In 2004, Judge Joe B. Brown, Jr., son of Judge Joe B. Brown who presided over the Jack Ruby trial in 1964, decided to donate his late father's Ruby-related correspondence, photographs and documents to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. I had the pleasure of visiting with Judge Brown at his home and recording a lengthy oral history about his and his late father's experiences.
As we looked through the archive of documentation that was being donated to the Museum that day, I began to notice other unique items displayed around his home, including a collection of his late father's pipes and gavels and, hanging in his garage, the original sign from outside his father's courtroom in the Dallas County Criminal Courts building. Joe Brown, Jr., did not realize that artifacts such as these were historic and of great interest and value to the Museum. He generously donated artifacts that the Museum identified as being historically significant, including this gavel which is believed to be the one that Judge Brown used during the Ruby trial. - Stephen Fagin, Curator