Scope and arrangement
The Harriet Walden New Yorker papers contain correspondence, procedural documents, and printed material that reflect her forty-year career at the New Yorker, as well as the friendships she developed with various New Yorker writers and editors. Many of the staff members, including E. B. and Katharine Sergeant White, worked remotely or were otherwise in various stages of retirement, and their correspondence demonstrates how Walden facilitated their work and kept them abreast of office news. Other writers and editors represented in the papers include John Bainbridge, Geoffrey Hellman, Hendrik Hertzberg, Leo Hofeller, Mollie Panter-Downes, Harold Ross, William Shawn, and William Walden.
The correspondence and office files of E. B. and Katharine Sergeant White make up the bulk of the collection. Walden handled the Whites' affairs in New York and they corresponded frequently and with affection. The correspondence with both Whites offers glimpses into their life in Maine and the letters are filled with news of their health, visitors, and daily activities on the farm. E. B. White wrote about routine office matters as well as long term projects, such as the accumulation of his papers for donation to Cornell University; the compilation of his letters for publication in Letters of E. B. White; and his work editing Onward and Upward in the Garden, a compilation of Katharine Sergeant White's essays on gardening. Often White returned Walden's letters and memoranda with holograph replies in the margins. Procedural files regard White's reprints, vacation instruction, and how to handle "autograph chasers." The files provide insight into the various editorial and legal issues surrounding reprints and include clippings and photocopies of White's work. Katharine Sergeant White's correspondence reflects her two-year appointment as fiction editor in 1956, and the part-time editing work she continued until 1961. The file on Joel White regards settling his parents estate and managing reprints, and contains letters to Walden that describe E. B. White's declining health the last two years of his life.
Files on staff members primarily contain letters to Walden. Both Leo Hofeller and William Maxwell wrote often and affectionately and their correspondence was mainly of a social nature. The Harold Ross file includes a small amount of outgoing letters, holograph notes to both Waldens, and a list of salary increases for the staff in 1944. After he returned home from the war, William Walden held the position of Head of the Varitype Department and his file includes instructions for varitypists. Edmund Wilson's file includes a small self-published comic magazine that Wilson sent out as his 1976 Christmas card.
The "Letters and cards from New Yorker people," (Walden's designation) demonstrate the close relationships that Walden had with many of the staff members, and their wives, and they regard gifts; salutations; requests for books, tearsheets of articles, and office supplies; or simply to say hello. Many of the cards and letters had been sent to her home address. Writers and editors include Gardner Botsford, Brendan Gill, Philip Hamburger, Geoffrey Hellman, Hendrik Hertzberg, Edith Iglauer, Lois Long, Tom Meehan, Mollie Panter-Downes, Lillian Ross, and Joseph Wechsberg.
The Conflict was an in-house newsletter attributed to writer Russell Maloney that contained office news, updates on staff members reporting on the Second World War from Europe and Asia, and staff changes. Printed material contains a parody issue about Harold Ross that was published on November 6, 1926, an April 22, 1985 issue signed by William Shawn, and promotional reprints of articles. Other files include a procedure file, a style file, and a file of obituaries that contains invitations to and programs from memorial services of New Yorker staff members.
The Harriet Walden New Yorker papers are arranged alphabetically.