|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
Table of Contents
Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
Container ListView All
At a Glance
Selected materials cataloged; remainder arranged. Cataloged correspondence: 8 boxes; Cataloged manuscripts & documents: 1 box; 1976 gift: Boxes 1-200; 1978 gift: Boxes 201-221; 1979 gift: Boxes 222-227; 1980 gift: Boxes 228-231; 1981 gift: Boxes 232-241; 1983 gift: Boxes 242-265; 1984 gift: Boxes 266-277; 1986-1987 gift: Boxes 278-342; 1988 gift: Boxes 343-354; 1989 gift: Boxes 355-361; 1990 gift: Boxes 362-367; 1991 gift: Boxes 368-373; 1992 gift: Boxes 374-382; 1993 gift: Boxes 383-388; 1994 gift: Boxes 389-394; 1995 gift: Boxes 395-398; 1996 gift: Boxes 399-439; 2000 gift: Boxes 440-441; & oversize folders.
There is no single series of audiovisual materials. For audio reels and cassettes see Boxes 196-197, and Box 439. For Homes Movies, see Boxes 177, 382, and 455.
The professional and personal papers of French-American cultural historian and Columbia University professor emeritus Jacques Barzun (1907-2012).
There is no single series of audiovisual materials. The collection contains both audio reels and cassettes dating from the 1940s-1990s. For audio, see Boxes 196-197 (listed in Series XXVI) and Box 439 (listed in Series XXII). There is also a set of 8mm home movies made during a trip Europe in 1934. For a itemized list of the home movies, see the container list in Series II: Boxes 177, 382, and 455. The home movies have been digitized.
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 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.
This collection has no restrictions other than the Barzun family correspondence, which is closed until 2047.
Unique time-based media items have been reformatted and are available onsite via links in the container list. Commercial materials are not routinely digitized.
Boxes 514-528 contain Barzun family correspondence and are closed to researchers until 2047.
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. Permission to publish must be obtained from the Barzun estate.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Jacques Barzun papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Henri-Martin Barzun papers: Personal and professional papers of Jacques Barzun's father, Henri-Martin Barzun, given to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library by Jacques Barzun.
Hector Berlioz collection: Materials by and related to the composer Hector Berlioz, many of which were assembled by Jacques Barzun and his father, Henri-Martin Berlioz. The collection also includes Berlioz original manuscripts and correspondence donated by friends of the library in memory of Ronald Baughman.
A bibliography of Barzun's work compiled by John Adams is available for download in Microsoft Excel format. The spreadsheet is current as of January 6, 2017.
Reminiscences of Jacques Barzun, 1963: Oral history interview with J. Kenneth Koch, reflecting on Barzun's childhood in France, French artistic movements from 1910 to 1920, and the effects of World War I on French artists.
Oral history interview with Jacques Barzun, 1976: Oral history interview conducted by Diana Trilling, for a book on the literary and political life of New York from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Hector Berlioz Book Collection: A collection of 500 books about Hector Berlioz and his time, given to the library by Jacques Barzun in the 1950s. All books in this collection are cataloged, and should be requested individually in CLIO.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Alternate Form Available
W.H. Auden letters are on: microfilm.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Source of acquisition--Barzun, Jacques. Date of acquisition--04/--/1976. Accession number--M-1976.
Papers: Source of acquisition--Barzun, Jacques. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--12/19/1990. Accession number--M-90-12-19.
Papers: Source of acquisition--Barzun, Jacques. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--12/18/1991. Accession number--M-91-12-18.
Papers: Source of acquisition--Barzun, Jacques. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--12/21/1992. Accession number--M-92-12-21.
Papers: Source of acquisition--Barzun, Jacques. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--12/20/1993. Accession number--M-93-12-20.
Papers: Source of acquisition--Barzun, Jacques. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--12/15/1994. Accession number--M-94-12-15.
Papers & books: Source of acquisition--Barzun, Jacques. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--12/18/1995. Accession number--M-95-12-18.
Correspondence & notes: Source of acquisition--Barzun, Jacques. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1996. Accession number--M-1996.
Correspondence & notes: Source of acquisition--Barzun, Jacques. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--02/08/2000. Accession number--M-00-02-08.
Gift of Jacques Barzun and others, 1976 to date.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Processed HR 05/30/1990.
Papers Processed ME 05/01/1991.
Papers Processed HR 02/28/1992.
Papers Processed HR 01/12/1993.
Papers Processed HR 01/19/1994.
Papers Processed HR 01/23/1995.
Papers & books Processed HR 01/03/1996.
Correspondence & notes Processed HR 04/06/2000.
Correspondence & notes Processed HR 04/06/2000.
Restricted materials in boxes 514-528 were reviewed, rehoused, and added to the container list in October 2022. These materials are closed to researchers until 2047, in accordance with the collection's deed of gift.
One box of Henri-Martin Barzun's papers were found among the restricted materials in the Jacques Barzun papers in October 2022. These items were likely mislabeled when they were accessioned by the Rare Book and Manuscript Library in 1976. They were removed from the Jacques Barzun papers and processed as Box 71 and 72 (due to three items being oversized) of the Henri-Martin Barzun papers.
2008-12-02 File created.
2009/01/22 xml document instance created by Patrick Lawlor
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
2020-11-28 Additional AV description added. kws
2020-12-09 Additional AV description added by CCR.
2022-03-17 Restrictions updated. kws
2022-09-26 Related materials notes revised by CLB.
2022-10-18 Restricted family correspondence processed and added to finding aid by CLB
History / Biographical Note
Jacques Barzun was born in Créteil, a suburb of Paris, France, in 1907 and died in San Antonio, Texas, in 2012.
The son of Henri-Martin Barzun, a writer and diplomat, and Anna-Rose Barzun, Barzun grew up in the a family milieu which he described as "nursery of living culture." He met many artists and writers of the modernist era, including Marcel Duchamp, Ezra Pound and Jean Cocteau.
As an undergraduate, Barzun was the Columbia University Spectator's drama critic and editor of Varsity, the literary magazine. He way also president of the Philolexian Society and class valedictorian.
Barzun taught his first class at Columbia, Contemporary Civilization, after graduating from Columbia College. He earned a master's degree in 1928 and a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 1932. He was later appointed Seth Low Professor of History and was well known for his humanities courses, teaching for almost 50 years. In the 1930s, Barzun taught the first Colloquium on Important Books class, the precursor to Literature Humanities, with Lionel Trilling, and developed the Core Curriculum's humanities focus. Barzun served as Dean of Graduate Faculties in the 1950s and then Provost from 1958 to 1967. Barzun obtained the rank of University Professor, the highest rank in the University, in 1967. After retiring from Columbia University in 1975, he remained an advocate for Columbia and the Core Curriculum.
Barzun was an outspoken critic of American universities and objected to the politicization of the academy. He strongly condemned both student protesters and faculty during the 1968 student riots.
Barzun wrote over 30 books. Among the notable titles are Teacher in America (1945) and From dawn to decadence : 500 years of cultural triumph and defeat, 1500 to the present (2000).
A devoted Dodgers fan who knew the team when it still played at Ebbets Field, Barzun once remarked, "Whoever wants to know the heart and soul of America had better learn baseball.'" That quote is now inscribed on the walls of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Barzun was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush in 2003, and the National Humanities Medal by Barack Obama in 2010. He was also made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, France's highest award. He became a U.S. citizen in 1933.
In October 2007, a month before his 100th birthday, Barzun was presented with the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates. At the event, Professor Emeritus of History Henry Graff called Barzun 'the Babe Ruth of humanistic study and teaching.'
Jacques Barzun married first Lucretia Mueller, in 1931; they were divorced in 1936. Later that year, he married Mariana Lowell, a violinist from the prominent Lowell family of Boston. They had three children: James, Roger, and Isabel Barzun. Mariana died in 1979. In 1980 Barzun married Marguerite Lee Davenport, an American Studies professor at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.