Don's Blog: Clay Shaw and Theodore Brent

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Clay Shaw and Theodore Brent

Some readers of my biography of Clay Shaw, Man of a Million Fragments: The True Story of Clay Shaw, have asked about Theodore Brent and his relationship with Clay Shaw.

There is much about Brent in the book, including his very active role as first President of the International Trade Mart from its inception into mid-1953. Brent came from a modest background, but in the rail and shipping industries, became a millionaire back when that meant being very wealthy. His estate in 1953 was valued at over $2 million.

It is unclear exactly how he and Shaw first met, but it was around 1930 or 1931, probably through Shaw's employment at Western Union (my speculation). It is also unclear how much of a mentor he was to Shaw, but he was clearly an important figure in Shaw's life. He left Shaw about $2,000 in his will (much less than Jim Garrison and others apparently thought), but he left other individuals much more. For instance, Shaw's assistant, J.B. Dauenhauer, received $5,000.

Brent is largely forgotten today in New Orleans, but he was widely respected in the NOLA business world for most of the first half of last century.

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