William Joseph Browne was born in 1897 and lived an interesting life as lawyer, judge and politician until his death in 1989. He was a proud Newfoundlander, although he also enjoyed the years he lived in Ottawa while serving as a Federal Member of Parliament and a Cabinet Minister.
Whatever his accomplishments may have been, it was always his family life - especially his four marriages - that fascinated most people.
In 1924 Bill married Mary Harris. Mary Harris Browne died in 1930.
In 1933 Bill married Mary Roche. Mary Roche Browne died in 1944.
In 1951 Bill married Mae (Buckley) Fleming. Mae died in 1970.
In 1973 Bill married Norah (Elphinstone) Renouf. Norah died in 2010.
Bill Browne had the ability to record the events of everyday life. He did this in his diary and in his letters to his family. Moreover, he saved his writings and correspondence and advised his wives and children to do the same. This collection of Bill's diary entries and family letters make for interesting reading, record a segment of Catholic Newfoundland life and will, I believe, prove to be of lasting importance.
The transcription of this mostly handwritten material is a laborious and somewhat imprecise undertaking. I have taken the greatest care with it but I am aware that some mistakes have likely occurred. Should you become aware of errors I would be interested in knowing of them.
I have received considerable help in the preparation of this material, especially from the following:
Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador, who have the diaries
My mother, Marjorie (Browne) Leahey, now deceased
My sister, Brenda Young
My children Chris, Megan and Nick Snow who have given so generously of their time and talents.