Charles F. Brush: 1849-1929

Charles Francis Brush (March 17, 1849 – June 15, 1929) was a noted inventor and electrical engineer, and a leading citizen of Cleveland. He was also a wise and prophetic person. In the 1920s he recognized the implications of the uncontrolled growth of populations and predicted rather accurately the situation which confronts us today.

In the deed of gift that established the Foundation he states:

In my opinion the most urgent problem confronting the world today is the rapid increase of population which threatens to overcrowd the earth in the not distant future, with resultant shortage of food and lower standards of living, which must certainly lead to grave economic disturbances, famines and wars, and threaten civilization itself.

He did not remain merely a prophet. He took action. In establishing his foundation he did what he could when contraception was defined as “obscene and illegal” by the United States Congress.

Issues of population are fundamental to the wellbeing of humanity.

The Brush Arc LampHis stated intent in establishing the foundation was to honor his beloved son, Charles Francis Brush, Jr., who died on May twenty-ninth, 1927, and who was devoting his life to scientific research for the advancement of human knowledge. He endowed the foundation with $500,000 and directed the board of managers to use the income to finance efforts that would address these crucial population issues. Since the date of its founding in 1929, the Foundation has proudly pursued a single focus on population, family planning and reproductive health.

For further information on Charles F. Brush, his history and inventions see the chronology of his life and accomplishments, the materials prepared by Jeffrey La Favre, Ph.D., a comprehensive biography as part of a series on famous scientists at Clarkson College, and the Wikipedia entry.