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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in six series. Please note that the forms of names for both authors and publishers were standardized using the Library of Congress Name Authority Headings.
Scope and Content
This collection contains the records of the Georges Borchardt Inc. Literary Agency as well as records from the 1950s and 1960s that pre-date the founding of the agency. The records include agreements, clippings, correspondence, contracts, copyright registration documents, logs, photographs, permission requests, publicity, reports, reviews, rights information, and royalty statements.
The files related to authors, publishers, and general subjects are divided into two series: Series II: English Language Authors, Publishers, and Subjects and Series III: French Language Authors, Publishers, and Subjects. These files consist primarily of correspondence with authors and publishers on a variety of issues including agreements, contracts, copyright, editing, financial issues, manuscripts, offerings to publishers, permission requests, rights, submissions, and translations. These files also include other records such as author event information, book jackets, catalogs, clippings, publicity items, reviews, and personal communications such as holiday cards, invitations, and postcards. Contracts and related royalty statements are often filed separately from the correspondence files in "contract" files. Series II also contain subject files on such topics as American Authors, American Publishers, Association of Authors' Representatives, Authors Encouraged and Discouraged, Movies, and Publishers.
Documentation of the agency's activities related to foreign editions and foreign rights is frequently filed in a separate set of files. These records are filed in Series IV: Foreign Literary Agencies, Publishers, and Rights. These files are arranged by country or region and include both general files related to foreign editions, rights, and publishers as well as files related to specific subagents. Files related to specific English and French language publishers are filed in Series II and Series III.
The collection includes a set of manuscript logs. The logs are made up of index card files that document the agency's activities as related to specific titles. The index cards include the activity/dates/results of a title's submission to various publishers, date copy returned, etc. These records are filed in Series V: Manuscript Logs.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
The following boxes are located off-site: Boxes 1-919. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
There are no access restrictions for records dated 1980 or earlier. There are access restrictions for all records dated 1981 or later. These restrictions will expire at ten-year intervals. The expiration schedule is as follows: Records dated 1981-1990 will become unrestricted in 2029; Records dated 1991-2000 will become unrestricted in 2039; Records dated 2001-2010 will become unrestricted in 2049; Records dated 2011-2020 will become unrestricted in 2059, and so forth. For undated records, restrictions on access shall expire no later than 40 years from the date of delivery of the material to Columbia University. Researchers must obtain permission from Georges Borchardt, Inc. in order to use restricted records.
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); Georges Borchardt Inc. records; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Ownership and Custodial History
Gift of Georges Borchardt, 1985-2020.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Papers: Source of acquisition--Borchardt, Georges. Method of acquisition--gift; Date of acquisition--1985.
1987 addition: Author agency, and publisher files containing correspondence, contracts, offerings, and royalty statements. English language authors and publishers, 1970-1983. French and other foreign language authors and publishers, 1951-1980: Source of acquisition--Borchardt, Georges. Method of acquisition--Gift.
1989 addition: Includes all series described in 1987 addition covering the years 1957-1984, Series V (D-Coll-1); covering the years 1971-1986, Series VI (D-Coll-1): Source of acquisition--Borchardt, Georges. Method of acquisition--Gift.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers Processed HR 1985.
1987 addition: Author agency, and publisher files containing correspondence, contracts, offerings, and royalty statements. English language authors and publishers, 1970-1983. French and other foreign language authors and publishers, 1951-1980 Collection updated LWW 06/--/87.
1989 addition: Includes all series described in 1987 addition covering the years 1957-1984, Series V (D-Coll-1); covering the years 1971-1986, Series VI (D-Coll-1) Collection updated RL.
This collection was processed by LWW, RL, and Henry Rowen between 1985 and 2002. Additional processing work, including all accessions received after 1997, was completed by Catherine C. Ricciardi, Grace Bickers (Columbia College, 2014), Maddy Brager, and Linda Arthur (SEAS, 2014) from 2010-2021.
Finding aid written by Catherine C. Ricciardi in March 2014. The container list was last updated in September 2021.
2010-01-21 Legacy finding aid created from Pro Cite.
2014-03-04 XML document instance created by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2014-10-29 XML document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2015-11-05 XML document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2016-07-21 XML document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2017-02-21 XML document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2017-02-21 Website Archive series added by Jane Gorjevsky
2018-03-23 XML document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2019-01-04 Restrictions on records dated 1971-1980 removed (kws, ccr)
2019-04-02 XML document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
2021-09-20 XML document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi
History / Biographical Note
Georges Borchardt was born in Berlin in 1928 and spent much of his childhood in France. He lost his father to cancer in 1939, and a large part of his family, including his mother, died in concentration camps during World War II. Borchardt survived the occupation of France by going into hiding at a school in Aix-en-Provence while his sisters worked nearby at an American field hospital. He emigrated to the United States with his two surviving sisters in 1947. He settled in New York City, where he began his career in publishing by working as an assistant at a literary agency that specialized in foreign writers.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Borchardt expanded his career in publishing by representing French publishers and authors in the United States. He co-founded the Georges Borchardt, Inc. Literary Agency with his wife, Anne Borchardt, in 1967. Borchardt introduced to American readers major works by Roland Barthes, Samuel Beckett, Pierre Bourdieu, Gilles Deleuze, Marguerite Duras, Franz Fanon, Michel Foucault, Eugène Ionesco, Jacques Lacan, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Jean-Paul Sartre, Elie Wiesel and Monique Wittig.
Over time, the Georges Borchardt, Inc. Literary Agency has become primarily an agency for English language writers, and represents novelists and nonfiction writers as well as several major literary estates. The agency's clients include poets John Ashbery, Robert Bly, Rafael Campo, and Philip Schultz; fiction writers T. Coraghessan Boyle, Robert Coover, David Guterson, Charles Johnson, Ian McEwan, Claire Messud, and Susan Minot; nonfiction writers Anne Applebaum, Stanley Crouch, Susan Jacoby, Tracy Kidder, and Kate Millett; and the estates of Hannah Arendt, Samuel Beckett, Robert Fagles, John Gardner, Aldous Huxley, and Tennessee Williams.