This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

'My goal will ever be to make history popular': Peter Brannon's Quest for Alabama History




Neeley, Graham

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




Peter Alexander Brannon (1882-1967) was a noteworthy figure in Alabama history during the first two-thirds of the twentieth century. Throughout his fifty-year career at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Brannon wrote extensively on Alabama’s rich history, covering a vast array of topics relating to local history, place names, archaeology, folklore, travel and transportation, material culture, and geography. His weekly column in the Montgomery Advertiser spanned nineteen years and still cited today by professionals and amateurs alike. The columns were just one of the ways Brannon connected with the public in his quest to make history “popular.” Brannon also lectured on, taught about, and advocated for Alabama history to anyone who would give him a hearing, all the while expanding his agency’s outreach mission. Newspapers statewide documented his travels and upcoming lectures at various schools, civic organizations and local historical societies. His knowledge of Alabama history led one newspaper to nickname him a “colossus of knowledge.”