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RG 30/367 - Nat Brandt (1929- )

Nat Brandt is a veteran journalist who began his career with CBS News as a senior newswriter before turning to print journalism. He was a reporter on several newspapers in Connecticut and New Jersey before joining The New York Times as an editor, working primarily on the National News Desk. He was subsequently Managing Editor of American Heritage magazine and Editor-in-Chief of Publishers Weekly. He is a past president of the nation’s oldest journalists’ organization, the Society of the Silurians.

Brandt has also had an active career in television. Since CBS, he has freelanced during election coverage for ABC News and was a writer for CBS’s bicentennial minutes. He was the co-creator and head of research for the PBS television series The Crucible of the Millennium, which has won five awards for excellence.

A native of New York City, Brandt majored in history at the University of Rochester in upstate New York and was a member of the history honor society, the Morey Club. He has written many articles dealing with American history—among them, stories about Andersonville, Sergeant York, the Blizzard of 188 and the Pledge of Allegiance. He has been a freelance author since 1980, and has taught as an adjunct professor of journalism in the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University and at St. John’s University in Queens, New York. His book How Free Are We? What the Constitution Says We Can and Cannot Do was co-authored with the dean of the N.Y.U. Law School. Another book, The Man Who Tried to Burn New York—about the Confederate plot to burn New York City in 1864—won the 1987 Douglas Southall Freeman History Award. In 1993, he was Journalist-in-Residence at the Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio, taught a course in magazine writing at The Ohio State University, and was a consultant for the Columbus Dispatch.

Brandt’s other books include Mr. Tubbs, Civil War, based on a private collection of letters from Union soldiers; Harlem at War: The Black Experience in WWII; The Town That Started the Civil War, about the rescue of a slave in Oberlin, Ohio and a Book-of-the-Month Club and History Book Club selection; The Congressman Who Got Away with Murder, which dealt with the Dan Sickles murder trial of 1859 and is currently under option to a motion-picture company; Massacre in Shansi, the story of eighteen Oberlin College missionaries who died during the Boxer Rebellion in China; Con Brio: Four Russians Called the Budapest String Quartet; When Oberlin was King of the Gridiron: The Heisman Years; and Chicago Death Trap: The Iroquois Theater Fire of 1903.

Brandt has lectured on the East and West Coasts on Civil War subjects, and at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. on both the Civil War and Harlem during World War II.

Besides donating his research papers dealing with the three Oberlin College works to that school’s Archives, those from Con Brio were sent to the Music Division of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He intends to give his papers from the Chicago Death Trap to the Theatre Historical Society of America in Elmhurst, Illinois. The research materials of the remaining books have been sent to the Rush Rhees Library at the University in Rochester, New York.

Brandt was born on May 24, 1929. He was married to Yanna Kroyt on April 5, 1955.

Sources Consulted
Nat Brandt provided this biographical sketch.
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