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Bel Kaufman Papers, 1911-2004
27 boxes (33.75 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 522

Abstract:
Author; Teacher; Lyricist. Papers consist of files pertaining to Kaufman's activities as a high school teacher, author, lecturer and public speaker; to her travels in Russia, where there has been an abiding interest in her grandfather, the author Sholom Alacheim; and to translations of her books into the Russian language. Materials relating to her written works include manuscripts, correspondence, contracts, and notes on Kaufman's published books Up the Down Staircase (1964) and Love, Etc. (1979).

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveats:

  • The collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.
  • This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Restrictions on use:

Bel Kaufman retains copyright ownership for her unpublished writings. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Bel Kaufman was born in Berlin, the daughter of Lala Rabiniwitz and Michael Kaufman, and she is the granddaughter of famed Yiddish writer Sholom Aleichem, on whose stories Fiddler on the Roof is based. Kaufman was raised in Odessa and Moscow before emigrating the the U.S. in 1924 at age twelve. Despite knowing no English when she came to the U.S., she graduated from South Side High School (Newark, New Jersey) in 1929, and went on to earn her B.A. magna cum laude from Hunter College (1934), her M.A. from Columbia University in 1936. Kaufman maried Sydney Goldstine in 1940 and they two children, Jonathan Goldstine and Thea Goldstine; the couple later divorced. She taught high school English for many years, was assistant profesor of English at the City University of New York and lecturer at the New School for Social Research, and has taught creative writing seminars and workshops at the University of Florida and the University of Rochester and other institutions.

Kaufman is best known as the author of Up the Down Staircase (1964), a novel based on her experiences as a New York City high school teacher, which was made into a play as well as movie starring Sandy Dennis (1967) and is in its fifty-seventh printing. She is also the author of Love, Etc. (1979), a novel about coping with the breakup of a marriage, and of many short stories. Kaufman has been a highly sought-after public speaker at education conventions and Jewish organizations throughout the country, and has won many honors and awards, including honorary degrees from several colleges and universities.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Papers consist of files pertaining to Kaufman's activities as a high school teacher, author, lecturer and public speaker; to her travels in Russia, where there has been an abiding interest in her grandfather, the author Sholom Alacheim; and to translations of her books into the Russian language. Materials relating to her written works include manuscripts, correspondence, contracts, and notes on Kaufman's published books Up the Down Staircase (1964) and Love, Etc. (1979), and numerous books and magazines containing essays and articles by Kaufman. Correspondence, contracts and documents pertaining to literary rights regarding the movie Up The Down Staircase (1967). Photographs of Kaufman and biographical materials (including interviews) are also included. Many of the documents pertaining to Russia and to Sholom Alacheim are in Russian.

[NOTE: The contents list for this collection is not online. Contact the Sophia Smith Collection if you would like one sent to you.]


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveats:

  • The collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.
  • This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Restrictions on use:

Bel Kaufman retains copyright ownership for her unpublished writings. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Bel Kaufman Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

Bel Kaufman began donating her papers to the Sophia Smith Collection in 2005. Periodic additions are expected.

Accruals:

Periodic additions to collection are expected and may not be reflected in this record.

Processing Information

Accessioned by Burd Schlessinger.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email Reference Form: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/emailform.html
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/
Language
English, Rus


Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Authors, American--20th century--Biography--Sources
  • High school teachers--United States--Biography--Sources
  • Jewish women--Biography--Sources
  • Kaufman, Bel
  • Soviet Union -- History -- 20th century -- Sources


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