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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in six series: Series I: Correspondence, 1966-1974 Series II: Published Materials, 1962-1977 Series III: Academic Materials, 1958-1973 Series IV: Personal Materials, 1958-1973 Series V: Research Notecards, 1966-1970 Series VI: Annotated Books, 1915-1968.
The collection contains many of Becker's notes and lectures on cultural anthropology, sociology, psychiatry, and psychology. His correspondence consists of letters to close friends, and colleagues about his works, as well as letters to potential publishers. His observations, notes and lectures are typed on notecards along with related newspaper clippings. He also recorded his thoughts on the inside covers and the first few pages of various books. There are also two personal journals from the 1950s.
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.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Name of Collection; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Selected Related Material-- at Columbia
Otto Rank Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
No additions are expected
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed by Marilyn Chin (Queens College, 2011).
Finding aid written by Marilyn Chin (Queens College, 2011) February 2011.
2011-05-27 File created.
2011-06-02 XML document instance created by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Ernest Becker was born in Springfield, MA in 1924. He served in World War II and shortly afterwards, attended Syracuse University in New York. In his early 30s, he pursued a graduate degree in cultural anthropology at his alma mater. He received his Ph.D. in 1960, and soon after, became a professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, Canada. His main interest was in philosophical anthropology-relating to the interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach to the study of human beings.
Becker was the author of several books. His topics included the science of man, mental illness, and the fear of death, Two months after his passing, he won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction for his book, The Denial of Death.
He was married to Marie H. Becker. In late 1972, he was diagnosed with colon cancer and died in March 1974 at the age of 49.