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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 3355

Lillian Ross papers


Contains papers of Lillian Ross, including correspondence, publishing files, files from her time at the New Yorker, drafts and materials related to her writing, and personal papers, photos, and memorabilia.Keep very brief, one-sentence summary of collection.


  • Creation: circa 1938-2017

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to the bulk of this material. Collection is open for research.

This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.

Audiovisual and born-digital media are restricted until surrogates are made; see curatorial staff.


49.25 linear feet (52 boxes)
.7 Gigabytes (1 CD)

Contains materials relating to Lillian Ross’s career as a journalist and author, including files relating to her work and writing at The New Yorker, as well as files, drafts, and galleys for her publications, including Talk Stories, Takes, The Fun of It, Reporting, Reporting Always, Reporting Back, and some files related to Portrait of Hemingway, The Player, Adlai Stevenson, and Moments with Chaplin. Additionally contains files for many additional stories and profiles written for The New Yorker and elsewhere, as well as correspondence, contracts, photographs, clippings and copies. Many small notebooks used by Ross in her research process, as well as some audio and video cassettes, are included. Further materials include personal materials, including yearbooks and diplomas from her time at Cornell University. The collection contains materials relating to her projects related to Ernest Hemingway and J.D. Salinger, both of whom became friends, but not any direct correspondence between Ross and either author.

Biographical / Historical

Lillian Ross (1918-2017) was an American journalist and author, born Lillian Rosovsky in Syracuse, New York. She was raised partially in Syracuse and partially in Brooklyn. She was a staff writer for The New Yorker starting in 1945 during World War II and working nearly up to her death. She wrote articles with a novelistic reporting style, which would later be called “new journalism” or “literary journalism,” including early stories about Ernest Hemingway and John Huston’s filming of The Red Badge of Courage. Ross also wrote a series of pieces called Talk of the Town, which were later compiled into two books: Talk Stories (1966), Takes (1983), and The Fun of It. Other publications, often based on her reporting, include Reporting (1964), Portrait of Hemingway (1961), The Player (written with her sister Helen Ross, 1962), Adlai Stevenson (1966), and Moments with Chaplin (1980). Ross also wrote a novel, Vertical and Horizontal (1963) and memoir, Here But Not Here (1998). She also wrote pieces on writer J.D. Salinger, with whom she was friends. Ross died from a stroke at the age of 99 in September, 2017.


Materials have been minimally processed. They remain in the order in which they were recieved from the seller.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2020M-81. Purchased with funds from the Bayard Livingston and Kate Gray Kilgour Fund, 2020 February.

2022M-28. Added to original collection as intended.

Processing Information

Processed by Betts Coup, 2020. The description is largely based on a spreadsheet from the Lillian Ross Estate.

Ross, Lillian, 1918-2017. Lillian Ross papers, circa 1938-2017 (MS Am 3355): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
2020 March 5
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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