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   F. W. (Frederick Wilcox) Dupee Papers, 1778-2003 [ Bulk Dates: 1933-1979]

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); F. W. (Frederick Wilcox) Dupee Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information


Personal and professional papers of the notable literary critic. The collection includes correspondence, manuscripts, notes, journals, photographs, drawings and films, and a collection of signed and annotated books and magazines from Dupee’s library.

At a Glance

Call No.:MS#1700
Bib ID:10565167 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Dupee, F. W. (Frederick Wilcox), 1904-
Title:F. W. (Frederick Wilcox) Dupee Papers, 1778-2003 [ Bulk Dates: 1933-1979]
Physical description:9.43 linear ft. ( 8 record cartons, 3 document boxes, and 1 flat box)
Language(s):English , Spanish , and French .
Access: This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. If you would like to use audiovisual materials in Box 5, please contact the library in advance of your visit to discuss access options. This collection has no restrictions.  More information »



This collection is arranged in four series:

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Scope and Content

The collection includes a variety of personal and professional documents, primarily from the 1930s to the 1970s. These include, among others, correspondences with dozens of writers, critics, scholars, editors and artists, as well as Dupee's wife, mother and children; journals, notes and annotated manuscripts; full transcriptions of in-depth interviews with Dupee; over 100 books from Dupee's library, signed by authors and/or annotated by Dupee; dozens of socialist titles published in the United States between 1932-1959; souvenirs and photographs from trips taken to Mexico in 1933-1935; and some films shot by Dupee.

The collection includes many testimonials on the New York intellectual life of the 1930s, and numerous items reflecting Columbia and Bard college life in the mid-century. It provides a glance into Dupee's work habits and professional and personal relationships, and into some of his unfinished work.

Letters and other materials by Dupee might also be found in the collections of his friends and colleagues in the RBML, among them the Edward W. Said Papers, the Lionel Trilling papers, the Diana Trilling papers, the Mark Van Doren papers, the George Stade papers, the Meyer Schapiro collection, the Richard Volney Chase papers, the Quentin Anderson papers, and the Richard Poirier collection.

Series I: Personal papers and photos, 1831-2005 undated [Bulk dates: 1933-1979]

The series is divided into four subseries. Subseries 1 contains Dupee’s journals and personal notes and some of his drawings. Most of the items date 1933-1952, but some are undated. Subseries 2 contains correspondences of Mr. and Mrs. Dupee from 1933 to 1999. Subseries 3 contains vital records, photographs of Dupee or taken by Dupee, photographs and genealogy of Dupee’s extended family, and some family correspondence. The items in this subseries date back to 1831. Subseries 4 curates souvenirs from Dupee’s trips to Mexico in the 1930s, including photographs, books and newspapers from Mexico, journals, and hand-drawn maps of Mexican cities.

Subseries I.1: Journals, notes and drawings, 1933-1979 undated

Subseries 1 includes Dupee’s journals from Mexico (1933-1935), a 1942 journal, undated personal notes and drawings, and Dupee’s farewell letter to his wife. The series also includes a 1951-1952 journal by Mrs. Dupee.

Subseries I.2: Correspondence, 1933-1999 undated [Bulk dates: 1933-1980]

One of the most valuable parts of this archive, subseries 2 contains hundreds of letters written to F. W. Dupee and Barbara “Andy” Dupee throughout six decades, many by notable friends such as Mary McCarthy, Lillian Hellman, Edward W. Said, Delmore Schwartz, Sonia Orwell, Thomas Flanagan, Gore Vidal, Lionel Trilling, and others. Several of the letters include manuscripts and related materials from those authors. Dozens of condolences sent to Mrs. Dupee are included, as well as readings from the F. W. Dupee memorial. Many of the letters refer to professional matters, and attest to Dupee’s work no less than to his social ties.

Subseries I.3: Vital records, photos and personal items, family photos and genealogy, family correspondence, 1831-2005 undated [Bulk dates: 1870s-1979]

Subseries 3 includes Dupee’s personal vital records, among them certificates of birth and death, passports, marriage license, and invitation to wedding ceremony; photos of Dupee from the 1930s throughout the 1970s; clippings on friends and colleagues; correspondence with mother and family; photographs of friends and family; and some movies. Detailed genealogies of Dupee’s paternal (Church-Dupee) and maternal (Woodruff-Wilcox) family trees are filed, alongside family portraits dating back to 1831. The subseries also includes information on Dupee’s rented house in Rome and the family residences in New York and Illinois, and copies of Dupee’s yearbooks from Rockford High School and Yale College.

Subseries I.4: Mexico, 1933-1935

(some professional materials)

(see also box 1)

Subseries 4 is dedicated to souvenirs from and testimonials of Dupee’s formative journeys to Mexico in the 1930s. This small subseries includes Dupee’s letters from Mexico and articles he published about his trips, notes and photographs taken by Dupee in Mexico, drawings and hand-drawn maps of Mexican cities and markets, and several newspapers, leaflets and magazines. Dupee’s journals from Mexico are filed in subseries 1.

Series II: Professional materials, 1929-2003 undated

Materials pertaining to Dupee’s work life are found in series II, among them manuscripts, proofs, notes, published essays and reviews, the original annotated draft of Henry James, drafts of memoirs Dupee was writing, and correspondences regarding a collection of American poetry that Dupee was working on. The series also includes reviews of Dupee’s work, clippings on Dupee, obituaries, awards, posters and testimonials, correspondence on university appointments, correspondences with editors and publishers, and notes and syllabi from classes Dupee taught at Stanford. Full transcripts of in-depth interviews with Stephen Longstaff and Alan Wald are filed here as well.

Series III: Collected magazines and journals, 1924-1989

Series III includes journals and magazines collected by Dupee, some containing his own work or referring it: among them numerous volumes of The Miscellany (1929-1931) and The New York Review of Books (1963-1983, intermittently), Forum , Yale Literary Magazine , The New Yorker , Literature and Revolution , and many others.

Series IV: Collected books, 1778-1983 [Bulk dates: 1920s-1979]

Series IV provides access to over 100 items from Dupee’s library. Most of the items are annotated and/or signed, and could be used in tracking Dupee’s work processes as well as his literary relationships. This series is divided into two subseries: one of library books, the other highlighting Dupee’s collection of socialist literature, most of which were published in New York in the 1930s.

Subseries IV.1: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama, annotated and/or signed, 1778-1983 [Bulk dates: 1920s-1979]

Subseries 1 includes books from Dupee’s library. Their interest for researchers lies in the fact that most are annotated by Dupee, and many are signed by the authors. The titles range from classical nineteenth century novels to twentieth century poetry and prose, memoirs by colleagues, and literary and cultural criticism. The oldest item, a collection of fifteenth century poetry, dates to 1778, but most of the books were published in the twentieth century.

Subseries IV.2: Socialist Literature, 1932-1959

Subseries 2 includes dozens of socialist titles collected by Dupee, among them volumes of The New International and the New Masses from 1937-1939, annotated copies of Socialism by Frederick Engels and Leon Trotsky’s The Russian Revolution (edited by Dupee), and various publications on Trotskyism, the Moscow Trials, and socialism and the labor movement in the United States. Alongside some classical titles, this subseries provides a glance into a vivid scene of independent socialist publishers in 1930s New York.

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Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

If you would like to use audiovisual materials in Box 5, please contact the library in advance of your visit to discuss access options.

This collection has no restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); F. W. (Frederick Wilcox) Dupee Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Finding aid available online.

Selected Related Material-- at Columbia

Quentin Anderson Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Richard Volney Chase Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Richard Poirier Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Edward Said Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Meyer Schapiro Collection, Rare Book & Manuscript Library

George Stade Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Diana Trilling Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Lionel Trilling Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Mark Van Doren Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Processed by Efrat Nechushtai (Graduate School of Journalism) 2016

Finding aid written by Efrat Nechushtai (Graduate School of Journalism) July 2016

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion July 8, 2016 Finding aid written in English.
    2016-07-08 File created.
    2016-07-08 xml document instance created by Catherine C. Ricciardi

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Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Audio tapes.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Drawings (visual works)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Film clipsPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Journals (periodicals)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Manuscripts for publication.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Maps (documents)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Reviews (documents)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
School yearbooksPortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Adler, StellaPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
American literature--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
American literature--History and criticismPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
American poetry--20th centuryPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
American poetry--New York (State)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Anderson, Quentin 1912-2003PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Atlas, JamesPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Authors and publishers--United StatesPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Brandeis, Irma 1905-1990PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Braudy, LeoPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Brinnin, John Malcolm 1916-1998PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Capote, Truman 1924-1984PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Chase, Richard Volney 1914-1962PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia UniversityPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--FacultyPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Criticism--United StatesPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Dickstein, MorrisPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Dupee, F. W. (Frederick Wilcox), 1904-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Edel, Leon 1907-1997PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Epstein, JasonPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Farrell, James T. (James Thomas) 1904-1979PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Flanagan, Thomas 1923-2002PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Giroux, RobertPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Heaney, Seamus 1939-2013PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hellman, Lillian 1905-1984PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
James, Henry 1843-1916--Criticism and interpretationPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Kazin, Alfred 1915-1998PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Koch, Kenneth 1925-2002PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Krupnick, Mark 1939-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Literature, Modern--20th centuryPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
MacNeice, Louis 1907-1963PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Macdonald, DwightPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
McCarthy, Mary 1912-1989PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Pifer, Drury L.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Poirier, RichardPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Publishers and publishing--United StatesPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Rahv, Philip 1908-1973PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Said, Edward W.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Schapiro, Meyer 1904-1996PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Schwartz, Delmore 1913-1966PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Stade, GeorgePortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Straus, DorotheaPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Trilling, DianaPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Trilling, Lionel 1905-1975PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Trotsky, Leon 1879-1940PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Van Doren, Mark 1894-1972PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Vidal, Gore 1925-2012PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Vita-Finzi, ClaudioPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Vita-Finzi, PenelopePortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Wald, Alan M. 1946-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Wilson, Edmund 1895-1972PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Wood, Michael 1936-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Frederick Wilcox Dupee (1904-1979) was a prominent American literary critic and scholar, known for his lucid and witty prose. The Columbia University English professor was among the founders of Partisan Review and a regular contributor to publications such as The New York Review of Books and The Nation , authored "The King of the Cats" & Other Remarks on Writers and Writing (1965) and the biography Henry James (1965), and edited The Question of Henry James (1945), Henry James: Autobiography (1956), and editions of Charles Dickens, Gertrude Stein, Marcel Proust, E. E. Cummings and Leon Trotsky.

An Illinois native and Yale graduate, Dupee belonged to the mid-century generation of New York left-wing intellectuals described by Nicholas Lemann as "The American Bloomsbury". For decades, Dupee had been a fixture of the New York literary scene, keeping friendships and correspondences with many of the period’s cultural icons. His close friendship with Mary McCarthy was portrayed in an essay she contributed to The Company They Kept (2006).

Dupee started publishing literary reviews in the 1920s. During the 1930s he was a socialist organizer and literary editor for the New Masses . Dupee was hired by Columbia University as Assistant in English in 1940, and became assistant professor at Bard College in 1944. In 1947 he married Barbara ("Andy") Hughes, a recent Bard graduate; the two returned to New York within several years, when Dupee became a Columbia University professor. Dupee was appointed as full professor in 1957, despite never having obtained a graduate degree.

Dupee was an awarded and popular professor, known for his contemporary choices of readings and sometimes unorthodox style of teaching, as well as his support of students during the Columbia University protests of 1968 – documented in an essay he published in The New York Review of Books following the events ("my habitual detachment from campus politics had recently broken down as I saw the students growing more and more desperate," wrote Dupee). After retiring from Columbia in 1971, Dupee and his wife moved to Carmel, California. He maintained connections with West Coast academics and occasionally taught at Stanford. Dupee died in California in 1979, following a medication overdose.

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