This additional material for the Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. archive
contains files from the office of William A. Koshland who joined the Knopf firm
in 1934. He was president of Knopf from 1966, chairman in 1973, and chairman
emeritus until his death in 1997. The files were received in two accretions,
one from Koshland in 1996 (Gift No. 10636, 6 boxes); and a second, larger
shipment from the firm in 1998, after his death (Gift No. 11186, 32 boxes). The
accretions are listed separately and original order has been retained. Because
Koshland did not maintain a traditional filing system, preferring instead to
have files at ready reach, some anomalies exist. For example, date spans often
overlap, especially in the general correspondence where multiple alphabetical
sequences exist for similar time periods.
The material in the first sequence (Gift no. 10636, Boxes 1-6)
comprises author files for Raymond Chandler, Edward Craig, Langston Hughes,
Helen Lowe-Porter, Thomas Mann, H. L. Mencken, Wallace Stevens, and B. Traven.
These files date as early as 1921 and reflect the evolving relationship between
the authors and the firm's members including Alfred and Blanche Knopf, as well
as editors such as Jill Cutler, Herbert Weinstock, and others.
All the author files contain significant author correspondence with
the exception of H. L. Mencken. The Mencken files are primarily concerned with
his estate and dealings with the Mercantile-Safe Deposit & Trust
The Thomas Mann correspondence is particularly lengthy and includes
letters to and from Mann's wife Katia. There is a long run of letters between
Mann and Alfred Knopf from 1925-1955. One folder in particular" Mann Special"
contains a photocopy of Katia Mann's letter to Alfred Knopf written shortly
after Mann's death. Both Knopf and Koshland kept this letter in a separate
folder in their files. This folder also contains a photograph of Katia and
Thomas, taken the summer of 1955, the year Mann died. Additional Chandler,
Mann, and Mencken materials are found in the Gift No. 11186 accession.
The second sequence of files (Gift no. 11186, Boxes 7-38), gathered
from Koshland's office after his death, is arranged in three series: Series I.
Correspondence, 1925-1996; Series II. Knopf Firm, 1932-1996; and Series III.
Koshland Personal Papers, 1942-1996. The correspondence series comprises
Subseries A. Editorial Files and Subseries B. General Correspondence. Authors
represented in the editorial files include Elizabeth Bowen, Wallace Brockway,
Willa Cather, Julia Child, Alistair Cooke, Miguel Covarrubias, Clarence Day,
Kahlil Gibran, Learned Hand, John Hersey, Margaret Lane, D. H. Lawrence, Robert
Nathan, Otto Rank, Jean-Paul Sartre, and John Updike. Correspondence to and from
Alfred and Blanche Knopf is found throughout. As with the previous accession,
substantial amount of Thomas Mann files are present.
Subseries B. General Correspondence dates from 1960-1996 with four
separate alphabetical runs from 1978-1985, reflecting Koshland's arrangement of
his files. This literary correspondence typically includes letters to and from
agents, publishers, universities, libraries, literary journals, and individual
Series II. contains office and business correspondence pertaining to
the running of the Knopf firm, including authors lists, Board of Directors
minutes, contract data, copyright and royalty information, catalogues, employee
files, and salary reports, as well as files on Alfred and Blanche Knopf.
Series III. Koshland Personal Papers includes files on his involvement
with various literary and cultural entities, addresses, correspondence, and
details of trips taken from 1961-1978. Of note is the exchange of
correspondence between Koshland and the Knopfs during the war years, 1942-1945
wherein news of the war and activities at the firm were exchanged. Several
letters from Alice B. Toklas can be found in Koshland's unsorted personal
Dictabelts included with a folder "notes to self and Helen Lawkins,
1964" were transferred to the Sound Recordings Collection.