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Irving Fineman Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Fineman, Irving, 1893-1976
Title: Irving Fineman Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1919-1976
Quantity: 40.0 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the Jewish American novelist, author. Correspondence (1919-1976), including a significant number of letters from Julia Peterkin (1926-1943); typescript drafts and revisions of novels, plays, poems, stories; diaries (1922-1949); notebooks; galley proofs; and memorabilia, including calendars, clippings, photographs, and scrapbooks.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Irving Fineman (1893-1976) was a Jewish-American novelist and author. Born in New York City, he earned degrees in civil engineering from both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard in 1917. Following a term in the U.S. Navy as an engineer officer (1918-1922), he returned to civil engineering, working in the field designing and constructing bridges, subways, etc and also teaching theoretical and applied mechanics at the University of Illinois. In 1928, taken with the idea of writing a novel, he began work on This Pure Young Man, which won a $7500 prize in 1930. By 1932 he was at work on his second novel and had taken a teaching position at Bennington University in Bennington, Vermont. "It was only when I undertook to teach the subject that with my students I made a thoroughgoing and conscious study of literature and the techniques of writing; but by then I had written two books."

In the late 1930s Fineman spent a year or two in Hollywood writing for several studios, but he found that "while motion picture producers were intrigued by the idea of getting something fresh from a serious writer, they almost invariably got cold feet when it came to putting something unusual or controversial before the cameras." By 1950 he had retired from teaching and other occupations to devote his full attention to writing, though he still took time out for projects that interested him. He served as editorial consultant for the RAND Corporation in 1957 and spent a year as scholar in residence at Duke University (1965-1966).

In addition to seven novels and a biography of Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah, Fineman published short stories, poems, and literary criticism in literary and general interest magazines such as Nation, Harper's, Yale Review, New Yorker, New York Times, Saturday Review, and the Los Angeles Times.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Irving Fineman Papers have been arranged into ten series: Clippings, Correspondence, Files, Memorabilia, Miscellaneous printed material, Notes, Writings, Writings – others, Published material, and Writings (unknown)

The collection begins with two boxes of assorted Clippings. Correspondence spans more than sixty years and contains both personal and professional correspondence; correspondents include Anne Walters, Brandeis University, Random House, Frances Frost, and Julia Peterkin.

Files includes medical, legal, and financial material as well as material relating to assorted personal and professional subjects. Memorabilia contains, among other things, calendars and diaries, photographs and scrapbooks, and example of artwork. Miscellaneous printed material consists of books, journals, pamphlets, and magazines, followed by five boxes of miscellaneous Notes.

Writings consists of drafts, galleys, notes, synopses, book covers, and typescripts of novels, plays, poetry, screenplays, and short stories, written by Fineman or by Fineman in collaboration with others. Writings — others and Writings (unknown) is comprised of writings by authors other than Fineman, or writings whose authorship is unknown. Published material contains items by and about Fineman.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is subdivided by type. Files and Memorabilia are arranged alphabetically. Miscellaneous printed material is subdivided by type. The two boxes of Clippings and five boxes of Notes are in no particular order. Fineman's Writings are subdivided by type and then arranged, where appropriate, alphabetically by title; Writings by others and by unknown authors are in no particular order. Published material is subdivided into material by Fineman and material about Fineman.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection. Additional permission may be required for use of Peterkin letters.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has made a concerted effort over the years to ensure that its manuscript and rare books holdings complement each other. As a result, many of our manuscript collections are supported by books, pamphlets, serials and other items which are cataloged in the Rare Books Collection. Please be sure to search the Classic Catalog for these related materials.

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Subject Headings


Fineman, Irving, 1893-1976 -- Archives.
Peterkin, Julia Mood, 1880-1961.


American literature -- 20th century.
American literature -- Jewish authors.
Authors, American.
Jews, American.
Novelists, American.

Genres and Forms

Calendars (documents)
Drafts (documents)
Galley proofs.
Manuscripts for publication.



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Irving Fineman Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MPK
Date: Feb 1979
Revision history: 1 May 2008 - converted to EAD (MRC)

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Box 1 Miscellaneous
Box 2 Miscellaneous
Box 3 Fragments
Box 3 Postcards (2 folders)
Box 3 Fourth Class Mail
Box 3 No Dates (13 folders)
Box 3 Anne Walters
Box 3 Brandeis University
Box 3 Elick Moll
Box 3 Random House
Box 3A Frances Frost
Box 4 Personal (4 folders)
Box 4 1919-1939 (24 folders)
Box 5 1940-1959 (23 folders)
Box 6 1960-1976 (18 folders)
Julia Peterkin
Box 6 undated
Box 6 1926-1930 (5 folders)
Box 7 1930-1940, 1943 (12 folders)
Box 7 Miscellaneous (2 folders)
Box 7 Bank (6 folders)
Box 8 Legal
Box 8 General (2 folders)
Box 8 Putney School
Box 8 General
Box 8 1961-1963
Box 8 1970-1975 (6 folders)
Box 9 General (6 folders)
Box 9 X-Rays
Box 9 Miscellaneous (5 folders)
Box 10 Bank
Box 10 Bennington College
Box 10 Car
Box 10 Education (2 folders)
Box 10 Family (3 folders)
Box 10 Hollywood
Box 10 Huntington Hartford Foundation
Box 10 Israel
Box 10 Mutual Housing Association
Box 10 Navy
Box 10 Ramah
Box 10 RAND
Box 10 Reprints
Box 10 Social Security
Box 10 United States Auto Association
Box 10 Veterans Administration
Box 10 Women
Box 10 Address Books
Oversize 2 Art Work
Box 10 Awards
Box 10 Business Cards
Box 10 Calendars
Box 11 Calendars (3 folders)
Box 11 Diaries
Box 11 1922
Box 11 1930's
Box 11 1940-1941
Box 11 1947
Box 11 1948
Box 11 1949
Box 11 After 1949
Box 11 Family
Box 11 Negatives (2 folders)
Box 11 Notebooks (21 volumes)
Box 12 Painting (oil)
Box 12 Passports
Box 12 Photographs (6 folders)
Oversize 2 Photographs
Box 12 Scrapbooks (3 volumes)
Oversize 1 Scrapbooks (2 volumes)
Box 12 Slide (color)
Box 12 Spike
Box 12 Tape Recordings (4 tapes)
Oversize 1 Textbook
Box 12 Triptiks (2 items)
Oversize 2 Yearbook
Miscellaneous printed material
Box 12 Books (6 volumes)
Box 13 Pamphlets
Box 14 Magazines and Journals
Box 15 Miscellaneous notes (15 folders)
Box 16 Miscellaneous notes (15 folders)
Box 17 Miscellaneous notes (15 folders)
Box 18 Miscellaneous notes (13 folders)
Box 19 Miscellaneous notes (10 folders)
Box 20 Notes (10 folders)
Box 20 Photocopied Material (2 folders)
Box 21 Ideas (17 folders)
Box 22 Ideas (16 folders)
Box 23 Ideas (10 folders)
Doctor Addams
Box 23 Synopsis (2 folders)
Box 23 Bookcover
Box 24 Rough Draft (4 folders)
Helen Herself
Box 24 Notes (4 folders)
Box 24 Rough Draft (2 folders)
Box 24 Typescripts (7 folders)
Here Ye Sons
Box 25 Miscellaneous
Box 25 Bookcover
Box 25 Galley
Box 25 Typescript (2 folders)
Box 25 Notes (4 folders)
Box 25 Typescripts (4 folders)
Lovers Must Learn
Box 25 Rough Draft
Box 25 Bookcover
Box 26 Typescripts (5 folders)
Mystery on Maple Hill
Box 26 Typescripts (2 folders)
Box 26 Rough Drafts (13 folders)
Box 27 Rough Drafts (17 folders)
Box 28 Rough Drafts (3 folders)
Box 28 Typescripts (9 folders)
Box 29 Typescripts (2 folders)
Box 29 Postscript (2 folders)
Box 29 Correspondence (2 folders)
Box 29 Notes (5 folders)
Box 29 Rough Drafts (2 folders)
Box 30 Rough Drafts (2 folders)
Box 30 Typescripts (4 folders)
Box 30 Motion picture adaptation
Box 30 Galley
Box 30 Book
This Pure Young Man
Box 30 Bookcover
Box 30 Correspondence
Box 30 Clippings
Box 30 Legal
Box 30 Notes (3 folders)
Box 30 Typescripts
Box 31 Typescripts (4 volumes)
Woman of Valor
Box 31 Bookcover
Box 31 Research Material (2 folders)
Box 31 Notes (5 folders)
Box 32 Rough Draft (2 folders)
Box 32 Typescripts (3 folders)
Box 32 Galleys (2 folders)
Box 32 Book
Box 32 A Boy A Girl And A Dog (3 folders)
Box 32 Akiba (2 folders)
Box 33 The Fig Tree Madonna (12 folders)
Box 33 Here Comes Miss Jordan
Box 33 If This Be Known
Box 33 Little Red Riding Hood
Box 33 The Long Road
Box 33 Mr. Jordan Calling
Box 33 The Lives of Patricia
Box 33 Oedipus
Box 33 For Mortals
Box 33 Husbands Ltd.
Box 33 The Widow of Ephesus
Box 33 Poems (2 folders)
Box 34 Poems (9 folders)
Box 34 Screenplays, A-Z (8 folders)
Short Stories
Box 35 Misc. (5 folders)
Box 35 A-K (14 folders)
Box 36 L-Z (15 folders)
With Others
Box 37 w/ Jerry Horwin (2 folders)
Box 37 w/ Carl A. Halter
Box 37 w/ Herbert Kline (3 folders)
Writings – others
Box 37 Miscellaneous (12 folders)
Box 38 Miscellaneous (2 folders)
Published material
Box 38 By Fineman (3 folders)
Box 38 About Fineman
Writings (unknown)
Box 38 Miscellaneous
Box 39 Miscellaneous (3 folders)

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