Ben Grauer: Personal Correspondence
and Material Relating to the Book Arts, 1951-1977
RLIN ID No.
Grauer, Ben, 1908-1977.
Personal correspondence and material relating to the book arts, 1951-1977.
4 boxes (1.8 linear ft.)
Born in Staten Island, N.Y., Ben Grauer had a prosperous career as a child actor in the 1920s, both in film and on Broadway. He graduated from Townsend Harris High School, the preparatory school for City College of New York, and received his BA from City College in 1930. Grauer started in radio as an actor but soon became part of the broadcasting staff at the National Broadcasting Company. On the radio, he was associated with Walter Winchell, Eleanor Roosevelt and Arturo Toscanini. Starting in 1932, Grauer covered the Olympic Games, presidential inaugurations, and international events. He married interior designer Melanie Kahane in 1954 and retired from NBC in 1973. Grauer was an ardent bibliophile and collector and printed his own Christmas cards at his Between-hours Press. In the decade before his death, Grauer also collected material for a projected history of prices and pricing, with special attention to book prices. He was active in several professional journalistic organizations as well as the Grolier Club.
Scope and Contents Note
Personal correspondence (1954-1969) as well as correspondence with antiquarian booksellers. Correspondents include John Carter, David Chambers, Fannie Hurst and Leslie Mitchell. Notices, announcements, etc. relating to events in the New York City area book arts events (1954-1967) as well as miscellaneous notices and articles. Hand-made and letterpress Christmas cards designed by friends of Grauer and received 1971-1974, including cards from Fritz Eichenberg, John dePol, and Antonio Visconti. Also several photographs of Grauer and his wife as well as snapshots (probably of his library). Extensive collection of clippings from antiquarian bookseller and auction catalogues (1965-1974) for a projected history of book prices. A few items relating to Grauer’s wife, Melanie Kahane.
Finding Aid Note
Inventory available in repository; folder level control.
Carter, John, 1905- Correspondence.
Chambers, David, 1930- Correspondence.
Hurst, Fannie, 1889-1968. Correspondence.
Mitchell, Leslie Scott, 1905- Correspondence.
Christmas cards. United States.
Clippings (Newspaper, etc.).
Printed ephemera. United States.
Occupation (as reflected in collection)
Book collectors. New York (State). New York.
Radio Broadcasters. United States.
Television journalists. United States.
Book collectors. New York (State). New York. Correspondence.
Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022-1098.
Ben Grauer: Inventory of Personal Correspondence
and Material Relating to the Book Arts
Box 1 Correspondence
Letters to BG
1954-1962 (ca. 33 items)
1964-1965 (ca. 43 items)
1966-1969 (ca. 29 items)
Fannie Hurst. 1 AL (unsigned but on letterhead of FH) (1 p.); 1 TLS 20 Dec. 1967 (1 p.)
Correspondence with book dealers
Correspondence with various dealers, 1950-1962; 1957-1974; 7 TLSs [some are copies of letters
sent by BG]
Correspondence with M. Aguilar Editor Librero (Madrid) regarding purchase of volumes of Palau
y Dulcet’s Manual del Librero Hispano-americano, 1966-1969
Correspondence with Casa Bonet, S. L. (Palma de Mallorca) regarding special order for shirts,
Correspondence with Y. William Yu, Tailor (Hong Kong). Correspondence and fabric samples,
1969 (housed in Box 3)
Foster Parents’ Plan. Correspondence from the Grauer’s “Foster Child,” 1968-1969
Christmas Cards: Hand-made or Printed by Letterpress
Cards received (ca. 35 items), 1971-1974 (includes cards designed by Valenti Angelo, Joseph
Blumenthal, Fritz Eichenberg, John de Pol, John Fleming, Rollo Silver and others)
Cards designed and sent by BG, including paper samples, 1971, 1973
Box 2 Miscellaneous Materials Relating to the Book Arts
“Adventure Collection of Ben Grauer on Deposit 15 September 1965” [at Special Collections,
Columbia University Libraries]. Typed list. 4 p. [19th and 20th century imprints]
Book arts: notices of events, clippings, etc., 1954-1955; September 1964-September 1966;
1966-1967; miscellaneous 1960s [groupings as left by BG]
Reception given by Mr. and Mrs. Ben Grauer with Mr. and Mrs. John Fleming at the Grolier Club,
December 1964. List of invitees with notes regarding acceptances, etc.
Announcement and details concerning Grolier Club tour of Germany and Switzerland, 1969
History of prices and price indexes: notices of publications gathered by BG, 1950s-1960s
References to prices and announcements of reference books on prices, 1963-1973
Printing Historical Society (England). Announcements, etc., 1965-1968
Photographs and Some Professional Ventures
2 contact color sheets of BG and his wife
4 sepia toned snapshots of book on shelves [BG’s library?]
1 black and white snapshot of Lyndon B. Johnson holding copy of Pittsburgh by S. Lorant
1 black and white print of BG and his wife, 20 x 25 cm., ca. 1960s. Photographer: Kaye Studios,
Inc., Palm Beach, Fla.
Box 3 Miscellaneous Folders
Clippings, notices, etc. on miscellaneous subjects, including flea markets, 1960s (2 folders); 1962-
1968; Mrs. Ben Grauer (Melanie Kahane). Bills paid 1970.
Copy for Sherlock Holmes record “The Seven Sherlocks” [actors who have portrayed Sherlock
Holmes][given to BG by Barrett Clark]
Theatre Ventures [production company formed by BG and Norman Rose located at 159 Bleecker
Street, New York, N.Y.]. Production of George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession, 1950. Financial statement by Edward O. Lutz, C.P.A.
Adagio Press. Introduction to Adagio Press: A Statement of Purpose, 1963 (12 p.) [475 copies
Bodleian Library. John Johnson Collection: catalogue of an exhibition [of printed ephemera],
Plantin dialogues on calligraphy…prospectus. Antwerp: Plantin-Moretus Museum, n.d. (4 p.)
Holman, Louis A. Rembrandt and his etchings: a compact record. Boston: Charles Goodspeed &
Co., 1921 (40 p.)
Magis (Paris). Catalogue d’une importante collection de livres…la Commune de Paris…1972.
Swann Galleries, Inc. New York City. Public Auction Sale, 14 January 1965. Sale no. 663 [BG
marked items of interest to him]
Box 4 Clippings from Dealers’ and Auction Catalogs [clippings were gathered for a projected work on the history of prices; groupings are as left by BG who added notation to each clipping as to name of dealer and date of catalog]
January 1967 (3 envelopes)
October 1973—May 1974