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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in 4 series. Series I: Cataloged Correspondence; Series II: Arranged Correspondence; Series III: Books; Series IV: Research Notes and Interviews.
Scope and Content
Research notes, transcripts of interviews with Steffanson, correspondence, clippings, and other biographical materials deals with all aspects of Steffanson's life including his early career in America after 1909, the Swedish and Canadian paper, wood pulp, and cellulose industries, cultural and social life and New York real estate in the 1920's, his excape from the "Titanic" in 1912, and genealogical notes on the family of his wife, Mary Pinchot Eno.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
The following boxes are located off-site: 2-9. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
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.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Carl William Ackerman papers on Bjornstrom Steffanson; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Related Archival Materials
For edited transcript of interview see Steffanson, Hokan Bjornstrom, Oral history interview, 1965.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers Processed HR 1980.
History / Biographical Note
Carl William Ackerman (1890-1970), Columbia University B. Litt. 1913, was Dean of the Columbia University School of Journalism from 1931 to 1956. He spent from 1960 to 1962 researching and writing a biography (unpublished) of Hokan Bjornstrom Steffanson, 1883-1962, the Swedish-American industrialist and financier.
Ackerman was a champion of freedom of the press. His professional career was forged in both major World Wars. While working as a correspondent in World War I with the United Press, Ackerman came to attention when he published Germany, The Next Republic?, a book that discussed the possibility of a successful democracy in post-Kaiser Germany. When the book was printed in 1917, at the height of World War I, this sentiment was considered quite radical. The London Times Literary Supplement commented: "For the serious student of affairs the importance of the book lies in the large mass of information which it contains as to the struggle which was going on all the time in Germany between the two great parties, the Pan-Germans and the party of comparative moderation which centered round the Foreign Office.".
Mexico's Dilemma was considered "topical" "limited in scope and subject" and of "little relevance." Trailing the Bolsheviki was similarly received. As a biography, Dawes, the Doer was panned as "poorly handled" whereas Biography of George Eastman was called by the New York Tribune "objective in the sense that it holds strictly to the drama of events in justification of its hero. This makes it eminently readable, even exciting at times, purely as an epic of success achieved, a sort of `Pilgrim's Progress' of business.".
Mr. Ackerman was an outspoken advocate of a journalism foundation in the United States "dedicated to the study of the daily newspaper and government." He explained"We need scientific studies of the press by the press, and for the press, which will contribute to the progress of journalism as the great educational foundations have advanced medicine.".
Ackerman married Mabel VanderHoof in 1914, and was the father of Robert VanderHoof Ackerman.
Writings by Ackerman: Germany, the Next Republic?, Hodder & Stoughton, 1917.; Mexico's Dilemma, Doran 1918, Gordon Press, 1976; Trailing the Bolsheviki, Scribner, 1919; Dawes, the Doer (biography), Houghton, 1930; Biography of George Eastman, Houghton, 1930. Ackerman authored numerous articles, pamphlets, and reports on journalism and related affairs.