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University of Texas at Austin

Arthur and Barbara Gelb:

A Preliminary Inventory of Their Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator Gelb, Arthur, and Gelb, Barbara
Title Arthur and Barbara Gelb Papers
Dates: 1954-1986
Extent 31 boxes, 1 oversize box, 12 galley files (15.46 Linear Feet); uncat accession: 7 boxes (2.94 linear feet)
Abstract: The papers focus primarily on the research and joint authorship of O'Neill, a biography of Eugene O'Neill.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-01568)
Language: English.
Access: Open for research. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials. Part or all of this collection is housed off-site and may require up to three business days’ notice for access in the Ransom Center’s Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting this material:
Use Policies: Ransom Center collections may contain material with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in the collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Ransom Center and The University of Texas at Austin assume no responsibility.
Access Open for research; 7 reel-to-reel tapes and 8 boxes of O'Neill research material are Restricted
Restrictions on Use: Authorization for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Ransom Center's Open Access and Use Policies.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Gift no. 1969 (1968); Reg. nos. 1654, 1790, 2386, 2829, 3081, and 4907 (1963-1966)
Processed by Liz Murray, 1996

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

The papers of Arthur and Barbara Gelb focus primarily on the research and joint authorship of O'Neill, the biography of Eugene O'Neill, published in two editions by Harper and Row in 1962 and 1973. While some research material, including holograph notebooks, interviews, and correspondence, remains restricted and unavailable for research, a substantial portion of O'Neill material is accessible. These papers provide a full range of literary expression from manuscripts to the published versions. Also included are numerous articles written by the Gelbs on O'Neill, as well as other theater-related pieces. In addition, Arthur Gelb's career at The New York Times, in various editorial capacities, is well represented in several book-length works, articles, reviews, and associated material.
The collection is divided into four series: Works about Eugene O'Neill, Other Works, Personal, and Works by Others.
Series I, Works about Eugene O'Neill, is subdivided into three sections dealing with O'Neill, articles about O'Neill, and research material. Leading this series is material for O'Neill, including an early corrected typescript "Life of Eugene O'Neill,"the precursor to the 1962 Harper and Row edition. It is followed by typescripts corrected by Brooks Atkinson and others, a second corrected typescript, and the final setting copy. Several versions of page proofs and galley proofs are also present.
The articles on O'Neill in Subseries B are arranged by title and contain works by Arthur and Barbara Gelb, both as joint and individual authors. These include articles written for The Critic, Horizon, The New York Times, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Grolier, sound recording and theater program notes, and a script for the documentary "The Face of Genius."
Subseries C contains research material for O'Neill, including an address book with notes and interview sources, as well as photocopies of O'Neill's correspondence from 1913 to 1953. Other O'Neill research material remains restricted.
The non-O'Neill works in Series II provide insight into the Gelb's diverse interests. Subseries A contains book-length works arranged in alphabetical order, beginning with Barbara Gelb's 1954 book on natural childbirth. This work is followed by a series of books edited by A. M. Rosenthal and Arthur Gelb, while serving as editors of the Metropolitan desk at The Times. The events of The Great Blackout of November 9, 1965 are captured in The Night the Lights Went Out, derived from stories written by The Times reporters and wire service reports. "All the news that's fit to print"was composed by candlelight the night of the blackout and went to press in New Jersey where the electricity had not failed. The late city edition published on November 10th--the only New York morning newspaper published that day--is present, in addition to the original typescript of the book, reporter's copy, notes, wire service reports, and newspaper clippings.
One More Victim: The Life and Death of An American-Jewish Nazi delivers a chilling account of the life and suicide of Daniel Burros, an anti-semitic New York State grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan of Jewish descent. A considerable amount of research material was gathered for this work, including transcriptions of taped interviews, handwritten notes, documents, pamphlets, correspondence, and background information on the Nazi movement in the United States, as well as activities of the Ku Klux Klan.
Undaunted by a crippling newspaper strike, the staff of The New York Times covered the visit of Pope Paul VI to the United States on October 4, 1965 as though their reports would go to press. However the strike was not resolved during the Pope's visit, so the stories were compiled in book format under the direction of Rosenthal and Gelb and published by Herder & Herder as The Pope's Journey to the United States. Included in the collection are the original corrected typescript, reporter's and news agency copy, and press releases which cover every angle of the trip from security precautions to the Pope's impact on world peace.
Other, shorter works by the Gelbs included in Subseries B provide a range of topics. These articles, tributes, and reviews are arranged by author. Arthur Gelb's works include articles on Cape Cod, book reviews, and tributes for Irving Spiegel and Sidney Gruson. Barbara Gelb's writings for the Sunday Drama section of The New York Times constitute the bulk of the articles included.
Correspondence from 1963-1986 dominates the Personal material in Series III. Both professional and personal correspondence is present, including some of Arthur Gelb's outgoing correspondence. The letters are arranged in alphabetical order by correspondent and, in some cases, by organization. Miscellaneous material follows the correspondence and includes folders on Mayor John V. Lindsay, The New York Times, proofs of the journal The Public Interest, the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center, and the World's Fair in New York.
The final series contains works by others in various formats. Authors include Brooks Atkinson, Simone de Beauvoir, William H. Davenport, August R. Ebel, John V. Lindsay, Norman Mailer, Eugene O'Neill, James O'Neill, Edwin Rosskam, A. L. Rowse, and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Separated Material

Sound recordings were transferred to the Ransom Center's Sound Recording collection and are described individually in a list at the end of this finding aid and in a searchable database.

Arthur and Barbara Gelb Papers--Box List