MC 00111 Preliminary Inventory of the Richard Gaither Walser Papers, 1937-1982
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Walser, Richard Gaither, 1908-1988
1.0 Linear feet
General Physical Description note
2 archival boxes
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Gift of Richard Gaither Walser, 1978-1991.
Processed by: Special Collections Staff;machine-readable finding aid created by: Linda Sellars
Personal papers, manuscripts, correspondence, publications, Watauga Club minutes, news clippings of Richard Gaither Walser. The collection chiefly reflects Walser's work as an authority on North Carolina literature and a scholar of Thomas Wolfe. Included are personal items, such as passports, articles on and some writing by Zeb Vance Walser (his father), alumni-related items from Davidson College and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and items relating to Walser's retirement from North Carolina State University. There are also publications and reviews by and about Richard Walser. The Thomas Wolfe material contains reviews of Walser's books on Wolfe, correspondence pertaining to the writing of these books, and an issue of The Thomas Wolfe Review honoring Richard Walser (Vol. 6, No. 2, Fall 1982). Correspondence and speeches span the years from 1970 to 1981. Brief biographies of significant North Carolina authors, including Lodwick Hartley and Guy Owen are also included. The Watauga Club material includes a manuscript for the history of the club and some sources for this history, as well as minutes, reports, financial records, a constitution and membership lists.
Richard Gaither Walser (1908-1988) was born in Lexington, North Carolina, in 1908, the son of state Attorney General Zeb Vance Walser and Estelle Adderton Walser. He attended Davidson College for one year, and then transferred to the University of North Carolina, from which he was graduated in 1929. He received an M.A. from the University in 1933.
Walser taught English in Linwood, Lexington, Durham, and Greenville, North Carolina, high schools until 1942, when he enlisted in the United States Navy. Returning from service with the United States Naval Reserve, he taught briefly at the University of North Carolina before joining the English faculty at North Carolina State University in 1946. He retired from teaching in 1970. He died in 1988.
During his teaching career and continuing after retirement, Walser was a strong advocate for North Carolina culture, with particular emphasis on the state's literary heritage. Tom Wicker called Walser "the evangelist of North Carolina writing" ( Winston- Salem Journal, 19565 August 5) and W. C. Burton dubbed him North Carolina's "anthologist laureate" ( Greensboro Daily News, 1978 March 12. Walser wrote or edited more than 30 books during his career, most of them collections of works relating to various aspects of North Carolina life and literature. He also explored the work of several North Carolina writers more intensely, however, producing major works on Thomas Wolfe, George Moses Horton, and William Hill Brown.
Walser was interested in folklore studies and was an active member of the North Carolina Folklore Society. He also held active membership in many organizations dedicated to teaching, writing, and history, among them the North Carolina English Teachers Society, North Carolina Writers Conference, the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, the Watauga Club of Raleigh, and the Historical Society of North Carolina. Walser received numerous fellowships and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1957 and the North Carolina Award for Literature in 1976.
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[Identification of item], Richard Gaither Walser Papers, MC 00111, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC
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