H. Herbertson Brownlee, 89, a retired trade consultant and a resident of the Washington area since the early 1940s, died of a pulmonary embolism Jan. 18 at the Washington Hospital Center. He lived in Washington.

Mr. Brownlee moved here to sell laundry equipment to the War Department and to represent laundry equipment companies both in Washington and overseas. During the 1960s, he operated his own export consulting firm, Brownlee Associates in Washington.

He was the 1963 recipient of a Commerce Department special citation for his work in promoting international trade.

Mr. Brownlee was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church at Lafayette Square in Washington. He also was a member of the Army & Navy Club and the American Legion.

He was a native of New York City. After selling silk stockings in New England, he served as an Army ambulance driver during World War I. After the war, he lived in New York and London and was a representative of American laundry companies.

Survivors include his wife, Jeannette, of Washington; two sons, Donald H., of Glencoe, Ill., and William H., of Chevy Chase; a daughter, Jean Dolton of Columbus, Ohio; 13 grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to St. John's Episcopal Church at Lafayette Square in Washington, or to the Children's Hospital National Medical Center.