Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Clifton Fadiman papers, 1966-1970

Summary Information


This collection includes drafts of the writings of author and editor Clifton Fadiman.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0410
Bib ID 4078748 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Fadiman, Clifton, 1904-1999
Title Clifton Fadiman papers, 1966-1970
Physical Description 1.5 linear feet (3 document boxes)
Language(s) English .

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.



This collection is arranged in 4 series, the contents of each arranged alphabetically.



The collection consists mainly of drafts, both hand-written and typed, for various writings and lectures. Particularly well-represented is Fadiman's work for Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Book-of-the-Month club. Some correspondence and research materials are also included in the collection.

  • Series I: Writings, 1966-1969

    This series consists of various writing projects, including the obituary of Harry Scherman, a fellow Columbia graduate and the founder of the Book-of-the-Month club, and the forewords to several books. In the case of A Visit from Saint Nicholas, correspondence and research materials on Clement Clark Moore sent to Fadiman by his publisher are included in addition to Fadiman's drafts of the introduction. The series also contains an essay entitled "What Makes a Teacher Great?" about Mark van Doren, who taught at Columbia from 1920 to 1959.

  • Series II: Lectures, 1967-1969

    This series is comprised of Fadiman's notes for several lectures on the topics of literature and communication.

  • Series III: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1967-1970

    This series contains drafts of and papers relating to Fadiman's work for the Encyclopaedia Britannica Company.

  • Series IV: Book-of-the-Month Club, undated

    This series consists of book reviews that Fadiman wrote for the Book-of-the-Month club newsletter.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

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 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); Clifton Fadiman papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Material-- at Columbia

George Macy Papers, 1916-1970 at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Gilbert Highet Papers, 1929-1978 at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Ralph Thompson Papers 1944-1956 at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Reminiscences of Clifton Fadiman: oral history, 1955 at the Oral History Research Office, Rare Book & Manuscript Library

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 06/--/89.

Collection reprocessed Marina Kastan, Pratt Institute, Class of 2012 11/--/2010.

Finding aid written Marina Kastan, Pratt Institute, Class of 2012 11/--/2010.

Revision Description

2010-12-16 xml document instance created by Marina Kastan, Pratt Institute, Class of 2012.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

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.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Lecture notes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Manuscripts (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Obituaries Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
reviews (document genre) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
typescripts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Authors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Book-of-the-Month Club Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Children's literature Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Editors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Encyclopedias and dictionaries Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fadiman, Clifton, 1904-1999 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Literature Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Moore, Clement Clarke, 1779-1863 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Scherman, Harry, 1887-1969 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Van Doren, Mark, 1894-1972 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Clifton P. Fadiman (1904-1999), known to friends as Kip, was a well-known author, editor, and broadcast personality. Born in Brooklyn to Russian immigrant parents, Fadiman developed an interest in language and literature very early on. He attended Columbia University, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1925. After beginning his career as an editor at Simon and Schuster, Fadiman worked as the book review editor for The New Yorker from 1933 to 1943. In 1938, Fadiman was hired as the host of a radio quiz show called Information Please. The show ran for over ten years; after it was taken off the air, Fadiman hosted a number of other radio and television programs.

In 1944 Fadiman became an editor and judge for the Book-of-the-Month club, a position he held for over fifty years. He was also a consultant and contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, for which he wrote an article on children's literature of which he was especially proud. Children's literature was a life-long interest; he edited the World Treasury of Children's Literature, published in 1984, and wrote a book review column in the children's magazine Cricket (of which he was a senior editor). Fadiman was an extremely prolific author, writing on subjects from poetry to mathematics to wine, and the editor of numerous anthologies and collections. In 1993 he was honored with the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Fadiman married Pauline Elizabeth Rush in 1927. The couple had a son, Jonathan Rush. In 1949 they divorced, and Fadiman married Annalee Jacoby the next year. They had two children, Kim and Anne. Fadiman died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 95.