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Series VII: Correspondence re Mark Van Doren's Books, (Includes clippings, reviews and related materials.) List of titles
At a Glance
Arranged in ten series.
Correspondence and manuscripts of Van Doren, consisting of letters, poems, short stories, novels, plays, radio broadcast transcripts ("Invitation to Learning"), diaries, critical works, proofs, and printed works. Correspondents include Louise Bogan, Philip Booth, Babette Deutsch, Richard Eberhart, T.S. Eliot, John Gould Fletcher, Herbert Gorman, E.W. Howe, Robinson Jeffers, Archibald MacLeish, Louis MacNeice, Edgar Lee Masters, Lewis Mumford, Hyam Plutzik, Allen Tate, and Louis Zukovsky. Also, extensive correspondence with Robert Lax and Thomas Merton, as well as manuscripts by these two authors.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located on-site.
The following box is located off-site: 86. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Some unique time-based media items have been reformatted and are available onsite via links in the container list. Commercial materials are not routinely digitized. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Readers must use microfilms and photocopies of materials specified above.
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); Mark, Van Doren papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Alternate Form Available
I. A. Richards and Allen Tate letters are on: microfilm.
T. S. Eliot letters have been: photocopied.
Ownership and Custodial History
Gift of Mark Van Doren, 1960-1970.
Gift of Mrs Mark Van Doren, 1973 & (Family Bible) 1977.
Gift of Mr & Mrs Ronald Van Doren & Miss Mary Van Doren in memory of George Van Doren, 1985.
Gift of William Reese & Terry Halladay, 1988.
Gift of Grover C. Smith, 1997.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 09/--/1989.
15 items added to Box 41, 42& 85 Processed HR 06/21/1996.
3 letters to Grover Smith Cataloged HR 06/27/2000.
2009-06-26 File created.
2018-10-22 The unnumbered series previously at the end ("Correspondence (Series 2)") was just a list of names found in series V. The names were integrated into that series. kws
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Van Doren joined the Columbia faculty after earning his PhD in 1920; he was among the original band of young scholars who taught John Erskine's General Honors course. Over subsequent decades, Van Doren would open the world of ideas and poetry to Columbia students, among them alumni poets Louis Simpson, Richard Howard, John Hollander, John Berryman, Thomas Merton, and Allen Ginsberg. He guided the planning and helped launch of Humanities A in the Core Curriculum ("Lit Hum," a cornerstone of the Core to this day) and taught a section himself for 17 years, an experience about which he said in his autobiography "nothing I ever did with students was more fun." Among his writings are Collected Poems, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1939; American and British Literature since 1890, with his brother, Carl Van Doren; critical studies of various authors, including John Dryden and Nathaniel Hawthorne; several anthologies, and The Noble Voice, a collection of essays. Upon his retirement from full-time teaching at Columbia in 1959, Van Doren told Newsweek: "I have always had the greatest respect for students. There is nothing I hate more than condescension--the attitude that they are inferior to you. I always assume they have good minds." He semi-retired in 1953, and gave up teaching altogether in 1959, following the scandal involving his son Charles and the fixing of the popular television program "Twenty One," dramatized in the 1994 film Quiz Show. Today the students of Columbia College honor great teachers with the Mark Van Doren Award.