Arthur A. Cohen papers
Scope and Contents
The progression of Cohen's creative process from idea to publication is documented in correspondence, drafts, and printed material pertaining to his books. For example, the Papers include drafts, galleys, publicity, reviews, and other material tracing Cohen's novel In the Days of Simon Stern. Correspondence with publishers, such as Random House and Ardis Publishing House, also pertain to Cohen's writing career. Cohen's interest in religion is reflected in several of his writing projects as well as correspondence with theologians such as Thomas J. J. Altizer, Jacob Neusner, and Jacob Taubes.
Cohen's literary circle included a number of authors, such as Yoram Kaniuk, Jerzy Kosinski, Jacques Maritain, David McKain, Ron Padgett, Ruthven Todd, and Elie Wiesel, some of whose works he edited and published. In addition, Cohen's correspondence with artist Robert Motherwell reflects their friendship and work editing Viking Press's Documents of Twentieth Century Art series (Motherwell served as the general editor whereas Cohen worked as the managing editor). As the Papers illustrate, Cohen also wrote the foreword to a book by and about Motherwell, printed as part of the series.
Correspondence and papers concerning Meridian Books, Noonday Press, and the Documents of Twentieth Century Art series relate to Cohen's publishing career. Also of interest is Cohen's correspondence with Morris Philipson, a student with Cohen at the University of Chicago, who went on to be the director of the University of Chicago Press.
Cohen's correspondence with friends, family (largely his parents Isidore Meyer and Bess Junger Cohen), photographs, and journals also provide insight into his personal life.
- 1941 - 1988
Conditions Governing Access
Existence and Location of Copies
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
47 Linear Feet (46 boxes)
Language of Materials
Arthur A. Cohen (1928-1986)
While Cohen was a student at the Jewish Theological Seminary he founded the Noonday Press with Cecil Hemley. Cohen sold the press in 1955 and founded Meridian Books. When the World Publishing Company bought Meridian Books in 1960, Cohen stayed on with the company, working as vice president until taking a position as director of the religious book department and then editor-in-chief at Holt, Rinehart, & Winston (1962-64). Cohen worked as managing editor of the Documents of Twentieth Century Art series for Viking Press from 1968 to 1975.
Cohen also sustained a writing career in tandem with his publishing career. He authored several novels, including The Carpenter Years (1967), In the Days of Simon Stern (1973), A Hero in His Time (1976), Acts of Theft (1980), An Admirable Woman (1983), and Artists and Enemies (1987). His non-fiction works include Martin Buber (1957), The Natural and the Supernatural Jew (1962), The Myth of the Judeo-Christian Tradition (1970), Osip Emilievich Mandelstam: An Essay in Antiphon (1974), and The Tremendum: A Theological Interpretation of the Holocaust (1981). Cohen also published a number of articles in Harper's, New York Times Book Review, Partisan Review, and other journals.
In 1956 Cohen married Elaine Firstenberg Lustig (b. 1927), a graphic designer, painter, and photographer, with whom he opened Ex Libris (1974-1986), a gallery and bookstore specializing in rare, out-of-print materials on twentieth-century art (particularly European avant-garde). Arthur and Elaine Cohen had one daughter, Tamar Judith, an artist based in New York.
Cohen died of cancer at the age of 58 in 1986.
The finding aid for this collection is compiled from individual preliminary lists for each acquisition that were created at or around the time of receipt by the library. The preliminary lists were migrated to comply with current archival descriptive standards and merged into a single file in 2007-2008. As part of the migration, modifications were made to the formatting of individual lists; however, the content of the lists was neither modified nor verified.
As a rule, descriptive information found in the Collection Contents section is drawn in large part 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 collection includes materials previously identified by the following call numbers: Uncat ZA MS 3; Uncat ZA MS 48; Uncat ZA File 234; Uncat ZA MS 207; Uncat ZA MS 265; Uncat ZA MS 390; Uncat ZA MS 276; Uncat MSS 563; and Uncat MSS 1254.
This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
- Altizer, Thomas J. J., 1927-
- Audiovisual materials
- Authors -- United States -- 20th Century
- Authors, American -- 20th Century -- Archives
- Cohen, Arthur A. (Arthur Allen), 1928-1986
- Editors -- United States
- Editors -- United States -- 20th Century
- Judaism -- 20th Century
- Judaism -- Doctrines
- Kaniuk, Yoram, 1930-2013
- Kosinski, Jerzy, 1933-1991
- Maritain, Jacques, 1882-1973
- Meridian Books
- Motherwell, Robert, 1915-1991
- Neusner, Jacob, 1932-2016
- Noonday Press
- Publishers and publishing -- United States
- Sound recordings
- Taubes, Jacob, 1923-1987
- Theologians -- United States
- Todd, Ruthven, 1914-1978
- Viking Press
- Wiesel, Elie, 1928-2016
- Guide to the Arthur A. Cohen Papers
- by Beinecke staff
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
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