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Helen, Ira, and Michael Wolfert papers

Ms. Coll. 1313

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Creator:
Wolfert family
Title:
Helen, Ira, and Michael Wolfert papers
Date [inclusive]:
1920-2001
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 1313
Extent:
33 linear feet (35 boxes)
Language:
English
Abstract:
This collection includes material related to the lives and work of Helen (1901-1985), Ira (1908-1997), and Michael Wolfert (1936-2001). It contains correspondence between the family and others; manuscripts by all three subjects, as well as others; financial documents; personal documents; photos taken by and of the family; newspaper clippings collected by Helen and Ira; and notes and miscellanea from all three subjects.
Cite as:
Helen, Ira, and Michael Wolfert papers, 1920-2001, Ms. Coll. 1313, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Biography/History

The Wolfert family, whose lives spanned the 20th century and who engaged with most of the important domestic and international concerns of the day, were a remarkably close-knit family of writers and thinkers who struggled to keep their family relationships intact while also pursuing the elusive goal of long-term literary success. As a war reporter during WWII, embedded with the U.S. Forces in the Pacific, Ira Wolfert’s journalism won him widespread acclaim, but in the post-war era his writing fell out of fashion, and he devoted much of his time to well-paying but personally unfulfilling human interest pieces for Reader's Digest. His wife, Helen Wolfert, achieved some success in the pre-war poetry scene, but was frustrated in her post-war attempts to publish an experimental novel,  The Birth; and in the decades that followed, she endured increasing amounts of rejection, as well as prolonged mental and physical illness. She turned her energies to a number of side interests, including space travel, extra-sensory perception, and a new translation of  The Song of Songs, while also encouraging her son Michael’s writing career, both emotionally and financially, as he pursued a bohemian life in Africa and Europe, attempting to produce a massive autobiographical novel which was never published. Finally, after several divorces and a stint of magazine work in New York in the same vein as his father, the trauma of his mother’s death brought Michael back to the family home in Woodstock, NY, where he cared for his father in his final days.

Ira Wolfert was an American journalist and novelist. Born in New York, NY in 1908, Wolfert was a graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism, and worked for the North American Newspaper Alliance during the 1930s and 40s. He married Helen Herschdorfer in 1928, with whom he had two children, Ruth and Michael. In 1943, he received the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Battle of Guadalcanal. After the war, his novel Tucker’s People (1943) became a bestseller, and was made into a movie,  Force of Evil (1948). Until his retirement, Wolfert worked as a staff writer for  Reader's Digest. He was the author of  One Man Air Force (1944, with Don Gentile),  An Act of Love (two versions: 1949, 1954), and  Married Men (1953). He died in Margaretville, NY, in 1997.

Helen X. Herschdorfer Wolfert was an American poet and essayist. Born in New York, NY in 1901, she graduated from Hunter College and taught in New York City schools for ten years. She married Ira Wolfert in 1928, with whom she had two children, Ruth and Michael. During her career she published poems and articles in magazines such as Poetry,  Harper’s Bazaar,  The New Republic and  The Nation, and her books include  Nothing is a Wonderful Thing (1946),  The Music (1965), and  Landlady and Tenant (1979). She died in Woodstock, NY in 1985.

Michael Wolfert was an American writer and the son of Ira and Helen Wolfert. Born in New York, NY in 1936, he graduated from Harvard College in 1957 and worked briefly as a reporter for The Boston Globe and  The New York Post before moving to Tangier and then to Paris, where he served in the Secretariat of UNESCO. After leaving UNESCO with a writing fellowship, he lived in Sweden for many years before returning to America in the 1980s, where he worked as a staff writer for  Womens World. He was a co-writer of the English translation of Miodrag Bulatovic’s  The War Was Better (1971). His first wife, Paula Wolfert, is a well-known writer of cookbooks and culinary articles. He died in Lake Hill, NY in 2001.

Scope and Contents

This collection includes material related to the lives and work of Helen, Ira, and Michael Wolfert. It contains correspondence between the family and others; manuscripts by all three subjects, as well as a smaller amount by colleagues and acquaintances; financial documents; personal documents; photos taken by and of the family; newspaper clippings collected by the family; and notes and miscellanea.

The correspondence concerns the personal and professional lives of the Wolferts. Notable correspondents include Muriel Rukeyser, Denise Levertov, and other notable twentieth century editors and poets. The wartime correspondence, in particular, helps illustrate the family’s relationships during a time of national crisis.

The manuscripts, with their somewhat idiosyncratic ordering and continual revision, represent the struggle (especially in regards to Michael and Helen) of each writer to produce meaningful work in the post-war years, as cohesive literary material is slowly superseded by magazine work and diffuse notes; in Helen’s case, they document her somewhat eccentric hobbies, such as her fascination with space travel and ESP, as well as her deep interest in the history of The Song of Songs.

The financial material represents Ira and Helen’s growing middle-class stability in the post-war years, as well as their struggles to support Michael and Ruth, whose financial situations were more precarious.

The personal material includes official documents like birth, marriage, and death certificates, as well as more intimate material, like Helen’s Rorshach test and Ira’s wallet and its contents.

The series labelled Photographs contains many pictures of unclear provenance and subject, probably taken by Ira during his WWII-era travels and research trips for Reader's Digest, but also contain portraits of the whole family, including more distant relatives.

The series of newspaper clippings reflect Helen and Ira’s interest in international events, particularly the state of the U.S.S.R. and Israel, two countries in which both had a special interest, as Jewish progressives and Marxist sympathizers. The series of notes and miscellanea consists mostly of material culled from the folders of correspondence which could not be identified with any particular subject.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  2017 November 7

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Sam Allingham

Access Restrictions

The bulk of this collection is open for research use. However, access to original audio/visual materials and computer files is restricted. The Kislak Center will provide access to the information on these materials from duplicate master files. If the original does not already have a copy, it will be sent to an outside vendor for copying. Patrons are financially responsible for the cost. The turnaround time from request to delivery of digital items is about two weeks for up to five items and three to seven weeks for more than five items. Please contact Reprographic Services (reprogr@upenn.edu) for cost estimates and ordering.

Once digital items are received, researchers will have access to the files on a dedicated computer in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. Researchers should be aware of specifics of copyright law and act accordingly.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

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Controlled Access Headings

Form/Genre(s)
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Drafts (documents)
  • Family papers
  • Financial records
  • Negatives (photographic)
  • Notes
  • Photographs
  • Writings (documents)
Personal Name(s)
  • Wolfert, Helen X. Herschdorfer -- Archives
  • Wolfert, Ira, 1908-1997 -- Archives
  • Wolfert, Michael
Subject(s)
  • American poetry--20th century
  • Authors
  • Authors, American--20th century
  • Families
  • Family histories
  • Journalism--United States
  • Women authors
  • World War, 1939-1945--United States

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Collection Inventory

Series I: Correspondence, 1931-2000.

Scope and Contents note

The correspondence is organized alphabetically by sender. The majority of the correspondence from outside the family was addressed to Ira and Helen, and concerns their personal, professional, and political lives. In addition, there is a significant amount of personal material from Michael, mostly during his time in Tangier, Paris, and Sweden. Any correspondence which concerns manuscripts, published work, or editorial decisions by publishers is located in Series II: Writings.

Box Folder

Ackerman - Auerbach, 1944-1959.

1 1

Baird-Butler, 1937-1980.

1 2

Cameron-Crow, 1943-2000.

1 3

Da Costa-Driscoll, 1944-1971.

1 4

Edminster-Ewing, 1947-1972.

1 5

Farrar-Freyderhz, 1943-1992.

1 6

Galyon-Greenburger, 1943-1964.

1 7

Halkin-Hughes, 1943-1979.

1 8

Jaffe-Judith, 1943-1951.

1 9

Keedick-Kuhn, 1943-1972.

1 10

La Farge-Laden, 1931-1972.

1 11

Lamb-Lord, 1936-1974.

1 12

Mack-Mueller, 1937-1972.

1 13

Nash-Otis, 1936-1954.

1 14

Paige-Rukeyser, 1942-1992.

1 15

Sacks-Sulamith, 1932-1989.

1 16

Taylor-Volkening, 1936-1976.

1 17

Wachtel-Wise, 1931-1999.

1 18

Wolfert, Alton-Wolfert, Arthur, 1943-1979.

1 19

Wolfert, Bato, after 1974.

1 20

Wolfert, Helen, 1925.

1 21

Wolfert, Helen, 1944-1955.

1 22

Wolfert, Helen, 1956-1983.

1 23

Wolfert, Ira, 1943.

1 24

Wolfert, Ira, 1970-1993, undated.

1 28

Wolfert, Ira, 1944, March-July.

1 25

Wolfert, Ira, 1944, Aug-1957.

1 26

Wolfert, Ira, 1960-1969.

1 27

Wolfert, Leila, 1981-1983.

2 1

Wolfert, Michael, circa 1943.

2 2

Wolfert, Michael, 1952-1956.

2 3

Wolfert, Michael, 1957-1963.

2 4

Wolfert, Michael, 1963-1969.

2 5

Wolfert, Michael, 1970-1976.

2 6

Wolfert, Michael, 1977-1982.

2 7

Wolfert, Michael, 1989-2001.

2 8

Wolfert, Paula, 1966-1980.

2 9

Wolfert, Rafi-Wolfert, Ruth, 1943-1981.

2 10

Wolfert, Seime, 1972-1984.

2 11

Wolfert, Vivian-Zilmer, 1941-1977.

2 12

Unknown sender, 1944-1990.

2 13

Unknown sender, undated.

2 14

Series II: Writings.

Scope and Contents note

The manuscripts are organized at the subseries level by author. Because all three Wolferts (most notably Helen and Michael) wrote a great deal of material that remained unpublished, and because they continually revised this material over the course of their lifetime, identifying titles and dates can be difficult. Whenever possible, the initial folder titles (written by Helen and sometimes by Michael) have been preserved, dates have been approximated using written clues and relationship to published material, and the folders have been arranged chronologically, using the earliest identifiable date within each folder. In addition, the manuscripts have been separated into “Manuscript” and “Published” material; the latter consists of copies of journals and magazines containing the author’s work. Any correspondence concerning manuscripts, published work, or editorial decisions by publishers is also located in this series, within the appropriate author’s subseries.

A. Helen Wolfert.

i. Manuscripts and notes.
Box Folder

"The Faraway Princess", 1923.

3 1

"Early poems", after 1928.

3 2

Articles and poems in NYC newspapers, 1930-1945.

3 3

Extra copies of poems, circa 1930-1963, undated.

3 4

Drawings, 1931, 1949, undated.

3 5

Early poems, 1931.

26 1

Ruth's baby book, 1933.

3 6

Various poems, 1940-1947.

3 7

Early poems, before 1942.

26 2-3

"Poems for occasions", 1944-1972.

3 8

Birthday greetings / cards, 1945-1981.

3 9

Nothing is a Wonderful Thing manuscript, circa 1946.

3 10

Nothing is a Wonderful Thing proofs, circa 1946.

26 4-5

Person to Person manuscript, 1946.

3 11

Writing in response to editorial in the New York Times, 1946 January.

3 12

"The Meeting", before 1947.

3 13

To Canyon, unpublished novel, notes and scenes, circa 1947.

26 6

Writing about reviews, 1947-1950.

3 14

"Up from Poetry", 1948.

26 7

The Birth, early handwritten version, circa 1949.

26 8-11

"Give Us This Day Our Daily Mother", circa 1949.

3 15

"I Came Down Flying with a Pencil in My Hand", before 1950.

3 16

Manuscripts rejected by Translations magazine, before 1950.

3 17

Transcripts of conversations, circa 1950.

3 18

The Adventures of Showerpuss and Wallop, circa 1950.

3 19-21

"Give Us This Day Our Daily Mother" and other poems, circa 1950.

3 22-24

Notes on ESP, 1954.

3 25

Ideas for products submitted to companies, 1954-1958.

3 26

The Birth, full typescript copy with front matter, circa 1955.

4 1-3

The Birth typescript, circa 1955.

26 12-13

The Birth, copy submitted to Harpers and Company, circa 1955.

4 4-6

The Birth, partial copy, circa 1955.

4 7-8

The Birth, full typescript copy, circa 1955.

4 9-14

The Birth, handwritten copy, circa 1955.

4 15

The Birth, handwritten copy, circa 1955.

26 14

Helen's journal of a trip to Russia, 1955.

4 16

"An Hour in the Sun", circa 1956.

4 17

Notes and writing from trip to Israel, 1956-1957.

26 15-16

Story written for a friend to gain acceptance to Hunter College, 1957.

4 18

Notes on art, circa 1958.

4 19

Travel writing, 1960-1970.

4 20

Religious and cultural writing, 1962.

4 21

The Music of the Tell, version sent to typist, 1962.

26 17

Poems from The Dream, circa 1963.

4 22

Notes for readings/lectures, circa 1963.

4 23-24

"New Poems", after 1963.

4 25

Poems written in the hospital, 1963 November-1964 January.

5 1

Notebooks of translation of Song of Songs, 1963-1972.

5 2

Autobiographical writing, after 1964.

5 3

Writings on Israel/Judaism, after 1964.

5 4

uncorrected typescript of The Song of Songs, circa 1965.

5 6

Typescript of The Music with editorial comments and proofs, 1965.

26 18

The Song of Songs, 1965.

5 5

Handwritten poems, 1965 September 11.

5 7

Autobiographical notes, 1965-1975.

5 8

Poems arranged for project with Jane Bromberg, circa 1966.

5 9

History of the interpretation of The Song of Songs, circa 1967.

5 10

The Music, 1965.

5 11

Notes on The Song of Songs, 1967-1969.

5 12

Manuscript of intro for the Song of Songs, circa 1969.

5 13

The Adventures of Bato and Leila, Book II, 1969.

5 14

"You're All My Children", circa 1969.

5 15

Manuscript pages of the Song of Songs, circa 1971.

26 19-22

Poems begun in Sarasota, circa 1972.

5 16

Notes, circa 1972.

5 17

Autobiographical poems, circa 1973.

5 18

Poems sent to the Sheeps Meadow Press, 1973.

5 19

"Letter to a Publisher", 1974.

5 20

Christmas poems, 1975, undated.

5 21

Prologue to the translation of the Song of Songs, circa 1975.

5 22

Notes related to Poetry Society of America, 1975-1977.

5 23

List of poems sent out for publication, circa 1976.

5 24

Various poems, circa 1977.

26 23

Proofs of Landlady and Tenant, 1979.

5 25

Various poems, circa 1979.

5 26

Dust jacket for Landlady and Tenant, 1979.

5 27

Manuscript of Landlady and Tenant and other unpublished poems, circa 1980.

5 28

Doubtful Poems, circa 1980.

6 1

Articles/letters published in newspapers from Woodstock, New York, 1980-1981.

6 2

Testimonal for Muriel Rukeyser, circa 1980.

26 24

"Portrait of Muriel" (about Muriel Rukeyser), circa 1980.

6 3

Poems collected in an issue of the New Yorker, 1981.

6 4

"What are Birds?", 1982.

6 5

"Sounds into Words", circa 1985.

6 6

"Sounds Drifting into Words", circa 1985.

6 7

Poems rejected by Sheeps Meadow Press, 1985.

6 8

Unfinished poems, undated.

6 9

"Many Lives", undated.

6 10

Limericks, undated.

6 11

Unfinished poems from Poems of the Gongs, undated.

6 12

Various poems, undated.

6 13

"New Poems", undated.

6 14

"Poems of My Life", undated.

6 15

"Autobiographical Poems", undated.

6 16

Songs, undated.

6 17

Early versions of poems, undated.

6 18

"Notes on Bees and Other Notes", undated.

6 19

Poems to be sent to magazines, undated.

6 20

"The Evolution Series", undated.

6 21

Unfinished autobiographical poems and others, undated.

6 22

Rediscovered beginnings of poems, undated.

6 23

"An Hour in the Sun", undated.

6 24

"The Dream that Would Not Go Away", undated.

6 25

"Autumn Landscape", undated.

6 26

"The Mesmerist", undated.

6 27

Notes on the Song of Songs, undated.

27 1-4

Typed poems from "An Hour in the Sun", undated.

27 5-6

Unidentified poems, undated.

27 7

Poems and stories for children, undated.

27 8

Research material for the Song of Songs, undated.

27 9

Notes on prelude to the Song of Songs, undated.

27 10-11

Carbons of poems, undated.

27 12

"Untitled Poems", undated.

27 13

"Poems Finished or Being Worked On", undated.

27 14

"Last Poems", undated.

27 15

"The Meeting", undated.

27 16

Notes and poems, undated.

27 17
ii. Publications.
Box Folder

1923-1964.

6 28

1923-1964.

27 18-19

1965-1977.

6 29
iii. Correspondence regarding manuscripts and publications.
Box Folder

Correspondence with magazines, 1932-1934.

6 30

Correspondence re: Nothing is a Wonderful Thing, 1943-1950.

27 20

Correspondence regarding "Woman Against the Moon", 1945-1950.

6 31

Correspondence regarding manuscripts, 1945-1950.

6 32

Correspondence with agents and editors, 1958-1959 October.

6 33

Correspondence with agents and editors, 1959 Nov - 1962 Oct.

6 34

Correspondence with agents and editors, 1962 Oct-1965.

7 1

Correspondence re: the Music.

27 21

Notes on Helen's poems from an undergraduate at Sarah Lawrence, 1966.

7 2

Correspondence regarding the copyright for The Music, 1967.

7 3

Correspondence regarding poetry submissions, 1967 June-1971 July.

7 4

Correspondence regarding accepted poems, 1968.

7 5

Correspondence regarding poetry submissions, 1971 July-1974 October.

7 6

Correspondence re: poetry submissions, 1972-1980.

27 22

Correspondence with agents and editors, 1975 July-1976 June.

7 7

Rejection letters, circa 1980.

7 8

Correspondence regarding poetry submissions, undated.

7 9

B. Ira Wolfert.

i. Manuscripts and notes.
Box Folder

"In the Black Morning", 1939.

27 23-24

"New Work", circa 1939.

27 25

"A Little Masculine", 1942.

27 26

War writing, 1943.

7 10

Tucker's People, typescript, circa 1943.

7 11-14

Tucker's People, typescript, circa 1943.

28 1-3

Tucker's People, typescript, agency copy, circa 1943.

7 15-17

An Act of Love, early notebooks, circa 1943.

28 4

The Cave, early version of  an Act of Love, 1943.

27 5-7

"The Resistance Story", after 1943.

7 18

An Act of Love, circa 1944.

28 8-17

Wartime articles, 1944.

7 19

PR and clippings for One Man Air Force, 1944.

8 1

War writings, circa 1944.

8 2

Wartime notes, 1944 .

8 3

War writings, 1944 March-October.

8 4

War writings, 1944-1945.

8 5

Articles in "Cross Section", 1944-1945.

8 6

Interview regarding Buchenwald, general notes, 1945.

8 7

Interview regarding Buchenwald, research, circa 1945.

8 8

Interview regarding Buchenwald, 1945.

8 9-11

History Island (early version of  American Geurrila), 1945.

29 1

Proofs of an American Geurrila, circa 1945.

29 2

"Pilot, Man Your Plane", circa 1947.

29 3

Book reviews, circa 1947.

8 12

Tucker's People, screenplay, 1948.

8 13

"Scandal in Grand Rapids", 1949.

29 4-5

Joy Boy, play, circa 1950.

8 14

Joy Boy: a comedy, play, 1950.

8 15

Joy Boy, play, 2nd revised draft, 1950.

8 16

"Mr. Vorpe's Romance", 1951.

29 6

"Dangerous Thoughts", 1951.

29 7

"Elegy of Youth", 1951.

29 8

"Danger: Man in Love", 1951.

29 9

Speech given at Middlebury College against the Red Scare, 1951.

8 17

Articles for the Nation, 1953.

29 10

Married Men, final original version, circa 1953.

9 1-8

Married Men, second draft, circa 1953.

9 9-14

Married Men, play, first draft, after 1953.

10 1

Married Men, play, second draft, after 1953.

10 2

Married Men, play, unknown draft, after 1953.

10 3

An Act of Love, "retold" version, 1954.

10 4-7

Articles on road paving, circa 1954.

10 8

Research materials for articles on road paving, circa 1954.

10 9

Readers Digest articles, 1954.

29 11

An Act of Love typescript with manuscript corrections, 1954.

10 10-12

Research for dewatering article, 1955.

10 13

Readers Digest articles, 1956.

10 14

Readers Digest articles, 1957.

10 15

Readers Digest articles, 1958-1959.

11 1

Married Men, play, 1959.

29 12-14

Readers Digest articles, 1960.

11 2

Readers Digest articles, 1961.

11 3

Journal, 1961.

11 4

Readers Digest articles, 1962.

11 5

"On the Doorstep of the Future", circa 1962.

11 6

Readers Digest articles, 1963.

11 7

Readers Digest articles, 1964.

11 8

Readers Digest articles, 1965.

11 9

Banty, a play, circa 1966.

29 15-18

Readers Digest articles, 1966.

11 10

Readers Digest articles, 1967.

11 11

Readers Digest articles, 1968.

11 12

"Sea Lab Report", 1968.

11 13

Readers Digest research, 1968-1969.

11 14

Readers Digest articles, 1969.

11 15

Readers Digest ideas, 1969.

11 16

Readers Digest articles, 1970.

11 17

Readers Digest articles, 1971.

11 18

Orgler and the Divorced Widow, circa 1980.

11 19-21

Orgler, assorted pages, circa 1980.

12 1

Orgler, first chapters sent to "Mr. Douglas", circa 1980.

12 2-3

Orgler and the Divorced Widow, parts one and two, circa 1980.

12 4-5

Orgler, typescript with handwritten edits, circa 1980.

12 6-8

Orgler's Wife, circa 1980.

12 9-14

Orgler, typescript with handwritten corrections, circa 1980.

12 15-16

"It's Only Reflexes", undated.

29 19

"Danger: Man in Love", undated.

29 20

Untitles short story, undated.

29 21

"The Winners", undated.

29 22-23

"The Victory", undated.

29 24

Untitled manuscript, undated.

29 25

Unidentified manuscript pages, undated.

30 1-3
ii. Publications.
Box Folder

"In Right," Harpers Magazine, 1936 September.

13 1

"Doctor Ford's Strange Palimpsest," Ken, 1938 August 11.

25 1

"The Way the Luck Runs," Harpers Magazine, 1938 November.

13 2

"Off the Highway," Esquire, 1937 October.

13 3

"Finally Harriet," Harpers Magazine, 1938 October.

13 4

"Brother Joe," Swank, 1941 October.

13 5

Readers Digest articles, 1943-1960.

13 6

"The Winners," Colliers, 1943 July 10.

25 2

"Through Man Travelling," Tomorrow, 1950.

30 4

"The Strange Case of Alger Hiss," Esquire, 1953 December.

13 7

"The Indomitable Blue," Esquire, 1953 December.

25 3

Book reviews, 1954.

30 5

Russian translation of a short story, Cmeha, 1956.

13 8

"The Economy, What Goes on Here?" Ameryka, circa 1962.

25 4

"What It's Like in Outer Space," Readers Digest, undated.

13 9
iii. Correspondence regarding manuscripts and publications.
Box Folder

Correspondence regarding Tucker's People, 1939-1972.

13 10

Correspondence regarding a co-operative publishing concern, 1945.

13 11

Correspondence regarding An Act of Love, 1949.

30 6-7

Correspondence regarding An Act of Love, second version, 1953-1954.

30 8

Correspondence regarding Married Men, 1951-1954.

13 12

Correspondence regarding Married Men, 1956.

30 9

Correspondence regarding an engineering article for Readers Digest, 1954-1956.

13 13

Correspondence regarding reissues of Tucker's People, 1956-1986.

13 14

Correspondence regarding paperback edition of American Guerrila, 1974.

30 10

B. Michael Wolfert.

Box Folder

Early work, 1940-1952.

13 15

Early work, 1952-1955.

13 16

Early work, circa 1959.

13 17

Travel articles, short stories, circa 1971.

13 18

Article on Swedish welfare state, 1974.

13 19

Story Ideas for Women's World, 1980-1991.

13 20

Life Beggars, novel, circa 1984.

13 21

Journal entries, 1984 June-August.

13 22

Journal entries, 1984 September-October.

13 23

Journal entries, 1984 November-1985 Jan.

14 1

Story idea for "Proud to be an American", 1985.

14 2

Journal entries, 1985 January-June.

14 3

Journal entries, 1985 July-October.

14 4

Story ideas for Women's World, 1985 November-1987 March.

14 5

Journal entries, 1985-1986.

14 6

"Sexy Health", circa 1986.

14 7

"Single Moms Beware", 1986.

14 8

Journal entries, 1986 February-April.

14 9

Journal entries, 1986 May-July.

14 10

Journal entries, 1986 August-December.

14 11

Journal of success, 1987.

14 12

"Your Child's Choice of Friends", 1987.

14 13

Meditation journal entries, 1987 January-February.

14 14

Journal entries, 1987 January-April.

14 15

Proposals for Star Magazine, 1987 February-March.

14 16

Story ideas for Women's World, 1987 March 14.

30 11

Meditation journal entries, 1987 March-April.

14 17

Story ideas for Women's World, 1987, July 24 - 1988, February 14.

30 12

Meditation journal entries, 1987 May-August.

14 18

Journal entries, 1987 May-June.

14 19

Story ideas for Women's World , 1987 April.

14 20

Story ideas for Women's World, 1987 July.

14 21-23

Story ideas for Women's World, 1987 July.

15 1

Journal entries, 1987 September-1988 January.

15 2

Story idea, "Autistic Child Cured", 1987-1988.

15 3

Story ideas for Women's World, 1988 February-September.

15 4

Story ideas for Women's World, 1988 March-September.

30 13

Story ideas for Women's World, 1988 June 21-September 21.

30 15

Story idea for USA Today, 1988 April 8-June 15.

30 14

Journal entries, 1988 February-March.

15 5

Journal entries, 1988 April-July.

15 6

Journal entries, 1988 August-October.

15 7

Story ideas for Women's World, 1988, October 6.

15 8

Story ideas for Women's World, 1988 October 20.

15 9

Story ideas for Women's World, 1988 November 3-16.

15 10

Story ideas for Women's World, 1988 November 17-December 1.

15 11

Dream journal entries, 1988 October-December.

15 12

Journal entries, 1988 December-1989 March.

15 13

Outline of "Desire", 1989.

15 14

Journal entries, 1989 March-May.

15 15

Journal entries, 1989 May-June.

15 16

Journal entries, 1989 June-July.

15 17

Journal entries, 1989 July-August.

15 18

Journal entries, 1989 August-December.

15 19

"Begging for Life", circa 1990.

16 1

Journal entries, 1990 January-February.

16 2

"Begging for Life", circa 1991.

16 3

"An American Life", 1991.

16 4

Assignments for Women's World, circa 1991.

16 5

Tangier, novel, circa 1997.

16 6

Marrakesh, circa 1997.

16 7-8

Notes on rewrite for "Dawn", circa 1997.

16 9

Notes on a novel about Tangier, circa 1997.

16 10

"Lot's House", circa 1997.

16 11

Autobiographical novel, chapter 10-13, circa 1997.

16 12

Autobiographical novel, chapter 14-15, circa 1997.

16 13

Autobiographical novel, chapter 16-19, circa 1997.

16 14

"The Golden Hours", circa 1997.

16 15

"Eva", circa 1997.

16 16

"Dad", circa 1997.

16 17

"Sis", circa 1997.

16 18

Notes on "Arrival", circa 1997.

16 19

Notes on "Hospital", circa 1997.

16 20

Notes for rewrite of "Lib", circa 1997.

16 21

"Look Again", circa 1997.

17 1

Cuts from "Child", circa 1997.

17 2

"Boom Doom", circa 1997.

17 3

"Bliz", circa 1997.

17 4

Notes for rewrite of "Lib", 2000.

17 5

"Barnts", 2000.

17 6

"April", circa 2000.

17 7

"Hosp", circa 2000.

17 8

Poems, undated.

17 9

Notes on Paul Ricouer, undated.

17 10

Research notes, undated.

17 11

D. Others.

i. Manuscripts.
Box Folder

Anti-communist manifesto, circa 1952.

30 16

Manuscripts from Muriel Rukeyser, 1967.

30 18

Manuscripts from Muriel Rukeyser, 1972.

17 12

Leila Wolfert, "An Oriental Dream", 1974.

17 13

Paula Wolfert, circa 1994.

17 14

Early work by Ruth Wolfert, 1937-1961.

17 15

Manuscript by Ruth Wolfert, "The Railroad Industry: the New York Central", undated.

17 16

Manuscripts by others, 1948-1980.

17 17

Meir Lask's translation of the Song of Songs, undated.

30 18

Adrienne Wolfert, undated.

30 19

Miscellaneous writings by others, undated.

30 20
ii. Publications.
Box Folder

Kroeber-Meyer, 1953-1967.

31 1

Stone-Wolfskehl, 1946-1947.

31 2

Series III: Financial documents.

Scope and Contents note

The financial documents are organized chronologically, with no subseries delineations, as the Wolferts’ finances were deeply intertwined, especially after Michael came to live with his parents in Woodstock, NY. It contains tax, investment, bank, royalty, and insurance information, as well as medical bills and late-life care for Helen and Ira.

Box Folder

Correspondence regarding transfer of securities, 1933-1973.

17 18

Receipts and Bills, 1936-1943.

17 19

Leases, 1936-1949.

17 20

Life insurance, 1940-1979.

17 21

Contract and invoices for Ira's speaking engagements, 1943.

17 22

Utility bills and info, 1944-1989.

17 23

Deeds, 1945-1968.

17 24

Plans for the Wolferts' Woodstock home, 1946.

17 25

Commercial correspondence about insurance bills, 1950-1956.

17 26

Royalties for An Act of Love, 1954.

31 3

Car insurance, 1956-1991.

17 27

County taxes, 1957-1992.

18 1

Fire insurance, 1958-1995.

18 2

Photos of car crash for insurance documentation, 1962.

18 3

Receipts, 1963-1975.

18 4

Receipts, 1963-1975.

31 4

Health insurance, 1963-1990.

18 5

Royalties for Tucker's People, 1955-1970.

18 6

Utility receipts, 1966-1977.

18 7

Transactions by Sheriff Securities Company, 1966-1978.

18 8

Bank account info, 1967.

18 10

Royalty statements for Helen Wolfert's The Music, 1967-1980.

31 5

Social Security, 1968-1985.

18 9

Income tax, 1970-1991.

18 11

Stock trades, 1971.

18 12

Stock trades, 1973.

18 13

Royalties from Rising Tides, 20th Century Women Poets, 1973.

18 14

Stock trades, 1974.

18 15

Proof of stakeholder claim, 1974.

18 16

Stock trades, 1975-1976.

18 17

Stock trades, 1976-1978.

18 18

Contract for Helen Wolfert's New and Selected Poems, 1978.

18 19

Stock transaction statements, 1980-1982.

18 20

Transactions by Sheriff Securities Company, 1980-1990.

18 21

Royalty statements for Helen Wolfert's The Music, 1981.

18 22

Stock transaction statements, 1982-1984.

18 23

Tax info, 1984-1986.

19 1

Bank statements, 1984-1990.

19 2

Income tax statements, 1986-1989.

19 3

Stock trades, 1986-1989.

19 4

Tax info, 1987-1996.

19 5

Veterinary bills, 1989-1999.

19 6

Stock transaction statements, 1989-1990.

19 7

Medical bills, 1989-1991.

19 8

Income tax statements, 1990-1991.

19 9

Stock trades, 1990-1991.

19 10

Auto insurance, 1990-1994.

19 11

Stock transaction statements, 1990-1994.

19 12

Stock transaction statements, Michael and Ruth, 1991-1992.

19 13

Bank statements, 1991-1993.

19 14

Correspondence with Fidelity investments, 1992-1997.

19 15

Financial information for Ira's social security application, 1993-1997.

19 16

Financial records for Michael's work with the Screen Actors' Guild, 1994.

19 17

Ira's checks, 1994-1995.

19 18

Bank statements, Michael, 1994-1998.

19 19

Michael's checks, 1994-1999.

19 20

Bank statements, Ira, 1995.

19 21

Materials related to Michael's purchase of Ira's house, 1995.

19 22

Stock transaction statements, 1995.

20 1

Credit card statements, 1995-1996.

20 2

Financial info for Medicaid application, 1995-1997.

20 3

Stock transaction statements, 1996.

20 4

Deals concerning Ira's reissues, 1996-1999.

20 5

Documents regarding Ira's late life care, 1997.

20 6

Stock transaction statements, 1997.

20 7

Credit card statements, 1997-1999.

20 8

Stock transaction statements, 1998.

20 9

Series IV: Personal documents.

Scope and Contents note

The personal documents are organized chronologically, with no subseries delineations. This series contains marriage licenses, birth records, last will and testament, travel documents, the family rolodex, Ira’s wallet, and other information.

Box Folder

Invitation to Ira's brother's bar mitzvah, 1920, October 21.

20 10

Marriage license for Helen and Ira, 1928.

20 11

Birth certificate for Ruth Wolfert, 1933.

20 12

Bank book for Manuel Herschdorfer (Helen's relative), 1942.

24 17

Ira's will and testament, several versions, 1942-1995.

20 13

Documents from Ira's war correspondence (press permissions, fleet information), 1943-1944.

20 14

Camp Woodland festival program, 1944.

20 15

Cards from Ruth and Michael, circa 1945.

20 16

Documents regarding Helen's care of her parents' graves, 1946.

20 17

Documents regarding Ruth's education, 1946-1957.

20 18

Documents regarding Michael's education, 1947-1953.

20 19

Periodicals with Helen's annotations, 1947-1976.

20 20

Information on Palestine, 1948.

20 21

Invitation to Michael's Bar Mitzvah, 1949.

20 22

Family insurance cards, 1950.

20 23

Helen's social security materials, 1951-1963.

20 24

Helen's Rorshach test, circa 1952.

20 25

Ira's info from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1955-1956.

31 6

Helen and Ira's passports, 1955-1979.

20 26

Documents regarding the death of Ira's parents, 1962-1965.

20 27

Insurance documents, 1968.

31 7

Press passes for Ira and Helen to Apollo 8 mission, circa 1968.

35 8

Optometrist's appointment card for Ira, 1968.

20 28

Travel documents, 1968-1972.

21 1

Michael's resumes, 1969-2000.

21 2

Helen's medical records, 1970-1972.

31 8

Renewal of Helen's copyright for Nothing is a Wonderful Thing, 1974.

31 9

Automotive information, 1984-1988.

21 3

Register of Helen's death, 1985.

21 4

Ira's wallet (includes identification, social security card, membership cards), circa 1994.

21 5

Medical info for Ira's late life care and death, 1996-1997.

21 6

Information for Helen/Ira memorial, 1998-1999.

21 7

Ira's diary of a trip to the Library of Congress, undated.

21 8

Keys to Subaru, undated.

21 9

Rolodex entries, undated.

24 13-16

Series V: Photos.

Scope and Contents note

The photos are organized alphabetically by subject. Most are of uncertain provenance and date; some seem to have been taken during Ira’s journalistic assignments for Readers Digest; some are of Michael and Ruth and other children; others are of landscapes and street scenes, possibly taken by Ira. In addition there are many publicity photos of Ira.

i. Photos.
Box Folder

Animals, undated.

21 18

Cats, undated.

21 19

Cats, undated.

31 10

Children (subject unknown), undated.

21 20

Children, Ruth and Michael Wolfert, circa 1938-1945.

21 21-22

Children, Ruth and Michael Wolfert, undated.

31 12

Cityscapes, undated.

22 1-5

Cityscapes, undated.

31 13

Crowd scenes, undated.

22 6-7

Family portraits (extended Wolfert family), undated.

22 8-9

Helen Wolfert, 1931-1933, undated.

22 10-13

Helen Wolfert, undated.

31 14

Ira Wolfert, circa 1935-1971.

22 14-17

Ira Wolfert, circa 1935-1986.

23 1

Ira Wolfert, 1969.

25

Ira Wolfert, undated.

31 15

Landscapes, undated.

23 2-5

Landscapes, undated.

31 16-18

Michael Wolfert, circa 1976.

23 6

Portraits, subject unknown, undated.

23 7

Portraits, subject unknown, undated.

31 19-20

Research sites, undated.

23 8

Ruth Wolfert, undated.

23 9

Ruth Wolfert, undated.

31 20-23

Toy soldiers, undated.

23 10

Tintypes, circa 1900.

23 11

Vintage cabinet cards, circa 1890.

23 12

Wolfert family, undated.

31 24

Negatives - various, circa 1953.

23 14

Negatives - portraits of Ira Wolfert, undated.

23 13
ii. Negatives.
Box Folder

Trees, 1933.

32 1

Unidentified, 1933.

32 2

Beatrice and Charlie, 1934.

32 3

Flowers, 1934.

32 4

Kallman, 1934.

32 5-6

Landscapes, 1934.

32 7-8

McCloy, 1934.

32 9

New York, 1934.

32 10-11

Ships, 1934.

32 12

Ruth, baby, 1934.

32 13-15

Ruth's doll, 1934.

32 16

Unidentified, 1934.

32 17

Helen, 1935.

32 18-19

Herschdorfers, 1935.

32 20

Ira, 1935.

32 21

Ish Kushner, 1935.

32 22

Kahlmans, 1935.

32 23

Landscapes, 1935.

32 24-25

Poritskeys, 1935.

32 26

Ruth, baby, 1935.

32 27-33

Snow, 1935.

33 1

Unidentified, 1935.

33 2-4

Gordons, 1936.

33 5

Helen, 1936.

33 6

New York, 1936.

33 7-8

Niagra Falls, 1936.

33 9

Ruth, child, 1936.

33 10-12

Trees, 1936.

33 14-15

Unidentified, 1936.

33 16

Coogan's Bluff, 1937.

33 17

Bahsts, 1937.

33 18

Kallman, 1937.

33 19

Landscapes, 1937.

33 20

Michael, baby, 1937.

33 21

Ruth, child, 1937.

33 22-25

Seagulls, 1937.

33 26

Unidentified, 1938.

33 27-32

Ruth, child, 1938.

33 33

Ruth, child, 1939.

33 37

Unidentified, 1939.

33 38-39

Unidentified, 1940.

33 40

Unidentified, 1941.

33 41

Ruth, child, 1942.

33 42

Unidentified, 1942.

33 43

Unidentified, 1945.

33 44-45

Helen, 1946.

33 46

Unidentified, 1946.

33 47-48

Unidentified, 1947.

33 49-50

Unidentified, 1948.

33 51

Animals, undated.

33 52

Flowers, undated.

33 53

Groups, undated.

33 54

Helen, undated.

33 55

Joan, undated.

33 56

Misc. subjects, A-K, undated.

34 1

Misc. subjects, L-N, undated.

34 2

Misc. subjects, S-W, undated.

34 3

New York, undated.

34 4-5

Ruth and Michael, undated.

34 6

Wolfert family, undated.

34 7

Zilmers, undated.

34 8

Unidentified, undated.

34 9-15
iii. Negatives, Glass.
Box Folder

Helen, 1934.

34 16-17

Herschdorfers, 1934.

34 18

Ira, 1934.

34 19

Julius, 1934.

34 20

Unidentified, 1934.

34 21

Dirigible, undated.

34 22

Helen, undated.

34 23

Unidentified, undated.

34 24

Series VI: Newspaper clippings.

Scope and Contents note

The newspaper clippings are divided into subseries based on the subject/primary collector, separated by subject, and organized chronologically by date of publication. Clippings listed under Ira were either collected from folders bearing his name or feature his work. Clippings listed under Helen were either collected from folders with her own organizational titles or feature her work.

Collected by Helen.

Box Folder

Clippings of Helen's articles, 1930-1977.

23 15

Articles on poetry, 1943-1956.

23 16

Reviews of Nothing is a Wonderful Thing, circa 1947.

35 1

Articles on literature, 1947-1953.

23 17

Articles on science, 1947-1961.

23 18

Articles on the Middle East, 1947-1974.

23 19

Articles on Russia, 1947-1953.

23 20

Articles on the Red Scare, 1951.

23 21

Articles on Judaism and anti-Semitism, 1951-1961.

23 22

Articles on ancient civilizations, 1954-1961.

23 23

Articles on Israel, 1956-1961.

24 1-2

Articles on Israel, 1956-1957.

35 2

Articles on law and politics, 1959-1961.

24 3

Articles on international politics, 1959-1962.

24 4

Articles on domestic politics, 1960-1961.

24 5

Articles on race in America, 1961-1962.

24 6

Collected by Ira.

Box Folder

Clippings of Ira's war writings, 1929-1943.

24 7

Reviews by Ira Wolfert, 1943-1949.

24 8

Articles for New York Star by Ira, 1948-1949.

24 9

Clippings regarding Ira's Pulitzer Prize, 1943.

24 10

Clippings regarding Tucker's People, 1944.

24 11

Reviews of an Act of Love, 1949.

35 3

Reviews of Married Men, undated.

35 4

Reviews of an Act of Love, second version, 1953.

35 5

Series VII: Notes and miscellanea.

Scope and Contents note

This series contains otherwise unclassifiable notes, receipts, and otherwise unidentified documents, most of which were found within folders that contained correspondence, but which could not be identified with particular authors or correspondents. In addition, the series contains artwork of unknown provenance and bound material without clear connection to any of the Wolferts, including brochures and calendars.

Box Folder

Documents and notes included in correspondence, 1943-1963.

21 10

Documents and notes included in correspondence, 1964-1983.

21 11

Loose material included in correspondence, 1958-1983.

21 12

Empty envelopes from correspondence, 1932-1983.

21 13

Miscellaneous notes and receipts, 1936-1987.

21 14

Miscellaneous notes, undated.

21 15

Miscellaneous notes, undates.

35 6

Notes found in Ruth's correspondence, circa 1943-1970.

21 16

Artwork, undated.

21 17

Artwork, undated.

35 7

Miscellaneous bound material, 1924-1966.

24 12