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Constance Brown Hearing Center (Kalamazoo, Mich.)



The Constance Brown Hearing Center (CBHC) was founded to provide a non-profit agency to prevent hearing loss and help those who are hearing impaired. It was established through an estate gift to the Kalamazoo Community Foundation from Constance Brown. This estate gift is detailed in Constance Brown’s will which is included in the records. Constance Brown who was born in 1877 and died in 1939 was a prominent resident in Kalamazoo who herself experienced hearing loss. There is a photograph of her within the collection with a corresponding nameplate. Constance Brown Hearing Centers opened its doors in 1942 under the name Constance Brown Society for Better Hearing. The name changes a few times before the name that is shown in the last few years of records.

The first executive director for CBHC was Alfred R. Thea from 1942 to 1961 and there is a photograph of him within the collection with the corresponding nameplate. The second executive director was Alvin J. Davis from 1961 to 1994 and also there is a photograph of him within the collection with the corresponding nameplate. From 1942 to the 1970s CBHC provided Kalamazoo public schools hearing screenings before it was mandated by the federal government to have all children be tested. In 1957 CBHC became an agency of the community chest which later evolved into a member agency of the Greater Kalamazoo United Way. There is a lot of document material related to the Greater Kalamazoo United Way attached to the meeting minutes. The CBHC was supported by the Kiwanis Club and the letters between each other are included in this collection. There are two scrapbooks- #1 and #2 filled with newspaper clippings of important articles, name mentions of the CBHC, and other miscellaneous clippings from the 1940s to the 1980s. There is also a folder that also includes a miscellaneous newspaper clipping that the CBHC found to be important and many clipping reference materials attached to the meeting minutes. In 1976 the hearing center was involved in a court case and records of that case are included in the collection. In 1997 Constance Brown Hearing Centers created commercials that were taped on VHS tapes and are included in this collection along with other cassette tapes and VHS tapes. In 2001 the Constance Brown Hearing Center moved from the Stryker Center to a new building. Scrapbook #3 details the journey from the old building to the new one through photographs and notations. In 2005 the Constance Brown Hearing Centers had its 65th anniversary which they had an open house celebration. There is a folder that includes photographs of this celebration along with pamphlets.

In January 2023, the CBHC became a part of the Bronson Healthcare system. They changed the name to Bronson Constance Brown Hearing Center (BCBCH). Everything stayed the same with this change. There are no records in this collection that talk about this merger since the last record in the collection is from 2011. The BCBCH provides its services in four locations- 1634 Gull Rd. in Kalamazoo, 4855 West Centre Avenue in Portage, Bronson Methodist Hospital, and Bronson Battle Creek Hospital. The legacy of Constance Brown continues through an endowment fund to assist those who are hearing impaired and need financial assistance.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Constance Brown Hearing Center Collection

Identifier: RH-A-4373
Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of financial documents, Board of Directors meetings-related documents, photographs, scrapbooks, and other miscellaneous business records for the Constance Brown Hearing Centers, located in Kalamazoo Michigan from 1941 to the present.

Dates: 1941-current