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RG3161.AM:  Henry Allen Brainerd, 1857-1940

Papers:  1898-1940

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb.:  Journalist

Size:  2 cu.ft. plus 4 oversize folders


Henry Allen Brainerd was born in Boston, Massachusetts on November 4, 1857, son of Henry Hall and Maria Stetson Brainerd.  At the age of six, he began to learn the printing trade at the Youth’s Companion Office in Boston.  He spent most of his younger life in Providence, Rhode Island, where he studied at the Warner, Stratton and Bryant Business College.  He migrated to Omaha in 1884, where he was employed for a short time by the Bee and the World newspapers.  In the same year he moved to Lincoln, and worked on various newspapers, including the Nebraska State Journal.  In 1885 Brainerd moved to Milford, where he published the Milford Nebraskan.  From the same office he published the Pleasant Dale Quiz for that nearby town. For financial reasons, he moved to Bennett, becoming the owner and editor of the Bennett Union.  In 1887 he began to publish a newspaper for Panama, another town close to Bennett.  This newspaper was printed in the Union office.  Brainerd sold the Bennett paper in 1890 to return to Milford and resume control of the Nebraskan.

Brainerd moved to Seward, Nebraska in 1892, where he married Clara C. Castle on August 17 of that year.  From this union were born five children:  one son, Henry Hall; and four daughters, Helen (Mrs. Raymond Ditzler), Gladys (Mrs. J.M. Kornder), Ona Marguerite (Mrs. Wendell H. Armstead, and Marian) Mrs. C.J. Rhodes).

Brainerd returned to the newspaper business in 1896 when he purchased the Chester Herald. From the same office, he published the Byron Herald, printing both of these papers until 1906.  In 1914 he was elected president of the Nebraska Press Association.  During these early years, he also owned the newspapers at Beaver Crossing and Sutton.

In 1916 Brainerd returned to Lincoln, where he worked for the Nebraska State Journal and the Nebraska Farmer.  He also helped set type for the first Lincoln Star in 1921.  He did research for the Nebraska State Historical Society, publishing the History of the Nebraska Press Association in 1923.  He also published an article in the Nebraska History Magazine on the history of the press in Nebraska (December 1932, Vol. 13 Number 4).

In addition to his work for the Nebraska Press Association, Brainerd was also active in community affairs throughout his life, and was a member of the Young Men’s Christian Association for 75 years; the Knights of Pythias; the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (Grand Noble and Secretary); a charter member of the Printers Association; Rebekah; and the Temperance Association.  Henry Allen Brainerd died in Lincoln on November 20, 1940.


This collection consists of manuscript material arranged in seven series:  1) Correspondence, 1921-1939;  2) Printed Matter, 1898-1940;  3) Nebraska Press Association material;  4) Editors of Nebraska;  5) Notes from the History of the Nebraska Press Association;  6) Newspaper history; and  7) Miscellaneous material.

The bulk of this material consists of manuscripts relating to the early history of the press in Nebraska.  Brainerd served as the historian of the Nebraska Press Association and wrote numerous sketches on the leading editors of the state during the period from 1854 to 1930.  The collection contains the histories of the majority of the newspapers in the state, listed by county. The histories include dates of establishment, owners, and editors of those newspapers.  Notes from Brainerd’s book, History of the Nebraska Press Association, are also present.  There is additional material relating to the Nebraska Press Association, including programs, annual reports and historical sketches.  Among the correspondents is Ned C. Abbott, the then director of the Nebraska School for the Blind, 1928.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1921-1939

Box 1


  1. 1921-1939

Series 2 – Printed Matter, 1898-1940

  1. Printed Matter

  2. Printed Matter

  3. Printed Matter

  4. Newspapers (see OB127)

  5. Newspapers (see OB127)

  6. Newspapers (see OB127)

Series 3 – Nebraska Press Association material

  1. Programs and annual reports; historical material

Series 4 – Editors of Nebraska, 1854-1930

  1. 1854-1930, Sketches of the leading editors of the state

Series 5 – Notes, History of the Nebraska Press Association

  1. Notes

  2. Notes

Series 6 – Newspaper Histories (by County)

  1. A-B, C-D

Box 2


  1. F-H, M-O (J-L Missing)

  2. P-T, V-Y

Series 7 – Miscellaneous material

  1. Miscellaneous material.  Includes: biographical material, writings, obituaries and anecdotes

  2. Miscellaneous material

  3. Miscellaneous material

  4. Newspapers (see OB127)

  5. Scrapbook (see oversize)


DJR/TT/ab              10-31-1967

Revised. LSW/kfk     05-21-2004