Collection inventory

Special Collections home page

Evelyn Shrifte Collection Relating to Vanguard Press

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KM
Date: Mar 2000

Biographical History

The Vanguard Press was established in 1926 with a $100,000 grant from the Garland Fund, a philanthropic foundation. The Garland Fund was noted for its support of left-wing and radical causes, organizations and institutions, and Vanguard Press published a wide assortment of new and classic works on radical topics, including studies of the Soviet Union, socialist theory, and politically-oriented fiction. In 1932 the press severed its relationship with the Garland Fund and moved into publishing more mainstream authors and titles. The firm was sold to a larger publishing firm in the late 1930s and in 1988 it was acquired by Random House.

Evelyn Shrifte (1900 or 1901-1999) was an American editor and president of Vanguard Publishing for more than thirty-five years. Educated at Barnard College, she worked for the Musical Quarterly and owned and operated a bookstore in New York City before going to work for Vanguard in the early 1930s. She became its president in 1952, a position she held until Vanguard's sale to Random House in 1988. Among the books published during her tenure were Saul Bellow's first two novels, Dr. Seuss' first two books, and many novels by Joyce Carol Oates.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Spanning 1928 to 1990, the Evelyn Shrifte Collection Relating to Vanguard Press comprises correspondence and memorabilia relating to Vanguard Press, of which Shrifte served as president from 1952 to 1988, when it was sold to Random House. Although the bulk of the Vanguard Press Archive was subsequently donated to Columbia University Library, Evelyn Shrifte retained an assortment of materials relating to a number of authors with whom she had worked.

Correspondence-subject files (Boxes 1-4) contains any combination of incoming and outgoing personal and business letters, book manuscripts, and printed material pertaining to Vanguard Press authors Saul Bellow, James T. Farrell, Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Phillips, and Edith Sitwell, among others. Of greatest depth and duration (1948-1962) are materials relating to a number of Sitwell titles, including The Canticle of the Rose, Collected Poems, English Eccentrics, and Music and Ceremonies. In addition, the collection includes two versions of the Dr. Seuss manuscript for The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.

A history of Vanguard Press, notes for two projects, five catalogs from between the years 1928 and 1938, and an assortment of reviews constitute Memorabilia.

Arrangement of the Collection

Material is arranged alphabetically.


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

Three story manuscripts ("Did You Ever Slip on Red Blood?"; "The Lady with Pet Dog"; "Nightmusic") and the partial manuscript for an unpublished novel, How Lucien Florey Died, and Was Born, have been transferred to and integrated with the Joyce Carol Oates Papers. Two published books by Louis Slobodkin have been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging; please refer to the Classic Catalog to locate these items.

Subject Headings


Boulle, Pierre, 1912-1994.
L'Engle, Madeleine.
Oates, Joyce Carol, 1938-
Seuss, Dr.
Shrifte, Evelyn.
Sitwell, Edith, 1887-1964.
Slobodkin, Louis, 1903-1975.

Corporate Bodies

Vanguard Press.


Publishers and publishing -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Book reviews.
Catalogs (documents)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Manuscripts for publication.


Publishers and publishing.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Evelyn Shrifte Collection Relating to Vanguard Press,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Bernice Woll, 1999.

Table of Contents

Correspondence-subject files