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Guide to the Victor S. Navasky Papers TAM 594

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Jan Hilley, with the assistance of Mary Corcoran, Heather Mulliner, and Giana Ricci

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 25, 2018
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Edited by Heather Mulliner to include 2016 accession. Edited by Heather Mulliner to include 2017 accession  , November 2016 , April 2017

Scope and Content Note

This collection provides a broad view of Victor Navasky's life, his interests, and his work. It contains personal items from as early as his time in the third grade at the Rudolf Steiner School, as well as school and military records, family correspondence, and samples of his earliest writings. Material in the collection describes his first venture as an editor and publisher with the satirical journal, Monocle, and recounts the history of  The Nation and Navasky's association with the magazine. Among the books he has written or co-authored, three warranted individual series in the collection --  Naming Names (Viking Press, 1980);  A Matter of Opinion (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005); and  The Art of Controversy (Knopf, 2013). Each of these series contains extensive research material and varied products of Navasky's writing process, such as notes, outlines, drafts, typescripts and galley proofs. Much of his other work is represented in the series "Other Navasky Writings," including his first book –  Kennedy Justice (Atheneum, 1971). The series also contains articles, essays, plays, and speeches, some with background research and other relevant items. There are materials drawn from Navasky's continuing career at Columbia University and, also, a large series containing a wide range of subject files representing either research for books, articles, speeches, or lectures, or merely items collected based on Navasky's personal interests.

Correspondence appears across the collection, in almost every series. Among the varied items are personal letters; communications with research sources and subjects, and with writers, publishers, editors and others involved in Navasky's many projects and activities. There is also Nation correspondence, both internal and external. Correspondents include many who are well-known, such as William F. Buckley, John Henry Faulk, Henry Kissinger, Molly Ivins, Anthony Lewis, Gus Hall, Elie Wiesel, Merle Miller, Sally and Cedric Belfrage, Hal Holbrook, and Merle Miller. There is also correspondence to which Victor Navasky is not a party. Examples include exchanges involving Albert Maltz, Dalton Trumbo, and Ring Lardner Jr.; also between Alice Orans and Frank Donner. Among the highlights are photocopies of many letters written to early editors of  The Nation from such notables as Clarence Darrow, John Maynard Keynes, Felix Frankfurter, H.L. Mencken, Franklin Roosevelt, Margaret Sanger, Cordell Hull, and many others.

Some of the topics and individuals may be found across multiple series. Navasky's association with The Nation, for example, has its own series but related materials also form a large part of the research for  A Matter of Opinion, and references to  The Nation appear in other series as well. Similarly, materials concerning Alger Hiss can be found in numerous places. Although there are brief mentions in the series for the  Monocle and  Naming Names, most is to be found in materials associated with  A Matter of Opinion and in the subseries "Articles and Essays – Alger Hiss". There are also Hiss items and research on Soviet espionage in "Subject Files". The Rosenberg Case, another of Navasky's long-time investigative interests, appears in research files for both  Naming Names and  A Matter of Opinion; in the articles subseries (a 1975 book review of  We Are your Sons); in subject files; and in the audio-visual material. Among other individuals who may be found across series are Carey McWilliams (  Naming Names, as well as   A Matter of Opinion,) John Henry Faulk, Christopher Hitchens, and Alexander Cockburn. Researchers interested in a specific topic or individual should search across all series.

The collection contains significant audio-visual material. Of particular interest are audio recordings of a number of interviews Victor Navasky conducted for Naming Names and a special event sponsored by The Nation Institute, "A Conversation with I.F. Stone at 80."

Papers added to the collection in 2016 consist of 22 boxes of drafts, correspondence, administrative files, and research related to Navasky's work at the Columbia School of Journalism and his publications. Columbia School of Journalism materials include teaching files and course design materials, including correspondence with public intellectuals he invited to his classes as guest lecturers. These materials also include files related to the operation of two Columbia University publications, which were edited by Navasky, The Columbia Journalism Review and  The New York Review of Magazines. Other materials related to Navasky's work at Columbia include correspondence and administrative files related the organization of the Delacorte Lecture Series 2001-2008, and transcripts of Delacorte lectures 2000-2013. It also contains significant materials related to Navasky's research on Alger Hiss. The bulk of these files include research related to the 1996 release of the Venona Papers and include correspondence with journalists and scholars about the revelations, copies articles, notes, and drafts of Navasky's writing about Venona. They also include several files related to the website The Alger Hiss Project, which was created in 2001 through grants from the Nation Institute. Additionally this donation includes some personal materials from Navasky's adolescence, organizational files from the Monocle, and five boxes of research files compiled between the 1990s and 2008. Many of the research files relate topics covered in other series and include copies of articles, drafts, notes, and correspondence.


The Victor S. Navasky Papers are arranged into ten series, six of which are further arranged into subseries. Folders are, for the most part, arranged alphabetically. Materials added to the collection in 2016 have been incorporated into the corresponding series and arranged at the box level at the end of each series or subseries.

The series arrangement of the collection is as follows:

Series I: Personal and Biographical Material, 1939-2012

>Series II: Navasky and  The Nation, 1902-2011
Subseries IIA: Early History
Subseries IIB: Navasky as Editor (1978-1994)
Subseries IIC: Navasky Becomes Publisher (1994-2005)
Subseries IID: Legal Issues
Subseries IIE: Content
Subseries IIF: Additional  Nation-related Materials

Series III:  Monocle and Monocle Books, 1957-2002

Series IV: The Hollywood Blacklist and  Naming Names, 1935-2013
Subseries IVA: Research and Related Materials
Subseries IVB: The Writing Process
Subseries IVC: Post Publication

Series V: Opinion Journalism and  A Matter of Opinion, 1903-2008
Subseries VA: Opinion Journalism File
Subseries VB:  A Matter of Opinion Research and Related Materials
Subseries VC:   A Matter of Opinion Writng Process

Series VI: Political Cartoons and  The Art of Controversy, 1910-2013
Subseries VIA: Research and Related Materials
Subseries VIB: The Writing Process

Series VII: Other Navasky Writings, 1930s-2012
Subseries VIIA: Books
Subseries VIIB: Articles and Essays
Subseries VIIC: Articles and Essays - Alger Hiss
Subseries VIID: Plays
Subseries VIIE: Speeches

Series VIII: Navasky at Columbia University, 1963-2013
Subseries VIIIA: Columbia Graduate School of Journalism
Subseries VIIIB:  Columbia Journalism Review

Series IX: Subject Files, 1918-201

Series X: Audio-Visual Materials, 1976-1996, undated
Series XI: 2017 Accession