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Personal papers of Melvin Landsberg

Call Number: PP 379


This collection contains manuscripts, correspondence, typescripts, proofs, interview notes and reference material, and other related research material from the career of Melvin Landsberg, professor of English at the University of Kansas. Most of the collection relates to Landberg's main research interest, John Dos Passos's works, and to the publishing of Landsberg's 1972 book Dos Passos’s Path to U.S.A.: A Political Biography, 1912-1936, as well as his memoir manuscript, "Skipping a Generation." A small box of Landberg family papers was added posthumously.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1917-2016 ( 1970-2016)


Conditions Governing Access

These materials are stored in the KU Annex off-site storage area.

All researchers interested in reviewing this material must consult Spencer Research Library Public Services staff (785-864-4334 or, 9-5 M-F CST) no less than three days in advance of a planned visit. Be advised that drop-in requests for this material cannot be accommodated.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Melvin Landsberg (1926-2016)

Born April 28, 1926, in the Bronx, New York, Melvin David Landsberg received his B.S. from the City College of New York in 1947, majoring in history. He went on to receive his M.A. in 1958, also in history, and his Ph.D. in English literature in 1959, both from Columbia University.

Landsberg spent a year traveling in Europe and had a brief teaching stint at the University of Washington before joining the University of Kansas faculty in 1961. He reached full Professor status in 1981 and retired in 2009. He specialized in the study of the Chicago-born novelist John Dos Passos, but taught a variety of courses for the KU English Department.

Melvin Landsberg died March 5, 2016.


10.25 Linear Feet (11 boxes + 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This collection of papers from Melvin Landsberg includes a variety of materials related to his research on John Dos Passos, American novelist and artist of the first half of the 20th century. This includes research notes, interview materials from Dos Passos' contemporaries, correspondence with Dos Passos' widow Elizabeth (Betty) Dos Passos and others who knew Dos Passos, as well as manuscript drafts and proofs of Landsberg's main book about the author, Dos Passos' Path to the U.S.A.. The collection also includes a small amount of personal material from Landsberg's immediate family.

Landberg's organization was idiosyncratic, and no attempt has been made when processing the collection to standardize that organization; similar material may appear in multiple places throughout the collection. Oversize material has been physically separated from the main collection.

Physical Location

PP 379

Physical Location

Annex (Contact Spencer Library Public Services)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Melvin Landsberg, 2005, 2015; Calvin Karlin, 2020.

Related Materials

Consult library staff regarding the availability of related photographs, biographical files, and scrapbooks.

Guide to the Melvin Landsberg Collection
Personal Papers of Melvin Landsberg
Finding aid prepared by ad, 2005. Finding aid encoded by ad, 2005. Finding aid revised by lmb, 2016; mwh, 2021; eje, 2022.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of Melvin Landsberg, PP 379, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States