Biography and History

Nathaniel Burt (1913- ), writer, novelist, poet, composer, and educator, was born in Moose, Wyoming on November 21, 1913, to [Maxwell] Struthers Burt (Class of 1904) and Katharine Newlin Burt, both writers. Rearing their children, Nathaniel and his sister Julia Burt [Atteberry] in lonely Wyoming, Burt's parents took to writing and became noteworthy authors of tales set in the vast western wilderness.

Burt attended St. James's preparatory school in Maryland (upon which his novel Scotland's Burning is based), and then Princeton in 1932-1933 for his freshmen year of college (Class of 1936). Burt eventually earned his Bachelor of Science degree in musical education from New York University in 1939 and—after serving in the Navy during World War II—a Master of Fine Arts degree from Princeton in 1949. He taught in the Department of Music at Princeton from 1939-1941 and 1950-1952.

After leaving the University in 1952, Burt dedicated himself to writing full-time. He has composed pieces in a wide variety of genres, including ballet, musical score, orchestral overture, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and short stories. Burt is best known for his two books on the American 'aristocracy' ( The Perennial Philadelphians and First Families) and lesser known for his various works about Wyoming ( Jackson Hole Journal, Wyoming).

Burt has lived in Princeton for over 50 years, where he currently lives with his wife Margaret "Winkie" Clinton Burt (married August 5, 1941). Throughtout his life he has supported and was an active member in a variety of local civic organizations, including the Historical Society of Princeton, the Princeton Chamber Orchestra, the Philadelphia Atheneum, the Friends of Music at Princeton, and the Friends of the Princeton University Library.

Source: From the finding aid for C0287

  • Julia Burt Atteberry Papers. 1829-1979 (inclusive), 1911-1973 (bulk).

    Call Number: C0226

    Julia Burt Atteberry was the daughter of Maxwell Struthers Burt (Princeton Class of 1904) and Katharine Newlin Burt, who were both writers and established one of the first "dude" ranches in the West. This collection consists of correspondence between various members of the Burt family and some of their manuscripts, miscellaneous correspondence, documents, and journals.

  • Nathaniel Burt Papers. 1923-1986 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0287

    The Nathaniel Burt Papers contain materials related to the works of novelist Nathaniel Burt (Princeton Class of 1936), such as Leopards in the Garden (1968), Palaces for the People (1977), The Perennial Philadelphians (1963), and Scotland's Burning (1953), as well as personal correspondence and financial papers about the Burt family property.

  • Nathaniel Burt Papers. 1923-1986 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0287

    The Nathaniel Burt Papers contain materials related to the works of novelist Nathaniel Burt (Princeton Class of 1936), such as Leopards in the Garden (1968), Palaces for the People (1977), The Perennial Philadelphians (1963), and Scotland's Burning (1953), as well as personal correspondence and financial papers about the Burt family property.