Scope and arrangement
This collection documents Lore Segal's personal life and her family's experiences fleeing Austria and as Jewish refugees in England, the Dominican Republic, and New York City during and after World War II. Also present are materials related to Segal's creative process, literary career, and social circle in New York, as well as the letters and writings of her husband, literary editor David Segal. Of note are Lore Segal's letters and early writings describing her impressions of the Kindertransport (Refugee Children Movement) and of England, the source material for her fictionalized memoir Other People's Houses.
The Lore Segal papers are arranged in three series:
- 1899-20002.5 boxes
This series contains letters and documents from Lore Segal and her extended family covering their experiences in Austria before and during World War II, and their lives as Jewish refugees in England, the Dominican Republic, and eventually, the United States.
The Family Letters, which largely date from the late 1930s to the 1950s, contain details on everyday life as well as the procedures and trials of Jews emigrating from Austria during World War II. Family members wrote letters in both German and English. The letters from Lore include one batch to her parents and another to her cousin and friend Inge. They contain descriptions of the Kindertransport, life in the refugee camps, and her difficulties adapting to living with foster families. Years later, Franzi translated several of the letters from Lore to Inge; for some items the translations are the only surviving copies. The remaining family letters include items to Lore from her parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and a few to or from her foster families (Ellis and Cohen). The letters from Lore's parents document their activities in England working as domestic servants, as well as her mother's experiences upon first arriving in the Dominican Republic. In Lore's grandparent’s letters, they recount stories of living in Hungary and Austria and before the war, as well as their last months in Austria, and their living circumstances in the Dominican Republic. Other family members who wrote to Lore before and during the War include uncles Max (Mimi), Karl Benedik, Ernst, Otto, and Paul Stern; aunts Frida, Lizi, Edith, Ditta, and Else, and cousins Inge Curth, Otto Adler, and Peter Bergel. The Franzi Groszmann items consist of many incoming letters from friends and family, including many from Lore while staying at Yaddo in 1959 and 1960. The Igo and Max Groszmann items date from before the war.
The Family Documents section consists of the family's official, business, and educational documents.
The Genealogy material is comprised of family trees for the Stern, Groszmann, and Segal families, lists of birth dates for Lore's immediate family, a timeline for Paul Stern’s emigration activities, and letters with distant family members sharing genealogical information.
- 1929-200934 boxes
This series consists of Lore Segal's biographical documents and write-ups, her incoming letters, her sketches, and drafts and edits of her writings.
The Biographical Material section contains items that document Lore Segal's life, such as a baby book; diaries; educational documents; travel, medical and banking documents; printed biographies, interviews, clippings; and materials concerned with the Kindertransport documentary Into the Arms of Strangers (2000) that featured Lore and Franzi.
The Correspondence section has general correspondence organized by individual senders, and chronological files of letters spanning 1938 to 2009. These letters provide a window into Segal's personal and social life as well as her professional, intellectual, academic, and creative endeavors. The general correspondence section contains letters from individual letter writers or concerning specific events. These include groups of items to Lore from several friends in England (1945-1960); letters from friends and literary colleagues George and Mary Elliott, Ruth and Peter Gay, Maurice Sendak, Mona Van Duyn, and others; sympathy letters on the deaths of David Segal (1970) and Franzi Groszmann (2005); and letters between Lore and David Segal, primarily dating from Lore's stay at Yaddo in 1960. The chronological correspondence consists of incoming letters from family, friends, collaborators, colleagues, publishers, students, and fan mail.
The Sketches section contains two sketchbooks and many loose sketches created by Lore Segal from throughout her life. Most are pencil and pen portraits. Additional sketches can be found in various letters throughout the collection.
The Writings section contains material related to Segal's novels, children's books, short stories, essays, reviews, lectures, and translations. These items document her entire creative process from early notes and drafts, to later drafts and indexes, to edits and feedback from editors, to corrected galley proofs. There are letters from editors, publishers, colleagues, and friends giving feedback and personal reactions to her writing, as well as letters from readers, young and old, who shared their appreciation for the books and stories with the author. Also present are Segal’s contracts and communications with publishers and agents. This section contains several unpublished stories and essays, along with juvenilia, saved by her mother, from as early as the 1940s, and floppy disks containing drafts of stories, novels and essays. Best documented are Segal's novels Other People's Houses and Her First American. Material relating to Other People's Houses includes Segal's earliest attempts at developing her memories of the Kindertransport and her life in England into prose, as well as drafts of each chapter originally published in the New Yorker. Several reader response letters are from Jews who as children also escaped on the Kindertransport. Her First American material, which spans an 18-year period, includes early drafts and notes, an "Aborted Novel,” folder’s of unused material labeled “Carter,” and her screenplay for Her First American developed for Pippa Scott. These folders have been kept in their original order.
- 1946-19702.5 boxes
This series contains the letters, documents, and writings of literary editor David I. Segal. The letters are both incoming items and carbon copies of outgoing mail spanning 1946 to 1970. These primarily document David Segal's professional activities as a literary editor and include related office documents and attachments such as publication lists. Many of the letters are communications with authors about their work, and responses from reviewers, some of them prominent writers such as Anthony Burgess reviewing Hind's Kidnap, and Philip Roth on Cynthia Ozick (both 1970). Several letters are accompanied by typescripts of poems, essays, and reviews. Of note are many early letters to his parents from his time in school at Michigan and early in his career, letters from novelist Frederick Exley, and a stack of carbon copies of letters from David Segal to every author he editing at Harper Row announcing his departure from the company for Knopf (June 22, 1970).
The Writings section is comprised of typescripts of book reviews, theater reviews, essays, and letters to the editor from the 1950s and 1960s, as well as an undated typescript story entitled "Seek." There is also a folder of writings from David and Lore's friends and colleagues, such as poems by Denise Levertov ("The Ninetieth Year"), Cynthia Ozick ("Fire-Foe"), George P. Elliott ("Young Women's Song"), Larry Ross ("Mors Amoris" and The Imaging"), and the Leonard Michaels short story "Binoculars." Documents include address books, month-at-a-glance calendars (1962-1969), and a correspondence register for David Segal's time at Knopf (1970).