David Brewster (journalist)

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David C. Brewster
Born (1939-09-26) September 26, 1939 (age 79)
ResidenceSeattle, Washington
CitizenshipUnited States
EducationB.A., M.S. from Yale University
Home townNewark, New Jersey
TitleFounder, Board Chair, Editor-at-Large[1]
PredecessorChuck Taylor
Board member ofCrosscut.com
Spouse(s)Joyce Skaggs (1962–present)
ChildrenKate Eliza Brewster, Anne Olivia Brewster
Parent(s)Gaylord Clark Brewster, Marjorie Jane Anderson

David Clark Brewster (born September 26, 1939) is an American journalist and the founder, editor and publisher of the Seattle Weekly and the online Northwest "newspaper" Crosscut.com. He is also the founder, creator and former executive director of the nonprofit cultural center Town Hall Seattle.


Early life[edit]

He was born on September 26, 1939 in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Gaylord Clark Brewster,[2][3][4] His father was a 1930 graduate of the University of Nebraska and Marjorie Jane Anderson.

He was born into a family with Midwestern roots that traces back directly to Mayflower passengers, Love Brewster, a founder of the town of Bridgewater, Massachusetts; Elder William Brewster, the Pilgrim colonist leader and spiritual elder of the Plymouth Colony; and William Bradford, Governor of the Plymouth Colony and the second signer and primary architect of the Mayflower Compact in Provincetown Harbor.[2][5][6][7][8][9][nb 1][nb 2]


He graduated in 1961, Phi Beta Kappa, with a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut and he received his Master's Degree from Yale University in 1963.[10]


In 1962, he married Joyce Skaggs, a 1961 graduate of Smith College. She was a writer for the Office of University Relations in the President's Office, at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. She retired from that position in 2008. She is the daughter of Charles Skaggs[11] and Juanita ("Nita") Allen. David and Joyce are the parents of two daughters, Kate Eliza Brewster and Anne Olivia Brewster.


After graduating from Yale, he moved to Seattle in 1965 to teach English at the University of Washington. He left teaching after a couple of years to write for the Seattle Times, Argus magazine, and Seattle Magazine, then an arm of King Broadcasting. He was also an assignment editor for KING-TV.

Brewster was founding editor of the Seattle Weekly, which first published on March 31, 1976, celebrating the dedication of the Kingdome and the return of Major League Baseball to Seattle. Attorney Doug Raff and arts patron Bagley Wright were investors (investing $100,000) at start up (The Wright family eventually became the largest, though a minority holding, owners of the Weekly until it was sold in 1997).[12] The free weekly paper focused on covering Seattle arts, culture and politics. He sold the paper 21 years later to Village Voice Publications for an unannounced sum.

Eastside Week, a Seattle Weekly spinoff, put the spotlight on Seattle suburbia. A political reporter named Rob French introduced readers to a new group of youthful conservatives – John Carlson, Kirby Wilbur, and others – who have been the nucleus of this state's political opposition for the past two decades.

He also originated the "Best Places" guidebook series covering Northwest (northern California to Alaska) dining, lodging and getaways. The series is published by Sasquatch Books.

He also jumped into the local Seattle political scene in the 1977 mayor's race, promoting Paul Schell (he lost that year to Charles Royer). Schell, a well-connected developer and former dean of the University of Washington School of Architecture, (now known as the University of Washington College of Built Environments) was touted as gubernatorial timber and U.S. Senate material. Ultimately, he did get elected mayor – in 1997, after the Weekly had been sold and had endorsed Charlie Chong.

His latest venture is Crosscut.com,[13][14] which specializes in coverage of the Northwest, originating its own stories out of the region but also shining a light on worthy journalism and Web sites. He announced in November 2008 that the commercial venture into the world of Web journalism was shifting to nonprofit status, due to slow growth in online advertising and the current low rates for such ads.

He transformed a former Christian Science church in the First Hill neighborhood in Seattle, into a civic crossroads hosting chamber music, best-selling authors, dialogue on national issues and presidential candidates. Town Hall Seattle became a springboard for the Bill Bradley presidential campaign in 2000. In 2004, Howard Dean drew large crowds, but they didn't translate into caucus votes. Slate magazine founder Michael Kinsley referred to it as "The Church of David Brewster."

He was President of the English Pub Association, Inc., which operated the Mark Tobey Pub in the 1980s; and a member of the board of directors of numerous arts organizations.

Brewster is currently the Executive Director of Folio: The Seattle Anthenaeum, a private independent library in downtown Seattle which was founded in 2014.[15]


  1. ^ He is also a descendant of Martha Wadsworth Brewster, a notable 18th-century American poet and writer, and the Rev. Reuben Gaylord, a clergyman and a founder of Grinnell College.
  2. ^ He is also a cousin of Robert Norton Noyce (1927–1990), nicknamed the Mayor of Silicon Valley, the inventor of the integrated circuit or microchip and a co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel in 1968.

Additional notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://crosscut.com/about/contact/
  2. ^ a b Jones, 86
  3. ^ Jones, p. 625
  4. ^ Jones, p. 626
  5. ^ Jones, 54
  6. ^ Jones, 142
  7. ^ Burt, 71
  8. ^ Berlin, p. 14
  9. ^ Welles Gaylord, p. 130
  10. ^ "Cultural Visionary, David Brewster, to speak at Spring Luncheon" (PDF) (Press release). Puget Sound Association of Phi Beta Kappa. 2004-02-28. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
  11. ^ "Smith Acquires Typographic Library Of Renowned Calligrapher and Designer" (Press release). Smith College. 2001-12-11. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
  12. ^ Brewster, David C. "Dear old, irascible Bagley Wright". Crosscut. Retrieved 2011-08-03.
  13. ^ Eskenazi, Stuart (November 18, 2008). "Online news site Crosscut poised to switch to nonprofit". SeattleTimes.
  14. ^ Connelly, Joel (April 1, 2007). "Crosscut.com brings a fresh news voice to Northwest". SeattlePI.
  15. ^ "Folio | Home". Folio | Home. Retrieved 2016-11-25.


  • Berlin, Leslie The man behind the microchip: Robert Noyce and the invention of Silicon Valley Publisher Oxford University Press US, 2005 ISBN 0-19-516343-5
  • Burt, Daniel S. The chronology of American literature: America's literary achievements from the colonial era to modern times Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004. ISBN 0-618-16821-4
  • Jones, Emma C. Brewster. The Brewster Genealogy, 1566–1907: a Record of the Descendants of William Brewster of the "Mayflower," ruling elder of the Pilgrim church which founded Plymouth Colony in 1620. New York: Grafton Press, 1908.

Further reading[edit]

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