Carl Clinton van Doren   [1885-1950]

Arts and Letters

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Carl Van Doren, and his younger brother Mark, were both literary authors, and university professors. Each brother earned the Pulitzer Prize during his respective life time, each brother received his respective Ph. D. from Columbia University, and each brother held a professorial appointment at Columbia University. Carl was the older brother by nine years.

Carl Van Doren was the son of a country doctor, but he was reared on a family farm near the town of Hope in Eastern Illinois. His Dutch American background dated back ten generations to his Dutch forbears. The name of his earliest forbear, eight generations back, was Jacob Van Doorn, who used the original Dutch spelling, later changed to Van Doren.

Carl Van Doren attended Columbia University, where he was awarded the Ph. D. in literature in 1911. He was given an appointment at Columbia and served there as a professor of literature until 1930. During his time at Columbia, he also served as the managing editor of “The Cambridge History of American Literature”, from 1917 to 1921. Van Doren also became the literary editor of “The Nation”, in 1919, and served in that position until 1922. Following that appointment, he became the literary editor of “Century Magazine”, from 1922 to 1925.

Carl Van Doren won the Pulitzer Prize for biography with a biography entitled, ‘Benjamin Franklin”, in 1939, a year before his brother Mark won a Pulitzer Prize for his poetry. Other publications by Carl Van Doren were: “The American Novel” published in 1921, and revised in 1940, “Contemporary American Novelists” in 1922, “American and British Literature since 1890” published in 1925 [with his brother Mark], and “What is American Literature?” in 1935. He also wrote his autobiography in 1936, and titled it “Three Worlds”.

Carl Van Doren was born on September 10, 1885 in Hope, Illinois. He was married to Irita Bradford, who was the editor of the “New York Herald Tribune Book Review”, form 1912 to 1935. Carl Van Doren passed away in Torrington, Connecticut on July 18, 1950, at the age of 64.

 

REFERENCES

Carl Clinton Van Doren, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Van_Doren

Carl Van Doren, http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9074770/Carl-Van-Doren

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