Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Random House records, 1925-1999

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1048
Bib ID 4079581 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Random House (Firm) ; Bernstein, Robert L., 1923-2019
Title Random House records, 1925-1999
Physical Description 702 linear feet (1693 boxes)
Language(s) English .
Other Finding Aids

More information about cataloged material (series I) can be found in the physical card catalog at RBML.

The PDF finding aid that was scanned from the typed finding aid was the primary way of navigating this collection for decades. For historical reference, users can access the document here: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/libraries/inside/projects/findingaids/scans/pdfs/ldpd_rbml_4079581.pdf.

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.

The majority of this collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. Cataloged correspondence and manuscripts (Boxes Cat 1 - Cat 55) and Toni Morrison's editorial files (Boxes 1265-1275, 1509-1533, and 1683-1684) are on-site.

None of the materials may be published in any form in whole or in part without prior consultation with Random House, Inc. 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.

This is a large collection. The arrangement reflects decades of organization, from the editors, secretaries, and records managers at Random House who created and used the records, to the stewards at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library who preserve and make them accessible using ever-evolving archival best practices. This electronic finding aid takes these historical arrangement practices, imposes a basic order, and makes the folder titles searchable. The best way to look for relevant material is to call up the full container list (here, or using the "View All" link to the left) and use your browser's Find function (Ctrl+F on Windows, Command+F on Mac).

Arrangement

Arrangement

In 2021, a basic intellectual order was imposed on the collection. The order is roughly based on the original divisions from the typed finding aid.

Description

Summary

The collection consists of the editorial and production archives of Random House, Inc. from its founding in 1925 to the 1990s. The correspondence and editorial files include many of the prominent novelists and short story writers from 20th-century American and European literature: Saul Bellow; Erskine Caldwell; Truman Capote; William Faulkner; Sinclair Lewis; André Malraux; Gertrude Stein and Thornton Wilder. Among the poets there are files for W. H. Auden; Allen Ginsberg; Robinson Jeffers; Robert Lowell; and Stephen Spender. In the area of theater there are files for Maxwell Anderson; Moss Hart; Lillian Hellman; Eugene O'Neill; and Tennessee Williams. Random House transacted business with many fine presses and noted typographers and the archives contain files for Nonesuch Press, Grabhorn Press and Golden Cockerel Press, as wll as for Bruce Rogers, Valenti Angelo, and Edwin, Jane, and Robert Grabhorn.

Random House published James Joyce's ULYSSES. Because of its alleged obscenity, it was only legally admitted into the United States after a long battle by Random House in the courts ending in 1934. The Random House Archives contain letters and documents relating to this famous case.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Other Finding Aids

More information about cataloged material (series I) can be found in the physical card catalog at RBML.

The PDF finding aid that was scanned from the typed finding aid was the primary way of navigating this collection for decades. For historical reference, users can access the document here: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/libraries/inside/projects/findingaids/scans/pdfs/ldpd_rbml_4079581.pdf.

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.

The majority of this collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. Cataloged correspondence and manuscripts (Boxes Cat 1 - Cat 55) and Toni Morrison's editorial files (Boxes 1265-1275, 1509-1533, and 1683-1684) are on-site.

None of the materials may be published in any form in whole or in part without prior consultation with Random House, Inc. 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.

This is a large collection. The arrangement reflects decades of organization, from the editors, secretaries, and records managers at Random House who created and used the records, to the stewards at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library who preserve and make them accessible using ever-evolving archival best practices. This electronic finding aid takes these historical arrangement practices, imposes a basic order, and makes the folder titles searchable. The best way to look for relevant material is to call up the full container list (here, or using the "View All" link to the left) and use your browser's Find function (Ctrl+F on Windows, Command+F on Mac).

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Random House records; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Materials

Random House UK records are found at the University of Reading: https://collections.reading.ac.uk/special-collections/collections/random-house/

The imprints collection (about 6000 titles) from Random House and Modern Library are managed in as a separate collection, the Random House publications (https://clio.columbia.edu/archives/15840726).

Alternate Form Available

Pearl S. Buck letters are on: microfilm. William Carlos Williams cataloged letters and manuscripts; Karen Blixen's cataloged and uncataloged correspondence; Irwin Shaw's cataloged correspondence and manuscripts; William Saroyan's cataloged correspondence; John Dixon Carr's letters; W.H. Auden's letters; William Goyen's letters; and John O'Hara's letters are on: microfilm.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Random House, Inc., 1970, 1974, 1977-1979, 1986-1989, 1992, 1999

Archive: Source of acquisition--Random House. Method of acquisition--Gift.

11 New Modern Library items: Source of acquisition--Random House. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--06/30/1992. Accession number--M-92-06-30.

4 catalogs: Source of acquisition--Random House. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1999. Accession number--M-1999.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Archive Entered in AMC 11/27/1990. 11 New Modern Library items Processed HR 07/17/1992. 4 catalogs Processed HR 06/23/2000.

Starting in the 1970s, archivists created typewritten description for each accession, with the document for every new accession stapled to the back of the existing description. This document served as the primary access point for non-cataloged material, and was heavily annotated. In 2010, this document was scanned into a PDF file and published online. In 2019, Columbia student Molly Boord examined the boxes and edited an OCR version of the PDF into a Word document. In 2020 and 2021, Kevin Schlottmann worked from the Word document to impose an arrangement and imported the description into ArchiveSpace.

The Toni Morrison editorial files in the Random House records were reprocessed by Celeste Brewer in September-December 2021. A finding aid concordance documenting any changes in location or description made when the materials were reprocessed is available upon request.

The materials were previously housed in what appeared to be the original letter-size folders. These were placed in legal-sized manuscript boxes, some of which were over- or under-filled. Heavy use and repeated shipment to and from off-site storage further contributed to damage to the physical materials. During reprocessing, all folders were replaced with acid-free legal size folders. Annotated original folders were retained; all others were discarded. Photographs and torn documents were stored in polyester sleeves. Damaged boxes were replaced.

It also appears that some materials were shifted out of order by previous users, especially in the most heavily used folders, such as the Lucille Clifton, Henry Dumas, Angela Davis, and Black Book files. These were sorted and refiled in reverse chronological order in the appropriate folders, based on the order and organization of more lightly used files.

Boxes 1255-1275 previously contained a mixture of Toni Morrison's and Robert Loomis's editorial files, arranged in a single alphabetical sequence by the author's last name. However, there is no evidence that each of these groups of material are related. They seem to have been stored together because they arrived at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the same time. For ease of retrieval, these materials were physically separated. Loomis's editorial files are now located in Boxes 1255-1264, and Morrison's are now located in Boxes 1265-1275. Two more boxes were also added to the group of Morrison's materials in order to relieve overstuffing. These were numbered 1683 and 1684.

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.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Accounts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Advertisements Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Autobiographies (literary works) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Book jackets Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Card files Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Contracts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Drawings (visual works) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Financial records Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Galley proofs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Manuscripts (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographic prints Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Posters Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Proofs (printed matter) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Reports Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Trade catalogs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Transcripts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
American literature Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Anderson, Maxwell, 1888-1959 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Angelo, Valenti, 1897-1982 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Auden, W. H. (Wystan Hugh), 1907-1973 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Authors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Authors, American Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bellow, Saul Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Caldwell, Erskine, 1903-1987 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Capote, Truman, 1924-1984 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Carr, John Dickson, 1906-1977 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dinesen, Isak, 1885-1962 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Faulkner, William, 1897-1962 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Finklehoffe, Fred F. (Fred Franklin), 1911-1977 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Garland, Judy Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Golden Cockerel Press Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Grabhorn Press Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Grabhorn, Edwin E Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Grabhorn, Jane Bissell Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Grabhorn, Robert Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hart, Moss, 1904-1961 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hellman, Lillian, 1905-1984 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Jeffers, Robinson, 1887-1962 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Joyce, James, 1882-1941 (Ulysses) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lewis, Sinclair, 1885-1951 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Literature Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lowell, Robert, 1917-1977 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Malraux, André, 1901-1976 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Morrison, Toni Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Nonesuch Press Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Novelists Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Pantheon Books Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Poets Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Publishers and publishing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rogers, Bruce, 1870-1957 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Saroyan, William, 1908-1981 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Shaw, Irwin, 1913-1984 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Spender, Stephen, 1909-1995 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Stein, Gertrude, 1874-1946 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wilder, Thornton, 1897-1975 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Williams, William Carlos, 1883-1963 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID