ELLICOTT CITY – Eugene C. Harter, of Chestertown, a retired U.S. diplomat and author of The Lost Colony of the Confederacy, died in Ellicott City, Monday, Dec. 13, following an extended illness. He was 84.
Harter, the son of an American diplomat and a descendant of one of the thousands of American Confederates who immigrated to Brazil after the Civil War, was born in Rio de Janeiro Aug. 11, 1926. The family moved to the United States in 1935.
A Navy veteran of World War II, Harter in his early career worked on several newspapers and was editor and publisher of the Campbellsville, Ky., News Journal from 1962 until 1966. He won the Democratic nomination for Kentucky’s Fifth Congressional District seat in 1966, but lost in the general election.
He joined the U.S. Information Agency in 1967 and served in Lebanon, Mexico, Brazil and Ecuador as well as in Washington, D.C. In 1974 he was named Chief of the Economic Staff at the International Communication Agency in Washington. In 1981 he was appointed a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of counselor. He retired in 1982 and moved to his retirement home in Chestertown.
Harter is survived by his wife of 61 years, Dorothy, as well as his four children, Eugene III, of Salisbury, Ann Tucker, of Merrimac, Mass., David, of Columbia, and Melissa, of Bethesda, and six grandchildren, Jacob, Andrew, Heather, Devon, Grant and Sarah.
Harter’s book on the Confederados, as they were called in Portuguese, the language of Brazil, is still in print in both English and Portuguese 25 years after it was first published. The book traces the story of the transplanted Americans and their descendants who still maintain their Southern heritage in Brazil.
In addition, Harter appeared in TV documentaries and traveled and lectured widely on the subject of the Confederate migration to Brazil, an event in American history that was little known before his book was published. He also wrote Boilerplating America, The Hidden Newspaper.
He was a member of the International Conference of Weekly Newspaper Editors, American Foreign Service Organization, Diplomat and Consular Officers Retired, Mensa, several state press associations and the Washington Economics Club.
He is listed in Contemporary Authors, Vol. 119, Directory of Journalism Historians, Who’s Who in Government and Who’s Who in Kentucky.
Not long after taking his post at the U.S. Consulate in Brazil, Harter persuaded then Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter to include Americana, a city in Brazil so named because of the Confederates, on his itinerary. Carter was so fascinated with the Confederate colony that he missed his next appointment in order to stay longer.
Services will be held this spring at Arlington National Cemetery.
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