Cedar Hill Cemetery Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Morgan Bulkeley Brainard (January 8, 1879 - August 28, 1957) was an American attorney, insurance executive, and book collector. He served as president of Aetna from 1922 to 1956, following his uncle Morgan Bulkeley. Brainard was a director of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad until his resignation in 1955. He was a member of the Acorn Club, elected in 1905; he was also a member of the American Antiquarian Society, to which he was elected in 1942. He was a member of the Horace Walpole Society, elected in 1927.
Morgan Brainard was born at Hartford, January 8, 1879, the son of Leverett Y. and Mary Bulkeley Brainard, nephew of Morgan B. Bulkeley, Governor of Connecticut and United States Senator, and grandson of Eliphalet A. Bulkeley, founder of the Aetna Life Insurance Company. He was graduated from Yale in 1900, with a degree in law three years later. After a brief practice in law, he entered the service of Aetna Life in 1905. In 1922 he was made president. In 1956 he retired as president, after serving more than half a century with the company. During this period the Aetna Life Company increased its premiums from nine to nearly five hundred million dollars, and insurance in force soared from $250 million to $15 billion. His company became the seventh largest of American insurance companies.
A story that has become legend relates to a time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when a reporter was questioning Brainard, and asked him to what he could attribute his rise to the presidency of the Aetna Life. Brainard pondered for a moment, and then gravely replied: "To my sterling character and worth." The reporter, with equal gravity, prepared to write this down. "Don't write that," Brainard laughed, and added: "You'd better say I became president because my uncle was president before me."
Brainard was a director of many local and nationally known business organizations. He maintained a close relationship with Yale, being secretary of his class. He was a director of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad until his resignation in 1955. He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1942. The organization in which he took the greatest personal interest was the Walpole Society, a group of collectors and scholars, of which he was the senior member, its treasurer for many years, and finally its chairman presiding at the meetings. His tact, his wit, and his ability to make friendships will always be remembered by the members of the Walpole Society.
He possessed a keen historical sense and was a well known collector of Connecticut antiques, specializing in ancient tavern signs, clocks, and Old State House china. He had a remarkable knowledge of early Hartford history.
Morgan Bulkeley Brainard married Eleanor Stuart Moffat (1883–1958) on 27 April 1905. He had five children.
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