Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Karl E. Beckson papers, 1956-1993, bulk 1965-1992

Summary Information


This collection consists of research and publication materials, correspondence, and manuscripts of several of Karl Beckson's books. It includes a large amount of research materials for Beckson's biography of Arthur Symons.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1515
Bib ID 6909765 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Beckson, Karl E., 1926-2008
Title Karl E. Beckson papers, 1956-1993, bulk 1965-1992
Physical Description 2.5 linear feet (6 document boxes)
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.



The contents of the collection are arranged alphabetically, following the titles that Beckson wrote on his folders.



The collection contains research and publication materials, correspondence, and published writings. The research and publication materials consist of photocopies of letters and prints of photographs of Arthur Symons, Henry Harland, and other writers; correspondence with publishers, libraries, scholars, and friends of Symons; and publishing agreements. The published writings include manuscripts and galleys of several books written by Beckson between 1989 and 1993.

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); Karl Beckson Papers; Box and Folder; 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 Anne Diebel, GSAS 2012 2009.

Finding aid written Anne Diebel, GSAS 2012 1/2010.

Revision Description

2010-04-07 File created.

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:"
English literature -- 19th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Harland, Henry, 1861-1905 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Symons, Arthur, 1865-1945 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Karl Beckson was a professor of English literature and author of many articles and books on British literature and culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

He was born Emmanuel Beckson on February 4, 1926, and raised on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. After serving in the United States Navy during the Second World War, he earned a B.A. (1949) in English from the University of Arizona and an M.A. (1952) and Ph.D. (1959) from Columbia University, where he studied with Lionel Trilling and Mark Van Doren. He worked briefly at Columbia, Bronx Community College, and Fairleigh-Dickinson University before teaching at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, for the rest of his career. As a scholar, he took special interest in the late-nineteenth-century Symbolist movement and its influence on late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century writers such as James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, and George Bernard Shaw. He wrote several books on Arthur Symons, Oscar Wilde, and Henry Harland, including biographies of Symons and Harland. He also co-wrote a dictionary of literary terms and edited several volumes of letters and memoirs. Beckson retired in 2004 and died on April 29, 2008.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only CU affiliates may view materials on-site. YOU MUST REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT BEFORE PLACING REQUESTS. Email rbml@library.columbia.edu to request an appointment. You may submit a request for materials once your appointment is confirmed. Affiliates will login with their uni and password, and need to register the first time they make a request.

Alphabetical Files

Research and Publication Materials

Box 1 Folder 1 Academy Press, 1978-1979

Box 1 Folder 2 Collier's Encyclopedia, 1968-1969

Box 1 Folder 3 [Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library], 1992

Box 1 Folder 4 Correspondence, 1962-1992

Box 1 Folder 5 Correspondence, 1966-1991

Box 1 Folder 6 Eighteen Nineties Society, 1975-1980

Box 1 Folder 7 Encyclopedia Britannica, 1971

Box 1 Folder 8 Farrar, Straus Agreement, 1962-1987

Box 1 Folder 9 Fletcher, 1984-1989

Box 1 Folder 10 Harland Material, 1976-1979

Box 1 Folder 11 Harland Photos, undated

Box 1 Folder 12 Hinzmann, 1987-1991

Box 1 Folder 13 John Murray, 1975

Box 1 Folder 14 Kingsley, 1986

Box 1 Folder 15 Krishnamurti, 1973-1979

Box 1 Folder 16 [Lambourne, Lionel], 1966-1967

Box 1 Folder 17 Langenfeld, 1985-1986

Box 1 Folder 18 Lydia Lopokova Keynes, 1969-1981

Box 1 Folder 19 Macmillan, 1985-1988

Box 1 Folder 20 Marbury Material, 1970

Box 1 Folder 21 Mason, 1956-1969

Box 1 Folder 22 Merlin Holland, 1981-1992

Box 1 Folder 23 Michael Holroyd, 1968-1988

Box 1 Folder 24 Ella Ström Grainger (Mrs. Percy), 1971-1979

Box 1 Folder 25 National Endowment for the Humanities, 1988-1990

Box 1 Folder 26 [Osborne, Humfrey Photo], 1984

Box 1 Folder 27 Oxford, 1985-1987

Box 1 Folder 28 Pennsylvania State University Press, 1976

Box 1 Folder 29 Permissions for Aesthetes and Decadents of the 1890s, 1965-1966

Box 1 Folder 30 Permissions for Wilde volume, 1960-1970

Box 1 Folder 31 Rhymers' Club, 1963-1977

Box 1 Folder 32 Sir John Rothenstein, 1970-1971

Box 1 Folder 33 Tragara Press, 1989

Box 1 Folder 34 Woodring, 1991-1992

Box 1 Folder 35 Wratislaw, 1979

Box 2 Folder 1 to 23 Symons: 1880-1903, 1980s, 1880-1903, 1980s, (23 Folders)

Box 3 Folder 1 to 22 Symons: 1904-1934, 1980s, 1904-1934, 1980s, (22 Folders)

Box 3 Folder 23 Symons--Undated (before 1908), 1980s

Box 3 Folder 24 Symons--Undated (after 1908), 1980s

Box 3 Folder 25 Symons at the Bodleian, 1980s

Box 3 Folder 26 Symons at Buffalo, 1980s

Box 3 Folder 27 Symons at Kansas, 1980s

Box 3 Folder 28 Symons at Texas, 1980s

Box 3 Folder 29 Symons at Yale, 1980s

Box 3 Folder 30 Wills of Arthur and Rhoda, 1980s

Box 3 Folder 31 [Symons Permissions], 1980s

Box 3 Folder 32 Symons Permission for Biography, 1980s

Box 3 Folder 33 Symons Permissions for Memoirs, 1980s

Box 3 Folder 34 Symons Photographs, 1980s

Box 3 Folder 35 Symons Correspondence, 1965-1986, 1980s, 1965-1986, 1980s

Published Writings

Box 4 Folder 1 to 3 Arthur Symons: Selected Letters Manuscript, circa, 1989, (3 Folders)

Box 5 Folder 1 to 2 Arthur Symons: A Bibliography Portion of Manuscript, 1990, (2 Folders)

Box 5 Folder 3 to 4 Arthur Symons: A Bibliography Galleys, 1990, (2 Folders)

Box 5 Folder 5 to 6 Literary Terms: A Dictionary Third Edition Manuscript, 1989, (2 Folders)

Box 6 Folder 1 to 3 London in the 1890s A Cultural History Manuscript, 1993, (3 Folders)