|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
Material is arranged into one series.
This collection of correspondences consists almost entirely of letters to Greene's close friend, Mercia Ryhiner Schwob Tinker Harrison, from 1953 to 1990. The letters describe personal matters as well as events in Greene's career as a writer, playwright, and journalist. Most of the letters are correspondences describing Greene's whereabouts and his plans to visit Harrison; the letters briefly address Greene's literary pursuits and his personal relationship with Harrison. Four letters to Harrison from other people are included in this collection as well. The collection also contains many postcards and Christmas cards from Greene to Harrison, spanning almost twenty years from the 1950s to 1969.
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 has no restrictions.
This collection is located on-site.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known);Graham Greene Letters ; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Selected Related Material-- at Columbia
Dorothy Craigie Papers, Columbia University Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Graham Greene papers, 1892-1999 (bulk 1950-1990), Burns Library, Boston College
Gerald C. Walling-Graham Greene Collection, Burns Library, Boston College
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Letters of Graham Greene: Source of acquisition--6555B (Samuels). Method of acquisition--Purchase; Date of acquisition--06/05/1996. Accession number--M-96-06-05.
Letters from Graham Greene to Mercia Harrison: Source of acquisition--6365B (Halsband). Method of acquisition--Purchase; Date of acquisition--07/26/1996. Accession number--M-96-07-26.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Letters of Graham Greene Cataloged HR 10/29/1996.
Papers Processed Robyn Hjermstad, MSLIS, Pratt Institute, 2011 10/--/2010.
Finding aid Written Robyn Hjermstad, MSLIS, Pratt Institute, 2011 10/--/2010.
Letters from Graham Greene to Mercia Harrison Cataloged HR 10/29/1996.
2010-12-22 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Graham Greene was one of the most widely read authors, playwrights and literary critics of the twentieth century. Born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, in 1904, Henry Graham Greene was the fourth of six children. Greene was first educated at the Berkhamsted School where his father was headmaster. He left the school at age 15, and moved on to study modern history at Balliol College in Oxford. It was there that Greene was able to hone in his interests in politics and writing, and worked as editor for The Oxford Outlook. After college, Greene converted to Roman Catholicism in 1926, partially under the influence of his future wife, Vivien Dayrell-Browning, whom he married in 1927. Greene's interests in Catholicism and international politics would continue to influence his work throughout his lifetime. Shortly after college, Greene moved to London and worked as a copy editor for The Times for 4 years, and upon the success of his first novel, The Man Within (1929), he quit The Times and traveled for three years as a freelance journalist.
In 1941, Greene began working for the British Foreign Office, and was stationed at Freetown, Sierra Leone, for a good portion of Word War II, which was the setting for his well known novel, The Heart of the Matter (1948; filmed 1953). The Quiet American (filmed 1958, 2002) also draws upon Greene's experiences as an agent in Sierra Leone and on his experiences in Saigon. Greene wrote many short stories, novels, and "entertainment pieces" (such as comedies and thrillers) throughout his lifetime; his travels and experiences as both an agent and journalist greatly influenced his writing. The Lawless Roads (1939) and The Power and the Glory (1940), for example, were written after Greene traveled to Mexico to witness religious purges.
In 1966, Greene became Companion of Honour, and in 1986 he received an Order of Merit. Greene's success as a writer enabled him to live comfortably in London, Antibes, and Capri, and he would continue to travel and write until old age prevented him from doing so. Greene died at the age of 86 in Vevey, Switzerland, on April 13th, 1991.