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   Edmund Stevens papers, 1939-1992

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Edmund Stevens Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

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 ft. (15 record cartons, 1 1/2 document box, and 1 card box)
Language(s):English , with some material in Russian and Italian
Access: This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. This collection has no restrictions.  More information »



This collection is arranged in five series and several subseries:

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Scope and Content

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, 1940-1990

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, 1939-1990

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, 1950-1984

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, 1950-1992

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, 1940-1980

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.

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Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

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.

Finding aid available online.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Papers processed by Brianna Nofil (GSAS), 2015

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

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion September 30, 2015 Finding aid written in English.
    2015-09-30 File created.

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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.


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Clippings (information artifacts)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Manuscripts (document genre)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Slides (photographs)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Americans--Soviet UnionPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Christian Science MonitorPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Cold WarPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Cold War in mass mediaPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Europe, Eastern--politics and government--1945-1989PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Foreign Correspondents--Soviet UnionPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Journalism--Soviet UnionPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Journalism--United StatesPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Journalists--Soviet UnionPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Journalists--United StatesPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich, 1894-1971PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Look magazinePortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Pasternak, Boris Leonidovich, 1890-1960PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Soviet Union--foreign relations--United StatesPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Soviet Union--history--20th centuryPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Soviet Union--politics and government--1945-1991PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Stalin, Joseph, 1878-1953PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Stevens, EdmundPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Sunday Times of London (Firm)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Time, Inc.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945--JournalistsPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945--Soviet UnionPortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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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.

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