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Karen Swenson Collection

Identifier: SC-MS-334

Scope and Contents

Karen Swenson's book projects focused on Greta Garbo, Barbra Streisand, Deanna Durbin, Liza Minelli, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Stevie Nicks, and US Gymnasts. Her research material spans items such as personal correspondence, fan mail, newspaper and magazine articles, photographs, audio visual material, related books and essays, and manuscript drafts.


  • Creation: 1929-2013

Conditions Governing Access

Access to portions of this collection have been restricted in accordance with the wishes of the donor. Contact staff at the Center for Southeast North Carolina Archives & History ( for information on access to this collection.

Copyright Statement

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical Note

Karen Swenson is an author living in Southeastern North Carolina. She was employed as Barbra Streisand's personal assistant, the archivist for Barwood, as well as a project manager for Streisand's Just for the Record album. Swenson authored Greta Garbo: A Life Apart and Barbra Streisand: The Second Decade as well as co-authored and researched a number of other projects focusing primarily on Hollywood Stars.


67 Containers (Contains 1 document box, 30 bankers boxes, 33 oversize boxes, and 3 map case folders)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in 5 series as follows:

Series 1: Greta Garbo Research Papers

This series contains research and manuscript materials relating to Swenson's book Greta Garbo: A Life Apart, many of the items in this series are in Swedish, German, or Dutch. Newspaper and magazine articles, research relating to Garbo's life and career, home movies, and manuscript drafts make up the bulk of this series.

Series 2: Barbra Streisand Research Papers

This series contains research material used to author Swenson's book Barbra Streisand: The Second Decade. Included in the series are correspondence, newspaper and magazine articles, photographs, movie posters and press packets, album designs and arrangements, sheet music from Streisand's performances, inventory from the Barwood Archives, and personal papers from when Swenson was Streisand's personal assistant. This series is arranged by production and subject type and makes up the majority of the Karen Swenson Collection.

Series 3: Deanna Durbin Research Materials

This series contains research, sheet music, newspaper and magazine articles on child star Deanna Durbin.

Series 4:Stevie Nicks Research Material

This series contains research regarding musician Stevie Nicks and the band Fleetwood Mac. The materials include fan mail, audio visual material, newspaper and magazine articles.

Series 5: Other Swenson Research Material

This series includes the remainder of the collection that is unrelated to the four above series. These include projects Swenson co-authored, did the research for, or began working on before deciding to go a different direction. The subjects include research for Liza and Judy, information on Marilyn Monroe, and the beginning of a project following the 1984 Olympic Women's Gymnasts. Also included are early work done by Swenson such as college essay assignments, and a musical.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by Karen Swenson on February 4, 2013.

Karen Swenson Collection
Partially Processed
Special Collections Staff
2017 March 13
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository