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Sontag (Susan) papers
LSC.0612  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing History
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Appraisal
  • Related Material

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Title: Susan Sontag papers
    Creator: Sontag, Susan, 1933-2004.
    Identifier/Call Number: LSC.0612
    Physical Description: 180 Linear Feet (283 boxes, 68 oversize boxes, 1 oversize folder, 2 hard drives.)
    Physical Description: 7.7 Gigabytes (64,461 digital files.)
    Date (inclusive): circa 1907-2009
    Date (bulk): circa 1933-2004
    Abstract: Susan Sontag (1933-2004) was an American writer, director, and political activist. She authored numerous essays, short stories, novels, and non-fiction books, as well as films and plays that she also directed in the United States and abroad. The recipient of many honors and awards throughout her life, Sontag's works have been translated into over thirty languages. The contents of the Susan Sontag Papers reflect her intelligence, energy, and the seamless integration of her wide-ranging interests in her work and life. In addition to notes, research, and manuscript material related to her writing, theatre, and film projects, the collection includes the following: personal and professional correspondence; journals; schoolwork; teaching material; ephemera and correspondence related to her public appearances, institutional involvement, and political activism; publicity and press; highlights from her library; personal and professional photographs; personal materials including calendars and notes; along with digital materials. The digital materials include drafts for published and unpublished works, contact lists, lists of her favorite words, books, restaurants and more, and email correspondence regarding travel plans and world events.
    Physical Location: COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE: Open for research. All requests to access special collections material must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.

    Restrictions on Access

    Open for research, with following exceptions: Boxes 136 and 137 of journals are restricted until 25 years after Susan Sontag's death (December 28, 2029), though the journals may become available once they are published. Box 352 of medical files are restricted until 50 years after Susan Sontag's death (December 28, 2054). Each of the four computers contained files that have been restricted. Per the donor's estate request, certain digital files containing private family information are restricted until December 2044. Other digital system files, software program files, and files that contained private, medical, and sensitive information have been restricted in perpetuity pending curatorial review.
    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE: Open for research. All requests to access special collections material must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    Access to digital materials is available on-site in the Special Collections reading room. Requests to access born-digital materials must be made at least 2 days in advance. Once request has been made, please confirm viewing arrangements with Special Collections reference desk staff.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical objects belong to UCLA Library Special Collections. All other rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Susan Sontag papers (Collection 612). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Susan Sontag, Susan Sontag Estate; Purchase; 2002, 2005, 2012.
    Correspondence between Susan Sontag and Thomas C. Leonard; Gift; 2008.

    Processing History

    Processed by Lorain Wang and Catherine Lee in August 2002; 2005 accession processed by Lauren McDaniel, February 2007-April 2008; 2012 accession processed by Mitchell Erzinger, October 2013-March 2014; digital materials processed by Lori Dedeyan in 2014. Digital materials reprocessed in 2018 and 2019 by Yvonne Eadon, Patricia Ciccone and Cheryl Cordingley in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT).
    The Judith Cohen papers were received in 2014 and processed into the collection by archivist Lori Dedeyan as an individual series at the bequest of curator Genie Guerard, as the materials are primarily comprised of collected materials about Susan Sontag, though some material created by Susan Sontag may also be found in this series.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6180474 

    Biography

    Susan Sontag was an American writer, director, and political activist. She was born in New York City on January 16, 1933, and was raised in Tucson and Los Angeles. In 1949, she graduated from North Hollywood High School and began her undergraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley. After one term, she transferred to the University of Chicago, where she graduated in 1951. She married Philip Rieff in 1950. Their son, David Rieff, was born in 1952. In 1957, she received a Master's degree in philosophy from Harvard (Radcliffe), and studied on a fellowship at St. Anne's College, Oxford, and the University of Paris-Sorbonne until 1958. She divorced Philip Rieff the same year. In 1959, she discontinued her doctoral work and moved to New York City with her son. Sontag worked for Commentary Magazine and held positions as instructor and lecturer at City College of New York, Sarah Lawrence College, and Columbia University until around 1966. During this time, she began writing film and literature reviews, essays, and stories for publication in The Partisan Review and other prominent journals. Throughout her life, her short stories and numerous essays on art, literature, politics, and culture appeared in several publications in the United States and abroad. Most of these works were collected into seven books: Against Interpretation and Other Essays (1966), Styles of Radical Will (1969), I, Etcetera (1978), Under the Sign of Saturn (1980), A Susan Sontag Reader (1982), Where the Stress Falls (2001), and At the Same Time (2007). Sontag published four novels: The Benefactor (1963), Death Kit (1967), The Volcano Lover (1992) and In America (2000), which won the National Book Award. Her non-fiction books explored and challenged aspects of modern society: On Photography (1977), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, Illness as Metaphor (1978), inspired by her own experience with breast cancer, AIDS and Its Metaphors (1989), and Regarding the Pain of Others (2003), on war photography. Sontag wrote and directed four films: Duet for Cannibals (1969), Brother Carl (1971), Promised Lands (1974) and Unguided Tour (1983). She directed several plays, including Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot in Sarajevo in 1993; and she wrote several plays including Alice in Bed (1993) and Lady from the Sea (1999), productions of which have been staged across the United States and internationally. As a human rights activist she traveled to Cuba, China, Vietnam, and Bosnia. She also served as president of the PEN American Center from 1987-1989. Her works have been translated into over thirty languages. She received honors and awards throughout her life, including the Jerusalem Prize (2001) and the Friedenspreis (2003) for her body of work. She died of cancer on December 28, 2004, and is buried in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris.

    Scope and Content

    The Susan Sontag papers range from ca. 1933-2005. The papers include the following: personal and professional correspondence; childhood drawings; schoolwork; teaching material; journals; notes, research, manuscripts, and other material related to her writing, theatre, and film projects; ephemera and correspondence related to her wide range of public appearances and institutional involvement; reviews, interviews, biography, and publicity material; material related to her political activism (including her work in Bosnia and with PEN); her subject clipping files; correspondence, research and manuscript material of her former husband, Philip Rieff; artwork and manuscripts by others; personal materials and photographs; highlights from her library; photographs; and personal files including calendars, financials, and notes.
    The digital materials include drafts for published and unpublished works, contact lists, lists of her favorite words, books, restaurants and more, and email correspondence regarding travel plans and world events.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    • Series 1: Correspondence, 1942-2004
    • Series 2: Juvenalia, ca. 1939
    • Series 3: School Material, 1949-1951
    • Series 4: Teaching Material, ca. 1960-2000
    • Series 5: Journals, 1948-1950, 1954-2003
    • Series 6: Works by Susan Sontag, 1945-2004
    • Series 7: Public Activity, 1962-2004
    • Series 8: Political Activity, 1964-2003
    • Series 9: Bosnia Involvement, 1979-2002
    • Series 10: PEN Involvement, 1964-2003
    • Series 11: Material about Susan Sontag, ca. 1960-2004
    • Series 12: Subject Clipping Files, no date
    • Series 13: Material Collected by Susan Sontag, 1960-2004
    • Series 14: Philip Rieff Material, ca. 1950-1995
    • Series 15: Manuscripts by Others, 1963-2004
    • Series 16: Artwork by Others, 1965-1985
    • Series 17: Selected Books from the Library of Susan Sontag, 1783-2001
    • Series 18: Photographs, 1933-2004
    • Series 19: Personal Papers, 1951-2003
    • Series 20: Digital Materials, 1992-2005
    • Series 21: Judith Cohen papers, circa 1907-2009

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    COLLECTION CONTAINS DIGITAL MATERIALS: Access to digital materials is available on-site in the Special Collections reading room. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    PORTIONS OF THIS COLLECTION HAVE BEEN DIGITIZED. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    COLLECTION CONTAINS AUDIO AND AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS: Audio and audiovisual materials in this collection will require assessment and possible digitization for safe access. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.

    Appraisal

    Digital system files, software program files, and files that containing personally identifiable, medical, or sensitive information have been restricted in perpetuity pending curatorial review. The locations of these files are included in the file list within the collection.
    Other digital files are restricted until 2044, and will be made public after that date. The locations of these files will not be included in the file list.
    Deleted digital files and unallocated space were also removed from this collection.

    Related Material

    Books from the library of Susan Sontag (Collection 892). Available at UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.
    SON Susan Sontag Library (Special Collections note searchable in the UCLA Library catalog to find records of a selection of books from Susan Sontag's library, primarily works by Sontag in their various translations)
    Lee Poague. Susan Sontag: an Annotated Bibliography, 1948-1992 (New York: Garland, 2000). Circulating copy held by UCLA Young Research Library; non-circulating, research copy held by UCLA Library Special Collections.
    Philip Rieff papers (Manuscript Collection 1006). University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Women intellectuals -- United States -- Archives.
    Human rights -- Bosnia and Herzegovina
    PEN America
    Women authors, American -- Archives.
    Sontag, Susan, 1933-2004 --Archives.