Scope and arrangement
The New York Times Company records. Autograph file is a collection of personal and business letters, letters to the editor, legal documents, photographs, and notes created or signed by individuals and sent to the Times publishers and staff. Contributors include international heads of state and ambassadors; American politicians (mostly presidents, governors, congress members, and high-level government staff); military leaders; judges; political activists; scientists; journalists; media owners; university presidents; academics and intellectuals; business leaders; heads of charities and other foundations; and cultural figures, such as performers, writers, artists, and athletes. While each contributor is listed in the finding aid, amounts of letters vary considerably. Extents range from single items to dozens of letters sent to one or more Times staff members or publishers over multiple decades.
Items come from practically every collection in the New York Times Company records, including publishers' papers, papers of editors and writers, and desk records. The collection consists of items that are personal in nature, as well as formal business correspondence. Many items are letters to the editors or op-ed page contributions, many of which The Times published. These typically feature extensive editorial markup and annotations, revealing how the editors altered letters for publication. Also present are a few 19th century letters that do not appear to be related to The Times.
The collection is organized into a rough alphabetical order by last name with items signed by groups of people filed at the end. While most files collect items from multiple authors,some individuals had enough items to warrant their own folders. Researchers may need to look in multiple folders, including the group folders, in order to find every item from a specific author.
Times archivists removed items from collections as they processed and often left photocopy surrogates in their place. However, some items came from portions of collections that were discarded, such as the letters to the editor files. In these cases, the item in the autograph collection is the only extant copy.
The collection is ordered alphabetically by surname with items signed by groups of people filed at the end. The items signed by groups of people are organized chronologically.