By: Richard Pyle
Brewster Yale Beach, who presented proof that The Associated Press originated two years earlier than the date previously accepted by historians and the news cooperative itself, has died. He was 83.
An Episcopal priest and renowned psychotherapist who traced his ancestry to the founder of the AP, Beach died in his sleep Tuesday in a nursing home in Staatsburg, in upstate New York, according to his wife, Sandra.
Beach had been in failing health for three years, and his wife said doctors attributed his death to effects of a head injury suffered in a fall in 2005.
Beach’s name reflected a family legacy dating from early Colonial days. He was descended from William Brewster, a Pilgrim elder who arrived on the Mayflower, and Elihu Yale, the first benefactor of what would become Yale University.
His great-great-grandfather, Moses Yale Beach, was the second owner-publisher of the New York Sun, whose innovative idea for an alliance of newspapers sharing Mexican War dispatches in 1846 led to the creation of The Associated Press.
In 2005, Brewster Beach presented the AP, the world’s largest news organization, with family papers detailing his ancestor’s role in that history. They showed that the news agency was founded two years prior to 1848, the year the AP had always cited as its own birth date.
At the time, Beach said he had long known the contents of the documents but “never really got serious” about them until he learned that the AP was interested in acquiring them for its corporate archives.
The key document was an 1872 memorandum by Beach’s son, Moses Sperry Beach, describing how the Sun publisher in 1846 had found a speedier method for receiving war news?a day ahead of the regular mail?and then offered to share it with other New York papers, four of which accepted.
The memo also made clear that a claim by Beach’s principal rival, New York Herald publisher James Gordon Bennett, to having invented the AP was exaggerated.
Brewster Yale Beach was born in Brooklyn on Feb. 10, 1925. Educated at Yale and the Virginia Theological Seminary, he became an Episcopal priest and psychotherapist embracing the ideas of psychology pioneer Carl Jung.
Beach studied at New York’s C.G. Jung Institute while earning a master’s degree in psychology from Drew University in Madison, N.J.
He later founded the Center for Jungian Studies in Rye, N.Y., and was a practicing psychotherapist in Manhattan for 25 years. He also was the vicar of St. Peter’s Episcopal church in Millbrook for many years.