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   Peter Viereck papers, 1815-2006

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Preferred Citation

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

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information


The papers of the historian, poet, and conservative political theorist Peter Viereck (1916-2006), his father, George Sylvester Viereck (1884–1962), and other family members.

At a Glance

Call No.:MS#1412
Bib ID:6134809 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Viereck, Peter, 1916-2006
Title:Peter Viereck papers, 1815-2006
Physical description:83.7 linear feet ( 89 document boxes, 30 record storage cartons, 1 flat box)
Language(s): Material is in English.
Access: This collection has no restrictions. This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.  More information »



This collection is arranged in ten series.

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Scope and Content

The collection includes letters, manuscripts, documents, photographs, tapes, printed material, and memorabilia of Peter Viereck (1916-2006) and those of his father, George Sylvester Viereck (1884-1962), and mother, Margaret Hein Viereck. Some of the notable correspondents are Daniel Boorstin, Joseph Brodsky, Sigmund Freud, W.V.O. Quine, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., George Bernard Shaw, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and William Carlos Williams. There are extensive files of manuscripts of Viereck's work, as well as those of his father. In addition, there are numerous files which contain photographs of the Viereck family and their friends and associates.

Series I: Correspondence , 1926-2005

The correspondence is extensive and wide-ranging. There are many prominent writers, politicians, philosophers and poets and historians noted, such as: George Santayana; Henry Cabot Lodge; C. S. Lewis; Wendell Willkie; W. H. Auden; Robert Graves; Wallace Stevens; Carl Sandburg; Stephen Spender; Susan Sontag; and George Santayana. There are also significant files of family correspondence.

Subseries I.1: Individual Correspondents, 1926-2005

Subseries 1 is arranged alphabetically by the last name of the individual.

Subseries I.2: Institutions and Subjects, 1936-2005

Subseries 2 is arranged alphabetically by the first word of the institutional name or by topic.

Series II: Research Notes and Clippings, 1815-2005

Series II is composed of newspaper clippings and documents related to Viereck's interests. Some of the more widely researched topics include Russian History, prominent Russian politicians, Conservatism, Marxism and Socialism, Nazis, German History and politics.

Series III: Drafts and Outlines, 1930s-2001

Series III contains drafts for Viereck's poems, essays, articles, and books. The series also has a small amount of reviews written by Viereck as well as lectures and some translations. Records are arranged alphabetically by title.

Series IV: Reviews and Criticism of Viereck's Work, 1940s-2003

Series IV holds reviews of Viereck's writings. These reviews are of both his books and collections of his poems. This series is arranged alphabetically by title.

Series V: Photographs, 1937-2000

This small series is composed of photographs of the Viereck family. The bulk of the photographs are undated.

Series VI: George S. Viereck, 1903-1989

Series VI contains an extensive and rich collection of papers relating to the life and work of George Sylvester Viereck. These files shed light on the complex relationship between Peter Viereck and his controversial father. There are important files on the trial and imprisonment of George Sylvester Viereck for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act, as well as his correspondence, writings and interviews.

Series VII: Margaret Hein Viereck and Other Family Members, 1911-1979

Series VII is comprised of personal documents belonging to Margaret and other Viereck family members. Birth certificates, diplomas, wills, passports, financial documents, and related correspondence are held in this series.

Series VIII: Subject Files, 1935-2004

Series VIII contains subject files concerning Peter Viereck and his family. This series is arranged alphabetically by topic.

Series IX: Personal Documents and Artifacts, 1933-1993

This small series contains some of the Viereck family's personal documents such as address books, wills, educational records, death notices, and military records.

Series X: Audiovisual Material, 1985-1997

Series X is composed of various lectures and poetry readings on audio and video cassettes.

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Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

This collection has no restrictions.

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Restrictions on Use

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); Peter Viereck Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Papers processed in 2007-2009 by Elena Locascio, SUNY Geneseo, 2011, and Darragh Martin, GSAS 2011.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion November 23, 2010 Finding aid written in English.
    2010-11-23 File created.
    0210-11-30 xml document instance created by Lea Osborne

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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.

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HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Auden, W.H. (Wystan Hugh), 1907-1973.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Authors, American--20th century--Biography.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Barber, Evelyn M.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Bell, Daniel, 1919-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Bettelheim, Bruno.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Brodsky, Joseph, 1940-1996.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
D'Evelyn, Thomas.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
German Americans--Biography.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Heckscher, August, 1913-1997.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
National socialism.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Russia History--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Russian poetry--20th century--History and criticism.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Ryn, Claes, G., 1943-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Schlesinger, Arthur M. (Arthur Meier), 1917-2007.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Sontag, Susan, 1933-2004.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States--Intellectual life--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States--Politics and government--1945-1989.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945--German Americans.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Peter Viereck (1916-2006) was a seminal figure in American conservative thought as well as an award-winning poet and historian who won Guggenheim Fellowships in both poetry and history. Viereck wrote prolifically on politics and intellectual history, and published over a dozen collections of poetry, most recently Door: Poems (2005). In 1949 Viereck won the Pulitzer Prize for his first book of poems, Terror and Decorum. Often credited with launching and naming the modern conservative intellectual movement in the late 1940s, Viereck later criticized its direction and deplored Senator Joseph McCarthy for betraying authentic conservative values. He was professor of Russian and European history at Mount Holyoke College for nearly fifty years

Peter Viereck's father, George Sylvester Viereck (1884-1962), played a prominent role in the literary and cultural scene of early twentieth-century America, inspiring and serving as the first secretary of the Poetry Society of America. As a free-lance writer for publications including The Saturday Evening Post, George Sylvester Viereck interviewed many leading figures, including Albert Einstein and Adolph Hitler, and was a friend of Sigmund Freud. During World War II, the elder Viereck's standing was destroyed by his support for Nazi Germany as a paid propagandist. He was arrested and jailed for five years as an unregistered agent of Germany, although espionage charges against him were ultimately dropped. During his imprisonment, his younger son died in U.S. military service at Anzio, Italy, deepening George Sylvester Viereck's rift with his elder son Peter, who served as a U.S. Army intelligence analyst during the war. Peter Viereck had already diagnosed the evils of Nazi Germany in his book Metapolitics: From the Romantics to Hitler, begun at Harvard in 1936 and first published three months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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