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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

‘A National Treasure’

Medical Arts’ Brown Mourned

Ms. Brown

Linda Brown

Photo: Ernie Branson

Linda Brown, 73, who worked for the Medical Arts Branch for over 48 years and was an integral part of the branch’s creative process and culture, died Oct. 25 after battling cancer for 3 years.

In January 2014, Brown retired from her role as creative services director, which she held for 17 years. But she returned immediately as a volunteer and mentor, exemplifying her dedication to NIH and the creative process. She also volunteered at the NIH history office, helping with the archives of years of illustrations, posters and photographs created by Medical Arts staff. Brown admitted that she could not picture herself not working, so she slowly transitioned into retirement. She concluded her volunteer work at the end of 2014.

Brown first joined Medical Arts as a general illustrator in 1966, after graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in fine arts. She began her NIH career with the expectation of moving to the West Coast at some point, but that never happened. She enjoyed her work and her clients so much that she didn’t mind that her plans changed, affirming that “NIH is a wonderful place to work.”

Brown considered herself old-school and believed that whatever she produced should be quality-driven. When she transitioned from being an illustrator to creative services director, she was still able to keep some important projects for herself. In the latter role, one of her responsibilities was to interview Medical Arts’ clients and match them to the best team to get the job done. “I like to play matchmaker,” she said. “I managed the more complicated projects,” organizing the tasks and workloads.

Brown could tell which designer or illustrator completed a project simply by looking at it. She was able to distinguish her employees’ artwork by the type of ink used, inconspicuous signature designs or particular techniques.

“With tremendous creative energy, Linda worked to create a vision and an award-winning NIH standard of art as it applies to communicating discoveries in biomedical research,” said Tammie Edwards, Medical Arts chief. “She ensured the continuation of this tradition by training and mentoring numerous creative staff over the years, including myself. We have always considered her a national treasure.”

Survivors include a sister, Mary Ann Marmon, nieces Karen Marmon and Nancy Carson, nephew Glenn Marmon and granddaughters Rachel and Leah Rosenberg, as well as many close friends.

In remembrance of Brown and her dedicated efforts, Medical Arts is planning an art show to celebrate her life’s works and contributions, date pending.

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