Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Edmund Stevens papers, 1939-1992

Summary Information


Edmund Stevens (1910-1992) was an American journalist who worked as a foreign correspondent in the Soviet Union from the 1930s until the early 1990s. He won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1950. The papers include articles, book materials, correspondence, travel notes, reporter notebooks, and photographs.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1574
Bib ID 8721554 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Stevens, Edmund
Title Edmund Stevens papers, 1939-1992
Physical Description 16 linear feet (16 linear feet 15 record cartons 1 1/2 document box and 1 card box)
Language(s) The material is primarily in English, with some material in Russian and Italian.

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.



This collection is arranged in five series and several subseries: Series I: Correspondence, 1940-1990 Subseries I.1: Professional Correspondence, 1940-1990, undated Subseries I.2: Personal Correspondence, 1940-1990 Series II: Articles & Writings, 1939-1990 Subseries II.1: Articles and Article Drafts, 1939-1990 Subseries II.2: Book Materials, 1940-1990 Subseries II.3: Radio Spots, 1957-1973 Subseries II.4: Mailers, 1957-1975 Series III: Address Books, Appointment Books, and Reporter Notebooks, 1950-1984 Series IV: Personal, 1950-1992 Series V: Photographs, 1940-1980.



Correspondence, articles, travel notes, reporter notebooks, and photographs from Stevens provide a compelling perspective into mid-20th century journalism and war reporting, as well as an extended look at political and social affairs of the Soviet Union from the 1940s through the 1980s. The collection contains many articles that Stevens wrote for a range of newspapers and magazines: covered topics include media censorship, persecution of political dissidents, and daily life in the Soviet Union. These articles also cover his early career reporting on military engagements in Europe (1939-1940) and East and North Africa (1940-1942). The correspondence is predominately with editors, and includes significant information about the status of journalists in the Soviet Union, as well as information about specific events.

  • Series I: Correspondence

    Stevens' correspondence is primarily with editors, and pertains to articles in progress, as well as logistical concerns (housing, reimbursement, travel plans, etc.). There are also several folders of personal correspondence, which include letters from Stevens to his wife, and are almost entirely in Russian. The series is organized alphabetically.

  • Series II: Articles & Writings

    This series contains a very large number of Stevens' articles. Some are grouped by subject (topics include GK Zahukov, Churchill in Russia, Pasternak, Artists and Writers, Destalinisation, Finland, Desert War, etc.) but the majority are organized by publication and year. The subseries of articles is organized alphabetically. The collection also includes materials collected for Stevens' books, as well as transcripts of radio news reports and mailers.

  • Series III: Address Books, Appointment Books, and Reporter Notebooks

    This collection contains approximately 100 reporter notebooks used by Stevens; they are written primarily in English, though many are also in shorthand and have portions in Russian. This series also includes several address books and day planners.

  • Series IV: Personal

    Records pertaining to Stevens' personal life are somewhat limited, and the bulk of information comes from the drafts of his unpublished memoir. The memoir manuscript includes information about his childhood, time at Columbia, and initial move to Russia. The collection also includes a number of certificates and awards.

  • Series V: Photographs

    This collection contains a number of photographs in various formats including prints, negatives, and slides. The majority are of the photographs are of different locations (Marrakech, Romania, Tripoli, Tunisia, Crimea, etc.) and are labeled, but few include dates or whether Stevens was the photographer. There are several folders of portraits of Stevens, photographs from family trips, and photographs of business meetings and events.

General Note

A copy of Steven's Pulitzer Prize winning article series is available in the Pulitzer Prize Collection, Box 109, in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library

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); Edmund Stevens Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.


No additional material is expected

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed by Brianna Nofil (GSAS) 2015.

Finding aid written by Brianna Nofil (GSAS) September 2015.

Revision Description

2015-09-30 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:"
Certificates Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clippings (Information Artifacts) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Manuscripts (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Memoirs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographic prints Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Slides (photographs) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Cold War Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cold War in mass media Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Foreign correspondents -- Soviet Union Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Journalism -- Soviet Union Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Journalism -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Journalists -- Soviet Union Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Journalists -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich, 1894-1971 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Newsday Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Pasternak, Boris Leonidovich, 1890-1960 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Stalin, Joseph, 1878-1953 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Stevens, Edmund Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sunday Times of London (Firm) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Time, inc Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945 -- Journalists Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945 -- Soviet Union Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note


Edmund Stevens, born July 22, 1910, was a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who covered the Soviet Union from the time of Stalin's purges to the reforms of Mikhail S. Gorbachev. Edmund Stevens was an outspoken critic of Soviet censorship and had a vast network of connections throughout the Soviet Union, where he lived for over 40 years. Journalism historians have acknowledged Stevens as the longest-serving American-born correspondent working from the Soviet Union.

After graduating from Columbia University in 1934, Stevens traveled to the Soviet Union in hopes of contributing to the Bolshevik cause as a translator and writer for the Publishing Cooperative of Foreign Workers in the Soviet Union. He began his journalism career with the Christian Science Monitor in 1939, where he was the publication's first journalist to cover fighting in World War II, reporting in Latvia, Finland, and Greece, as well as Russia.

In 1950, Stevens won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for "Russia Uncensored," a 34-part series in the Christian Science Monitor about life under Stalin. After a stint as a war reporter in North Africa, and as the head of the Christian Science Monitor's Mediterranean Bureau in Rome, Stevens returned to Russia (now under the control of Khruschev) in 1956, as a reporter for Look magazine. Stevens wrote in great detail about the process of de-Stalinization, as well as about the growth of the Russian arts and literature scene, led by authors such as Boris Pasternak.

In 1957, Stevens opened the Moscow Bureau for Time, Inc., where his work focused on the fall of Khruschev, with particular attention to the 1961 shooting down of a U-2 spy plane incident and the decline of censorship known as the "Khrushchev thaw." The collection contains a letter written by Stevens to Khrushchev, encouraging him to dismantle the Soviet censorship system, suggesting that it hindered Russia's relationships with other nations. Stevens' had a contentious relationship with the editors at Time, and resigned in 1963.

During the later years of his career, Stevens continued his relationships with the Christian Science Monitor and Manchester Guardian. His work was syndicated in eight other papers in the U.S. and Canada through Newsday until 1982. He wrote sporadically for the Times of London and Sunday Times until his death in 1992.