Scope and arrangement
The Robert E. Garst papers consist of correspondence, internal memoranda, reports, typescripts of articles, speeches, biographical files, photographs, and news clippings compiled from Garst's files as assistant managing editor of The New York Times (1952-1964). These records document Garst's close involvement in high-level editorial and administrative decision making and his role as liason between editorial departments. These papers do not, however, make up the entirety of Garst's files but represent a potent selection of documents that reveal Garst's contributions as editor and administrator, and the functioning of the editorial unit at large. Also present is a small amount of Garst's personal correspondence and writings, and some letters from David E. Joseph, his predecessor as assistant managing editor.
The collection is divided into two series: I: People and II: Subjects. The People files consist of records pertaining to individuals, while the Subjects files contain items on specific topics. Items germane to two or more people or subjects are often cross-referenced in the finding aid; documents related to specific issues are generally located in subject files rather than the people folders of those involved. The Times archivists imposed this arrangement on Garst's files.
The collection documents Garst's involvement in a wide range of aspects of newsroom operations, largely through letters and memoranda sent between Garst and the other senior editors and with the publishers. Topics discussed in depth include general editorial and style policies, staff administration, office and staff expenses, the assigning and development of daily news stories, methods of communication between the national and international news bureaus, the planning of special supplements, and and the production of year-end review sections. Many of the memoranda include accompanying related materials, such as article clippings and copies of communications. Also present are letters from readers, many with responses from Garst, that discuss specific articles and the coverage of contentious news issues.
The New York Times Company records. Robert E. Garst papers are arranged in two series:
- 1948-19683 boxes
This series is made up of files that contain items to, from, or concerning various individuals, such as New York Times staff members, freelance reporters, politicians, and other newsmakers. Many of the memoranda and letters are Garst's copies of items circulated among Frank S. Adams, Julian Ochs Adler, Theodore Bernstein, Richard Burritt, Turner Catledge, Daniel Clifton, Orvil Dryfoos, Emmanuel Freedman, Anthony Lewis, Abraham M. Rosenthal, and other staff members. Along with communications with or about individuals, many files also contain biographical write-ups and photograph portraits. Staff member files often include employment histories and assessments of their work. These files do not necessarily collect every letter, memorandum, or document related to the individual; subject files should also be consulted.
Files are arranged alphabetically by name. Entries without box and folder numbers cross-reference related material in other files.
- 1929-19796 boxes
This series is made up of alphabetical subject files that are organized (and titled) by topical keywords, issues, events, projects, geographic locations, or company, organization, institution, department, or newspaper section names. They primarily contain incoming and copies of outgoing letters between Garst and fellow New York Times staff members, and with newsmakers and concerned readers. Many of the memoranda and letters are Garst's copies of items circulated among Frank S. Adams, Julian Ochs Adler, Charles Benda, Theodore Bernstein, Richard Burritt, Turner Catledge, Daniel Clifton, Orvil Dryfoos, Emmanuel Freedman, Anthony Lewis, Abraham M. Rosenthal, and other senior staff members. These communications reveal high-level decision making on reporting and editorial matters, and are accompanied by reports on finances and various newspaper administrative matters including subscription levels, deadlines, and the costs of reporting for different sections and divisions.
The series includes large files on the following topics: Communism and congressional investigations into New York Times reporters with ties to the Communist Party (see: Communism and Staff: Senate Investigations), civil rights and the representation of African Americans in the paper (see: Negroes), editorial and style policies and guidelines, and the running of the international edition. Also of note are files on the organization and management of the Women's News and Education News departments. Additionally the Style folder contains Garst's 1955 report on the "Better Writing Project," a twenty-year effort within the news department to make The Times easier to read.
Files are arranged alphabetically by file title. Entries without box and folder numbers cross-reference related material in other files.