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   Varian Fry Papers, [ca. 1940]-1967

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Preferred Citation

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

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

Summary Information

At a Glance

Bib ID:4078792 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Fry, Varian, 1907-1967.
Title:Varian Fry Papers, [ca. 1940]-1967
Physical description:9 linear ft. (ca.3,000 items in 19 boxes).
Language(s):In English
Access: This collection has no restrictions. This collection is located on-site.  More information »



This collection is arranged into 9 series:

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Scope and Content

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.

Series I: Cataloged Correspondence

Series II: Arranged Correspondence

Box 2 is on microfilm MN#2000-2015 & 2016

Series III: Personal Correspondence

Series IV: Subject Files

Series V: Manuscripts

Subseries V.1: Surrender on Demand

Series VI: Photographs

Series VII: Printed Material

Series VIII: 2004 Addition

Foreign Policy Association Headline Books written by Fry or edited by him. Some of these books are bound together in one volume. These books are not available on microfilm.

Series IX: 2005 Addition

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Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

This collection has no restrictions.

This collection is located on-site.

Restrictions on Use

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); Varian Fry Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Material

Fry's letters to Daniel Benedite, 1941-1955, are in the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, 5300 Bonn 2, Godesberger Allee 149, Germany.

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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

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion June 26, 2009 Finding aid written in English.
    2010-01-28 Legacy finding aid created from Pro Cite.

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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.

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HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Audio tapes.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Manuscripts (literary).PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Tax returns.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Baldwin, Roger N. (Roger Nash), 1884-1981.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Chagall, Marc, 1887-1985.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Emergency Rescue Committee.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Ernst, Max, 1891-1976.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Foreign agents.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
France--History--German occupation, 1940-1945.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Gide, André, 1869-1951.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hoover, J. Edgar (John Edgar), 1895-1972.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
International Rescue Committee.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Kinsey, Alfred C. (Alfred Charles), 1894-1956.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Komroff, Manuel, 1890-1974.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lipchitz, Jacques, 1891-1973.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Macdonald, Dwight.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Malraux, André, 1901-1976.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Matisse, Henri, 1869-1954.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Miró, Joan, 1893-1983.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Thomas, Norman, 1884-1968.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States.--Congress.--House.--Committee on Un-American Activities.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Winter, Ella.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945--France.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945--Refugees.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945--War work.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Wouk, Herman, 1915-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

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.

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