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   Clifton Fadiman Papers 1966-1970.

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Clifton Fadiman Papers; Box and Folder (if known); Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

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

Summary Information


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

At a Glance

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):In English
Access: This collection is located on-site.  More information »



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

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Scope and Content

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.

Subseries I: Article on Children's Literature, undated

Included in this sub-series are research materials and numerous drafts of the article on children's literature that Fadiman wrote for the Britannica.

Subseries II: Other projects, 1967-1970

This sub-series contains documents related to some of Fadiman's other projects for the Encyclopaedia Britannica company, such as the Young Children's Encyclopaedia , referred to in Fadiman's notes as the "pre-reader." Fadiman was editor of Britannica's Humanities Film Series from 1969 to 1981, and this series contains two of his film reviews. Also included is a translation of Wilhelm von Humboldt's "On the External and Internal Organization of the Berlin Institutions of Higher Learning," and a letter from Fadiman harshly criticizing the piece and its author.

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.

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Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

This collection is located on-site.

Restrictions on Use

This collection is located on-site.

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 (if known); 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

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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 06/--/89 Christina Hilton Fenn

This collection was processed by Marina Kastan, Pratt Institute Class of 2012.

Finding aid written by Marina Kastan in November 2012.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion June 26, 2009 Finding aid written in English.
    2010-12-16 xml document instance created by Marina Kastan, Pratt Institute, Class of 2012.

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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:
lecture notesPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
manuscripts (document genre)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
reviews (document genre)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Book-of-the-Month Club.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Children's literature.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Encyclopaedia Britannica, inc.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Encyclopaedia Britannica.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Encyclopedias and dictionaries.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Fadiman, Clifton, 1904-1999.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Moore, Clement Clarke, 1779-1863.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Scherman, Harry, b. 1887.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Van Doren, Mark, 1894-1972.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

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.

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