Series II., Alfred A. Knopf Personal, 1874-1984 Records. (Archival material, 1874) []
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Series II., Alfred A. Knopf Personal, 1874-1984 Records.

Author: Horace M AlbrightJorge AmadoMaynard A AmerinePaul M AngleHerbert AsburyAll authors
Edition/Format:   Archival material : English
Publication:Records, 1873-1996
This series consists of Alfred A. Knopf's personal files and papers, which were maintained at his office in New York City and at his home at Purchase, New York. Sent to the Ransom Center over a period of years, the arrangement has been recreated from Knopf's personal file system. Generally, the first two subseries consist of correspondence and subject files from Knopf's office, while the Purchase files were kept at

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Genre/Form: Account books
Address books
Admission tickets
Appointment books
Audio tapes
Black and white photographs
Book reviews
Burial records
Business cards
Christmas cards
Color slides
Death certificates
Exhibition catalogs
First drafts
Galley proofs
Guest registers
House organs
Identity cards
Legislative records
Letters of introduction
Letters of recommendation
Mailing lists
Membership lists
Motion pictures
Organizational charts
Passenger lists
Phonograph records
Press releases
Publishers' catalogs
Theater programs
Video recordings
Wedding invitations
Named Person: H L Mencken; Alfred A Knopf; H L Mencken
Document Type: Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Horace M Albright; Jorge Amado; Maynard A Amerine; Paul M Angle; Herbert Asbury; W H Auden; Jacques Barzun; James Beard; Max Beerbohm, Sir; Cyril E Black; Bruce Bliven; William J Brennan; Crane Brinton; D W Brogan; Paul Brooks; Walter R Brooks; Robert Paul Browder; David Brower; Francis Brown; John L Brown; Frederick Buechner; Fanny Butcher; Cass Canfield; Robert A Caro; Clifford P Case; C W Ceram; Bennett Cerf; Samuel Chamberlain; Mortimer Chambers; John Maurice Clark; Thomas Dionysius Clark; Fabio Coen; James Bryant Conant; Joseph Conrad; Alistair Cooke; Aaron Copland; Norman Cousins; Michael Crichton; Clifford Mortimer Crist; Rupert Croft-Cooke; Margaret Lee Crofts; Ernest Dale; Robertson Davies; Elmer Davis; Bernard De Voto; Warwick Deeping; Irving Dilliard; Lewis W Douglas; John W F Dulles; W A Dwiggins; Marriner S Eccles; Leon Edel; Albert Einstein; Loren C Eiseley; T S Eliot; J Manuel Espinosa; W H Ferry; Dorothy Canfield Fisher; M F K Fisher; Janet Flanner; Barthold Fles; Desmond Flower; Robert Flynn; Wilson Follett; Gerald R Ford; John P Frank; Max Frankel; Felix Frankfurter; John Hope Franklin; Joe Bertram Frantz; Lewis Galantière; John Kenneth Galbraith; John Galsworthy; Donald Gallup; Ralph A Gamble; John W Gardner; Jane N Garrett; Lemuel A Garrison; Peter Gay; Maxwell Geismar; Kahlil Gibran; Brendan Gill; Anthony Gishford; Sheldon Glueck; William H Goetzmann; Charles Gombault; Jack Goodman; Louis Reichenthal Gottschalk; Henry F Graff; Katharine Graham; Philip L Graham; Richard Graham; Harley Granville-Barker; Robert Graves; Francine du Plessix Gray; Gene M Gressley; William L Grossman; John Gunther; Moses Hadas; Philip Hamburger; Hamish Hamilton; Oscar Hammerstein, II; Dashiell Hammett; Knut Hamsun; Learned Hand; Oscar Handlin; James D Hart; George B Hartzog; Emil W Haury; John A Hawgood; Carlton J H Hayes; August Heckscher; Helen Hedrick; Phyllis McGinley; Hubert Clinton Herring; Carl Hertzog; Granville Hicks; Gilbert Highet; Robert Hillyer; Pamela Hinkson; Carle Hodge; William Hogan; Hajo Holborn; Stewart H Holbrook; Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.; Richard C Hottelet; Irving Howe; W H Hudson; B W Huebsch; H Stuart Hughes; Hubert H Humphrey; Fannie Hurst; Aldous Huxley; Irving McNeil Ives; Henry M Jackson; Storm Jameson; Jacob K Javits; Gerald W Johnson; Howard Mumford Jones; Judith Bailey Jones; Michael G Kammen; George N Kates; Kenneth B Keating; George F Kennan; V O Key; Serge Koussevitzky; Dean Krakel; John A Krout; Lawrence S Kubie; Ferdinand Kuhn; Dan Lacy; James Laughlin; Tom Lea; Anthony Lewis; Orme Lewis; Sinclair Lewis; David Eli Lilienthal; Jack London; Savoie Lottinville; Eduardo Mallea; Juan Marichal; Ruy Joao Marques; Thurgood Marshall; William J McGill; Czeslaw Milosz; Henry Allen Moe; Malcolm Moos; Edouard Morot-Sir; Ivan I Morris; Bill D Moyers; Daniel P Moynihan; Jose Thomaz Nabuco; Maurício Nabuco; Victoria Ocampo; Vrest Orton; Richard C Overton; Hamilton Owens; George Wilson Pierson; Lawrence Clark Powell; Wallace Everette Pratt; Paul A Rossi; Clinton Rossiter; Theodore Rousseau; Charles Scribner; Paul B Sears; Roger W Shugg; Francis Butler Simkins; Francis Steegmuller; Wallace Stegner; George Steiner; Fritz Stern; Hudson Strode; Frank Swinnerton; J R de la Torre-Bueno; Jean Starr Untermeyer; Carl Van Doren; Herbert Van Thal; Edward Wagenknecht; Robert Penn Warren; Walter Prescott Webb; Conrad Louis Wirth; Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.; Appleton-Century-Crofts, inc.; Book-of-the-Month Club.; Brandt & Brandt.; Charles Scribner's Sons.; Chatto & Windus (Firm); Curtis Brown Ltd.; Doubleday & Company, Inc.; E.P. Dutton (Firm); Éditions du Seuil.; Faber and Faber.; Feltrinelli editore.; George Allen & Unwin Ltd.; Grolier Club.; Grosset & Dunlap.; Gyldendalske boghandel, Nordisk forlag.; Hachette (Firm); Hamish Hamilton Ltd.; Harcourt Brace & Company.; Harper & Brothers.; Harper & Row, Publishers.; Heinemann (Firm); Houghton Mifflin Company.; Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsburg, Va.); J.M. Dent & Sons.; Little, Brown and Company.; Macmillan & Co.; New York Public Library.; Oxford University Press.; Viking Press.; Weil, Gotschal & Manges.; Wilderness Society.; William Collins Sons and Co.
OCLC Number: 145406139
In: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc
Description: 185 boxes (77 linear ft.)


This series consists of Alfred A. Knopf's personal files and papers, which were maintained at his office in New York City and at his home at Purchase, New York. Sent to the Ransom Center over a period of years, the arrangement has been recreated from Knopf's personal file system. Generally, the first two subseries consist of correspondence and subject files from Knopf's office, while the Purchase files were kept at his home and used for his memoirs. The last subseries consists of materials sent to the Ransom Center that were not originally present in either his office or home file systems.

Consisting largely of correspondence, generally an original letter with a blue carbon of Knopf's response, the series also includes manuscript drafts, clippings, photographs, minutes, memoranda, diaries, programs, artwork, menus, awards, account books, slides, and other printed materials.

Subseries A. Alfred A. Knopf's Personal Correspondence contains correspondence with some of Knopf's earliest literary contacts, such as Kay Boyle, Joseph Conrad, Clarence Day, Theodore Dreiser, W.A. Dwiggins, Joseph Hergesheimer, and Vachel Lindsay. Also present are the beginnings of what would become life-long literary friendships with such notables as Warren Chappell, Felix Frankfurter, and Carl Van Vechten. Early folders contain fragments of Knopf's editorial correspondence from the late 1910s and the 1920s. Also, his later interest in such subjects as conservation, politics, Latin America, the American West, and fine wine is well documented. A smaller group of files contains letters from Knopf's fiance and wife, Blanche Wolf Knopf from the 1910s and 1920s. Many of the letters were sent to Knopf as he traveled on business, and Blanche often mentions the daily business of the new firm, revealing how closely the two worked together in the early years of the firm.

Subseries B. The Office/Subject Files, originally maintained in Alfred Knopf's office and arranged alphabetically by subject, include a broad range of subjects representing Knopf's work in the publishing industry as well as his personal interests. The correspondence, memoranda, internal reports, and staff records in these files offer a view of the inner workings of the company and of Knopf's management style. The large number of files containing reports, correspondence, and minutes from publishing groups, charitable boards, committees, and social clubs attests to Knopf's participation in the literary, business, and philanthropic worlds. Among Knopf's personal interests, the best documented is the natural environment. Most of the files on this subject are found under the titles "Conservation" and "National Park Service," but they are also scattered elsewhere. These files contain correspondence, clippings, news releases, bulletins, reports of nature societies, legislative materials, and board meeting minutes and reports. A highlight from these files is Knopf's participation in the campaign to save the Dinosaur National Monument in 1950-57. Other personal files are present, such as travel files, covering daily activities, meetings, impressions, and a report describing his first trip to Brazil in 1961-62.

Subseries C. The Purchase Files were maintained at Knopf's home in Purchase, N.Y. Among these are files pertaining directly to the writing of Knopf's unpublished memoir, containing correspondence, clippings, menus, programs, and other materials Knopf gathered together and referred to as he was writing the narrative drafts. These files offer the most comprehensive survey of Knopf's life, especially his early years as a publisher. They consist of documents that date from the period about which he was writing and are augmented by contemporary lists, correspondence, and memoranda confirming dates, giving lists of books published, and offering reminders to Knopf of these years. A strength of these files are the early letters he pulled from other sources, including files that were subsequently destroyed, or photocopied to keep in these files. Also supplementing the memoir are a large collection of Knopf's diaries and appointment books, 1919-1984 (some gaps between 1920-1933), detailing Knopf's day-to-day activities. Knopf also wrote about the memorable friendships he made as a publisher. One folder contains manuscript drafts recounting his relationship with Willa Cather, bolstered by copies of their correspondence and associated clippings. An additional twenty folders chronicle Knopf's close friendship and professional association with H.L. Mencken.

The Purchase Files also include a group of alphabetical subject files which overlap Knopf's Office/Subject Files maintained at his office: both include files on the environment, typography, food and wine, and politics. However, these files also contain a number of folders pulled from the firm, including some author files that Knopf saved to use for his memoir. Early editorial correspondence with writers such as Conrad Aiken, Thomas Beer, W.H. Hudson, and Ernest Newman appears in these files. Other files contain records relating to dogs, cemetery plots, and family material.

Subseries D. The Other Subjects and Interests files include materials that Knopf saved and donated to the Ransom Center, but that were not a part of any existing file system. The range of materials found is very broad and although some of the materials are ephemeral in nature, such as a large collection of clippings about people and publishing, many of the files contain papers that reflect the interests in Knopf's daily life. Non-textual materials, such as artwork, photographs and portraits, a small collection of films (including "A Publisher is Known by the Company He Keeps"), dictaphone recordings, and phonograph records are also present.

Many files relate directly to Knopf's home at Purchase and reflect his interest in fine dining. Other materials relating to his home include guest books, gardening records, and an inventory of his library. This subseries also features financial and personal documentation, such as account books, covering such expenses as home costs, investments, daily expenditures, club dues, and taxes, over a 40-year period. Personal and family documents are present, as well as a folder of early internal documents from the firm. This subseries also contains the many awards and honors given to Knopf over his lifetime.


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