Scope and arrangement
The Max Frankel papers document Frankel's tenure as Times Sunday editor from 1972 to 1976; editor of the op-ed, letters to the editor, and editorial pages from 1977 to 1986; and as executive editor from 1986 to 1994. Primarily made up of internal memoranda, letters, and managerial reports, the collection reveals Frankel's influence on news coverage and newspaper operations, with particular focus on his contributions to the News Department in the final decade of his editorship. Files concern editorial and production matters, story development, and strategic planning for the paper. Frankel was highly involved in personnel management and many files detail staff issues, such as story assignments, affirmative action and minority hiring efforts, and policies for using freelance reporters. Also present are letters from Frankel's news contacts and acquaintances outside of The Times, as well as readers' responses to stories and editorials. The collection contains a small amount of files specifically related to Frankel, including articles and speeches by him and photographs of Frankel from the late 1950s to the 1970s.
This collection contains little on Frankel's role in the release of the Pentagon Papers (1971) or his reporting on Richard Nixon's trip in China, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1973. For more on these subjects, researchers should view the New York Times Company records. A.M. Rosenthal papers, Foreign Desk records, and General files.
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, geographic locations, company policy issues, and many of the paper's departments, bureaus, sections, and columns. 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 New York Times Company records. Max Frankel papers are arranged in two series:
This series is made up of files that contain items to, from, or concerning various individuals. Most people represented are staff members and others affiliated with The New York Times. Files typically consist of correspondence and memoranda that document personnel decisions, employee assessments, staff assignments, story development, and feedback from readers on certain stories or writers. Additional correspondence with staff members can be found in the News Department: Staff files in the Subjects series. Also present are files for people not affiliated with The Times, such as politicians and other public figures. These files feature either internal Times discussions about news coverage of these individuals, or those individual's communications with Frankel (incoming and outgoing copies of letters). Letters typically discuss The Times' reporting, setting up meetings and interviews with Times staff members, and requests for editorial endorsements.
Of note are the files for Times Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Sr., which span from the beginning of Frankel's time as Sunday editor until the end of his executive editorship. The files consist of directives from the publisher related to news coverage, staff and resource management, and long-term planning initiatives, as well as letters to and from Sulzberger with people outside of The Times on which Frankel was copied.
Files are arranged alphabetically by name. The Miscellaneous Correspondence files are grouped alphabetically by last name and contain letters from many authors not represented elsewhere in the collection. Entries without box and folder numbers cross-reference related material in other files. These files do not necessarily collect every letter, memorandum, or document related to the individual; subject files should also be consulted.
This series is made up of alphabetical subject files that are organized (and titled) by topical keywords, geographic location, and Times departments, bureaus, newspaper sections, and columns. Files largely contain internal memoranda and reports concerning news coverage, production decisions, and operation of the various departments. These communications are mostly among the upper-management of The Times including publishers Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Sr. and Jr., and Frankel's closest colleagues Arthur Gelb, Allan Siegal, John Lee, Mitchel Levitas, James Greenfield, Warren Hoge, and Joseph Lelyveld. Topics addressed include staff assignments, development of new columns and special features, department operations and assessments, editorial policies, redesigns, and space and page make-up issues. Also present are reports on budgets and revenue for specific sections; coverage on the operations of the News Department from the late 1980s and early 1990s is particularly strong.
Of note are files documenting decisions for policies on smoking in the office, free-speech, and libel cases made against the paper, and changes in newsroom technology. During the final years of Frankel's editorship, The Times began to grapple with the growing popularity of the Internet. This collection contains memoranda and reports concerning coverage of the Internet, and surrounding how Times articles should appear on the web.
Files are arranged alphabetically by file title. Entries without box and folder numbers cross-reference related material in other files.