SUNY Plattsburgh Special Collections Mystery Archives Series

Episode Two: The Mysterious Mr. Brown

It was a lazy Thursday afternoon, and I was jumping through my standard routine of visual gymnastics in the untagged photo department.

My constant companion in this endeavor was Betsy. Boy, was she a beauty! You should've seen those images spring to life as she hovered over them.

Oh, didn't I tell you? Betsy's the name of my favorite pearl-handled six-way diamond-polished magnifying glass. The Archivist caught me eyeing her in the pale light.

"You'll never finish identifying those new photos if you keep admiring that magnifying glass. But I don't suppose there's much of a chance with that lot. They're hopeless! Just a bunch of old basketball team photos no one cares about anymore. Face it, Inspector, this one's got you beat!"

The box was labeled "Sports-Gymnastics." Not much to go on.

"Got who beat? Nothing's impossible, lady. Did I tell you, I once had a pig who put together a crystal radio set."

 The Archivist looked at me, then at her staff. Then they all looked back at me.

"Hey, you want to know people and dates? You'll get people and dates. Like this photo here: says on the back that it shows a guy named George Brown. Yep, I talkin' about THE George Brown."

"You must be thinking about John Brown, the famous abolitionist. We have a lot of material on him. We've got nothing on a George Brown."

"Oh, but you do, lady! You won't find him accurately identified in the gym photos in those Yearbooks. I already checked that out. But if you had checked—as I did—the alumni directories to find when the guys named in these photos graduated, you'd have determined a circa date for when the picture was taken. And you'd have learned that our friend George is none other than Gib Brown, the famous Champlain Valley meteorologist!"

I handed her the photo.

"Ah, so it's Gib. The graduation date says 1971. And he looks so young on TV! I should never have doubted you, Inspector. How can we—."

"Thank me? No time for that now. I've gotta go feed a pig."


The Mystery Archives Inspector

Oh, he's real alright. Would you like to meet him? Well, that just might happen when you visit Special Collections on a mystery adventure all your own. It's just another great reason to come on in and explore!

View more Mystery Archives episodes

Contact Special Collections at Feinberg Library

Debra Kimok
Special Collections Librarian
132 Feinberg Library
(518) 564-5206

Michael Burgess
Special Collections Associate
132 Feinberg Library
(518) 564-5206