Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Murray Kempton papers, 1940-1997, bulk 1954-1997

Summary Information

Abstract

Murray Kempton was a renowned American journalist. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1917 and died at the age of 79 in 1997. Kempton worked in the field for over 45 years for a variety of publications including: the New York Post, the New York Review of Books, the World Telegram and World Sun, and finally with Newsday. He was awarded numerous prizes including the Pulitzer. The collection consists largely of Kempton's columns clipped from newspapers and magazines. There is a selection of correspondence from the mid to late 1950s. Finally, there is a small amount of general files, which includes numerous drafts, notes and notebooks, and reviews of his books.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1644
Bib ID 5550183 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Kempton, Murray, 1917-1997
Title Murray Kempton papers, 1940-1997, bulk 1954-1997
Physical Description 12 linear feet (4 record containers 14 document boxes 1 flat box)
Language(s) English .
Access

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.

Arrangement

Arrangement

Material is arranged into three series.

Description

Summary

The Murray Kempton Papers consist largely of clippings of Kempton's magazine and newspaper columns. These span the course of his career and come from myriad sources covering a range of topics related to politics, art and music, and sports. The collection contains a small selection of correspondence, primarily from 1954-1958. Included here are letters to Kempton from such dignitaries as William F. Buckley Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., and Richard Nixon. The Murray Kempton Papers also contain a random assortment of drafts, manuscripts, and notebooks.

  • Series I: Newspaper and Magazine Columns, 1943-1997

    Series I consists of Murray Kempton's newspaper and magazine columns. These span the whole of his career, ranging in date from 1943-1997. Numerous publications are represented, including: the New Republic, the New York Post, and Newsday. Kempton wrote over 10,000 columns in his career. It is difficult to say how many of those are represented in this series, however, it is an extensive sampling showcasing the breadth of Kempton's subject matter as well as his unique style.

  • Series II: Correspondence, 1953-1997

    Series II contains a sampling of Kempton's correspondence. There were alphabetical correspondence files in the collection ranging in date from 1953-1958. Included in these files are letters from William F. Buckley Jr., Howard Fast, Langston Hughes, Martin Luther King Jr., and Richard Nixon. The correspondence often expresses great praise as well as criticism of Kempton's work. This series also contains condolence letters to Kempton and his wife following the tragic death of their son and daughter-in-law. There are also a number of personal cards, for birthdays, holidays, and illness.

  • Series III: General Files, 1940-1997

    Series III represents a somewhat random selection of Kempton's files. There are drafts, manuscripts, notebooks, and reviews for Kempton's books. A letter Kempton wrote expressing his conscientious objection to involvement in WWII as well as his honorable discharge form can be found in this series. Also included here are some personal materials related to Murray Kempton's marriages and his will and funeral arrangements.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

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.

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.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Murray Kempton Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Ownership and Custodial History

The Murray Kempton Papers were the gift of the Murray Kempton Estate and Barbara Epstein and came to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library in various installments from 1996-2006.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed Adrien Hilton January 2013.

Revision Description

2013-01-26 xml document instance created by Adrien Hilton

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

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"
Clippings (Information Artifacts) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Newspaper Columns Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Journalism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Kempton, Murray, 1917-1997 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

James Murray Kempton was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1917. He became an influential American journalist, working for over 45 years in the field. Kempton wrote for the New York Post, the New York Review of Books, the World Telegram and World Sun, and finally with Newsday. He was a radio commentator for CBS as well. Kempton was a prolific writer, producing often times four columns a week, totaling more than 10,000 over the course of his career. Additionally, he was the author of three books. Kempton was known as a liberal, but had many friends of differing political views, including William F. Buckley Jr. and Richard Nixon. Kempton was married twice, with three sons and one daughter. He lived his later life with New York Review of Books founding co-editor Barbara Epstein. Producing columns through to the end, Kempton died at the age of 79 in 1997.