Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Gilbert Highet papers, 1929-1978

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0588
Bib ID 4078893 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Highet, Gilbert, 1906-1978
Title Gilbert Highet papers, 1929-1978
Physical Description 21.27 linear feet (51 document boxes and 1 oversize folder)
Language(s) English , Latin , Greek, Ancient (to 1453) , German .

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.



This collection is arranged in four series: Series I: Correspondence and Manuscripts, 1940-1976; Series II: Books, 1941-1977; Series III: Subject Files; and Series IV: Adddtion, 1984.



Correspondence, manuscripts, typescripts, notes, photographs, and printed materials relating to his research, writing, and teaching. The correspondence relates chiefly to research for his books, articles, essays, and lectures as well as reactions, scholarly and popular, to his works. There are single letters for authors including Maxwell Anderson, Lawrence Durrell, Randall Jarrell, and Upton Sinclair; several letters each from John Masefield, James Thurber, and E.B. White; 21 letters from Clifton Fadiman; correspondence with Columbia University faculty and students; with classical scholars in the United States, Great Britain, and Europe; with publishers including Alfred A. Knopf and Oxford University Press; with his literary agent Curtis Brown, Ltd.; with HORIZON MAGAZINE, as chairman of its Advisory Editorial Board; with the Book-of-the-Month Club, as a Judge; with Encyclopedia Britannica Sound Seminars; correspondence concerning his very popular syndicated radio talks; and letters from his readers, ranging from members of women's literary clubs to headmasters of British secondary schools.

Although there are almost none of Highet's book manuscripts, there are hundreds of pages of notes and bibliographies for all his major works as well as manuscripts and typescripts for his articles, essays, and lectures. Extensive notes exist for THE CLASSICAL TRADITION, JUVENAL, THE SATIRIST, and THE SPEECHES IN VERGIL'S AENEID. Of particular interest are the approximately 500 photographs Highet took himself to illustrate POETS IN A LANDSCAPE. Background materials for his teaching, research, and many of his shorter pieces are classified in several subject files: Greek Authors, Greek Themes, Latin Authors, Latin Themes, and General Subject File. These files contain manuscripts, notes, some correspondence, and much printed material. Among the printed materials are 115 dissertations, offprints, and articles on Juvenal, chiefly 19th and 20th century European dissertations.

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); Gilbert Highet papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Materials

For additional information about Gilbert Highet at Columbia, please consult Central Files (UA#0001), the Historical biographical files (UA#0004) and the Historical photograph collection (UA#0003). There is an early collection of Department of Classics records, 1883-1954 (UA#0057) and also the Moses Hadas papers, 1930-1966 (MS#0531).


No additions are expected.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 07/--/89.

Revision Description

2020-03-13 PDF replaced with full finding aid (JR)

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:"
Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Anderson, Maxwell, 1888-1959 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Authors, Greek Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Authors, Latin Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Authors, Latin Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Book-of-the-Month Club Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Classicists Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
College teachers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- : Faculty Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- : Students Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Curtis Brown Ltd. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Durrell, Lawrence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fadiman, Clifton, 1904-1999 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Greek language -- Study and teaching Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Greek literature -- Study and teaching Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Horizon Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Jarrell, Randall, 1914-1965 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Juvenal Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Latin language -- Study and teaching Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Latin literature Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Latin literature -- Study and teaching Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Masefield, John, 1878-1967 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Oxford University Press Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Poets, Latin Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Radio programs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Satire, Latin Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Thurber, James, 1894-1961 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
White, E. B (Elwyn Brooks), 1899-1985 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Born in Glasgow and educated at Oxford, the noted classicist, critic, poet, author and educator was a member of the Columbia faculty for 35 years.

Gilbert A. Highet was made professor of Greek and Latin at Columbia in 1938, a year after he was invited to lecture at the university. Highet's commitment to classical learning found a home in Humanities A, where he became "one of the most energetic of teachers and colleagues," untroubled by the objections of some classicists to the rapid pace of the course or its reliance on translations. Except for a brief interruption from 1941 to 1946, when he served in the British Army (rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel), Highet spent the rest of his professional career at Columbia. He was named Anthon Professor of Latin Language and Literature in 1950, and he served as department chairman in the 1960s. He won the Award of Merit of the American Philological Association for his book, "The Anatomy of Satire," an analysis of the pattern of literary satire (1962). "Man's Unconquerable Mind" was one of the first ten paperback books published by the Columbia University Press.

Known as a "populizer" of classical texts and a public intellectual, Highet hosted popular 15-minute radio shows broadcast weekly in the 1950s by more than 300 radio stations throughout the United States and Canada (in New York on Radio Station WQXR). Sponsored by Oxford University Press, the program was called "People, Places and Books." He was the chief literary critic for Harper's and contributed numerous poems and essays to other periodicals and newspapers. He was also a judge for the Book‐of‐The‐Month Club.