Harrison, Gilbert A.

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Gilbert A. Harrison was born in Detroit on May 18, 1915, one of three children to Samuel and Mabel Wolfe Harrison. He earned a B.A. degree in psychology from UCLA in 1937 and went on to serve in the U.S. Army in World War II. Following the war, in 1948, Harrison became national chairman of the American Veterans Committe. In 1953, with his wife, Anne Blaine, he purchased The New Republic, where he served as publisher and editor until 1974. Harrison was the author of two books, A Timeless Affair: The Life of Anita McCormick Blaine (1979), a biography of his grandmother-in-law, and The Enthusiast: A Life of Thornton Wilder (1983), and editor of several others, including Gertrude Stein's America (1965) and The Critic as Artist (1972).

From the guide to the Gilbert A. Harrison papers relating to Thornton Wilder, 1939-1975, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Biographical Note

  • 1915, May 8: Born, Detroit, Mich.
  • 1937: B.A., University of California, Berkeley, Calif.
  • 1937 - 1941 : Member, University Religious Conference, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • 1941 - 1942 : Staff member, Office for Civilian Defense
  • 1942: Pilot in training with Royal Air Force
  • 1942 - 1945 : With army air corps
  • 1948: Student, Balliol College, Oxford University, Oxford, England
  • 1948 - 1949 : National chairman, American Veterans Committee
  • 1950: Assisted in founding World Veterans Federation
  • 1951: Married Anne “Nancy” Blaine (died 1977) Representative, Foundation for Unified and Democratic Germany in United Europe
  • 1954 - 1974 : Editor-in-chief and publisher, New Republic
  • 1965: Published Gertrude Stein’s America. Washington: R. B. Luce
  • 1969 - 1974 : President, Liveright Publishing Co.
  • 1979: Published A Timeless Affair: The Life of Anita McCormick Blaine. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • 1883: Published The enthusiast : A Life of Thornton Wilder. New Haven, Conn.: Ticknor & Fields
  • 2008, Jan. 3: Died, Scottsdale, Ariz.

From the guide to the Gilbert A. Harrison Papers, 1902-1978, (bulk 1960-1975), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

Biography

Gilbert Avery Harrison (1915-2008) was an alumnus of UCLA, former editor of the California Daily Bruin, former editor and publisher of the Washington-based publication, The New Republic, author of A Timeless Affair: The Life of Anita McCormick Blaine (1979) and The Enthusiast: A Life of Thornton Wilder (1983), and editor of Gertrude Stein's America (1965) and The Critic as Artist (1972).

Born on May 18, 1915 in Detroit, Michigan, he was one of three children to Samuel and Mabel Wolfe Harrison. He studied Psychology at UCLA and served as editor of the campus newspaper, the California Daily Bruin . While working at the California Daily Bruin, he cultivated a number of friendships with faculty members, such as Professor Kate Gordon (former acting head of the Psychology department), Professor Carolyn Fisher (Psychology Department), and Provost Ernest Moore, who later married Kate Gordon. During his time at UCLA, he began corresponding with Gertrude Stein with whom he maintained in contact until her death in 1947. (His collection of Stein materials are also housed at UCLA and can be seen in Collection 2108.) Harrison graduated with his B.A. in 1937.

After graduating, Harrison joined the University Religious Conference, which promoted inter-religious tolerance. In 1941, he met Eleanor Roosevelt who enlisted him as chairman of the youth division of the Office of Civilian Defense in Washington. After a year in Washington, he joined the Army during World War Two.

After the war, he joined the American Veterans Committee and became national chairman in 1948. On a fundraising mission for his organization in 1950, he traveled to Chicago to meet with the descendants of Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the horse-drawn reaper and founder of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company. During this trip, he met Anne Blaine, the great-great-granddaughter of McCormick, whom he married a year later. In 1953, the couple bought The New Republic, an intellectual and liberal political journal that was initially founded in 1914 as part of Woodrow Wilson's world peace initiative.

In 1963, Harrison received a George Polk award for his revitalization of The New Republic . Under his aegis from 1953 through 1974, The New Republic was an influential publication and a strong supporter of the civil rights movement. Although it initially supported the Vietnam War, it later became a staunch opponent of it and repeatedly criticized the policies of Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon. The New Republic featured the work of prominent journalists such as Walter Pincus, Stanley Karnow, John Osborne, Richard Strout, Doris Grumbach, Stanley Kauffman and James Ridgeway. At its peak under Harrison, the publication's circulation reached 100,000. In 1974, he sold The New Republic to Martin Peretz, a lecturer at Harvard. During the same year, he sold Liveright Publishing which he had acquired in 1969.

Harrison and his wife Anne had two sons, David and Joel, and a daughter Eleanor. In 1977, Mrs. Anne Harrison passed away. In 1979 and 1983, Harrison published her biography as well as that of her grandmother, respectively.

On January 3, 2008, Harrison passed away of congestive heart failure in Arizona at the age of 92.

From the guide to the Gilbert A. Harrison Papers, 1901-1966 (bulk 1934-1936), (University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.)

Biography

Gilbert Harrison, UCLA alumnus and former editor-in-chief of The new republic magazine, began corresponding with Gertrude Stein in 1933, and met her at a lecture in Pasadena, California, in 1934; Harrison visited Stein and Alice B. Toklas at their home in France in 1937, when Stein presented him with the typescript of The autobiography of Alice B. Toklas ; Harrison continued to correspond with Stein until her death in 1946, and maintained a friendship with Toklas until her death in 1967.

From the guide to the Gilbert A. Harrison Collection of Material by and Relating to Gertrude Stein, 1922-1984, (University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Gilbert A. Harrison Collection of Material by and Relating to Gertrude Stein, 1922-1984 University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
creatorOf Gilbert A. Harrison Papers, 1901-1966 (bulk 1934-1936) University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
referencedIn Gay Wilson Allen Papers, 1801-1988 David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Thornton Wilder papers, 1892-1991, 1935-1975 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Levin, Harry. Harry Levin Papers. 1920-1995. Houghton Library
referencedIn Gore Vidal papers, 1850-2020 (inclusive), 1936-2008 (bulk) Houghton Library
referencedIn Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas papers, 1837-1961 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Gilbert A. Harrison papers relating to Thornton Wilder, 1939-1975 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Gilbert A. Harrison Papers, 1902-1978, (bulk 1960-1975) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas collection, 1901-1987 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Robert Manning papers, 1938-1993. Houghton Library
referencedIn The Nation, records, 1879-1974 (inclusive), 1920-1955 (bulk). Houghton Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Acheson, Dean, 1893-1971 person
correspondedWith Allen, Gay Wilson, 1903- person
associatedWith Alsop, Joseph, 1910-1989 person
associatedWith American Civil Liberties Union. corporateBody
associatedWith American Veterans Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Baldwin, Roger N. (Roger Nash), 1884-1981 person
associatedWith Bellow, Saul. person
associatedWith Blaine, Anita McCormick. person
associatedWith Carter, Jimmy, 1924- person
associatedWith Church, Frank. person
associatedWith Cowley, Malcolm, 1898-1989 person
associatedWith Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965 person
associatedWith Fulbright, J. William (James William), 1905-1995 person
associatedWith Galbraith, John Kenneth, 1908-2006 person
associatedWith Gish, Lillian, 1893-1993 person
associatedWith Gruening, Ernest, 1887-1974 person
associatedWith Hackett, Francis, 1883-1962 person
associatedWith Harrison, Anne Blaine, 1918-1977 person
associatedWith Hellman, Lillian, 1905-1984 person
associatedWith Hitchcock, Alfred, 1899-1980 person
associatedWith Howe, Irving. person
associatedWith Humphrey, Hubert H. (Hubert Horatio), 1911-1978 person
associatedWith Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973 person
associatedWith Kennedy, Edward M. (Edward Moore), 1932-2009 person
associatedWith Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963 person
associatedWith Levin, Harry, 1912-1994 person
associatedWith Lewis, Anthony, 1927-2013 person
associatedWith Lippmann, Walter, 1889-1974 person
associatedWith Liveright Publishing Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Manning, Robert, 1919- person
correspondedWith Nation (New York, N.Y. : 1865). corporateBody
associatedWith Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962 person
associatedWith Russell, Bertrand, 1872-1970 person
associatedWith Saroyan, William, 1908-1981 person
associatedWith Schlesinger, Arthur M. (Arthur Meier), 1917-2007 person
associatedWith Stein, Gertrude, 1874-1946 person
associatedWith Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965 person
associatedWith Textile Workers Union of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Ticknor and Fields. corporateBody
associatedWith Toklas, Alice, B. person
associatedWith Udall, Morris K. person
associatedWith Vidal, Gore, 1925- person
associatedWith Wilder, Thornton, 1897-1975 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Washington (D.C.)
Subject
American drama--20th century
Women authors, American--France--Paris--Archival resources
American periodicals
Occupation
Editors
Publishers and publishing--United States--Archival resources
Activity

Person

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