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Joan Kahn papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 247

Scope and Contents

The Joan Kahn Papers document her work as a suspense book editor in New York City and largely consist of correspondence and dust jackets spanning from 1945 to 1989. Also included are Kahn's personal papers dating from 1964 and 1975.


  • 1945-1994


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Joan Kahn Papers are 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

Gift of Olivia Kahn, 1995-1996.


The Joan Kahn Papers are organized into the following three series: Correspondence, Other Papers, and Dust Jackets.


2.92 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Joan Kahn Papers document her work as a suspense book editor in New York City and largely consist of correspondence and dust jackets spanning from 1945 to 1989. Correspondence includes letters from: Jacques Barzun, Maurice Procter, and Julian Symons. Also included are other papers (such as notes for a business trip) dating from 1964 and 1975.

Joan Kahn (1914-1994)

Joan Kahn was an editor of suspense novels and worked at firms including Harper and Row, Ticknor and Fields, Dutton, and St. Martin's Press during a career that spanned over forty years. Kahn also wrote two novels (To Meet Miss Long and Open House) and four children's books as well as edited eleven mystery anthologies.

Born in New York City, Kahn attended the Horace Mann School and pursued post-secondary education at the Yale School of Art, Barnard College and the Art Students' League. In 1946 Kahn began her career at Harper Brothers where she initially edited books about history, art, theater, and travel before starting the Harper Novels of Suspense Department. In the 1960s Kahn had her own imprint ("Joan Kahn Books") and the Mystery Writers of America awarded her the Ellery Queen Award and the Edgar Allan Poe Award in recognition of her distinguished career in publishing. Kahn died in New York City at the age of eighty in 1994.

Guide to the Joan Kahn Papers
Under Revision
by H. Dean
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

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

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.