|Columbia University Archives|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in one series: Series I: Harold L. Cross papers, 1943-1944.
Cross's papers consist of a diary and a series of letters written chiefly to wife Elaine during his residence in China and while en route. The letters to his wife from Chungking were numbered seriatim and are arranged in chronological order per the numbering by Cross on the envelopes, most of which are present. The chronological order refers to the dates written; the letters were often posted or received well after composition. One or two are missing, were withdrawn, or contain a numbering error.
The letters contain expressions of affection and are filled with comments and observances of wartime China and Cross's friends, colleagues, and Chinese students. Letters written while on his way across the Pacific from California to China in 1943 received wartime censorship. Most of the letters are typed on onionskin paper, sometimes in very pale red ink, and must be handled carefully.
The diary kept during his stay in Chungking was written in pencil on the front and back pages, carefully numbered, of a very small notebook.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection has no restrictions.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Harold L. Cross Papers; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.
For additional information on Harold L. Cross, please consult Central Files (UA#0001), the Historical biographical files (UA#0004), the Historical photograph collection (UA#0003), and the Graduate School of Journalism records (UA#0065).
No additions are expected.
Ownership and Custodial History
Gift of a family member, 2001. Donated to the University Archives by Prof. Cross's son, Malcolm, through the agency of Prof. Jim Boylan (Accession #2001-043).
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
This collection was processed by Marilyn Pettit in March 2003.
2020-04-15 Full finding aid (JR)
History / Biographical Note
Harold Livingston Cross (1890-1959) was a professor and Associate Dean of the School of Journalism at Columbia University.
Cross was legal counsel for the New York Herald Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He also served on the faculty of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University from 1937 to 1950. He taught courses on the history of press freedom, libel and newspaper law. In 1943, on leave from Columbia, he opened China's first graduate school of journalism in Chung-King for the Chinese government. He and three American journalists taught classes under the auspices of the Central Political Institute of China.
In 1953, Cross published his book "The People's Right to Know: Legal Access to Public Records and Proceedings," written as legal counsel to the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE). This work is widely credited with creating the language of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and for laying the groundwork for the legislation related to access to public records. The text became the standard legal resource for journalists and others engaged in obtaining information from local, state and Federal agencies.