A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

Recent entries:
“You telling me a crab ran this goon? (5/17)
“I don’t drink alcohol, I drink distilled spirits. Therefore, I’m not an alcoholic, I’m spiritual” (5/17)
“I don’t drink alcohol, I drink distilled spirits. So I’m not an alcoholic, I’m spiritual” (5/17)
“Since we can’t use plastic straws anymore I’ve just been choking turtles with my bare hands” (5/17)
Entry in progress—BP24 (5/17)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Entry from August 27, 2012
Brain Trust

A “trust” is a combination of companies by legal agreement; examples from the late 1800s include the oil trust and the sugar trust. The earliest example of a “brain trust” is from February 1888:
Some of the free trade shouters display enough ignorance to excite a suspicion that they have been made the victims of a brain “trust.”—Philadelphia Press.
The term “brain trust” was used many times after this, but was popularized by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “brain trust” in 1932. The New York (NY) Times, on September 6, 1932, reported about Roosevelt’s “brains department” that was helping him create policy positions and make speeches. The Times of September 9, 1932, called this same group a “brains trust.” Newspapers began to call it a “brain trust” by at least October 17, 1932.
Wikipedia: Brain Trust
Brain trust began as a term for a group of close advisors to a political candidate or incumbent, prized for their expertise in particular fields. The term is most associated with the group of advisors to Franklin Roosevelt during his presidential administration. More recently the use of the term has expanded to encompass any group of advisers to a decision maker, whether or not in politics.
The first use of the term brain trust was in 1899 when it appeared in the Marion (Ohio) Daily Star: “Since everything else is tending to trusts, why not a brain trust?” This sense was referring to the era of trust-busting, a popular political slogan and objective of the time that helped spur the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act and was later a key policy of President Theodore Roosevelt’s administration. The term appears to have not been used again until 1928, when Time magazine ran a headline on a meeting of the American Council on Learned Societies titled “Brain Trust.”
Roosevelt’s “Brains Trust”
Franklin Roosevelt speechwriter and legal counsel Samuel Rosenman suggested having an academic team to advise Roosevelt in March 1932. This concept was perhaps based on The Inquiry, a group of academic advisors President Woodrow Wilson formed in 1917 to prepare for the peace negotiations following World War I. In 1932, New York Times writer James Kieran first used the term Brains Trust (shortened to Brain Trust later) when he applied it to the close group of experts that surrounded United States presidential candidate Franklin Roosevelt. According to Roosevelt Brain Trust member Raymond Moley, Kieran coined the term, however Rosenman contended that Louis Howe, a close advisor to the President, first used the term but used it derisively in a conversation with Roosevelt.
Teaching Eleanor Roosevelt Glossary
FDR’s Brains Trust
The New Deal witnessed an increased role for intellectuals in government. The Brains Trust, a term coined by James Kieran, a New York Times reporter, refers to the group of academic advisers that FDR gathered to assist him during the 1932 presidential campaign. Initially, the term applied to three Columbia University professors: Raymond Moley, Rexford Guy Tugwell, and Adolph A. Berle, Jr. Within a few months, Basil (“Doc”) O’Connor, Samuel I. Rosenman, and Hugh Johnson would join the group. These men would quickly help FDR develop an economic plan whose programs became the backbone of the New Deal: regulation of bank and stock activity, large scale relief, and public works programs for people living in both urban and rural areas.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary
trust noun \ˈtrəst\
Definition of TRUST
a : a property interest held by one person for the benefit of another
b : a combination of firms or corporations formed by a legal agreement; especially : one that reduces or threatens to reduce competition
(Oxford English Dictionary)
brain trust, n.
Etymology:  < brain n. + trust n. (compare trust n. 7). Compare later brains trust n.
Chiefly U.S. (orig. slang).
A group of expert advisers or planners; the body in charge. Also attrib.
Popularized in 1933 as the name for a group of experts appointed to advise the American President F. D. Roosevelt on political and economic matters.
1890 New Ideal Jan. 30   They have paid a fearful penalty for the mistake they have made in doing their thinking by proxy. The worst Trust that can threaten society is a brain Trust.
1903 Sat. Evening Post 21 Mar. 1 (heading)  The brain trust. The oligarchy that rules the country.
1910 in Amer. Speech (1957) 32 57   Brain trust [in sense ‘college faculty’].
1913 Sat. Evening Post 3 Aug. 7   Of course, you’d be way back, cookin’ up fancy dishes for the Brain Trust, while I’d be up front can-openin’ for a bunch of roughnecks.
1933 Time 3 Apr. 12/1   Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Rexford Guy Tugwell, onetime Columbia University professor and Roosevelt ‘brain trust’ member.
brains trust, n.
Etymology:  < the plural of

brain n. + trust n. (compare trust n. 7). Compare earlier brain trust n.
(a) orig. U.S. = brain trust n.  (see also note there).  (b) A group of people assembled to give their impromptu views on topics of current or general interest; spec. the group of panellists in the British radio programme The Brains Trust (1941–61). Also attrib.
1933 Japan Chron. 8 July 2 (heading)  The Roosevelt ‘Brains trust’.
1934 H. G. Wells Exper. Autobiogr. II. ix. 792   This Brains Trust movement.
23 February 1888, The Evening Repository (Canton, OH0, pg. 6, col. 3:
Some of the free trade shouters display enough ignorance to excite a suspicion that they have been made the victims of a brain “trust.”—Philadelphia Press.
24 March 1903, Kansas City (MO) Star, pg. 7, col. 1:
New York (NY) Times
BARUCH ACCLAIMS ROOSEVELT AS SOUND; Financier Calls Nominee a Defender of Nation’s Institutions Against Encroachment. DERIDES ‘RADICALISM’ TALK Legitimate Business Need Not Fear Governor, He Adds—Western Itinerary Fixed. BARUCH DECLARES ROOSEVELT SOUND
From a Staff Correspondent.Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
September 06, 1932,
Page 1
Professor Raymond Moley of Columbia, Adplph Berle and John William Taussig, who belong to a small group known as the “brains department,” which aids the Executive in gathering data for speeches, were guests at the picnic also.
New York (NY) Times
FARLEY TO GO WEST WITH ROOSEVELT; Governor Moves Up Schedule One Day to Attend Party Convention in Missouri. HOWE TO WATCH CAMPAIGN Wedding of Bodyguard at Hyde Park Gives the Candidate an Interlude From Politics.
September 09, 1932,
Page 3,
Colonel Louis Howe, who was a guest at the ceremony, his “brains trust” was. laboring on data for the addresses he is to deliver In the West, starting Monday.
17 October 1932, Nevada State Journal (Reno, NV), “Roosevelt Plans Second Invasion Of Middle West,” pg. 3, col. 3:
HYDE PARK, N. Y., Oct. 16.—(U.P.)—Meeting with members of his so-called “brain trust,” Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt put the finishing touches to plans for his second invasion of the middle west in his plans or the presidency.
The “brain trust,” which includes Professor Raymond Moley of Columbia university, Professor A. A. Berle also of Columbia, and R. G. Tugwell, discussed economic problems that will be dealt with in the major addresses of the democratic nominee.
19 October 1932, Canton (OH) Repository, pg. 4, col. 1:
The “Brain Trust”
Familiar figures on Governor Roosevelt’s Hyde park estate these days are members of the “brain trust.” which prepares speeches for the governor’s use in the campaign. This group, headed by Professor Raymond I. Moley, who has taken degrees from two Ohio colleges and taught in another and who is now connected with Columbia university, has been the source of many of the doctrines used by the governor in his various speeches.
31 October 1932, Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, “Says” by Walker S. Buel, pg. 9, col. 3:
BOSTON, Oct. 30.—Raymond Moley, professor at Columbia, former head of the Cleveland Foundation, is chief of that branch of the Roosevelt campaign organization known as the “brains trust.”
20 December 1932, The World-Herald (Omaha, NE), “Tobin, Conservative, Is Urged for Cabinet” by Lemuel F. Parton, pg. 8, col. 4:
Miss Frances Perkins, advanced for the cabinet post by liberals, intellectuals and certain members of Mr. Roosevelt’s “brain trust,” is Mr. Roosevelt’s friend of long standing, coming to national eminence as New York’s industrial commissioner, in which office, and as Mr. Roosevelt’s coworker, she neatly pegged many of Washington’s wrong guesses about employment and wages.
Google Books
The Fall of the House of Roosevelt:
Brokers of Ideas and Power from FDR to LBJ

By Michael Janeway
New York, NY: Columbia University Press
Pg. 226:
“The brains department” was New York Times Albany correspondent James Kieran’s first published tagline for Governor Roosevelt’s inner circle of advisers, on September 6, 1932.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Military/Religion /Health • Monday, August 27, 2012 • Permalink

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.