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Robert Nathan papers

 Collection
Call Number: YCAL MSS 307

Scope and Contents

The collection includes drafts of writings, correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, clippings, drawings, diaries, and audio recordings documenting the life and work of the American writer Robert Nathan. Drafts of Nathan's writings make up the bulk of the collection, and include novels, screenplays, short fiction and prose, speeches, and poetry; the writings include story ideas, or "false starts," that Nathan did not publish. Correspondence and other papers document his family relationships, in particular that with his sister Marian Kraus Sandor. Other major correspondents include Stephen Vincent Bene?t, Herbert Feis, Lawrence Kubie, Dan H. Laurence, and Marjorie Bitker. The collection also documents an exhibition of Nathan's work in the Yale University Library in 1962.

Dates

  • 1796 - 1985
  • Majority of material found within 1912 - 1968

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 80 (audiotape reels): Restricted Fragile Material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Robert Nathan 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

Gift and Bequest of Robert G. Nathan, 1963-1990; Gift of Anna Lee Nathan, 1986; Gift of Marian Nathan Kraus Sandor, 1970; Gift of John W. Kraus, 2008. Gift of Marjorie M. Bitker, 1982-1985. Gift of Dan H. Laurence, 1966. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Feis, 1969-1971. Other gifts and purchases as indicated on individual folders.

Arrangement

Organized into 4 groupings: Acquisitions 1964-circa 1970, Acquisitions circa 1970-1982, November 1982 Acquisition, and Other Acquisitions.

Material within this collection has been organized roughly by acquisition reflecting the fact that the collection has been acquired in increments over time, and reflecting previous arrangement and description by the library. Researchers should note that material within each acquisition or group of acquisitions overlaps with/or relates to material found in other groups. For instance, correspondence and writings can be found in all groupings. In order to locate all relevant material within this collection, researchers will need to consult each acquisition described in the Collection Contents section. Researchers should also note that similar material can be arranged differently in each acquisition, depending on how the material was organized when it was received by the library.

Extent

45 Linear Feet (121 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.nathanr

Overview

The collection includes drafts of writings, correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, clippings, drawings, diaries, and audio recordings documenting the life and work of the American writer Robert Nathan. Drafts of Nathan's writings make up the bulk of the collection, and include novels, screenplays, short fiction and prose, speeches, and poetry; the writings include story ideas, or "false starts," that Nathan did not publish. Correspondence and other papers document his family relationships, in particular that with his sister Marian Kraus Sandor. Other major correspondents include Stephen Vincent Bene?t, Herbert Feis, Lawrence Kubie, Dan H. Laurence, and Marjorie Bitker. The collection also documents an exhibition of Nathan's work in the Yale University Library in 1962.

Nathan, Robert (1894-1985)

The writer Robert Gruntal Nathan was born on January 2, 1894, in New York City to Harold Nathan, a prominent lawyer, and Sara Gruntal Nathan. He graduated from Philips Exeter Academy in 1912, and attended Harvard, where he edited the The Harvard Monthly. He married in 1915 and left Harvard without a degree in order to support his family. He worked briefly in advertising, but soon became a successful and prolific writer of novels, plays, essays, and poetry. Many of his novels were adapted into films, including The Bishop's Wife (1928) and Portrait of Jennie (1940), and in the 1940s he worked directly as a screenwriter for M-G-M Studios in Hollywood. Nathan was active in the National Institute of Arts and Letters, PEN, and the Academy of American Poets, among other organizations.

After his first marriage to Dorothy Michaels ended in 1922, Nathan married six more times: to Nancy Wilson, 1930-1936; to Lucy Lee Hall Skelding, 1936-1939; to Janet Bingham, 1940; to Clara May Burns, 1951; to Shirley Keeland, 1955-1969; and to the actress Anna Lee, 1970 until his death. He had one child, Joan Nathan Bergstrom, from his first marriage.

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.

Large portions of this collection acquired through circa 1985 were processed and cataloged according to the standards at that time, and classed as Za Nathan and Uncat Za Nathan. Material acquired from other sources was classed together with material acquired directly from Robert Nathan and his family; in most cases the provenance is noted within the folders. Material acquired from sources other than the family after circa 1985 was cataloged separately. In 2011, a finding aid was created from the existing folder titles and from catalog cards for the writings in the earlier accessions. For later accessions, material received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization; these acquisitions are listed in this finding aid but have not been merged and organized as a whole with the earlier accessions. Each acquisition (or group of acquisitions) is described separately in the contents list below, identified by the dates of acquisition.

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 between 1964 and 2012. This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Former call numbers: ZA Nathan, Uncat ZA Nathan, Uncat ZA MS 344, Uncat ZA MS 141, Uncat ZA MS 161, Uncat ZA MS 162, Uncat ZA MS 163, Uncat ZA MS 169, Uncat ZA MS 179, Uncat ZA MS 332, Uncat ZA MS 345, ZA N195 +1, ZA N195 +2, Uncat ZA File 108.
Title
Guide to the Robert Nathan Papers
Status
Under Revision
Author
by Ellen Doon and Clayton McGahee
Date
2011
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

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

Location

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.