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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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Series I: Correspondence, 1965-2003, undated
Series II: Writings, 1963-2006, undated
Series III: Academics, 1949-2003
Series IV: Personal and Professional Files, 1957-2003
Series V: Subject Files, 1950s-2004
At a Glance
This collection is arranged into six series and several subseries.
Edward W. Said was an academic, literary critic, musician, and political activist for the Palestinian cause in the United States. The collection includes appointment books, audiovisual materials, clippings, correspondence, course materials, drafts, journals, notes, research materials, reviews, printed materials and publications.
A large portion of the papers consists of correspondence, primarily filed in Series I: Correspondence. The correspondence includes alphabetical and chronological correspondence files, as well as a card file index created by Said. The correspondents include Said's professional colleagues, political activists, and members of the public and the news media.
The papers also include clippings, manuscripts, and drafts of Said's writings, which included articles, books and book chapters, lectures, op-eds, program notes, reviews, and other works. The files also include related correspondence, reviews, and responses from readers.
Series III: Academics contains administrative materials, course materials, notes, and research materials. This material primarily relates to Said's appointment at Columbia University, although he also held visiting appointments elsewhere. There is some overlap between Series III and Series V, due in part to the number of processors that worked on the collection over time, and the large component of general research material contained in the papers. Series V contains general subject and research files. These primarily related to Said's work as an activist, and there is also a substantial amount of research material related to the Middle East filed in this series.
Series IV: Personal and Professional Files contains business cards, rolodexes, biographical notes, and other personal materials, as well as files related to public appearances, events, and organizations. There is some overlap with Series III, which includes some materials related to academic conferences.
Series VI contains audiovisual materials, which consists primarily of video of appearances, conferences, and interviews featuring Said.
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.
Most records have no restrictions. Files including sensitive material, such as student grades, have restrictions as noted in the finding aid.
If you would like to use audiovisual materials in Series VI, please contact the library in advance of your visit to discuss access options.
The following boxes are located off-site: 183-187. 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.
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.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Edward W. Said Papers; Box and Folder (if known); Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
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
2004-2005-M58: Source of acquisition--Mariam Said. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--11/30/2004.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
The processing of this collection was made possible, in part, by a grant from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Papers processed by Casiana Ionita (Columbia University, GSAS 2013), Simon Taylor (Columbia University, GSAS 2014), Asheesh Siddique (Columbia University, GSAS 2017), Kristy Riggs (Columbia University, GSAS 2012), Darragh Martin (Columbia University, GSAS 2013), Mary Freeman (Columbia University, GSAS 2018), and Catherine C. Ricciardi, 2007-2017.
Finding aid, incorporating series descriptions by the GSAS students, written by Catherine C. Ricciardi November 2017.
2014-09-25 File created.
2017-02-07 xml document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2017-11-03 xml document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Edward W. Said was an academic, literary critic, musician, and political activist for the Palestinian cause in the United States.
Said was born in Jerusalem in 1935, and was raised in Jerusalem and in Cairo. Said came to the United States in 1951, attending the Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts. He went on to attend both Princeton (B.A. 1957) and Harvard (M.A. 1960; Ph.D. 1964).
In 1963, Said began teaching at Columbia University, where he was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature.
Said was the author of many books, including Orientalism (1978); The Question of Palestine (1979); Covering Islam (1980); The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983); Culture and Imperialism (1993); Peace and Its Discontents: Essays on Palestine and the Middle East Peace Process (1996); and Out of Place: A Memoir (1999). Outside of his academic work, Said wrote a regular column for Al-Hayat and Al-Ahram, and was a contributor to newspapers in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Said was also the music critic for The Nation for many years, and co-authored the book Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society (2002) with Daniel Barenboim.
Said died in 2003 in New York City.