Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Margaret Brenman-Gibson papers, 1940-1999, bulk 1963-1981

Summary Information

Abstract

Margaret Brenman-Gibson was a Harvard professor of Psychiatry. In 1981, she published a biography of American playwright Clifford Odets, entitled Clifford Odets - American Playwright: The Years from 1906-1940. Brenman-Gibson and her husband, William Gibson, also a playwright, lived and worked in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The collection consists of Brenman-Gibson's research files for her work on the Clifford Odets biography. It contains chronological notebooks, which outline each year of Odets' life, as well as correspondence, interviews, and interview transcripts with friends, relatives, and acquaintances of Odets. The collection also contains copies of correspondence, diaries, and notes from Odets. A small portion of the collection consists of personal correspondence between Brenman-Gibson, William Gibson, and Clifford Odets.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1635
Bib ID 6797567 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Brenman-Gibson, Margaret
Title Margaret Brenman-Gibson papers, 1940-1999, bulk 1963-1981
Physical Description 18 linear feet (18 record containers)
Language(s) English .
Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least 2 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 collection consists of Margaret Brenman-Gibson's research files for her biography on American playwright, Clifford Odets, entitled Clifford Odets - American Playwright: The Years from 1906-1940. Brenman-Gibson constructed detailed chronologies of Odets life, taken through his various diaries, notes, and correspondence. These chronological notebooks form the basis for the collection. She also, in the course of her research, copied a good deal of Odets personal papers: correspondence, diaries, notes, plays, and screenplays. The files she created when applying for grants while writing and researching the biography are represented in the collection. Additionally, Brenman-Gibson performed interviews with numerous friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and family members of Odets. Both her notes on the interviews and the tapes of the interviews can be found in the collection. Additionally, she corresponded with many of her interviewees, including Marlon Brando, Harold Clurman, Sammy Davis Jr., Elia Kazan, Lee and Paula Strasberg, and Luise Rainer. The correspondence in the collection primarily relates to the biography, and includes permission agreements. There is a small section of personal correspondence between Margaret and her husband William Gibson with Clifford Odets during the 1950s as well as with the Gibson's and Clifford's son and daughter, Walt and Nora, after his death in 1963.

  • Series I: Research Files for Clifford Odets-American Playwright: The Years from 1906-1940, 1940-1999

    Series I: Research Files consists of Brenman-Gibson's research files for her biography on the American playwright, Clifford Odets entitled, Clifford Odets - American Playwright: The Years from 1906-1940. It contains chronological notebooks, which are basic summaries of Odets' life taken from his own diaries and correspondence, as well as interviews Brenman-Gibson conducted during the course of her research with Odets' family, friends, and acquaintances. Also found in Series I is the correspondence Brenman-Gibson had with various people related to Odets. Additionally, summaries, transcripts, and audio of the interviews are found in Series I. There are her files for grants in which she applied to conduct her research. There is significant material copied from Clifford Odets papers. This includes his diaries, correspondence, and notes. Rough drafts for Volume II of Brenman-Gibson's biography, which she never published, are also in Series I.

  • Series II: Personal Correspondence, 1953-1993

    Series II: Personal Correspondence is a small series consisting of correspondence Margaret Brenman-Gibson had with Clifford Odets. It contains letters that Brenman-Gibson wrote to Odets, as well as the letters between her husband, William Gibson and Odets. There are original letters from Odets to Brenman-Gibson and her husband as well. Also included here is correspondence between the Gibson's and Odets' two children, Nora and Walt. The correspondence between Odets and the Gibson's ranges in date from 1953-1963, while the letters between the children is later from 1967-1993.

  • Series III: Nuclear Weapons Activism, 1985-1987

    Series III: Nuclear Weapons Activism is a small series of material related to nuclear weapons activism that Brenman-Gibson engaged in during the 1980s. There are transcripts of interviews she did with two men: Peter Hagelstein and Lowell Wood. Additionally, there are audiocasettes of interviews she conducted with various people.

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 2 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); Margaret Brenman-Gibson Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material -- at Columbia

Clifford Odets Papers, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University

Accrual

No additions are expected

Ownership and Custodial History

The Margaret Brenman-Gibson Papers were the gift of William Gibson in 2008. The donor agreement was signed by Montana Katz, who had power of attorney for Gibson. It came through the rare book dealer George Robert Minkoff. An addendum to the collection was donated in 2011.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed Adrien Hilton October 2012.

Finding Aid written Adrien Hilton 10/25/2012.

Collection is processed to folder level.

Revision Description

2012-10-26 xml 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"
Audiocassettes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Notebooks Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Research (document genres) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Brando, Marlon Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Brenman-Gibson, Margaret Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clurman, Harold, 1901-1980 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Davis, Sammy, Jr., 1925-1990 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dramatists, American -- 20th century -- Biography Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gibson, William, 1914-2008 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Group Theatre (U.S.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Odets, Clifford, 1906-1963 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Odets, Walt Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rainer, Luise, 1910-2014 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Strasberg, Lee Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Margaret Brenman-Gibson was a Harvard professor in the department of Psychiatry. In 1982, she became the first woman to be appointed as a full professor. Brenman-Gibson was the first non-physician from any discipline to receive full clinical as well as research psychoanalytic training in America. She is considered the first psychologist. Brenman-Gibson also had a deep interest in nuclear weapons and the use of nuclear power. She picketed and protested in numerous places, including Los Alamos. William Gibson, the husband of Margaret was an American playwright and novelist. The couple married in 1940. Shortly thereafter, Brenman-Gibson took a job as psychoanalyst at Stockbridge, Massachusetts and William published his book, The Cobweb, which was set in a psychiatric ward. In addition to her work on hypnosis and hypnotherapy, and her interest in nuclear weapons, she was also the biographer of American playwright Clifford Odets. Odets and the Gibson's were friends, as the correspondence between them reveals.