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M.S. Handler papers

Identifier: NA-0030-01


The papers of M.S. Handler, a foreign correspondent for The New York Times and United Press Association, among other news outlets, includes correspondence, photographs, draft writings, research files, and press clippings. The records date from the early 1920s through 1981, with the bulk created between 1942 and 1969.


  • 1924-1981
  • Majority of material found within 1942-1969



6 Cubic Feet (6 boxes.)

Scope and Contents

The M.S. Handler papers document the personal and professional activities of M.S. (Meyer Srednick) Handler (1905-1978), an American foreign correspondent for news outlets including The New York Times and United Press. The collection contains correspondence from family members and professional colleagues, photographs, research files, drafts of writings, and press clippings. The collection is arranged in three series: Series 1. Personal; 2. Professional; 3. Newspaper clipping scrapbooks.

Series 1 includes personal documentation associated with Handler’s career, including passports, tax records, vaccination certificates, and visas integral to securing his travel as an international correspondent. A subseries of correspondence from relatives chronicles relationships between Handler and his in-laws. Of particular interest is correspondence from Handler’s wife, Helen Handler, in which she often describes the difficulties of living in two separate countries with their young daughter, Elisabeth, while Handler was on assignment.

Handler served as a foreign correspondent for the entirety of his career, covering Europe during World War II and its aftermath, and from the 1960s onwards, the civil rights movement and education in the United States. Series 2 predominantly documents Handler’s professional work as a journalist, containing correspondence to his New York Times colleagues, press passes, reporter notebooks, research files, draft writings, and documents pertaining to work outside of his position at The New York Times.

Notably, the research and writing projects subseries includes correspondence from Malcolm X, as well as a galley proof for the first edition of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," for which Handler wrote the introduction, as well as reviews of the book. Malcolm X and Handler grew to have a close professional relationship while Handler was assigned to cover domestic issues for the Timesin the 1960s. Letters and postcards from X describe his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964.

Series 3 contains clippings of articles authored by Handler between 1942 and 1972, primarily for The New York Times.

Language of Materials

The collection is primarily in English. Several European languages are also represented in this collection, such as Czech, French, German, Italian, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, and Serbo-Croatian. Records dated between 1940 and 1960, specifically press passes and subject-specific research folders from when Handler served as a foreign correspondent in Europe, may be in languages other than English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use. Please contact for appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact:

Biographical note

M.S. (Meyer Srednick or "Mike") Handler (born June 3, 1905, New York, New York, died February 11, 1978, Santa Barbara, California) was an American foreign news correspondent and journalist. He was born in New York City and raised in Chicago, where he received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1926. That same year, he married his first wife, Ruth Hammerman of Cook, Illinois. The couple divorced in 1939. Handler pursued postgraduate studies at Harvard University and in Paris at the Sorbonne before becoming a correspondent for International News Service in 1933 in France. He joined the international news agengy United Press in 1935, remaining in France and covering the events leading to World War II until the Nazi invasion of France in 1940, when he transferred to London.

In 1941, the United Press assigned Handler to Moscow for five years, where he reported on the war from the Russian front, and subsequently traveled through parts of Eastern Europe, Iran, and Palestine, ending up as Berlin bureau chief for United Press and covering the Nuremberg trials in the aftermath of the war, as well as the first general assembly of the United Nations in London in 1946. Handler married Helen Sennette in 1947. The Handlers, along with Helen's daughter Elisabeth, lived in Berlin for a little over a year until Handler became a correspondent for The New York Times in 1948. He initially served as bureau chief in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, where he reported on Marshal Josip Tito’s break with Stalin and the Soviet communists. From 1952 to 1957, Handler was once again assigned to Germany, and then served as bureau chief in Vienna, Austria from 1957 to 1962.

In 1962, Handler returned to New York City, assigned by the Times to cover domestic matters, particularly the American civil rights movement. In 1963, Handler held his first meeting with Malcom X, which Handler describes in his introduction to the first edition of Malcom X’s autobiography. In the course of covering Malcolm X for the Times, Handler developed a close association with him, and Alex Haley quoted X as having stated that Handler was “the most genuinely unprejudiced white man I ever met.” During this period, Handler also became acquainted with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He continued to cover civil rights issues for the Times until 1969.

From 1969 to his retirement in 1973, Handler covered education issues for The New York Times. He died in 1978 of cardiac failure at the age of 72.


“M.S. Handler.” Circa 1962. M.S. Handler papers. New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

McFadden, Robert. “M. S. Handler, a Times Reporter Who Covered World War II, Dies.” The New York Times, February 11, 1978.

“Meyer S. Handler, Vienna.” March 1960. M.S. Handler papers. New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

Haley, Alex. Epilogue to The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X. New York: Random House Publishing Group, Inc., 1965.


Arranged in three series: Series 1. Personal; 2. Professional; 3. Newspaper clipping scrapbooks. Arrangement within Series 1 and 2 is alphabetical, whereas Series 3 is arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to The New School Archives by Elisabeth Handler, the daughter of M.S. Handler, 2023.

Related Materials

The New York Public Library Archives and Manuscripts division holds The New York Times Foreign Desk records (MssCol 17792), which documents the work of foreign reporting staff. The collection contains files for Meyer S. Handler and other individuals represented in collection of The New School Archives, including Liviu P. Nasta, Maria D. Popilieva, and Emanuel R. Freedman.

Processing Information

Original folder titles have been retained, except in cases where the processing archivist revised folder titles for accuracy. Documents, such as correspondence or telegrams, that present signs of high acidity were interleaved to prevent the detioration of adjacent records. Photographs in adhesive album sheets were removed and all photographs were placed in protective Mylar sleeves. The clippings in the "1942-1945" scrapbook were removed and preservation photocopied. Clippings were removed from scrapbooks that showed signs of deterioration and were interleaved in folders.

Guide to the M.S. Handler papers
Victoria Fernandez, Jason Adamo, and New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
April 3, 2024
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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