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Series I: Writings, 1947-2004
Series III: Correspondence, 1949-2004
This series contains correspondence arranged both chronologically and by correspondent. The general correspondence is arranged chronologically; correspondents include Gans's fellow scholars and students, admirers and critics of his work, editors and publishers, and journalists and public figures with whom he did not maintain a regular correspondence. Very little personal information appears in these letters and memoranda. Much of this correspondence is of a routine or formal nature.
Correspondents arranged alphabetically include David Riesman, economist John Kenneth Galbraith, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Max Frankel, all of whom corresponded regularly with Gans over a long time period. Others, including a number of American sociologists — among them Daniel Bell, Todd Gitlin, Nathan Glazer, Seymour Martin Lipset, Robert Merton, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, William J. Wilson, and Francis Fox Piven — wrote and received letters to and from Gans intermittently over several decades. Similarly, Gans corresponded in spurts, especially in the 1990s, with a number of journalists and critics, among them Russell Baker, Gail Collins, Maureen Dowd, Paul Goldberger, Nicholas Lemann, and Jim Sleeper; as a group they offer a glimpse into Gans's passionate engagement both with the news and with the manner of its reporting.
The series also contains correspondence touching on Gans's time at Columbia, the bulk of it pertaining to administrative and personnel issues within the Sociology Department. Correspondence related to particular subjects remains interspersed throughout the writing and subject files. For instance, in addition to the correspondence between Gans and Riesman in Series III, Riesman correspondence on the subject of The Levittowners can be found in Subseries I.1.