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   Robert N. Caldwell Correspondence 1949-1969.

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Robert N. Caldwell Correspondence; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

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

Summary Information


In 1949, New Jersey newspaper editor Robert N. Caldwell began a close friendship with his former professor at Columbia University, Mark van Doren. The two frequently discussed politics, literature, philosophy, and their day-to-day lives. This collection consists of correspondence, between Robert Caldwell and Columbia professor Mark van Doren spanning two decades.

At a Glance

Call No.:MS#0182
Bib ID:4078574 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Caldwell, Robert N., 1908-
Title:Robert N. Caldwell Correspondence 1949-1969.
Physical description:1.26 linear ft (3 document boxes).
Language(s):In English
Access: This collection is located on-site.  More information »



This collection is arranged in three series.

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Scope and Content

The Robert N. Caldwell Correspondence 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.

Series I: Letters to Mark van Doren, 1949-1969

Series I is comprised of typed carbon copies of Caldwell's letters to van Doren, dating from February 26, 1949 to March 20, 1969

Series II: Letters from Mark van Doren, 1949-1969

The second series consists of van Doren's primarily handwritten letters, some with accompanying envelopes, and postcards to Caldwell dating from February 19, 1949 to September 9, 1969.

Series III: Other Correspondence and Clippings, 1951-1969

Series III contains miscellaneous correspondence as well as newspaper clippings. There is a postcard from van Doren to Caldwell's daughter, Cathy, and letters from Dorothy and Charlie van Doren, Mark's wife and son, to Caldwell. There is a small collection of correspondence between Caldwell and Verb Gabbert. Finally, there are a variety of newspaper clippings of articles written either about van Doren or by Caldwell.

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Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

This collection is located on-site.

Restrictions on Use

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.

Preferred Citation

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.

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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

Cataloged 04/14/1989 Christina Hilton Fenn

Papers processed in August 2010 by Christina N. Manzella, Pratt SILS 2011

Catalog record updated in December 2010 by Lea Osborne

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion June 26, 2009 Finding aid written in English.
    2009-06-26 File created.
    2010-12-29 xml document instance created by Lea Osborne

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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:


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Newspaper publishing--New Jersey.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States--Politics and government--1945-1989.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Van Doren, Mark, 1894-1972.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

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.

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