Early life and education
Clyde Norman Wilson was born on June 11, 1941 in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he was raised. His father, Clyde Sr., a fireman, was a leader in the state Firefighters Union and was chosen to train and command the first African-American fire company in Greensboro. Clyde Jr. was editor of the Greensboro High School newspaper in his senior year, receiving a special commendation from the Columbia University Scholastic Press Association for editorial writing. During that year, 1958–1959, the high school was the first in North Carolina to be integrated.
Wilson received the B.A. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1963 and the M.A. in 1964. While still a student he published journalism in the Greensboro Daily News, the Greensboro Record, the Winston-Salem Journal, and the Chapel Hill Weekly, and wrote a regular column for the campus Daily Tar Heel. From 1964 he spent several years as a reporter for the Richmond News Leader and the Charlotte News, covering police, courts, and other matters.
In 1971 Wilson received the Ph.D. in History from the University of North Carolina. While a graduate student he published articles in such historical journals as The North Carolina Historical Review and Civil War Times, and in opinion journals like Modern Age, Intercollegiate Review, and National Review.
Wilson became Assistant Professor of History at the University of South Carolina in 1971; Associate Professor, 1977; Professor, 1983. In 1977 he became editor of The Papers of John C. Calhoun, producing volumes 10 through the completion of the edition with volume 28 in 2003. Scholarly reviewers were unanimous in high praise for the Calhoun Papers for meticulous editorial work, insightful historical introductions, and steady progress. The term “exemplary” was often applied. Wilson’s work on Calhoun drew comments like “shows high ability in the field of intellectual history” (Journal of American History), “plows new ground by the acre” (Virginia Magazine of History & Biography), and many others of similar import.
During 32 years at the University of South Carolina, Wilson taught a wide variety of courses and directed 16 doctoral dissertations, four of which quickly became books.
Wilson early identified himself as an intellectual heir of Richard Weaver and the Southern Agrarians. In 1980 he assisted Thomas Fleming in founding Southern Partisan magazine, and subsequently became a contributing editor of Chronicles when Fleming became editor of that journal. In 1981, Wilson brought together the book Why the South Will Survive, by Fifteen Southerners, a restatement of the Agrarian message of I’ll Take My Stand on its fiftieth anniversary. The volume included contributions by Cleanth Brooks, Andrew Lytle, George Garrett, and other well-known literati.
Wilson has contributed more than 400 articles, essays, and reviews to a wide variety of academic and popular books and publications. He has lectured extensively across the U.S. to scholarly, heritage, and political groups.
Books include Carolina Cavalier: The Life and Mind of James Johnston Pettigrew, an American Civil War biography that has gone through three editions; From Union to Empire: Essays in the Jeffersonian Tradition; and Defending Dixie: Essays in Southern History and Culture. In addition, he has contributed to a number of influential books, including The New Right Papers, (Robert W. Whitaker, Ed.). He has edited a number of books, including three volumes of The Dictionary of Literary Biography on American historians; The Essential Calhoun; John C. Calhoun: A Bibliography; and A Defender of Southern Conservatism: M.E. Bradford and His Achievements. He has also written for Telos.
Wilson is a recipient of the Bostick Medal for Contributions to South Carolina Letters, the first annual John Randolph Club Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans Medal of Meritorious Service. In 2005 he was the founding Dean of the Stephen D. Lee Institute, an educational arm of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
- Clyde N. Wilson, University of South Carolina faculty website.