Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Marvin Kitman papers, 1950-2006

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1414
Bib ID 6130430 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Kitman, Marvin, 1929-
Title Marvin Kitman papers, 1950-2006
Physical Description 277.58 linear feet (220 record storage cartons 1 document box 1 flat box)
Language(s) English .

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.



This collection is arranged in 8 series.



The dead columns of Marvin Kitman, mostly from Newsday. The file folders contain clippings, notes, background research, correspondence, publicity materials, photographs, etc. for the columns. Kitman writes about a variety of topics as he criticizes practically every television program and genre from the 1960s through 2003. There are also a few files of letters, as well as his various "polls".

  • Series I: Dead Columns, 1969-2004

    The Dead Columns series, which forms the bulk of the collection, is comprised of files for his column. A file may contain drafts, notes, background material, and a copy of the article itself. These files are arranged chronologically.

  • Series II: Correspondence, 1950-2005

    This Series is split into three sub-series: personal and professional correspondence, fan mail and polls.

  • Series III: Other Professional Activities, 1963-2006

    Alongside his career as a journalist, Kitman entertained many other projects from running for President to designing adverts for Hertz cars. This series reflects these diverse activities, and is split into four sub-series: scripts, presidential campaign, books and advertising campaign.

  • Series IV: Articles, 1954-2006

    This series features Kitman's articles which were not featured in Newsday and span several decades and multiple topics from the state of 21st century television to the difficulties of opening a Swiss bank account. This series is split into three sub-series: articles which appeared in The Armstrong Daily, articles from The New Leader and articles from other publications.

  • Series V: Audiovisual Materials, 1982, undated

    articles. These include microforms of Kitman's dead columns at Newday, the cassette tapes of Kitman's controversial interviews of Nielsen families, humorous records relating to articles Kitman wrote, including The Mr. Exec fitness routine and The Art of Swimming a Swimsuit and some unidentified reels.

  • Series VI: Photographs, 1954-1968

    This small sub-series is primarily composed of Kitman's own amateur photography, mostly documenting his 1950s journey around Europe. The photographs are of individuals and buildings rather than a record of Kitman's journey. Also included are photographs from Kitman's 1964 Presidential campaign and images from his photo shoot with Cosmopolitan.

  • Series VII: Personal Documents and Writings About, 1950-1984

    This small series contains some writings about Kitman and a small selection of personal documents.

  • Series VIII: Oversized Material

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); Marvin Kitman papers; Box and Folder; General Manuscripts, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed 5/2/1999 mmb

Finding aid written 2009 by Darragh Martin

Revision Description

2009-06-26 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz

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.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Newspaper Columns Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Critics Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Journalists -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Kitman, Marvin, 1929- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Television broadcasting -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Television criticism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
WNEW-TV (Television station : New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Marvin Kitman was born in 1929 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His parents moved Brooklyn in the 1930s. After graduating Brooklyn Tech in 1947, he attended City College, graduating in 1953. He then served in the U.S. Army. After his discharge from the Army, Kitman worked for a number of publications, including the Saturday Evening Post and Monocle.Kitman began his studies of television in 1967 when the New Leader Magazine hired him as TV critic. For six years (1981-87) he was the commentator about TV on a local news show, The Ten O' Clock News" on WNYW (formerly WNEW) in New York. His commentaries were also heard on the old RKO Radio Network. In 1969, Kitman become television critic for New York Newsday. His column was printed three times a week and syndicated nationally by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. The column, in which he listed himself as the "Executive Producer" was called "The Marvin Kitman Show." For 32 years and 6,641 performances, it lasted longer than many other shows he had written about, i.e. David Frost, Dick Cavett, Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson. Kitman was a guest on The Tonight Show on Thursday July 23, 1970. Marvin Kitman is the author of The Man Who Would Not Shut Up: The Rise of Bill O'Reilly (St Martins Press 2007); The Making of the President 1789 (HarperCollins, 1989), also published in paperback (Harper Perennial); George Washington's Expense account, written by "General George" and Marvin Kitman PFC (Ret.), also re-published by Harper Perennial in paperback; I Am A VCR (Random House, 1988), the story of his first 20 years as a TV critic; The Number One Best Seller (1966), Dial Press; You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover (1970), Weybright and Talley; The RCAF (Red Chinese Air Force) Diet, Exercise and Sex Manual, written under the pseudonym William Randolph Hirsch (with Richard Lingemn and Victor Navasky) (1968), Stein and Day; The Marvin Kitman TV Show: An Encyclopedia Televisiana (1973), Outerbridge and Diensfrey; The Coward's Almanac (1975), Doubleday. He is a founding father of Monocle, a member of the Leonia Public Library, AFTRA, and PEN. He and his wife have three children and live in New Jersey.