Born on September 25, 1904 in Scranton, South Carolina (Florence County) to a farmer, Fletcher Graves Bass and Bertha (Matthews) Bass. He married writer Virginia Wauchope on May 25, 1929. They had two children: Robert Wauchope and George Fletcher. His military service included the US Naval Reserve where he became a commander in 1934-40 and the US Navy from 1940-46. His hobbies included amateur radio, and he owned and operated WCQG radio station. Robert Bass went to Columbia Presbyterian Theological Seminary 1925-1927. He received his Bachelor's Degree in 1926, Master's Degree in 1927, and Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1933. He continued his post doctoral studies at the University of London, Cambridge University in 1951-52, and Johns Hopkins University in 1952.
He was one of the nation's leading scholars of the American revolution in South Carolina. Dr. Bass was a professor at several prestigious colleges and universities across the country.