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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in three series.
The Robert N. Caldwell Papers consist almost entirely of correspondence between Caldwell and Mark van Doren. The two began their correspondence over local politics, specifically those in Bayonne, NJ, where Caldwell worked as a newspaper editor. As the friendship progressed, topics moved to parenting, philosophy, and literature, with van Doren frequently sharing his poems.
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.
This collection is located on-site.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Robert N. Caldwell Correspondence; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Selected Related Material at Columbia
Mark van Doren Papers, 1917-1976 Columbia University, Rare Book & Manuscript 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 Robert N. Caldwell, 1969.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Source of acquisition--Caldwell, Robert N. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1969. Accession number--M-69.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 04/14/1989.
Papers processed Christina N. Manzella, Pratt SILS 2011 2010 August.
Cataloged Lea Osborne 2010 December 29.
2009-06-26 File created.
2010-12-29 xml document instance created by Lea Osborne
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Robert N. Caldwell first met Mark van Doren in one of his English classes at Columbia University in 1928. Upon graduating in 1932, Caldwell returned to his home state of New Jersey where he joined the staff of a local newspaper, The Record. Sixteen years later, after he had become the managing editor of another local paper The Bayonne Times, Caldwell and van Doren's paths would cross again. A controversy in Bayonne over the transferring of a secondary school teacher, another of van Doren's former students, would spark a letter to the editor from the professor, thus igniting a close friendship and twenty year correspondence.
Just as van Doren lent a friendly ear throughout the Bayonne school board controversy, so too did Caldwell when van Doren and his publications were accused of promoting communism in 1951. The two frequently wrote each other of personal crises as well as triumphs. Also in 1951, van Doren, through the Association of the Alumni of Columbia College, nominated Caldwell for the association's Alexander Hamilton Medal, an award for distinguished service and accomplishment in any field of endeavor.
In 1961, Caldwell returned to The Record and was named its assistant editor in 1967. Robert Caldwell died on May 31, 1973, at the age of 64.