Contents and Arrangement

Sally Bingham, 1991 October 18

1 box
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Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information


The P.E.N. American Center Records consist of files created by P.E.N. American Center (PEN America) as part of its regular business operations. They document the history and activities of the center since its foundation in 1922.

The collection contains files documenting the center's literary awards, grants, and financial aid given by the center, program files, and files pertaining to the center's advocacy for freedom of expression. Further included are files that document the center's decision-making processes and policies, including executive and committee files, fundraising files, and membership files. The conference files and files on other branches and centers document P.E.N. American Center's role in International P.E.N. and its interactions with organizations of P.E.N. worldwide. In addition, the collection contains audiovisual material documenting P.E.N. events and publications created by or under the auspices of P.E.N. American Center.

The collection is especially notable for its documentation of authors' and editors' creative processes and intellectual leanings, manifest in the executive correspondence files and the manuscripts and committee files that pertain to the center's literary awards. More than 1500 hours of audio and video recordings of P.E.N. programs and events, dating back to 1966, also document lively conversations between writers and artists, Nobel Prize winners in literature, economics, science, and peace, social reformers and activists, and philosophers, including Toni Morrison, Saul Bellow, Pablo Neruda, Arthur Miller, Susan Sontag, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Allen Ginsberg to name only a few.

Collection History

Archival Appraisal Information:

Approximately 100 linear feet of material was separated in 2010, including duplicate material, clippings, general administrative and logistical files, general membership files, general reference files, publications (transferred to Firestone Library general collections) and extraneous material.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Special Requirements for Access:

Online access to most digitized audiovisual media in the collection is available through the PEN America Digital Archive site.

Credit this material:

Sally Bingham; P.E.N. American Center Records, C0760, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
ReCAP (rcpxm): Box 270