Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections Online

For Participating Institutions

David H. Hirsch papers (MS.2012.030)

Brown University Library

Box A
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: Manuscripts: 401-863-3723; University Archives: 401-863-2148
Email: Manuscripts: hay@brown.edu; University Archives: archives@brown.edu

Scope & content

Series 1. Correspondence (1960-1999). This series is divided into professional and personal correspondence. The professional correspondence (1961-1999) is to and from publishers, universities, journals, and societies with notable correspondence with George Core, editor of the Sewanee Review (Box 1, folder 15). The personal correspondence (1960-1999) is on personal and professional topics with notable materials to and from Cleanth Brooks, Maynard Mack, James Reston, A.M. Rosenthal, Abraham Sutzkever, Hyatt Waggoner, Elie Wiesel, and George Will.

Series 2. Personal and teaching (1961-2000). This series is divided into six subseries. The Personal subseries (1961-1999) contains curriculum vitae; financial, medical, and family documents; tuition receipts for Hirsch’s son and daughter; photographs; and miscellaneous notes, including telephone memos and scraps of paper. The Teaching subseries (1968-2000) includes Brown University department, faculty, and administrative memos; course proposals; course materials for his classes in English, Judaic Studies and Religious Studies; writings on teaching and education; and awards and committee activities. Notable within this subseries are the materials on the Educational Policy Committee and the formation of the Modern Culture and Media Department at Brown University (Box 3, folder 1) and the Phi Beta Kappa Gauss Award Committee documents (Box 3, folders 11-15). The Conferences (1971-1999) subseries comprises mostly conference proceedings on Holocaust-related topics. Notable among these proceedings is the Holocaust Symposium held at Wroxton College (Box 3, folders 21-25). Materials from the courses taught by Professor Hirsch are arranged numerically by course number within each department. Judaic Studies classes (1983-1999) include Holocaust literature and history; Religious Studies classes (1974-1978) include Old Testament narrative and Joban literature; and English Literature classes (1966-1992) include Literary Criticism and nineteenth-century American literature, especially that of Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville, as well as classes in British and American Romanticism and Musical Comedy.

Series 3. Research and writing (1826-1999; bulk 1961-1999). This is by far the largest series and is subdivided into 18 subseries by field of inquiry. It includes research notes, drafts of essays and longer writings, and finished manuscripts. Early English literature (1968-1985) is a small subseries of research on Colonial and Puritan literature, and includes “New England Writers and the Legacy of Puritanism: a Prolegomena,” a Hirsch paper presented to the Newport Historical Society (Box 6, folder 12). Nineteenth-Century American Literature (1826-1999) comprises annotated critical material and writings on authors Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry James. Most of the material in this section is devoted to Herman Melville and Edgar Allan Poe. Nineteenth-Century British Literature (1964-1968) includes the British Romantics, primarily Wordsworth research and writing. Twentieth-Century Literature (1930-1989; bulk 1960-1989) includes John Barth, Wallace Stevens, but is primarily devoted to T. S. Eliot research and writing, including manuscript versions of the Hirsch paper “T.S. Eliot and the Vexation of Time,” and the collection Critical Essays on T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, edited by Hirsch and Lois Cuddy (Box 10, folders 23-26; Box 11, folders 1-8). The subseries devoted to Literary Criticism (1953-1999) contains Hirsch’s review essays on theoretical books by Sacvan Bercovitch, Gerald Bruns, Stanley Fish, Edwin Fussell, and Christopher Norris; and Hirsch’s papers on structuralism, modernism, imagism, and poetics (Box 11, folders 24-28; Box 12, folders 1-5). The subseries also includes Hirsch’s undergraduate papers, notebooks, notes, and manuscript fragments, as well as a topical collection of annotated research materials on related literary topics such as Intellectual History, Linguistics and Semiotics, and Postmodernism. See also: Judaica and Holocaust Studies: Heidegger, Deconstruction, and Related Literary Theory (Box 20, folders 15-26; Box 21, folders 1-5).

The multiple subseries for Judaica and Holocaust studies (1939-1999; bulk 1983-1999) contain topical research material on the Holocaust as a historical event, including photocopies of contemporary New York Times articles (Box 14, folder 2); miscellaneous writings on Hitler and Nazi officers, concentration camps, ghettos, refugees, and resistance movements. The material in this series is also divided into the following categories: Post-Holocaust politics, judicial proceedings, survivors, Holocaust denial; Interpretations of the Holocaust, including the writings of Primo Levi (Box 15, folder 8) and Elie Wiesel (Box 15, folders 11-15); Literature of the Holocaust, including memoirs, poetry, camp songs, and fiction. Notable within the literature category are Rosalyn and David Hirsch’s translation of Gusta Davidson Draenger’s Justyna’s Narrative (Box 16, folders 4-10) and their translation of Sara Nomberg-Przytyk’s Pillars of Samson (Box 16, folders 18-20); Hirsch translations of Abraham Sutzkever’s poetry and writings (Box 17, folders 16-27); and Hirsch translations of Isaiah Spiegel’s collection of stories Ghetto Kingdom (Box 18, folders 19-23). Additional categories are: Holocaust in contemporary culture, which includes research and writing on modern German literature and drama; films such as Schindler’s List, Life Is Beautiful, Shoah, and Seven Beauties; contemporary Jewish writers such as Philip Roth and Isaac Bashevis Singer; and Hirsch’s response to Peter Novick’s The Holocaust in American Life (Box 19, folder 31; Box 20, folders 1-2).

The subseries Judaic Theology, Literature, and Philosophy is wide-ranging and includes topical research on Judaism and the Bible as literature; Jewish philosophers such at Ernst Cassirer, Emmanuel Levinas, and Franz Rosenzweig; and a substantial collection of research and writing on Martin Heidegger, Deconstruction, and related literary theory where much of the material concerns Heidegger’s association with the Nazi Party, and his philosophical contributions to what would later be called Deconstruction Theory. Hirsch writings on these topics are in Box 20, folders 19-25. Research on Hannah Arendt (Box 21, folder 1) and Yale critic Paul De Man (Box 21, folders 2-3) is related to the Heidegger material. See also Literary Criticism (Box 11, folders 16-28; Boxes 12 and 13; Box 22, folder 10).

Series 4. Posters (1977-1995). This is a small collection of educational and popular culture posters and one oversized publication relating to the Holocaust.

Series 5. Joe Hirsch (1974-1988) includes short fiction, poetry, and drama written by David Hirsch’s son Joe. Also included in this series are notebooks and correspondence relating to publication of his work.