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Collection Number: 03844

Collection Title: Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966.

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.


This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; this finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

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Size 4.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 15 items)
Abstract Robert Briggs Watson (1903-1978), native of Clemson, S.C., was a physician who specialized in malaria research, parasitology, epidemiology, and public health administration. He served as a field staff member of the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation from 1942-1966. The collection consists of typed diaries Watson kept during his service with the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation. The diaries concern his activities related to malaria studies in Memphis, Tenn., 1942-1945. From 1946-1954 his work centered on East Asia, traveling to China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan (formally Formosa), the Philippines, Thailand (formally Siam), India, Sri Lanka (formally Ceylon), Macau, and Pakistan. From 1955-1962 Watson's work shifted to Brazil and other areas in that part of the world, traveling to Chile, Argentina, Peru, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Panama, and numerous other locations around the world. Entries dated 1963-1966 cover his work in St. Lucia, and he traveled to other areas as well. These entries also document Watson's time in Chapel Hill, N.C. where he began teaching in 1966. The diaries are a record of his daily work, together with information related to traveling and living conditions, personal and family affairs, cultural and social occasions, and current events in the countries to which he was assigned. The first four volumes, 1942-1946, are not indexed, but beginning with volume 5 in 1949 there is an index of personal names for each year. For some years there is also a chronological list of subjects, events, and travels. Copies of Watson's annual reports and occasional special reports to the Rockefeller Foundation are included in some volumes, and some of the later volumes also contain clippings and photographs.
Creator Watson, Robert Briggs, 1903-1978.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
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 Robert Briggs Watson Diary, #3844, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Gift of Robert Briggs Watson of Chapel Hill, N.C., 1974.
Additional Descriptive Resources
A copy of the original finding aid for this collection is filed in folder 1a.
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

Robert Briggs Watson (1903-1978), native of Clemson, S.C., was a physician who specialized in malaria research, parasitology, epidemiology, and public health administration. He served as a field staff member of the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation from 1942-1966.

Watson studied agriculture at the University of Tennessee and received his medical degree from there in 1930. After three years of private practice in Memphis and Knoxville, Tenn., he became a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation International Health Division in 1934. He obtained his master's degree in public health from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1939, and served as a malariologist and epidemiologist with the Tennessee Valley Association before becoming a field staff member with the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1942.

Watson was headquartered at Memphis, Tenn., concentrating on malaria studies in 1942-1945; 1946-1954 his work centered on East Asia; 1955-1962 his work shifted to Brazil and other Latin American countries. In 1964, he started a new project in St. Lucia, and in 1966 he began teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public health, becoming Professor of Parasitology and Laboratory Practice.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists of typed diaries of physician Robert Briggs Watson (1903-1978), kept during his service as a field staff member of the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation. The journals concern his activities related to malaria studies in Memphis, Tenn., 1942-1945. From 1946-1954, Watson's work centered on East Asia, traveling to China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan (formally Formosa), the Philippines, Thailand (formally Siam), India, Sri Lanka (formally Ceylon), Macau, and Pakistan. From 1955-1962 his work shifted to Brazil and other areas in that part of the world, traveling to Chile, Argentina, Peru, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Panama, and numerous other locations around the world. Entries dated 1963-1966 cover Watson's work in St. Lucia, and he traveled to other areas as well. These entries also document his time in Chapel Hill, N.C., where he began teaching in 1966. The diaries are a record of Watson's daily work, together with information related to traveling and living conditions, personal and family affairs, cultural and social occasions, and current events in the countries to which he was assigned. The first four volumes, 1942-1946, are not indexed, but beginning with volume 5 in 1949 there is an index of personal names for each year. For some years there is also a chronological list of subjects, events, and travels. Copies of Watson's annual reports and occasional special reports to the Rockefeller Foundation are included in some volumes, and some of the later volumes also contain clippings and photographs.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966.

Arrangement: chronological.

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 1a

Folder 1

Volume 1: 15 July-13 December 1943 #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 1

268 pp., office and laboratory at University of Tennessee Medical School, Memphis, Tenn.

Folder 2

Volume 2: 1944 #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 2

233 pp., location is Memphis, Tenn., and in Australia and New Guinea for a malaria team study in July-August.

Folder 3

Volume 3: 1945-1946 #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 3

1945, 184 pp., location is Memphis, Tenn.; 1946, 214 pp., locations are Memphis, Tenn., Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, India, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), China, and Formosa (Taiwan).

Folder 4

Volume 4: 1947-1948 #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 4

1947, 215 pp. and 1948, 194 pp.; locations are China, Korea, Japan, Formosa (Taiwan), the Philippines, Siam (Thailand), India, and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

Folder 5

Volume 5: 1949-1950 #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 5

1949, 234 pp., and 1950, 292 pp.; locations are China, Formosa (Taiwan), Macau, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), India, and Pakistan.

Folder 6

Volume 6: 1951-1952 #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 6

1951, 205 pp. and 1952, 259 pp.; locations are India, Pakistan, and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

Folder 7

Volume 7: 1953-1954 #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 7

1953, about 250 pp., partly photocopies, and 1954, 362 pp.; locations are India, Pakistan, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), United States, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Uruguay.

Folder 8

Volume 8: 1955-1956 #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 8

1955, 236 pp. and 1956, 243 pp.; locations are Brazil, Chile, Peru, United States, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Colombia, Panama, Portugal, Spain, England, and France. Included is report for 1955-1956.

Folder 9

Volume 9: 1957-1958 #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 9

1957, 273 pp. and 1958, 259 pp.; locations are Brazil, Argetina, Uruguay, United States, Chile, Peru, and Portugal.

Folder 10

Volume 10: 1959-1960 #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 10

1959, 243 pp. and 1960, 351 pp.; locations are Brazil, Venezuela, United States, Switzerland, Italy, India, China, Formosa (Taiwan), the Philippines, Siam (Thailand), Ceylon (Sri Lanka), England, France, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Argentina. Included is report, April 1959, on malaria eradication programs in Asia, discussing travels to India, Formosa (Taiwan), the Philippines, and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in February-March 1959.

Folder 11

Volume 11: 1961-1962 #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 11

1961, 401 pp. and 1962, 375 pp.; This period starts in Memphis, Tenn., and ends with leave in Chapel Hill, N.C., but other locations are Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay, and United States. Includes some Brazil newspaper clippings.

Folder 12

Volume 12: 1963 #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 12

428 pp.; locations are Chapel Hill, N.C., New York, N.Y., Washington, D.C., Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Peru.

Folder 13

Volume 13: 1964 #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 13

412 pp.; locations are United States, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, England, Peru, Rhodesia, St. Lucia, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Folder 14

Volume 14: 1965 #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 14

361, pp.; locations are Chapel Hill, N.C., New York, N.Y., Brazil, Barbados, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia. Includes clipping and photographs.

Folder 15

Volume 15: 1966 #03844, Series: "Robert Briggs Watson Diary, 1942-1966." Folder 15

234 pp.; located primarily in Chapel Hill, N.C., other locations are Antigua, Puerto Rico, and St. Lucia.

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Adam Fielding, Kate Stratton, and Jodi Berkowitz, December 2010

This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

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