TABLE OF CONTENTS
Description of Series
Wayne Barrett Papers, circa 1960s-circa 2000s
Born in New Britain, Connecticut on July 11, 1945, Wayne Barrett was a muckraker who wrote for the Village Voice for 37 years. Barrett, whose father was a nuclear physicist and mother was a librarian, grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia, and showed an early interest in politics as a teenager, becoming a member of the Teenage Republicans of Lynchburg. He attended the seminary briefly, before he enrolled in St. Joseph's University in Pennsylvania, moving on to The Columbia School of Journalism where he received his master's degree in the late sixties. During his time at Columbia, his politics began to shift to the left.
His liberal leanings deepened when he found work as a public school teacher in an experimental school located in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville district of New York City after he graduated from Columbia. During his time there, he assisted Brownsville Legal Services with an investigation into corruption on the local school board. As a leading community activist, he became an important source for Jack Newfield's reporting at the Village Voice. Newfield would go on to recruit Barrett for the paper, and Barrett began his decades long tenure at the Voice in 1978. Barrett had approximately 1500 articles published in the Voice, and was the newspaper's main political reporter. During his time with the paper Barrett also lectured and taught journalism classes at his alma mater, Columbia, as well as at Hunter College and Long Island University. When he was laid off from the Village Voice in 2011, his peer, respected journalist Tom Robbins, quit in a show of solidarity.
While Barrett was interested in covering all aspects of political corruption throughout New York City he is probably best known for his investigative journalism on Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and Ed Koch. Barrett first became interested in Trump in 1977 when the mogul was being sued by the City of New York for racial bias when renting apartments in Brooklyn and Queens. The two would engage in a decades long adversarial relationship, culminating in Barrett's book on Trump, Trump: The Deals and the Downfall, which was published in 1991, although Barrett's criticisms of Trump didn't end there. Barrett has written several books on other New York politicians, including City for Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York (1988), and Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 (2006), among others. Rudy: An Investigative Biography of Rudy Giuliani (2001) was turned into the made-for-TV movie Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story in 2003.
Other publications in which Barrett wrote include New York Magazine, Talk Magazine, the National Catholic Reporter, the Sacramento/Modesto/Fresno Bees, the Norfolk Ledger Star, the Lynchburg Daily Advance, Newsday, and the New York Daily News, among others.
Barrett was married to Frances Barrett (née McGettigan); they had one son, Mac. Barrett died on January 19, 2017 in New York City.
Kruse, Michael, The Muckraker Who Tormented Trump, Politico.com, accessed June 21, 2018.
Langer, Emily, "Wayne Barrett, muckraking journalist and Trump biographer," dies at 71, Washington Post, accessed August 13, 2019.
Articles, correspondence, notes, legal and court documents, manuscript drafts, notebooks and loose leaf notes, memos, campaign records, interview, court and surveillance transcripts, reports and studies, and photographs comprise the Wayne Barrett Papers (circa 1960s-2000s), and document Barrett's career as an author and investigative journalist.
Barrett's investigative research is centered on political scandals, with subjects covering a wide variety of political leaders and officials, including Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Ed Koch, David Dinkins, Al Sharpton, Michael Bloomberg, George Pataki, Mario and Andrew Cuomo, William Fugazy, Donald Manes, Stanley Friedman, Alan Hevesi, Hilary Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, Roger Stone, Roy Cohn, George H. W. Bush, George H. Bush, Al D'Amato, Bill de Blasio, Geraldine Ferraro, and Floyd Flake, among others. Some topics include the New York City Board of Education and school system, land development, and criminal, health care and environmental concerns. There are also documents regarding the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in both 1993 and 2001.
Barrett's papers are primarily composed of research files, the bulk of which consist of newspaper clippings, loose-leaf articles, and printouts and photocopies of news stories. His papers also include some of Barrett's own writing for the Village Voice. Other materials include Barrett's notes and memos from his staff, as well as third party correspondence, letters to and from Barrett, and court records, most notably The United States v. Stanley Friedman, as well as many others. The campaign research materials consist of contribution lists, lobbyist information, and financial disclosure and audit reports. Barrett kept extensive notes, many of which he wrote on file folders, most of which have been preserved intact. Also included in the papers are drafts of Barrett's articles and books, as well as audiovisual materials such as VHS tapes. The remainder of the collection contains documents regarding Barrett's time as a teacher in Brownsville, Brooklyn in the late sixties.
Conditions Governing Access
These papers are stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.
A portion of this collection is restricted. Contact repository for more information.
Conditions Governing Use
Donor maintains copyright of a portion of the materials.
Wayne Barrett Papers, circa 1960s-circa 2000s, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
This collection was processed by Amanda Reyes, August, 2019.
Accession Numbers: 2017-281; 2018-035; 2019-093