Born in Middletown, Connecticut, Erastus Brainerd became a journalist and writer on art. He married Mary Bella Beale, a writer who had been a childhood acquaintance of John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin.
Brainerd acquired a taste for the arts and served as curator of the Gray Collection of Engravings at Boston Art Museum. He was an editorial writer on the New York World and an Associate editor on the Atlanta Constitution and the Philadelphia Press. In 1878 Brainerd wrote a book on the artist John Everett Millais, The Millais Gallery - with a sketch of the life and works of the artist.
Brainerd moved to Seattle in 1890 to become editor of the Seattle Press and later the Post Intelligencer. He is probably best remembered for his role in ensuring that Seattle became the main port of the Nome and Klondike gold rushes in 1897. Due to his many journalistic contacts in the east, Brainerd was able to promote the idea of a connection between Seattle and Alaska.
Concise Dictionary of American Biography, 2nd edtn., New York: Charles Scribner, 1977; Morgan, Murray C., 'Murray's People' taken from Tacoma Public Library Online, www.tpl.lib.wa.us/nwr/people/brainerd.htm (accessed 8th July 2003).