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   Ernest Becker papers, 1952-1977 [Bulk Dates: 1962-1974]

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Ernest Becker Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information

Abstract

Becker’s papers consist primarily of correspondence and notes on cultural anthropology, sociology, and psychology. Boxes of notecards and annotated books are also included in the collection.

At a Glance

Call No.:MS# 1567
Bib ID:6909763 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Becker, Ernest.
Title:Ernest Becker papers, 1952-1977 [Bulk Dates: 1962-1974]
Physical description:9 linear ft. (3 document boxes, 5 notecard boxes, and 2 record storage cartons)
Language(s): Material is in English.
Access: This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. This collection has no restrictions.  More information »

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in six series:

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Description

Scope and Content

The collection contains many of Becker's notes and lectures on cultural anthropology, sociology, psychiatry, and psychology. His correspondence consists of letters to close friends, and colleagues about his works, as well as letters to potential publishers. His observations, notes and lectures are typed on notecards along with related newspaper clippings. He also recorded his thoughts on the inside covers and the first few pages of various books. There are also two personal journals from the 1950s.

Series I: Correspondence, 1966-1974

In this series, there are letters between Becker and his friends and colleagues in the academic field and in the publishing arena.

Series II: Published Materials, 1962-1977

This series contains correspondence and published reviews related to his various books.

Series III: Academic Materials, 1958-1973

This series consists of Becker’s lectures, notes, semester schedules, course outlines, and reading lists.

Series IV: Personal Materials, 1958-1973

This series contains Becker’s bound journals from the 1950s, a typed biography and personal journal, resumé, and photographs.

Series V: Research Notecards, 1966-1972 (5 Notecard Boxes)

This series consists of Becker’s typed, 3 x 5 notecards detailing his cultural anthropological observations along with some newspaper clippings. There are also notes about mental illness, history of disease, origins of social evils, the purpose of culture, and abstract concepts of sociology.

Series VI: Annotated Books, 1915-1968 (2 record storage cartons)

This series consists primarily of books that contain annotations by Becker.

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Using the Collection

Offsite

Access Restrictions

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

      offsite requestMore information and link to off-site request form

This collection has no restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Ernest Becker Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Finding aid in repository; folder level control.

Selected Related Material-- at Columbia

Otto Rank Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Papers processed by Marilyn Chin (Queens College, 2011)

Finding aid written by Marilyn Chin (Queens College, 2011) February 2011

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion May 27, 2011 Finding aid written in English.
    2011-05-27 File created.
    2011-06-02 XML document instance created by Catherine C. Ricciardi

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Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Subjects

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Becker, ErnestPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Becker, Ernest--Denial of DeathPortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Ernest Becker was born in Springfield, MA in 1924. He served in World War II and shortly afterwards, attended Syracuse University in New York. In his early 30s, he pursued a graduate degree in cultural anthropology at his alma mater. He received his Ph.D. in 1960, and soon after, became a professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, Canada. His main interest was in philosophical anthropology-relating to the interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach to the study of human beings.

Becker was the author of several books. His topics included the science of man, mental illness, and the fear of death, Two months after his passing, he won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction for his book, The Denial of Death.

He was married to Marie H. Becker. In late 1972, he was diagnosed with colon cancer and died in March 1974 at the age of 49.

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