Dr. Ray Browne, pioneer of pop culture, dies in BG


Dr. Raymond B. Browne, 87, one of the leading lights in the study of popular culture, nationwide and at
Bowling Green State University, died at his home in Bowling Green Thursday.
Browne has been credited with coining the term "popular culture" and early on advocated for its
serious study.
In 1967, he created the Center for the Study of Popular Culture on campus, then in 1973, Browne with
Michael Marsden and Jack Nachbar founded the first full-fledged department of popular culture at BGSU.
In 1970, he founded the national Popular Culture Association. In 1978, he started publishing the Journal
of American Culture.
Marsden, who knew Browne from his days as a graduate student, said Browne opened the doors of academia to
allow the study of all forms of culture.
"Ray never had the word ‘no’ in his vocabulary," said Marsden, now dean at St. Norbert College
in Wisconsin. "Everything was a possibility."
The field is full of people helped by Browne, he said. When he and other graduate students wanted to
start a journal, Browne encouraged them and helped.
"I’ve never seen anything like it" in higher education, he said.
Browne wrote and edited more than 70 books and hundreds of articles, and edited several publications.
A Distinguished University Professor Emeritus, he started teaching at BGSU in 1967. He retired in 1992.

He remained active contributing books and writing to the popular culture library named in honor of him
and his wife and collaborator, Pat. Together they edited the "Guide to United States Popular
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Dunn Funeral Home in Bowling Green.

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