(Mss. 3915)


Compiled by

Bradley J. Wiles

Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections

Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

Louisiana State University Libraries

Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University


Revised 2010














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0.5 linear feet

Geographic Locations

Cuba, Florida

Inclusive Dates


Bulk Dates



English, Spanish


Correspondence and other records related to W.H. Nathaniel Magruder’s management of Central Hershey sugar refinery in Cuba. The records document Magruder’s relationships within the larger management structure and his experience with organized labor interests.

Access Restrictions


Reproduction Note

Duplication is allowed.


For those materials not in the public domain, copyright is retained by the descendants of the creators in accordance with U.S. Copyright law.

Related Collections

Henry L. Fuqua Papers, Mss. 241

Thomas D. Boyd, Jr. Papers, Mss. 2037


W.H. Nathaniel Magruder Papers, Mss. 3915, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, La.

Stack Location(s)

50:15, OS:M


William Hezekiah Nathaniel Magruder was born in San Antonio, Texas, on June 6, 1890 to Herman Bangs Magruder and Harriet Fuqua Magruder. Herman Magruder was on the editorial staff of San Antonio Express newspaper and Harriet Fuqua was an educator and author. Magruder held long-standing familial connections to Baton Rouge. Louisiana. His paternal grandfather was Dr. W.H.N. Magruder, who founded and operated the Magruder Collegiate Institute. His maternal uncle was Henry L. Fuqua, governor of Louisiana from 1924-1926.

Magruder spent most of his childhood in New Orleans and Baton Rouge and in 1906 enrolled at LSU to study chemical engineering. In 1913 he moved to Mexico, experiencing first hand the Carranza-Villa-Zapata Revolution and subsequent civil war. Over the next several years he spent time between Mexico, Cuba, and the United States working primarily in the sugar refining industry. In 1918 Magruder enlisted in officer training school but after the conclusion of World War I he was discharged before receiving his commission. The next year he returned to Cuba and began work as a co-supervisor of two sugar mills for Hershey Sugar Company, a division of the U.S.-based confectioner. In 1925, he was married to Helen J. Mackenzie of Malden, Massachusetts. They had two sons, Leonard Mackenzie and Nathaniel Fuqua. In 1933 he became the operations manager at Central Hershey, which was the largest sugar refinery in Cuba.

At Central Hershey Magruder was in charge of over 1200 employees and often served as the main point of contact between the largely indigenous workforce and U.S. and Havana based upper level managers. Magruder had a number of problematic encounters with labor organizations at Central Hershey. He would often use government contacts and business-friendly press to put pressure on labor groups, and at various times trapped labor leaders into signing documents that branded them revolutionaries determined to overthrow the Cuban government. On several occasions his life was threatened and he was the subject of a labor group-published manifesto entitled La Venganza de Magruder in 1949.

Magruder stayed at Central Hershey until his retirement in 1950, after which he and his wife relocated to Sarasota, Florida. In the years following his retirement he kept in touch with former colleagues and associates at Central Hershey and in Cuba. In 1963 his wife died and he relocated to Baton Rouge. In his final years Magruder was regularly consulted about local history and remained an active member in the American Clan Gregor Society, the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Civil War Roundtable.

W.H. Nathaniel Magruder died on September 14, 1984.


The W.H. Nathaniel Magruder Papers consist of approximately 0.3 linear feet of letters, notes, memos, circulars, reports, and other correspondence between Magruder and his associates at the Hershey Corporation. The records range from 1921 to 1963 with the bulk from 1940 to 1950. The records vary in content, but mostly refer to daily operational matters, labor issues, and financial concerns at Central Hershey. There is a small amount of personal correspondence, mostly discussing Magruder’s retirement after 1950 and ongoing developments at Central Hershey.

Of note is a small aggregation of papers created by the Central Hershey factory and railroad labor organizations, including a copy of the La Venganza de Magruder manifesto. Approximately one third of the records in the collection are typed or written in Spanish. In addition, the collection contains one photograph and two postcards of the Central Hershey plant, a large organizational chart that illustrates the hierarchy of Hershey’s Cuban operations, and a map showing Central Hershey railroad routes. The collection has been divided into two series: correspondence and miscellaneous.


Series I. Correspondence, 1921-1963

The correspondence has been arranged chronologically and divided by correspondent. Magruder’s personal correspondence mostly pertains to his retirement, ongoing developments at Central Hershey, and life in Cuba around Fidel Castro’s rise to power in 1958-59. Of note are letters from James D. Baker to Magruder from February 1958, discussing the revolutionary movement in favorable terms, and to Mildred Searight from an unidentified writer discussing the nationalization of Central Hershey and some of the negative aspects of Castro’s regime. The remaining correspondence relates to his work at Central Hershey. These include items specifically addressed to Magruder at Central Hershey, items from Armando R. de Blanck (General Administrator of Central Hershey) to Magruder and other management associates, items related to P.A. Staples (Hershey Corporation President and Board Member), and various administrative items directed at Magruder’s Central Hershey colleagues.

Series II. Financial and Production Reports, 1931-1950

The financial and production records consist primarily of statements and reports with lists and tables quantifying various levels of sugar production and transport at Central Hershey. The information in these reports show employee rent amounts, seasonal sugar grinding costs, repair and maintenance expenses, annual manufacturing productivity balances, and profit and loss estimates. The records intermittently cover the years 1931-1950 and are arranged in each folder by year with the exception of the oversized reports.

Series III. Miscellaneous, 1949, undated

The miscellaneous series consists of labor group-related items and visual materials. The labor group items include flyers and notices published by the Central Hershey chapter of the Cuban national railroad union (La Federacion Nacional Hermandad Ferroviaria de Cuba) and the facility labor group (Syndicato General de Trabajadores de Hershey). These records are in Spanish and highlight the often tense relationship between Magruder and sections of the Central Hershey workforce. The visual materials include two undated postcards and one undated photograph of the Central Hershey facility, one undated railroad map of Cuba, and one undated organizational chart of Hershey Corporation’s Cuban operations.


Materials relating to these people, places, and things can be found in the series indicated, as represented by their numbers.

Collective labor agreements--Sugar industry. I & III

Correspondence. I

Cuba--History--Revolution, 1959. I & III

de Blanck, Armando R. I

Hershey Chocolate Corporation. I & III

Magruder, W.H. Nathaniel, 1890-1984. I & III

Manifestoes. III

Reports II

Staples, Percy Alexander, 1883-1956. I

Sugar--Manufacture and refining--Cuba. I & III

Sugarcane industry--Cuba. I & III

Transportation maps. III



Location Box Folder(s) Contents (with dates)

Series I. Correspondence, 1921-1963

50:15 1 1 Personal, 1947-1963

2-3 W.H. Nathaniel Magruder, 1938-1956

4 Armando R. de Blanck, 1942-1950

5 P.A. Staples, 1942-1947

6-7 Administrative materials, 1921-1950

Series II. Financial and Production Reports,


8 Undated

9 1931

10 1933

11 1935

12 1939

13 1942

14 1947

15 1949

16 1950

OS:M 1 Oversized reports from 1937, 1944, and 1945

Series III. Miscellaneous, 1949, undated

50:15 17 Labor group items, c. 1949

18 Photographs, undated

OS:M 1 Railroad map and organizational chart, undated