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At a Glance
This collection is arranged into 9 series.
The collection includes the original manuscript of "Surrender on Demand", Mr. Fry's account of his wartime experiences, which was later rewritten for young readers as "Assignment Rescue" (New York, Four Winds Press, 1968). Among the correspondents represented in the collection are Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz, Roger Baldwin, Norman Thomas, J. Edgar Hoover, and Herman Wouk. In addition to the material relating to the Emergency Relief Committee (later known as the International Rescue Committee), the collection includes correspondence and papers concerning Fry's work as a writer on foreign affairs as well as copies of his books.
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 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); Varian Fry papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Related Archival Materials
Fry's letters to Daniel Benedite, 1941-1955, are in the: Friedrich Ebert Foundation: Address--5300 Bonn 2, Godesberger Allee 149, Germany.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Existence and Location of Copies
Boxes 1-12 are on microfilm.
Ownership and Custodial History
Gift of Annette Riley Fry, 1969, 1974, 2004, and 2005.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Source of acquisition--Fry, Mrs. Varian. 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 06/--/89. Processed by Bernard Crystal 6/92. 2004 addition processed by Bridget T. Lerette 11/2005. 2005 addition processed by Bridget T. Lerette 12/2005.
2010-01-28 Legacy finding aid created from Pro Cite.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Fry, a 32 year old Harvard-educated classicist and editor from New York City, helped save thousands of endangered refugees who were caught in the Vichy French area during World War II. His efforts saved prominent persons: Max Ernst; Marc Chagall; Hannah Arendt; Andre Breton; Marcel Duchamp; Franz Werfel; Jacques Lipchitz; Lion Feuchtwanger; Heinrich Mann; Hans Sahl; Wilfredo Lam; Walter Mehring; Otto Meyerhoff; and Alma Mahler. In total, Fry and his collaborators helped to save around 4,000 people. In 1991, 24 years after his death (1967) in obscurity, Fry received his first official recognition from a United States agency, the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. In 1996, Varian Mackey Fry was named as "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Heros and Martyrs Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem. He was the first American recipient of Israel's highest honor for rescuers during the Holocaust. After the war, Fry wrote a memoir of his days in marseilles"Assignment Rescue". The FBI kept a file on him throughout his life, viewing his activities with some suspicion.