A Collection in the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 44300
Library of Virginia
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Charles Ryland Burnett, Sr. was born in Richmond, Virginia on 14 October 1873. He was the son of Henry Cox Burnett and Mary
Jane Caldwell. Burnett attended McGuire's University School and Richmond College (now the University of Richmond). He was
employed by the First National Bank beginning in 1891, and served as assistant cashier, as vice-president, and as director.
In 1926, he was elected vice-president and director of the First and Merchants National Bank in Richmond. Burnett married
Eugenia Whyte Griffin (1889-1981) of Salem, Virginia on 10 October 1917. She was the daughter of Judge Wingfield Griffin and
Claudine Booker. Eugenia Griffin attended Sweet Briar College, and was a member of the first graduating class in 1910. She
later served on their Board of Directors. Charles Ryland Burnett, Sr. died on 10 January 1949. Eugenia Griffin Burnett died
on 15 April 1981. They are both buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.
Their son, Charles Ryland Burnett, Jr. was born in Richmond on 7 October 1918. He attended Episcopal High School in Alexandria,
and then graduated from the University of Virginia. During World War II, he attained the rank of lieutenant commander aboard
the U.S.S. Croatan. Burnett married Miriam Louise Weston in Richmond on 17 April 1954. Weston was born on 7 March 1922 in
Toronto, Canada. She was the daughter of W. Garfield Weston and Reta Lila Howard. Weston graduated from Stanford University.
She was chair of the W. Garfield Weston Foundation for 30 years. Charles and Miriam Weston had one son, Charles Ryland Burnett
III (b. 1956). The family resided in a number of different countries, where the elder Burnett served as president or on the
board of directors of various companies owned by W. Garfield Weston, including the Belmont Manor Golf and Country Club in
Bermuda, Howardsgate Holdings Limited, and Walter's Biscuits Limited. Charles Ryland Burnett, Jr. died on 27 August 2004 in
Toronto. Miriam Louise Weston Burnett died in Richmond on 12 March 2008. They are both buried in Hollywood Cemetery.
Papers, 1881-1998, of the Burnett family of Richmond, Virginia, and Florida, Bermuda, England, South Africa, and Canada, namely
Charles Ryland Burnett, Sr. (1873-1949), Eugenia Griffin Burnett (1889-1981), Charles Ryland Burnett, Jr. (1918-2004), and
Miriam Louise Weston Burnett (1923-2008). The collection includes correspondence, clippings, diaries, financial records, greeting
cards, insurance papers, naval service records and publications, photographs, school work and class notes, scrapbooks, travel
brochures, and other materials.
The earliest correspondence in the collection, 1895-1902, is between Charles Ryland Burnett, Sr. and his brother Henry Caldwell
Burnett (1875-1935), who was employed with the National Bank of Commerce in St. Louis, and sister Malen Burnett (1878-1947),
while she was studying and teaching music in St. Charles, Missouri, and in Germany. Subjects include financial matters, investments,
and the health and death of their father, Henry Cox Burnett (1839-1902). There are also letters between Charles Ryland Burnett,
Sr. and Eugenia Whyte Griffin prior to their marriage, and between her and her father Judge Wingfield Griffin (1846-1930)
of Salem, Virginia. Subjects include courtship, social life, health, and family news. Correspondence during the 1940's is
mainly between Burnett and his son, Charles Ryland Burnett, Jr., and deals with the latter's investments while he was serving
in the Navy during World War II, and his efforts to secure employment in the banking industry following the war.
The post-1950 correspondence is between Charles Ryland Burnett, Jr. and Miriam Louise Weston prior to their marriage in 1954,
and their parents and siblings. Following their marriage, Charles and Miriam Burnett lived in Bermuda, England, Fort Lauderdale,
Florida, South Africa, and Canada, where Miriam's father, W. Garfield Weston (1898-1978), owned many business enterprises,
which Burnett was involved in as a director or president. There is a good deal of correspondence while Charles Burnett, Jr.
was president of the Belmont Manor Golf and Country Club in Bermuda, and on the board of directors of Walters Biscuits, Ltd.
There are also many letters written between Miriam Burnett and her mother-in-law, parents, and siblings.
Other materials in the collection include information on the Burnett's investments, trust accounts, and other financial matters.
There are class notes, school work, and report cards from St. Christopher's School in Richmond, Episcopal High School in Alexandria,
Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and St. John's College in Johannesburg, South Africa. There are clippings,
diaries, garden club materials, greeting cards, insurance papers, invitations, passports, photographs, scrapbooks, and travel
brochures and itineraries.
There is also information regarding the Weston Girls' Tour, which was led by Miriam Weston prior to her marriage to Charles
Burnett. The tour was funded by Miriam's father, Garfield Weston, and gave 50 young girls from across Canada a chance to travel
to England. In 1952, the group witnessed the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Also of note in the collection are materials
related to the Burnett's interest in research on Parkinson's Disease, as well as the beneficial effects of procaine to prevent
or postpone aging. There is correspondence between the Burnett's and Romanian biologist and physician Dr. Anna Aslan (1897-1988),
and also the Swedish scientist Dr. Arvid Carlsson (b. 1923).