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Collection Overview

Burt, Nathaniel, 1913-2003
Nathaniel Burt Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
54 boxes
Storage Note:
ReCAP (rcpxm): Box 1-54


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.

Collection Description & Creator Information


Contains holograph manuscripts, typescripts, typesetting copies, and galley proofs of some books of Burt (Princeton Class of 1936), such as Leopards in the Garden (Boston: Little Brown, 1968), Palaces for the People (Boston: Little Brown, 1977), which is about art museums in the United States, The Perennial Philadelphians (Boston: Little Brown, 1963), and Scotland's Burning (Boston: Little Brown, 1953), as well as short stories, poems, and musical compositions. The collection includes correspondence between Burt and family members Struthers Burt, Katharine Newlin Burt, and Julia Burt Attebury, and with friends, publishers, and organizations. Also present are papers concerning the history and finances of the Burt family property at Three Rivers Ranch, Wyoming, which is now part of the Grand Teton National Park. Approximately 100 19th and 20th century photographs are present, including albumen and tintype prints of people, family members, and places such as family estates and Three Rivers Ranch.

Collection Creator Biography:

Burt, Nathaniel, 1913-2003

Nathaniel Burt (1913-2003), 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).

Living in Princeton for over 50 years, Burt 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 Athenaeum, the Friends of Music at Princeton, and the Friends of the Princeton University Library.

Burt married Margaret "Winkie" Clinton Burt on August 5, 1941. He passed away July 1, 2003, in Princeton.

1913 born November 21, Bar BC Ranch, Moose, Wyoming 1920s-1931 attended St. James's Preparatory School 1932 entered Princeton University as a member of Class of 1936 1933 left Princeton University 1939 received B.S. in musical education from NYU 1939-1941 taught in the Princeton Music department 1941 married Margaret Clinton on August 5 1942-1945 served as communications officer, U.S. Pacific Naval Fleet 1947 published Rooms in a House 1949 received Master of Fine Arts degree from Princeton 1950 published Question on a Kite 1950-1951 taught at the Westminster Choir College 1950-1952 taught in the Princeton Music department 1953 published Scotland's Burning 1957 published Make My Bed 1963 published The Perennial Philadelphians 1968 published Leopards in the Garden 1970 published First Families 1977 published Palaces for the People 1980 Three Rivers Ranch reverted to National Park Service 1983 published Jackson Hole Journal 1991 published Wyoming 2003 died July 1, 2003, in Princeton, New Jersey

Collection History


Gift of the author.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Colin Campbell in 1998. Finding aid written by Colin Campbell in 1998.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Nathaniel Burt Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
ReCAP (rcpxm): Box 1-54