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Guide to the William Jovanovich Papers, 1960-1999

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Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Jovanovich, William
Title: William Jovanovich Papers
Dates: 1960-1999
Quantity: 1.0 cubic ft. (1 box)
Abstract: Personal and professional correspondence with Mary McCarthy, correspondence with McCarthy biographers, typescripts of McCarthy's publications with Harcourt, Brace and Javonovich, newspaper clippings relating to McCarthy and her work, and an audio tape of the 1989 memorial service for McCarthy.
Forms of Materials: Correspondence, typescripts, clippings, audio tape, realia.

Biographical Note

William Jovanovich was born Vladimir Jovanovich in Colorado 1920, the youngest child of a Polish mother and Montenegrin father, who worked as a coal miner. Educated in Denver elementary schools and the University of Colorado, Jovanovich served in the navy during World War II. In 1943 he married Martha Evelyn Davis, with whom he had three children. Unable to comlete graduate study after the war, he joined the publisher Harcourt Brace and Company as a college textbook salesman. He rose quickly through the company's management ranks. In 1953 he became head of Harcourt's school division and the company's president the following year. Jovanovich presided over the steady expansion of Harcourt, Brace's enterprises, acquiring other publishing firms and even purchasing several theme parks. In 1970, with company shareholders's approval, the firm changed its name to Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich (HBJ). Under Jovanovich's leadership, the company published several important authors, such as Günter Grass, Umberto Eco, and Italo Calvino. Jovanovich worked direclty with a number of these writers, including Hannah Arendt, Milton Friedman, and Mary McCarthy. Jovanovich and McCarthy first met in 1958, and their professional relationship evolved into a close personal that lasted until McCarthy's death in 1989. Jovanovich continued to play an important role in the management of HBJ until his departure from the company in 1990. In addition working as a publisher, Jovanovich also wrote a number of books, including a memoir, The Temper of the West. Jovanovich died in 2001 at age 81 in San Diego, California.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection includes personal and professional correspondence with Mary McCarthy, correspondence with McCarthy biographers, typescripts of McCarthy's publications with Harcourt, Brace and Javonovich, newspaper clippings relating to McCarthy and her work, and an audio tape of the 1989 memorial service for McCarthy.

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Access and Use

Access

This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to quote (publish) from unpublished or previously published material must be obtained as described in the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library.

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Related Material

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Subject Headings

Names:

  • Arendt, Hannah, 1906-1975
  • Gelderman, Carol W.
  • Hellman, Lillian, 1905-1984
  • Kiernan, Frances
  • McCarthy, Mary, 1912-1989

Organizations:

  • Harcourt Brace Javanovich.

Subjects:

  • Politics and literature -- United States - 20th century.
  • Publishers and publishing--United States.
  • Watergate Affair, 1972-1974.

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Encoding Information

Encoded by Mark Seidl, October 2011.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

William Jovanovich Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

Processed by Mark Seidl, October 2011.

Acquisition Information

This collection was purchased in 2009 from the Jovanovich Family via Glen Horowitz Bookseller.

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Series List

Series I. Correspondence, 1960-1999, bulk 1974-1990 (Folders 1.1-1.20)

Corespondence concerning a variety of personal and professional matters, including the administration of the estate of McCarthy's friend, philosopher Hannah Arendt, and the resolution of playwright Lillian Hellman's libel suit against McCarthy. Also included is correspondence between Jovanovich and his assistants and McCarthy biographers Carol Gelderman and Frances Kiernan. Arranged chronologically.

Series II. Mary McCarthy typescripts and Publication Materials, circa 1963-1991, bulk 1986-1991

This series consists mainly of typescripts of McCarthy's books published by Harcourt Brace Javonovich. These include her autobiography, How I Grew, with her hand-written corrections, and The Mask of State on the Watergate affair. Also included are correspondence and other materials pertaining to the publication of these and other books. Arranged chronologically.

Series III. Miscellaneous Materials, circa 1975-1990, bulk 1989

This series consists of materials concerning a gift to Jovanovich from the McCarthy estate and McCarthy's final hospital visits. Also included is McCarthy's remembrance of her friend Nichola Chiaromonte and an audiotape of the memorial service for McCarthy at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City in the fall of 1989. Arranged alphabetically.

Container List

Series I. Correspondence

Folder 1.1 WJ - Mary McCarthy Letters, 1960
Folder 1.2 Mary McCarthy, 1966-1975
Folder 1.3 "Mary McCarthy," 1971-1973
Folder 1.4 Mary McCarthy - WJ, 1974-1984
Folder 1.5 Mary McCarthy - WJ, 1974-1979
Folder 1.6 Mary McCarthy - WJ on H.[annah] A.[rendt] Estate, 1976
Folder 1.7 WJ gift to M. McCarthy, 1976
Folder 1.8 WJ - M. McCarthy on Eliz. Y[oung]-B[rühl] biography of H.[annah] A.[rendt], 1977
Folder 1.9 Mary McCarthy 1982, 1979-1982
Folder 1.10 McCarthy - WJ: Hellman, etc., 1979-1984
Folder 1.11 Mary McCarthy - Hannah Arendt, 1981-1982
Folder 1.12 Carol Gelderman, 1981-1982
Folder 1.13 Mary McCarthy - WJ, 1981-1983
Folder 1.14 Mary McCarthy, 1981
Folder 1.15 Mary McCarthy, 1984-1987
Folder 1.16 Mary McCarthy, 1984-1989
Folder 1.17 Mary McCarthy - WJ Correspondence, 1985-1987
Folder 1.18 Mary McCarthy Papers, 1985
Folder 1.19 Last Days of Mary McCarthy, 1987-1990
Folder 1.20 WJ - Frances Kiernan, 1990-1999

Series II. Mary McCarthy Typescripts and Publication Materials

Folder 1.21 Stones of Florence Intro. (Blur), circa 1963
Folder 1.22 Mary McCarthy Mask of State, 1974
Folder 1.23 Cannibals and Missionaries et al., 1979-1980
Folder 1.24 Mary McCarthy Cannibals and Missionaries, 1979 February 23
Folder 1.25 Mary McCarthy Manuscript - An Intellectual Autobiography or How I Grew, 1982
Folder 1.26 How I Grew - Ms. 1, 1986
Folder 1.27 How I Grew - Ms. 2, circa 1986
Folder 1.28 Mary McCarthy - How I Grew, 1986-1988
Folder 1.29 How I Grew - Vol. I - Mary McCarthy Manuscript, 1989
Folder 1.30 How I Grew - Vol. I - Ch. 1, circa 1989
Folder 1.31 Mary McCarthy - 3 Chap. - How I Grew Vol. II, 1991
Folder 1.32 "Mary McCarthy's Autobiography," circa 1986-1991

Series III. Miscellaneous Materials,

Folder 1.33 Gift From Mary McCarthy Estate, 1990
Folder 1.34 Mary McCarthy - Hospital, 1989
Folder 1.35 Mary McCarthy Memorial Service, 1989 November 8
Folder 1.36 Nichola Chiaromonte - Mary McCarthy, circa 1975

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