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Judith Crist Papers

An inventory of her papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: FED
Date: Apr 1972

Biographical History

Judith (Klein) Crist (1922- ) is an American film and drama critic. Born on 22 May 1922 in New York, she attended high school in New York City and graduated at the age of fifteen and received a B.A. from Hunter College in 1941. After teaching briefly at Washington State College, she completed work on an M.S. at the Columbia University School of Journalism in 1945. In the same year, she was hired by the New York Herald-Tribune as a general assignment reporter. Judith Klein married William B. Crist, a New York public relations executive, in 1947.

In 1958 Ms. Crist became associate drama critic under Walter Kerr, and in 1960 she was named editor for the arts for the Herald-Tribune. After the newspaper strike of 1962-1963, Judith Crist emerged as film critic and associate drama critic of the short lived New York World Journal Tribune. Beginning in 1965 she delivered short television film reviews on the NBC Today Show, as well as serving as a critic-at-large for the Ladies Home Journal from 1966 to 1967.

Ms. Crist conducted the Judith Crist Film Weekends at Tarrytown House, New York, from 1971 to 2006, and she has been an adjunct professor at Columbia's School of Journalism since 1958. She is a regular contributor of articles to various other national magazines and reviews network movies for TV Guide magazine and first-run films for New York magazine.

Judith Crist has received numerous awards, including the Page One Award of the New York Newspaper Guild (1955), the George Polk Award (1951), five N.Y. Newspaper Woman's Club awards (1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1967); Edn. Writers Association award (1952); and the Columbia Graduate School Journalism Alumni Award (1961). She is a member of the New York Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics associations and Sigma Tau Delta. A collection of her best pieces was published in an anthology entitled The Private Eye, The Cowboy and the Very Naked Girl (1968).

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Judith Crist Papers contain correspondence and writings, with a few items of memorabilia.

Correspondence consists of incoming letters and carbon copies of outgoing letters. There are numerous letters from readers of her reviews, as well as letters from actors, directors, and other persons notable in the performing arts. Notable correspondents include Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Alfred Hitchcock, and Walt Disney.

Memorabilia contains newspaper clippings and a few miscellaneous items.

Writings in manuscript and printed form include articles, book reviews, interviews, and movie reviews. Titles of the first-run films reviewed in New York are given in the following inventory in the order they are treated in the review. Titles of the network movies reviewed in TV Guide are not listed.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged chronologically. Writings are subdivided by type. Movie reviews for New York and TV Guide -- mostly revised typescripts and typescript carbons -- are arranged chronologically.


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.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has numerous collections relating to movies, television, and radio. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Crist, Judith -- Archives.


Critics -- United States.
Dramatic criticism.
Film criticism.
Film critics -- United States.
Newspapers -- Sections, columns, etc. -- Reviews.
Television criticism.
Theater critics -- United States.
Women authors, American.
Women film critics -- United States.
Women journalists -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Film reviews.
Manuscripts for publication.
Reviews (documents)


Film critics.
Theater critics.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Judith Crist Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Judith K. Crist, 1969-1991.

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