Daniel Baugh Brewster was born on November 23, 1923 in Baltimore County, Maryland, in the Green Spring Valley Region. He was the first of six children of Daniel B. Brewster, Sr., and Ottolie Y. Wickes Brewster. Most of the family's wealth came from the Baugh family who, in the nineteenth century, established a chemical business in Pennsylvania specializing in fertilizer. As a youngster, Daniel Brewster worked at the family plant on South Clinton Street in the Canton area of Baltimore City as the only white on the sulfur hearth, learning the business from all angles. His childhood also involved farming and horseracing. After learning to ride at the age of six, he actively pursued horse riding and racing as a hobby. Later in his life he was ranked as one of the top gentlemen jockeys in the East and participated in steeplechase races from New York to South Carolina.
Brewster began his secondary education at Gilman School and continued at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. He started his undergraduate education at Princeton, but dropped out in 1942 to join the Marine Corps. The following year, at the age of 19, he was commissioned from the ranks. He served for two years in the South Pacific as a troop commander, participating in assault waves on Guam and Okinawa. During his service, he was wounded seven times, including twice at Okinawa, and was awarded a Purple Heart, a Gold Star in lieu of a second Purple Heart, and a Bronze Star. Brewster then became a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, a post he held until 1972. Returning home, he finished his education at the Johns Hopkins University, and then enrolled at the University Maryland School of Law. In 1949, he was admitted to the bar and began law practice in Towson, Maryland, becoming a partner in the firm of Turnbull and Brewster. He became a member of the American Bar Association, the Maryland State Bar Association, and the Baltimore County Bar Association.
In 1954, Brewster married Carol Lieper DeHavenon of Philadelphia. They had two sons, Danny, Jr. (1956) and Gerry (1958). After thirteen years of marriage, in March 1967, the Brewsters publicly announced their separation. On April 29, 1967, Brewster married Anne Bullitt Biddle at his mother's home in Glyndon, Maryland. Brewster's second marriage lasted until 1969. In 1976, Brewster married Judy Lynn Aarsand, and had three children, Danielle (1977) and twins Jennilie and Dana (1979). Brewster's political career began in 1950 when he was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates. Serving from 1950 to 1958, he was known as a party "organization man," voting consistently with the Democratic leadership.Throughout his life, Brewster served on several committees and commissions. In 1947, he was a member of the Veterans Advisory Commission. Then, in 1951, he served on the Commission to Study Maryland Unemployment Compensation Law. The following year he was appointed to the Burke Commission to Study the Judiciary of Maryland. Then, from 1954 to 1957, Brewster served as vice chair of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Delegates.
In November, 1958, as a Democratic candidate, Brewster defeated Republican J. Fife Symington, Jr., in the race for the United States House of Representatives for the 2nd District of Maryland. Winning by a majority of 32,000 votes, Brewster joined the 86th Congress, representing Baltimore, Carroll, and Harford Counties. While a member of the House of Representatives, Brewster had no set political pattern, but preferred to vote on the merits of the issues. He favored the item veto for President Eisenhower, labor reform legislation, tougher gun control laws, a more consolidated armed services, and a stronger national defense structure. He also strongly believed that the fight against communism was the most important issue before the government. As a Representative, he served on the House Armed Services Committee and on the subcommittee on Military Personnel, Manpower Utilization, and Emergency Defense Transportation. He was re-elected to the house by 125,993 votes in 1960.
Brewster began his bid for the U. S. Senate in 1962 when he campaigned on the Tawes ticket for the seat of retiring Senator John Marshall Butler. In November, he became the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Maryland since 1946, when he defeated former Eastern Shore Congressman Ted Miller. While a member of the Senate, Brewster, in 1963, was appointed to the following committees: Democratic Policy; Government Operations; Post Office and Civil Service; and Public Works. One of his main concerns as Senator was ending racial discrimination. In 1963, he accepted the invitation of Mayor Calvin Mowbray to head a committee trying to promote racial harmony in Cambridge, Maryland. That October, he invited participation from both black and white leaders of Cambridge in a closed conference in Cambridge City Hall. Then in 1964, he cosponsored both the Omnibus Civil Rights Bill and the Public Accommodations Bill. This support of civil rights did not extend to automatic approval of all of the Civil Rights Commission's recommendations. For example, he thought that forced busing was unrealistic because of the segregation in housing patterns. In June, 1964, he joined fellow Maryland Senator J. Glenn Beall in supporting cloture or a close of a filibuster on the civil rights bill.
Brewster also continued to focus on other issues ranging from the presence of communist troops in Cuba in 1963 to proposed cuts in weekend postal service in 1964. His concern with mail practices continued in 1965 when he criticized the current "mail cover" practice which permitted holding up mail to and from persons under investigation. Stressing the importance of the right of privacy, Brewster urged the new Postmaster General Lawrence F. O'Brian to ban the practice except in case of treason and national security. In a November 1966 letter to the New York Times, Brewster declared his support for advertising or "junk" mail, which he claimed account for $35 billion in sales. Pointing out that 80% of the mail is for business purposes, Brewster expressed concern over possible unemployment in private business and the postal service if "junk mail" is eliminated. In 1967, he voted for a "junk mail" amendment, which would delay price increases and limit 3rd class mail rates to 3.8 cents a piece. Brewster also played a strong supporting role in national Democratic politics.
On May 19, 1964, Brewster protected Maryland's nominating votes for President Johnson as a stand-in against Alabama Governor George C. Wallace. Earlier, in March, the Brewster received anonymous threatening phone calls insisting that he withdraw from Maryland's presidential primary. Brewster won only 52% of the vote after Wallace humiliated him in a television debate. In January 1966, Brewster was chosen as assistant Democratic whip along with Senators Philip A. Hart, Daniel K. Inouye, and Edmund S. Muskie in a motion offered in caucus by majority leader Senator Mike Mansfield. Brewster announced his bid for re-election on June 3, 1968, stating as major issues the maintenance of law and order and economy in government. In the September primary, he won 149,765 out of 223,000 votes and the support of rival Dr. Ross Z. Pierpont. During the general election campaign, Charles McC. Mathias, Brewster Republican opposition, and Brewster clashed over the war in Vietnam; Mathias sought a more peaceful posture and Brewster supported continuation of the war. Mathias also accused Brewster of being a mouthpiece for the Johnson administration for six years and of being an ineffective legislator, sponsoring only three minor bills in six years. Brewster lost the first election of his political career, earning only 38.9% of the votes to Mathias' 47.9% of the yally.
After his formal political life ended, Brewster remained in the public eye as a criminal defendant. Beginning in August 1969, Brewster faced various charges of violations of bribery laws and of illegal campaign financing. Brewster was ultimately indicted on ten counts of violating bribery laws; two of the charges of accepting illegal gratuities and received three consecutive sentences of 8 months and 2 years and a $10,000 fine on each count. In August 1974, his conviction was overturned because the trial judge had improperly instructed the jury on complex bribery statutes. Then, on June 25, 1975, Brewster entered a plea of no-contest to misdemeanor of accepting an illegal gratuity of $4,500 and was fined $10,000. In return, the government agreed to drop prosecution on the other charges. In the end, he served no part of his sentence and was not disciplined by the Maryland Attorneys Grievance Commission. Brewster began having health problems after leaving the Senate, particularly with alcoholism. He successfully underwent treatment in 1975 and was appointed to the Governor's Council on Alcoholism the following year by Maryland Governor Marvin Mandel. Daniel B. Brewster died on August 19, 2007 at the age of eighty-three.