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Nathaniel Burt ’36 *49

Published in Nov. 19, 2003, issue

Nat died July 1, 2003; he was 89.

A longtime Princeton resident, he was a noted composer, poet, author, and lecturer. A graduate of St. James School in Maryland, where he was valedictorian, he attended Princeton, NYU, and the Mannes School of Music.

In 1942 he joined the Navy, serving in the Pacific theater until 1945 and leaving as a senior-grade lieutenant. In 1949 he received a master's in music from Princeton. He then taught music at Princeton and Westminster Choir College. He next composed music and began a productive writing career.

His first major work of fiction, Scotland's Burning, was published in 1954. Many others followed, including The Perennial Philadelphians, a 1963 NY Times bestseller; First Families (1970); Palaces for the People: A Social History of the American Art Museum (1977); and two books of poetry.

Among many community activities, he was co-founder of the Princeton Chamber Orchestra, and served on the boards of the English Speaking Union, Historical Society of Princeton, Friends of the Princeton U. Library, and the Friends of Music.

Nat was predeceased by his sister, Julia Atteberry. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Margaret Clinton Burt; a daughter, Margery Smith; a son, Christopher; two grandchildren; and one great-grandson.

The Class of 1936

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1 Remembrance posted for Nathaniel Burt

Alfred Lowe '70 Says:

2009-11-13 09:15:53

I remember Nat as a sweet man who was the father of Margery, with whom I went to Woodstock, who looked like Botticelli's "Venus." (She was, in fact, the inspiration for my senior thesis.) I have only recently become aware of the extent of Nat's talent and accomplishment.
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