Brand, Katharine Edith

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Katharine Edith Brand was born on March 18, 1900 in Huron, South Dakota. She was the only child of Phebe Relief Crafts and Charles Brand, a Congregational minister and journalist. In 1901 Charles Brand left the ministry to become editor for the Congregational publishing house in Winthrop, Massachusetts. In 1908 he became manager of a fruit ranch and the family relocated to Roseburg, Oregon. Brand's parents divorced in 1909 and she moved with her mother to Oberlin, Ohio to stay with her aunt and uncle, Katharine and Earl Adams. In 1911 Brand returned to Oregon. She began high school in Portland, Oregon, then when they moved again, continued in Milford (Connecticut) High School, and finally graduated from New Haven High School. She was graduated from Smith College in 1921 with a B.A. in English and History, and then attended the Katharine Gibbs School in Boston, receiving her secretarial certificate in 1923.

Brand held several short-term secretarial positions until 1925 when Ray Stannard Baker, journalist and author, hired her as a researcher and editorial assistant. She moved to Amherst, Massachusetts where Baker was working on his multi-volume biography of Woodrow Wilson. Brand remained with Baker, doing everything from the taking care of clerical details to interviewing Wilson associates, and basically being Baker's right hand until the project's completion in 1939. For the duration of his work on the biography, Baker had the bulk of Woodrow Wilson's papers in his possession. He convinced Edith Bolling Wilson, the President's widow, to deposit the Wilson Papers in the Library of Congress in 1939. Brand was hired by Wilson to be "Special Custodian" of the Wilson Papers, and in 1944 she became an Assistant in the Division of Manuscripts, specializing in contemporary manuscripts. During her tenure she wrote bibliographies, collection inventories, and articles on archival issues. Wilson scholars frequently consulted Brand for her expertise on both Wilson and his papers. While at the Library of Congress she devised the register system for handling large collections of contemporary manuscripts. In 1950 she was promoted to Head of the Recent Manuscripts Division. Brand experienced periods of illness, and a heart attack convinced her to retire in 1956, but she continued to correspond with Wilson scholars and remained involved in organizations such as the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation among others. She was also on the editorial advisory board of the Papers of Woodrow Wilson and was active in the Friends of the Library, Vienna, Virginia.

Shortly after moving to Washington, D.C., Brand met Carol Piper, a Federal government employee, who at that time worked for the Federal Reserve Board. The two shared an apartment beginning in 1941 until 1950 when they built a home in Vienna, Virginia. They remained there until they moved to a retirement home a few years before Brand's death.

From the guide to the Katharine Edith Brand Papers MS 248., 1881-1988, 1965-1980, (Sophia Smith Collection)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Katharine Edith Brand Papers MS 248., 1881-1988, 1965-1980 Sophia Smith Collection
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Baker, Ray Stannard, 1870-1946 person
associatedWith Bingham, Millicent Todd, 1880-1968 person
associatedWith Brand family family
associatedWith Daniels, Josephus, 1862-1948 person
associatedWith Link, Arthur Stanley person
associatedWith Morton, David, 1886-1957 person
associatedWith Ross, Ishbel, 1897- person
associatedWith Wilson, Edith Bolling Galt, 1872-1961 person
associatedWith Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Library of Congress. Manuscripts Division.
Oberlin College
Smith College


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Ark ID: w6rh24gh

SNAC ID: 28165590