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Collection Number: 04807

Collection Title: Nathaniel C. Browder Papers, 1930-1992

This collection has access restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


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Size 4.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 3200 items)
Abstract Nathaniel Clenroy Browder (10 February 1904-7 November 1984) was born in Hickory, N.C., the son of Caroline Elizabeth Deitz and Nathaniel Clenroy Browder. He received an A.B.Ed. degree from the University of North Carolina in 1930 and taught high school in North Carolina. He worked for the Federal Writers' Project in Chapel Hill, N.C., 1939-1940. He took a drafting course at North Carolina State College in 1940 and then worked for the State Highway Department. In 1943, he went to work for the Signal Corps in Arlington, Va., and stayed on with the National Security Agency until his retirement. Browder returned to North Carolina and wrote, edited, and published books relating to North Carolina history. Letters, 1930-1943, 1962, 1964, of Nathaniel C. Browder, nearly all from Browder to his wife, Blanche Penland Browder. Letters, 1930-1931, describe the rural school and community where Browder taught. Letters, 1939-1940, describe Browder's work writing life histories for the Federal Writers' Project and life in Chapel Hill. Beginning in April 1940, Nathaniel's letters describe his life in Raleigh while he took drafting at State College. Letters, January-May 1943, describe life in a boarding house in Arlington, Va. Also included are two brief letters from Nathaniel to Blanche when he was traveling on business in 1962 and 1964.
Creator Browder, Nathaniel C., 1904-
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
RESTRICTED: Boxes 1-4 CLOSED until 1 January 2002, boxes 5-9 CLOSED until 1 January 2020.
This collection contains additional materials that are not processed and are currently not available to researchers. For information about access to these materials, contact Research and Instructional Services staff. Please be advised that preparing unprocessed materials for access can be a lengthy process.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Nathaniel C. Browder papers #4807, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Blanche Penland Browder on 18 March 1996 (Acc. 96050); addition from Betsy Wilson received November 1996 (Acc. 96182).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

>Nathaniel Clenroy Browder (10 February 1904-7 November 1984) was born in Hickory, N.C., the son of Caroline Elizabeth Deitz and Nathaniel Clenroy Browder. He received an A.B.Ed. degree from the University of North Carolina in 1930 and taught high school in North Carolina. He worked for the Federal Writers' Project in Chapel Hill, N.C., 1939-1940. He took a drafting course at North Carolina State College in 1940 and then worked for the State Highway Department. In 1943, he went to work for the Signal Corps in Arlington, Va., and stayed on with the National Security Agency until his retirement. Browder returned to North Carolina and wrote, edited, and published books relating to North Carolina history.

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Nathaniel Clenroy Browder (10 February 1904-7 November 1984) was born in Hickory, N.C., the son of Nathaniel Clenroy Browder and Carolina Elizabeth Deitz Browder. He received an A.B.Ed. degree from the University of North Carolina in 1930 and taught high school for several years. He returned to Chapel Hill in 1938 for a year of graduate work in English and employment with the Federal Writers' Project. He moved to Raleigh in April 1940 and took a drafting course at North Carolina State College. Late in 1940, he went to work for the State Highway Department. In 1943, he went to Washington, D.C., to work for the Signal Corps. He stayed on with the National Security Agency until his retirement.

After his retirement, Browder became interested in researching North Carolina history. He wrote, edited, and published several books: The Cherokee Indians and Those Who Came After (1973); De Soto & Other Spanish Explorers & Their Historians (1975); The Tri-State Tobacco Growers Association, 1922-1925 (1983); Just Plain Folks (ed., 1983); The Enciphered Diary of William Thomas Prestwood, 1808-1859 (ed., 1983); Ground Level History (1984); A Story of the Civil War by Hannah Lide Coker (ed., 1984); Notes on the Browder Family of Tidewater, Virginia, 1704-1850 (with Blanche Penland Browder, 1970).

Nathaniel C. Browder married Blanche Penland in December 1930. They had two children: Nathaniel C. Browder, Jr. (referred to in letters as Chunk or Beau) and Elizabeth (Betsy).

Nearly all the letters in this collection are letters Browder wrote to his wife, Blanche Penland Browder. In 1930 and again in 1943, there are some letters from Blanche to Nathaniel Browder.

The earliest letters were written before the Browders were married, when Nathaniel was in Chapel Hill and then teaching near Taylorsville, N.C., and Blanche was living with her family in Hayesville, N.C. The Browders were married in December 1930, but they continued to live apart until the end of the school year. Nathaniel's daily letters describe the school, students, and community and also express his feelings for Blanche.

Letters, 31 August 1939-April 1940, while Nathaniel was in Chapel Hill working on the Federal Writers Project and Blanche was teaching in Clay County, describe his work writing life histories and people he knew in Chapel Hill. Beginning in April 1940, Nathaniel's letters describe his life in Raleigh while he took drafting at State College. Letters describe his daily activities, his finances, his attempts to find drafting jobs, and the possibility of getting a patent on an idea of his.

Letters, January-May 1943, when Nathaniel was working for the Signal Corps in Washington, D.C., and Blanche and their children were in Asheville, N.C., describe his life in a boarding house in Arlington, Va., and then his hunt for a house to buy. Letters to Nathaniel from Blanche tell him about selling their house in Asheville.

Also included are two brief letters from Nathaniel to Blanche when he was traveling on business in 1962 and 1964.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Nathaniel C. Browder Papers, 1930-1992.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of December 1996.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Linda Sellars, May 1996. Revised January 1997

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

Materials from the November 1996 need to be removed from envelopes and re-foldered.

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