Roger William Brown (April 14, 1925 – December 11, 1997), an American social psychologist, was born in Detroit.
Roger Brown, Ph.D., was known for his work in social psychology and in children's language development. He taught at Harvard University from 1952 until 1957 and from 1962 until 1994, and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1957 until 1962. His scholarly books include Words and Things: An Introduction to Language (1958), Social Psychology (1965), Psycholinguistics (1970), A First Language: The Early Stages (1973), and Social Psychology: The Second Edition (1985). He authored numerous journal articles and book chapters.
He was the doctoral adviser or a post-doctoral mentor of many researchers in child language development and psycholinguistics, including Jean Berko Gleason, Susan Ervin-Tripp, Camile Hanlon, Dan Slobin, Ursula Bellugi, Courtney Cazden, Richard F. Cromer, David McNeill, Eric Lenneberg, Colin Fraser, Eleanor Rosch (Heider), Melissa Bowerman, Steven Pinker, Kenji Hakuta, and Peter de Villiers. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Brown as the 34th most cited psychologist of the 20th century.
Roger Brown was born in Detroit, one of four brothers. His family, like many others, was hit hard by the Depression. He attended Detroit public schools, and began undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, but World War II interrupted his education. He joined the Navy during his freshman year, and was accepted into the V-12 program, which included midshipman training at Columbia University, and served as an ensign in the U.S. Navy. During his time in the navy, he became interested in psychology. With the help of the GI BIll, he completed his university education after the war. Brown became a dedicated opera fan, with a particular admiration for Metropolitan Opera soprano Renata Scotto.
During his time at the University of Michigan, Brown met Albert Gilman (died December 22, 1989), later a Shakespeare scholar and a professor of English at Boston University. Gilman and Brown were partners for over 40 years until Gilman's death from lung cancer in 1989. Brown's sexual orientation and his relationship with Gilman were known to a few of his closest friends, and he served on the editorial board of The Journal of Homosexuality from 1985, but he did not come out publicly until 1989. Brown chronicled his personal life with Gilman and after Gilman's death in his memoir. Brown died in 1997, and is buried next to Gilman in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His obituary in Cognition, written by his friend Steven Pinker, says that Brown's "final years were also marked by declining health. He was stricken with prostate cancer, epilepsy, arthritis, cellulitis, spinal stenosis (which made it hard for him to walk or stand up straight), and heart disease"; it also says that Brown "planned his suicide to avoid a life of further pain and physical decline."