Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Andrew Sarris papers, 1945-1988, bulk 1965-1985

Summary Information

Abstract

The Andrew Sarris Papers are comprised of correspondence, drafts and manuscripts, clippings, printed ephemera, periodicals, monographs, photographs, and audio recordings related to the career and personal life of renowned film critic Andrew Sarris. The materials span several decades, from the inception of his career as a film critic and theorist in the mid-1950s to the last years of his long tenure at The Village Voice in the late 1980s..

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1451
Bib ID 6892031 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Sarris, Andrew
Title Andrew Sarris papers, 1945-1988, bulk 1965-1985
Physical Description 20.42 linear feet (20 boxes)
Language(s) English , French .
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.

This collection has no restrictions.

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.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in seven series.

Description

Summary

The Andrew Sarris papers are comprised of personal and professional correspondence, drafts of various pieces published throughout his career, manuscripts of screenplays, clippings of pieces written by and about Sarris, press releases, printed ephemera, filmic periodicals and monographs, film stills, and recordings of Sarris' "Films in Focus" radio program.

  • Series I: Correspondence, 1952-1988, undated

    This series is comprised of both personal and professional correspondence. Arranged chronologically, the series contains mostly incoming and some outgoing correspondence. This includes, but is not limited to, correspondence between readers, students, publishers, and university officials. There are also a number of letters from notable directors, including Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Orson Welles, and Oliver Stone, as well as actors such as Christopher Walken and Shirley MacLaine.

  • Series II: Drafts and manuscripts, 1961-1986, undated

    This series is comprised of drafts and rough notes, in various stages of completion, which Sarris generated over the course of his career. It also contains manuscripts of screenplays written by Sarris, in addition to a number of manuscripts written by others and likely submitted to Sarris for feedback.

  • Series III: Printed material, 1952-1988, undated

    This series is diverse and is thus arranged in five subseries. It is comprised of both published material and printed ephemera.

  • Series IV: Photographs, undated

    This series is comprised mostly of film stills. Films with a significant number of stills are grouped together and arranged alphabetically by title, and the film titles are listed in the finding aid. For other films with a less significant number of stills, the titles were previously handwritten on the back, though there are some stills that could not be identified. This series also contains a few headshots and portraits of directors, including Ingmar Bergman and John Ford. The series also features a small section of personal photographs, many of them portraits of Sarris' wife, Molly Haskell.

  • Series V: Recordings, 1965-1969, undated

    This series is comprised mostly of recordings on magnetic tape of Sarris's radio program "Films in Focus." Though a few dates could not be determined, the majority is dated and is arranged chronologically. There is also footage of the 1980 Critics Choice Awards on two VHS tapes.

  • Series VI: Family papers, 1953-1970, undated

    This series is comprised of papers originally belonging to Sarris's mother, Themis Sarris, and brother, George Sarris. Themis Sarris's papers include mostly notebooks, while George Sarris's papers include correspondence, and general materials related to his service in the military.

  • Series VII: Personal files, 1945-1980, undated

    This series is comprised mostly of material originating from Sarris's earlier life, and includes school records and assignments, report cards, various awards and certificates, and military records. The series also includes personal notes in small spiral notebooks. Though the series relates mostly to his personal life and pre-career, there is also a small section of publishing contracts and a framed award from the Morris Morgenstern Foundation that is housed in an oversized box.

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.

This collection has no restrictions.

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.

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); Andrew Sarris papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material-- at Columbia

Reminiscences of Andrew Sarris : oral history, 1981.

Accruals

Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Original papers (1.67 linear ft.) processed Annie Rudd June 2008.

Accrual (18.75 linear ft.) processed Megan Darlington August 2012.

Revision Description

2009-04-16 xml document instance created by Lea Osborne

2012-08-21 xml document instance updated by Megan Darlington

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
Correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Drafts (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Film stills Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Magnetic tapes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Manuscripts (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Monographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Notes (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Periodicals Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Press releases Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Printed Ephemera Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Screenplays Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Auteur theory (Motion pictures) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Film criticism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Haskell, Molly Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New wave films Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sarris, Andrew Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Andrew Sarris was a prominent American film critic, perhaps known best for giving credence to the European auteur theory in the United States. Born October 31, 1928 to Greek immigrant parents, he was raised in Ozone Park, Queens. Sarris graduated from Columbia University in 1951, and subsequently served in the United States Army Signal Corps from 1952 to 1954. Though his zeal for film developed at an early age, Sarris' career in film criticism formally began in 1955 when he met Jonas Mekas, co-editor of the fledgling journal Film Culture, who enlisted Sarris to contribute to the publication.

Sarris wrote for Film Culture for several years. In 1960, Mekas, at that time a film reviewer for The Village Voice, asked Sarris to substitute for him. Sarris' first article, a controversial piece on Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, appeared in the Voice on August 11, 1960. The article became the first of many, and Sarris continued to write for the Voice for nearly thirty years. It was also around this time that Sarris developed a deep interest in French cinema; in particular, he was drawn to the New Wave movement and the critical approaches to film that were concomitant with its emergence.

Inspired by French critic François Truffaut and other contributors to the journal Cahiers du Cinema, he wrote "Notes on the Auteur Theory in 1962," which appeared in Film Culture. In this contentious essay, Sarris espoused the concept that a film directly reflects the director's creative vision; essentially, film is a director's artistic medium, and should be critically analyzed and appreciated as such. His essay aroused considerable dissension from other critics, and sparked the notorious dispute between himself and Pauline Kael.

Though controversial, Sarris managed to propagate the auteur theory, and it became a fixture in the dialect of American film criticism. In his 1968 book The American Cinema: Directors and Directions, 1929-1968, Sarris expanded on the auteurist approach, and the work became a seminal opus in the canon of film literature. He later contributed a number of other influential books, such as Confessions of a Cultist (1970), The Primal Screen (1972), and Politics and Cinema (1978).

In addition to journalism, Sarris held a professorship at Columbia for many years. He also taught courses at Yale, NYU, The School of the Visual Arts, and Juilliard. He received a number of awards and accolades including the Rockefeller Fellowship at Bellagio (1991), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1969), Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1982), the Special Award from the L.A. Critics Circle (1985), the Maurice Bessy Award, Montreal (1995), and was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism (2000).

Sarris married feminist film critic Molly Haskell in 1969. The two met when Haskell worked at the French Film Office in New York. They remained married until his death on June 20, 2012.

External users and Columbia affiliates may view materials on-site at RBML. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only Columbia affiliates may view materials on-site at Avery, Starr, and Burke. After clicking 'Submit Request', users will login with their UNI and password (Columbia affiliates) or their special collections account (external users). Appointments are required and will be arranged according to each individual repository's policy.


Series I: Correspondence, 1952-1988, undated

This series is comprised of both personal and professional correspondence. Arranged chronologically, the series contains mostly incoming and some outgoing correspondence. This includes, but is not limited to, correspondence between readers, students, publishers, and university officials. There are also a number of letters from notable directors, including Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Orson Welles, and Oliver Stone, as well as actors such as Christopher Walken and Shirley MacLaine.



Box 1 1952-1974



Box 2 1974-1980



Box 3 1981-1988



Box 4 Folder 1-5 Undated

Series II: Drafts and manuscripts, 1961-1986, undated

This series is comprised of drafts and rough notes, in various stages of completion, which Sarris generated over the course of his career. It also contains manuscripts of screenplays written by Sarris, in addition to a number of manuscripts written by others and likely submitted to Sarris for feedback.


Subseries 1: Drafts, undated

As a majority of the drafts are fragments and virtually none are dated, this subseries is not arranged in any particular order, but is separated between complete and partial drafts. "Complete drafts" are defined as pieces that are essentially whole and whose titles can be identified, whereas partial drafts are more fragmented and thus difficult to classify by title.


Box 4 Folder 6-10 Complete


Box 4 Folder 11-17 Partial



Box 5 Folder 1-8 Partial


Subseries 2: Manuscripts, 1961-1986, undated, 1961-1986, undated

The bulk of the material in this subseries is authored by others; however, there are three screenplay manuscripts written or co-written by Sarris:Promise at Dawn(1964),Justine(1964), and the undated Wickford Point. Manuscripts by others includes both screenplay and book manuscripts. Of note are two undated screenplays by King Vidor that were never produced as films. The manuscripts authored by others are separated between screenplays and books, and are arranged alphabetically by author.


Manuscripts by Sarris


Box 5 Folder 9 Justine , 1964


Box 5 Folder 10 Promise at Dawn , 1964


Box 5 Folder 11 Wickford Point , undated


Manuscripts by others


Screenplays


Box 5 Folder 12 Buchman, S. Promise at Dawn, 1962


Box 5 Folder 13 Delynn, J. The Imprisoned Queen of England, 1980


Box 5 Folder 14 Dozier, R. The Cardinal,, 1963


Box 5 Folder 15 Edwards, B. S.O.B., 1979


Box 5 Folder 16 Gibson, W. Two for the Seesaw, 1961


Box 5 Folder 17 Hill, J. Identical Twins, The, undated


Box 5 Folder 18 Mayes, W. Advise and Consent, 1961



Box 6 Folder 1 Moffat, I. Tender is the Night, 1961


Box 6 Folder 2 Moss, L. Lily, 1984


Box 6 Folder 3 Sarafian, R.C. Andy, 1963


Box 6 Folder 4 Snell, M. White Meat, 1981


Box 6 Folder 5 Vidor, K. The Actor, undated


Box 6 Folder 6 Vidor, K. Bright Answer, undated


Books


Box 6 Folder 7-10 Biskind, P. Seeing is Believing, 1983


Box 6 Folder 11-13 Levy. E. John Wayne: Prophet of the American Way of Life, 1986


Box 6 Folder 14 Maghsoudlou Iranian Cinema (Volume I),, undated


Box 6 Folder 15 Maghsoudlou Iranian Cinema (Volume II),, undated


Box 6 Folder 16 Maghsoudlou Iranian Cinema (Volume III), undated



Box 7 Folder 1 McCreadie, M. Women on Film: The Critical Eye, 1983


Box 7 Folder 2 Raphael P. Beating the Love Affair Rap and Other Stories, 1982


Box 7 Folder 3-4 Sikov, E.K. Hollywood Screen Comedy in the 1950s, undated


Box 7 Folder 5-7 Surguy, P. Mister Cinema: A Critical Biography of Rex Skinner, undated


Box 7 Folder 8-10 Untitled manuscript, undated


Box 7 Folder 11-12 General

Series III: Printed material, 1952-1988, undated

This series is diverse and is thus arranged in five subseries. It is comprised of both published material and printed ephemera.


Subseries 1: Clippings, 1960-1988, undated

This subseries is comprised of clippings of articles authored by Sarris, articles mentioning Sarris, and general filmic articles collected by Sarris throughout his career.


Sub-subseries 1: Articles by Sarris

This sub-subseries mostly contains clippings of Sarris'sVillage Voicearticles, which are arranged chronologically. This sub-subseries also features clippings of articles Sarris wrote for other publications.


Box 7 Folder 13-19 Village Voice , 1960-1988


Box 7 Folder 20 General publications, 1962-1986


Sub-subseries 2: Articles mentioning Sarris

This sub-subseries contains articles that mention Sarris. Book reviews are separated from general articles.



Box 8 Folder 1 Book reviews, 1967-1984


Box 8 Folder 2 General, 1969-1987


Sub-subseries 3: General articles

This sub-subseries contains clippings of film-related articles collected by Sarris throughout his career.


Box 8 Folder 3-16 General articles, 1961-1987


Subseries 2: Press releases, 1952-1988, undated

This sub-series contains press releases Sarris collected throughout his journalistic career. These include releases from agencies such as Universal Studios and the American Film Institute. Though some are undated, they are arranged chronologically where possible.


Box 8 Folder 17-18 Press releases, 1952-1988, undated


Subseries 3: Printed ephemera, 1963-1988, undated

This sub-series contains a broad array of material, and includes programs, flyers, pamphlets, posters, and invitations. The ephemera in this series relate mostly to special events, film festivals and screenings Sarris attended throughout his career.


Box 8 Folder 19-20 Printed ephemera, 1963-1988, undated



Box 9 Folder 1-6 Printed ephemera, 1963-1988, undated


Subseries 4: Monographs, 1960s-1980s

This sub-series contains film-related monographs.


Box 9 Monographs, 1960s-1980s


Subseries 5: Periodicals, 1960s-1980s

This sub-series contains filmic journals and magazines. Most are American publications, but there are also a number of French titles. Titles with a significant number of issues includeCahiers du Cinema,Films in Review,Films and Filming, andSight and Sound. They are arranged alphabetically by title, and each title and its corresponding box number is listed in the finding aid.



Box 10 Action!


Box 10 American Federation of Film Societies Newsletter


Box 10 American Film


Box 10 American International News Clips


Box 10 Art Films


Box 10 Bianco e Nero


Box 10 Black Film Review


Box 10 Castle of Frankenstein


Box 10 Cahiers du Cinéma



Box 11 Cahiers du Cinéma


Box 11 Cahiers du Cinéma in English


Box 11 Canadian Cinematography


Box 11 Cineaste


Box 11 Cinefile


Box 11 Cinema


Box 11 Cinema # (56-62)


Box 11 Cinema Canada


Box 11 Cinéma Français


Box 11 Cinema Today


Box 11 Cinématographe


Box 11 Cinémonde


Box 11 Columbia University Film Review


Box 11 Copie Zero


Box 11 Études Cinématographiques


Box 11 Film


Box 11 Film 9


Box 11 Film Comment



Box 12 Film Culture


Box 12 Film Directions


Box 12 Film History


Box 12 Film Journal


Box 12 Film News


Box 12 Film Notes (Bulletin of the MoMA)


Box 12 Film Society Review


Box 12 Film Survey 1


Box 12 Films and Filming



Box 13 Films and Filming


Box 13 Films in Review


Box 13 Film in Sweden


Box 13 Film Quarterly


Box 13 France in the United States Monthly


Box 13 Hollywood Reporter, The


Box 13 Home Video


Box 13 Image et Son


Box 13 Imagery


Box 13 Independent, The


Box 13 International Film Review


Box 13 Journal of the Producers Guild of America, The


Box 13 Journal of Popular Film, The


Box 13 Journal of Popular Film and Television


Box 13 L'Avant Scène


Box 13 L'Écran


Box 13 La Biennale de Venezia


Box 13 La Femme à l'Écran


Box 13 Laser Disc Newsletter, The


Box 13 Les Grandes Créateurs Du Cinéma


Box 13 Letter From France (French Film Office)


Box 13 Mid-Century, The


Box 13 Millimeter


Box 13 Miroir du Cinéma


Box 13 Motion


Box 13 Movie



Box 14 Movie Story


Box 14 Moviegoer


Box 14 National Board of Review Magazine


Box 14 New Canadian Film


Box 14 New Zealand Film


Box 14 NY Film Bulletin


Box 14 Objectif


Box 14 Otro Cine


Box 14 Perspectives: Flashes sur l'Histoire du Cinéma


Box 14 Plays and Players


Box 14 Premiere


Box 14 Présence du Cinéma Français


Box 14 Premier Plan: Hommes Oeuvres Problemes du Cinema


Box 14 Positif


Box 14 Saturday Review


Box 14 Scenario


Box 14 Screen Romances


Box 14 Screen Facts


Box 14 Sequence Four


Box 14 Skoop


Box 14 Seventh Art, The


Box 14 Showbill


Box 14 Sight and Sound


Box 14 Stop


Box 14 Sydney Film Journal


Box 14 Take One


Box 14 Téléciné


Box 14 Unifrance Film


Box 14 Video Review


Box 14 Visages du Cinéma


Box 14 WBAI Portfolio

Series IV: Photographs, undated

This series is comprised mostly of film stills. Films with a significant number of stills are grouped together and arranged alphabetically by title, and the film titles are listed in the finding aid. For other films with a less significant number of stills, the titles were previously handwritten on the back, though there are some stills that could not be identified. This series also contains a few headshots and portraits of directors, including Ingmar Bergman and John Ford. The series also features a small section of personal photographs, many of them portraits of Sarris' wife, Molly Haskell.



Box 15 Folder 1 Personal, headshots/portraits


Box 15 Folder 1 Film stills


Box 15 Folder 2 7 Women (1966)


Box 15 Folder 2 A Lesson in Love (1954)


Box 15 Folder 2 Age of Illusions, The (1964)


Box 15 Folder 2 Agent 008¾ (1964)


Box 15 Folder 2 An American Werewolf in London (1981)


Box 15 Folder 3 Arthur (1981)


Box 15 Folder 3 Back Roads (1981)


Box 15 Folder 3 Bible, The (1966)


Box 15 Folder 3 Blowup (1966)


Box 15 Folder 3 The Boys in the Band (1970)


Box 15 Folder 3 Champagne Murders (1967)


Box 15 Folder 4 Continental Divide (1981)


Box 15 Folder 4 Doctor Zhivago (1965)


Box 15 Folder 5 Doctor Zhivago (1965)


Box 15 Folder 6 Fear No Evil (1981)


Box 15 Folder 6 Fox and the Hound, The (1981)


Box 15 Folder 6 Galaxina (1980)


Box 15 Folder 6 Halloween II (1981)


Box 15 Folder 6 Honky Tonk Freeway (1981)


Box 15 Folder 6 Hopeless Ones, The (Szegénylegények) (1966)


Box 15 Folder 7 Howling, The (1981)


Box 15 Folder 7 Marked Woman (1937)


Box 15 Folder 7 Middle Age Crazy (1980)


Box 15 Folder 7 Monika (1953)


Box 15 Folder 7 Naked Night, The (Sawdust and Tinsel) (1953)


Box 15 Folder 8 Outland (1981)


Box 15 Folder 8 Ox-Bow Incident (1943)


Box 15 Folder 8 Portrait of a Prince (1981)


Box 15 Folder 8 Priest of Love (1981)


Box 15 Folder 8 Raggedy Man (1981)


Box 15 Folder 9 Rules of the Game (1950)


Box 15 Folder 9 Sabaleros (1958)


Box 15 Folder 9 Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)


Box 15 Folder 9 So Fine (1981)


Box 15 Folder 9 Something Wild in the City (1961)


Box 15 Folder 9 Sphinx (1981)


Box 15 Folder 9 Superman II (1981)


Box 15 Folder 10 Take This Job and Shove It (1981)


Box 15 Folder 10 This Is Elvis (1981)


Box 15 Folder 10 Under the Rainbow (1981)


Box 15 Folder 10 Valley, The (1972)


Box 15 Folder 11 What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966)


Box 15 Folder 12 Welcome to Hard Times (1967)


Box 15 Folder 12 Wolfen (1981)


Box 15 Folder 13-15 General


Box 15 Folder 16 Unidentified


Box 15 Folder 17 Unidentified

Series V: Recordings, 1965-1969, undated

This series is comprised mostly of recordings on magnetic tape of Sarris's radio program "Films in Focus." Though a few dates could not be determined, the majority is dated and is arranged chronologically. There is also footage of the 1980 Critics Choice Awards on two VHS tapes.



Box 16 Films in Focus radio program, 1965-1969



Box 17 Films in Focus radio program, 1965-1969



Box 18 Films in Focus radio program, 1965-1969


Box 18 General recordings

Series VI: Family papers, 1953-1970, undated

This series is comprised of papers originally belonging to Sarris's mother, Themis Sarris, and brother, George Sarris. Themis Sarris's papers include mostly notebooks, while George Sarris's papers include correspondence, and general materials related to his service in the military.



Box 19 Folder 1-2 Papers of Themis Sarris


Box 19 Folder 3-8 Papers of George Sarris

Series VII: Personal files, 1945-1980, undated

This series is comprised mostly of material originating from Sarris's earlier life, and includes school records and assignments, report cards, various awards and certificates, and military records. The series also includes personal notes in small spiral notebooks. Though the series relates mostly to his personal life and pre-career, there is also a small section of publishing contracts and a framed award from the Morris Morgenstern Foundation that is housed in an oversized box.


Box 19 Folder 9-12 School and military-related material


Box 19 Folder 13 Notes and ephemera


Box 19 Folder 14 Reports


Box 19 Folder 15-17 Contracts



Box 20 Morris Morgenstern Foundation Award