Clay Felker papers, 1945-1996 14 Linear Feet — 9000 Items
Collection includes materials from Felker's journalism career, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1968 through 1981. The majority of the materials relate to Felker's publishing and editorial work on New York magazine, New West magazine, Village Voice, Esquire, and Daily News Tonight. The collection contains the publications' annual reports, financial projections and budgets, circulation and advertising plans, and materials from stockholder questionnaires and meetings. Also included are story ideas and correspondence with various writers and editors, as well as drafts of articles and columns. Many materials are anonymous and undated, because the author's name is missing from Felker's version of the draft. Some writers and journalists represented in the collection include George Dennison, Benjamin Sonnenberg, Gail Sheehy (Felker's third wife), Aaron Latham, Robert Karen, Thomas Thompson, Arnold Beichman, Jimmy Breslin, Jane O'Reilly, Andrew Tobias, and many more.
Other magazine-related materials include contract and legal negotiations, particularly regarding Felker's launch of New York; his loss of New York and Village Voice; his acquisition of Esquire, The Advertiser, and AdWeek; and his subsequent loss of Esquire. Correspondence between Felker and various law firms involved in these sales and mergers is also included. There are also many letters, both congratulatory and condoling, reacting to his various career changes. Many of his friends and fans were powerful figures in the publishing world, including George Lang, Marianne Partridge, Peter Derow, Felix Rohatyn, Tom Wolfe, Gloria Steinem, Herb Goro, and Malcolm Forbes.
Press clippings covering Felker's career are also present in the collection, beginning with his early journalism career in the 1960s, but heavily covering his various publication acquisitions and activities as editor of New York, New West, Village Voice, Esquire, and The Daily News Tonight. Besides reporting on the acquisitions, these clippings also include profiles of Felker as well as evaluations and criticisms of his work. One subcomponent of the clippings includes coverage of the 1976 CIA press leak by Daniel Schorr to the Village Voice and the subsequent Congressional investigations.
The collection also includes files and materials from Felker's years as a producer at 20th Century Fox, where he proposed and developed story ideas for television and movies. The files include synopses of proposed scripts as well as expense reports for some of the research and travel he undertook.
The remainder of the collection is somewhat miscellaneous in content. There are issues of The Blue Jacket, 1944-1945, dating from Felker's years as a sports editor. Also represented are Felker's years at Duke, including his articles and editorials in a few issues of The Archive and Duke 'n' Duchess, as well as bound copies of the Duke University Chronicle, 1948-1952, dating from Felker's years as a writer and editor. There are also small amounts of correspondence and reports from some of Felker's other interests and ventures, many of which never went past the planning stages. There is some personal correspondence and materials from Felker's friends and family, dating largely from the 1970s, and some other miscellaneous material.