Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Thomas Whiteside papers, 1839-1995, bulk 1952-1992

Summary Information


Thomas Whiteside was an American journalist born in 1918. Whiteside wrote for The New Yorker for over 45 years. He covered such topics in his articles and books as cable television, the cigarette industry, the channel tunnel, chemical weapons (notably 2, 4, 5-T, a component of Agent Orange), Ralph Nader, Stig Wennerstrom, and yellow rain. It has been said that Whiteside's work on Agent Orange led directly to the congressional hearings which discussed the dangers of the substance. By the end of the hearings, the Surgeon General of the United States had announced restrictions on the use of the herbicide. The collection contains material related to the articles that Whiteside contributed to The New Yorker. The files include audiocassettes, book reviews, correspondence, drafts, galleys, notebooks and notes, research files, and typescripts. There is a small section of the collection that contains personal papers not tied directly to specific articles or books. The material ranges in date from the 1950s to the 1990s, spanning the time Whiteside worked at The New Yorker.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1545
Bib ID 7971726 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Whiteside, Thomas, 1918-1997
Title Thomas Whiteside papers, 1839-1995, bulk 1952-1992
Physical Description 29 linear feet (23 record containers 1 document box 4 flat 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.



Material is arranged into two series.



The collection contains the papers of Thomas Whiteside and in the main, relates to Whiteside's professional career as a journalist, as represented in Series I: Writings. There is a small second series of personal correspondence. The collection primarily pertains to the articles Whiteside wrote for The New Yorker. These files range in date from 1952-1992, covering the time Whiteside wrote for the magazine. The files include research articles and clippings, audiocassettes, correspondence, drafts, galleys and proofs, notebooks, both handwritten and typed notes, and typescripts.

  • Series I: Writings, 1839-1991

    Series I: Writings consists of the material related to articles and books published by Thomas Whiteside as well as research files for unpublished works and general research files, or those untied to a specific book or article. A majority of the material pertains to articles Whiteside wrote for The New Yorker. Themes get repeated over the course of this series. For instance, writing on dioxins are represented in article and book form. This is the case with the article, "The Pendulum and the Toxic Cloud" that was later published as a book under the same name. In other cases, books about certain topics later show up in the magazine. For instance, his series on Ralph Nader, "Countervailing Force" was first published in book form as The Investigation of Ralph Nader: General Motors vs. One Determined Man.

  • Series II: Personal Papers, 1940-1995

    Series II: Personal Papers is a small series consisting in the main of correspondence from Whiteside's children. Represented here as well are letters to Whiteside over the course of his career which are unrelated to a specific article or book. This series also contains material related to the MacArthur Fellowship that Whiteside won in 1986. There is an undated school notebook containing notes and a Toronto Public Library card from 1940.

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); Thomas Whiteside Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.


No additions are expected

Ownership and Custodial History

The Thomas Whiteside Papers were the gift of Karen Falcon, Anne Whiteside, and James Huddleston Whiteside to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University in 2010.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed Adrien Hilton September 2012.

Papers processed Adrien Hilton September 2012.

Finding Aid written Adrien Hilton 10/01/2012.

Revision Description

2012-10-06 xml document 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.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Audiocassettes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clippings (Information Artifacts) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Drafts (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Galley proofs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Notebooks Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Notes (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
typescripts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Advertising -- Cigarettes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Agent Orange Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cable television Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Carlsen, Kurt Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Channel Tunnel (Coquelles, France, and Folkestone, England) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chemical warfare Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cigarettes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Computer crimes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Defoliants -- War use Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Defoliation -- Vietnam Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dioxins Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Herbicides Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Joe Camel (Advertising character) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Journalism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Journalism -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Nader, Ralph Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Publishers and publishing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Reeves, Rosser Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Seveso (Italy) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Susskind, David, 1920-1987 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Weaver, Pat, 1908-2002 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wennerström, Stig Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Whiteside, Thomas, 1918-1997 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Thomas Whiteside was born in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, England in 1918. He moved to the US by way of Canada in 1940 to study at the University of Chicago. During WWII, Whiteside worked for the Office of War Propaganda, compiling reports on Axis propaganda. In 1945, he became a US citizen and joined the staff of Newsweek as a foreign affairs writer. Whiteside later went on to write for The New Republic and joined the staff of The New Yorker in 1950.

As a journalist, Whiteside wrote for The New Yorker for over 45 years. He covered a range of topics for the magazine's various series - Annals of Advertising, Annals of Business, Annals of Crime, Annals of the Cold War, Annals of Espionage, Annals of Migration, Annals of Television, Onward and Upward with the Arts, Reporter at Large, and Talk of the Town. The topics Whiteside wrote on were broad and complex, including pieces on cable television, the Channel Tunnel, cigarettes and the cigarette industry, computer crime, dioxins (most notably 2, 4, 5-T, a component in Agent Orange), the publishing industry, Stig Wennerstrom, and yellow rain. Whiteside also wrote several biographical articles for the magazine's "Profiles" section. This included pieces on Teddy Adams, Captain Kurt Carlsen, Daniel Fraad Jr., Ralph Nader, Rosser Reeves, David Susskind, and Sylvester "Pat" Weaver. Several of Whiteside's articles, most of which were published in serial form formed the basis for longer book length works. He published 11 books, working with a number of different publishing houses and literary agencies.

Whiteside was married to Marie Whiteside and had three children. He lived his later years in West Cornwall, Connecticut.