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Dorothy Norman Papers

An inventory of her papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: 1968?

Biographical History

Dorothy Norman (1905-1997) was an American photographer, writer, editor, arts patron and advocate for social change. Born in Philadelphia, Norman is perhaps best known for her long and intimate relationship with photographer Alfred Stieglitz, whom she met in 1927 and who became her lover and mentor. Stieglitz encouraged Norman in her photography, and her work includes numerous photos of Steiglitz as well as portraits of Lewis Mumford, Theodore Dreiser, John Cage, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Indira Gandhi.

During the 1930s and 1940s the two became involved in various liberal causes, particularly civil rights, education, and independence for India and Israel. Norman was a founding member of New York City's Liberal Party, the American Emergency Food Committee for India, and The American Citizens' Committee for Economic Aid Abroad. She was a member of the Americans for Democratic Action and served on the boards of both the New York Urban League and the National Urban League.

In addition to her social activtism and photography work, Norman wrote a weekly column in The New York Post (1942-1949) and edited and published Twice a Year, (1938-1948), a journal of literature, the arts and civil liberties whose contributors included Richard Wright, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre and Bertolt Brecht. She wrote or edited numerous books including The Selected Writings of John Marin (1949), Nehru: The First Sixty Years (1965), a two-volume collection of the Indian leader's writings, Alfred Stieglitz: An American Seer (1970), the first full-length biography of the American modernist, Indira Gandhi: Letters to an American Friend (1985), and Encounters: a Memoir (1987).

[Portions of this biographical sketch adapted from "Dorothy Norman, 92, Writer Who Sought Social Change" by Roberta Smith, New York Times, April 14, 1997.]

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Dorothy Norman Papers consist of two separate accessions which have not been integrated. Both contain correspondence, manuscripts, research material, and published material. The bulk of the material relates to Norman's interest in India and to her book, Nehru: The First Sixty Years.

Original accession

Correspondence includes both incoming and outgoing correspondence.

Subject files includes published material, mimeographed material, maps, a tape and a blueprint.

Manuscripts contains drafts, galleys, and other iterations of articles and books. The vast majority of this material relates to Norman's book Nehru: The First Sixty Years.

Research material includes manuscripts, published material, and xeroxed material concerning India and material for the book Nehru: The First Sixth Years.

Published material contains articles, book reviews, brochures, catalogs, reports, magazines, newspapers, and newspaper clippings.

1968 Accession

The 1968 additions to the Dorothy Norman papers are divided into five groups: correspondence, manuscripts, India research material, Nehru research material, and published material.

Correspondence, 1953-1967, includes both incoming and outgoing letters, and relates primarily to Indian problems.

Manuscripts, 1949-1960, consists of correspondence about, bibliography for, and discarded pages from the manuscript of Mrs. Norman's book, Nehru: the first sixty years. Also included in this group is a report on India by Mrs. Norman, and a manuscript by S. S. Bhatnagar.

India research material, 1950-1967, includes both published and mimeographed material relevant to Mrs. Norman's interest in India. Nehru research material, 1928-1951, contains typescript notes and printed material used as background for Mrs. Norman's writings about Nehru.

Published material, 1923-1967, contains books, bulletins, news letters, newspapers, pamphlets, periodicals and reports about India.

Arrangement of the Collection

Original accession

Incoming correspondence is arranged alphabetically; outgoing correspondence is arranged chronologically. Subject files are arranged alphabetically by subject. Manuscripts are arranged alphabetically by type. Research material is arranged alphabetically by subject. Published material is arranged alphabetically by type; within that, material is arranged alphabetically by title with the exception of newspaper clippings and press releases, which are arranged chronologically by year.

1968 accession

Correspondence is arranged chronologically. Manuscripts are arranged alphabetically by type. India research material and Nehru research material is arranged alphabetically by subject. Published material is arranged alphabetically by title.


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.

Subject Headings


Nehru, Jawaharlal, 1889-1964.
Norman, Dorothy, 1905-1997 -- Archives.
Norman, Dorothy, 1905-1997. -- Nehru, the first sixty years.


Women authors, American.


India -- Politics and government.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Galley proofs.
Manuscripts for publication.
Press releases.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Dorothy Norman Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Dorothy Norman.

Table of Contents


Subject files


Research material

Published material

Correspondence (1968 Accession)

Manuscripts (1968 Accession)

India Research Material (1968 Accession)

Nehru research material (1968 Accession)

Published material (1968 Accession)