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Finding Aid for the Carey McWilliams Correspondence, 1924-1975 (bulk 1924-1950)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Carey McWilliams Correspondence
    Date (inclusive): 1924-1975 (bulk 1924-1950)
    Collection number: 1356
    Creator: McWilliams, Carey, 1905-
    Extent: 2 boxes (1 linear foot)
    Abstract: Carey McWilliams (1905-1980) was a writer, lawyer, journalist, lecturer, activist, as well as Chief of the California Division of Immigration and Housing (1938-1942) and editor of The Nation (1955-1975). This collection contains correspondence, primarily letters written to McWilliams.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.


    Carey McWilliams was born December 13, 1905 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He completed his Juris Doctorate from the University of Southern California in 1927. From 1927-1938, McWilliams was an attorney at the law firm Black, Hammack in Los Angeles. In 1938, he was appointed as Chief of the Division of Immigration and Housing of the State of California, a position he kept until 1942. During the period from 1945-1955, he began his long association with The Nation, becoming successively contributing editor, associate editor, and then editorial director. From 1955-1975, he was The Nation's editor. In addition to his editorial duties, McWilliams was a prolific lecturer and writer, speaking on many subjects and contributing articles and essays to numerous publications. After his retirement from The Nation, he continued to write a regular column for that publication. His monographs include Ambrose Bierce, a biography (1929); Louis Adamic and shadow America (1935); Factories in the field: the story of migratory farm labor in California (1939); Ill fares the land: migrants and migratory labor in the United States (1942); Brothers under the skin (1943); Prejudice: Japanese-Americans, symbol of racial intolerance (1944); Southern California country: an island on the land (1946); A mask for privilege: anti-Semitism in America (1948); North from Mexico: the Spanish-speaking people of the United States (1949); California: the great exception (1949); Witch hunt: the revival of heresy (1950); and his autobiography The education of Carey McWilliams (1979). In the late 1970s, McWilliams was briefly a Regents Lecturer at the University of California Riverside and then taught one quarter at the University of California Los Angeles in the History Department. He died of cancer at the age of 74 on June 27, 1980 in New York, New York.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains Carey McWilliams's correspondence, primarily letters that were written to him. Many of the letters are from writers mentioning reviews or articles he composed about their work. Some of them discuss future writings or McWilliams's work on topics such as Ambrose Bierce, Louis Adamic, George Sterling, and western regionalism. The collection also contains fan mail, letters addressing McWilliams's research or political causes, some of McWilliams's responses, and assorted supporting materials.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Correspondence.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    McWilliams, Carey, 1905- --Archives.
    Periodical editors--United States--Archival resources.
    Authors, American-20th century--Archival resources.

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