Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Justin O'Brien papers, 1925-1968

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0942
Bib ID 4079174 View CLIO record
Creator(s) O'Brien, Justin, 1906-1968; Sarraute, Nathalie; Sartre, Jean-Paul, 1905-1980; Baidouy
Title Justin O'Brien papers, 1925-1968
Physical Description 53 boxes (53 boxes)
Language(s) French , English .
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.



Cataloged and listed.



Correspondence with André Gide, the manuscripts and notes for his biography PORTRAIT OF ANDRÉ GIDE, and for his translations of the JOURNALS OF ANDRÉ GIDE, SO BE IT, and PRETEXTS, and other notes and articles about André Gide. Also, correspondence with many contemporary French writers including Albert Camus, Jean Cocteau, Julian Green, Valéry Larbaud, Jean Malaquais, Roger Martin du Gard, André Maurois, Henry de Montherlant, and Georges Simenon. Prof. O'Brien translated works by Baidouy, Albert Camus, Jean Cocteau, Henry de Montherlant, Nathalie Sarraute, and Jean-Paul Sartre; the typescript of Camus' L'EXILE ET LE ROYAUME is of special interest. Professor O'Brien's files cover a broad range of French culture including correspondence with other French scholars, educational organizations, editors, publishers (notably Blanche W. Knopf), with members of the OSS in wartime France, and with other literary figures such as Gilbert Highet, Dwight Macdonald, and Klaus Mann.

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.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Justin O'Brien papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.


Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

Existence and Location of Copies

Benedetto Croce correspondence is also available on microfilm. See MN# 3600-1. The microfilm also includes Croce letters and manuscripts from other collections.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source of acquisition--O'Brien, Justin. Method of acquisition--Bequest; Date of acquisition--1969. Accession number--M-69.

Source of acquisition--O'Brien, Mrs. Justin. Method of acquisition--Gift (1973, 1978, 1982); Accession number--M-73,M-78,M-82.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 08/--/89.

Cataloged Lynn A. Grove 03/16/90.

Separated Materials

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library has separately cataloged the Gallimard edition of the works of André Gide (15 volumes) that was received with this collection. These volumes may be requested through the catalog record here.

Revision Description

2021-03-23 Biography edited by CCR.

2021-03-21 EAD document created by CCR.

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:"
Authors, French -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Camus, Albert, 1913-1960 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cocteau, Jean, 1889-1963 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
College teachers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- : Faculty Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Editors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Education -- France -- Societies, etc Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Green, Julien, 1900-1998 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Highet, Gilbert, 1906-1978 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Knopf, Blanche W., 1894-1966 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Larbaud, Valéry, 1881-1957 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Macdonald, Dwight Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Malaquais, Jean, 1908-1998 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mann, Klaus, 1906-1949 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Martin Du Gard, Roger, 1881-1958 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Maurois, André, 1885-1967 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Montherlant, Henry de, 1896-1972 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Publishers and publishing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Simenon, Georges, 1903-1989 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United States. Office of Strategic Services Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945 -- France Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

O'Brien was a professor of French at Columbia University (1931-1968). He was a well-known translator of modern French literature, particularly of André Gide and Albert Camus, and was also a noted authority on French drama.

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Series I: Correspondence

Subseries I.1: Cataloged Correspondence

Box 1 A-Ca

Box 2 Ch-H

Box 3 J-K

Box 4 L-M

Box 5 N-Sh

Box 6 Si-Z

Box 32 Gide, André

Box 8 Larbaud, Valéry

Box 9 Martin du Gard, Roger

Subseries I.2: Uncataloged Correspondence

Box 10 A-Ba

Box 11 Be-Bu

Box 12 C-D

Box 13 E-F

Box 14 G-H

Box 15 I-K

Box 16 L-Mc

Box 17 Ma-Mi

Box 18 Mo-Ne

Box 19 Ni-Q

Box 20 R-Si

Box 21 Sl-T

Box 22 U-Z

Series II: Cataloged Manuscripts

Includes O'Brien's diaries, commonplace books, journals, and sketchbook.

Box 23 Diaries

Box 24 Commonplace Books

Box 24 Journals

Box 24 Sketchbook

Box 25 Manuscripts--A-Z

Series III: Manuscripts and Subject File

Box 26 Manuscripts and Subject File

Box 27 Manuscripts and Subject File

Series IV: Writings and Related Materials

Box 52 The Novel of Adolescence in France, 1890-1930 , circa 1936

Ph.D. Thesis, Harvard University. Typescript copy (carbon) and printed copy

Gift of Mrs. Justin O'Brien, 1978

Box 52 Escrits, 1930-1932

Anthology of reprints by O'Brien, bound for his use

Gift of Mrs. Justin O'Brien, 1978

Box 51 Contemporary French Literature: Essays by Justin O'Brien


Gift of Mrs. Justin O'Brien, 1973

The French Literary Horizon

Box 29 Typescript

Box 30 Proofs

Box 31 From the NRF

Correspondence and typescript

Box 28 Lectures

Box 40 Albert Camus

Writings translated by O'Brien

André Gide

Box 43 Books about Gide by O'Brien

Box 7 Correspondence, Articles, and Notes Re: André Gide

Box 38 Photographs

Box 33 Journals of André Gide

Correspondence, typescripts, and page proof

Portrait of André Gide

Box 34 Correspondence, Drafts, and Notes

Box 35 Drafts and Notes

Box 36 Typescripts

Box 37 Pretexts


Box 37 So Be It


Box 39 Plays by Baudoy, Cocteau, de Motherlant, and Sarraute

Translated by O'Brien

Box 41 Jean-Paul Sartre--The Condemned of Altona or The Family Cell

Correspondence, drafts, and notes

Series V: Scrapbooks and Photographs

Personal and Family

Box 53 Scrapbooks, 1925-1967, 2 Volumes

1982 Gift

Box 53 Photographs

1982 Gift

Box 25 Photographs

Series VI: Printed Materials

Box 42 Printed Materials

Series VII: Books About or By André Gide

Box 46 Books about André Gide

Box 48 Books about André Gide

Box 49 Books about André Gide

Box 50 Books about André Gide

Box 44 Books by André Gide (Later Printings)

Box 45 Books by André Gide (Later Printings)

Box 47 Published Correspondence of André Gide