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Meryle Secrest papers

Call Number: OSB MSS 201

Scope and Contents

The Meryle Secrest Papers, which span from 1900 to 2019, contain writings, notes, correspondence, research materials, and computer and audiovisual media related to the life, work, and primarily the writings, of Meryle Secrest. Correspondents include Svetlana Allilueva, Kenneth Clark, Hugh Leonard, H. R. Trever-Roper, and Herman Wouk. The collection also contains photographs of Amedeo Modigliani and Elsa Schiaparelli.


  • 1900 - 2019


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Boxes 21-24 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile material. Consult Access Services for further information.

Boxes 25, 31 (born digital): Restricted fragile material. Access copies of digital files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Meryle Secrest Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Meryle Secrest and Lion Heart Autographs, Inc. on the James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection Fund, 2015.

November 2019 acquisition: Purchased from June Meryle Beveridge and Lion Heart Autographs, Inc. on the James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection Fund, 2019

January 2022 acquisition: Gift of Meryle Secrest, 2022.


Organized into eight series: I. Writings and Research, 1970-2011. II. Correspondence, 1900-2009. III. Photographs and Research Materials, 1900-2011. IV. Index Cards and Subject Files, 1970-2005. V. Interviews, 1990-2008. VI. Computer Media, circa 2000-2009. VII. November 2019 Acquisition, 1930-2011. VIII. January 2022 Acquisition, 1975-2019.


29.5 Linear Feet (32 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Meryle Secrest

Meryle Secrest is a journalist and biographer. Born in Bath, England, she emigrated to Canada with her family, and eventually to the United States, where she worked for the Washington Post from 1964 to 1975. Secrest left the Washington Post to focus on writing books, and has published a number of biographies, including Being Bernard Berenson (Harmondsworth, 1980), which was a finalist for the 1980 Pulitzer Prize in Biography. In 2006 she received the National Humanities Medal.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Meryle Secrest Papers
by Beinecke staff and Nora Soto
January 2019. Revised: July 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.