Finding Aid of the Black Mountain College Miscellaneous Collection, 1943-1945; 1975-2007, PC.1580

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Finding Aid of the Black Mountain College Miscellaneous Collection, 1943-1945; 1975-2007, PC.1580

Abstract

Black Mountain College was an experimental school located in Black Mountain, N.C. Established in 1933 by John A. Rice and others, the purpose of the college was to educate the whole person, with an emphasis on the role of the arts and creative thinking. Despite the fact that Black Mountain College could rarely offer faculty more than room and board, a number of important teachers and artists were drawn to the school as part of the regular faculty or to participate in the school's Summer Institutes. The college closed in 1956.

The Black Mountain College Miscellaneous Collection includes various materials that are related to Black Mountain College but are not part of the college records, the Black Mountain College Research Project, or other collections donated by individuals connected with Black Mountain. The collection includes general information about the college's origins and educational philosophy, copies of original college publications, photographs, memoirs, and printed materials dealing with either the college or with people associated with it.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Black Mountain College Miscellaneous Collection
Call Number
PC.1580
Creator
Unknown
Date
1943 - 1945; 1975 - 2007
Extent
103.00 items
Language
English Japanese
Repository
Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina

Restrictions on Access & Use

Access Restrictions

Available for research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], PC.1580, Black Mountain College Miscellaneous Collection, State Archives of North Carolina, Western Regional Archives, Asheville, NC, USA.

Historical Note

Black Mountain College was an experimental school located in Black Mountain, N.C. Established in 1933 by John A. Rice and others, the purpose of the college was to educate the whole person, with an emphasis on the role of the arts and creative thinking. Despite the fact that Black Mountain College could rarely offer faculty more than room and board, a number of important teachers and artists were drawn to the school as part of the regular faculty or to participate in the school's Summer Institutes. Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, Robert Creeley, Merce Cunningham, Max Dehn, Joseph Fiore, Buckminister Fuller, Edward Lowinsky, Robert Motherwell, Charles Olson, M.C. Richards, and Xanti Schawinsky were only a few of those who taught at Black Mountain College. In addition, the success of several of the college's students (such as Ruth Asawa, Edward Dorn, Kenneth Noland, and Robert Rauschenberg) helped to further the college's reputation in the area of the arts and the avant garde.

The character and focus of Black Mountain College shifted over time, according to the make-up of the faculty and students. Personal and ideological conflicts were common and sometimes lead to major changes in the college community. Lack of funds added to the stress of the situation, as did the school's physical isolation and its sometimes strained relations with the local population. Eventually, the student enrollment and available funds dwindled until the college was forced to close in 1956.

Contents of the Collection

1. General Information,1984-2003

Pamphlet, Black Mountain College by F. A. Foster,1984
Box PC.1580.1
Postage stamps featuring Glow by Josef Albers, n.d.
Article on Black Mountain College published in the Japanese language magazine Studiovoice, April 2003

2. Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center,1994-2007

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Contains publications by or about the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center.

Articles of incorporation for the museum (1993) as amended to change the title of the organization,1994
Newsletter, January Update, 1995
Publicity card and handlist of exhibitors in the exhibition Remembering Black Mountain College, Oct. 14 - Dec. 16, 1995 at the Asheville Art Museum
Publicity card for a retrospective exhibition featuring the work of Joseph Fiore Black Mountain and Beyond, at Zone One Contemporary Gallery, Asheville,1995
Pamphlet, Black Mountain College Dossiers, no. 1, Joseph Fiore, 1995
Draft, Vision Statement, May 19, 1999
List, Board of Directors,July 21, 1999
Brochure, Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center
Print-outs from the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center website, printed out, July 28, 1999
Announcement of and catalog for exhibition entitled Breaking New Ground: The Studio Potter and Black Mountain College held at the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center, Asheville, September 21, 2007 - January 18, 2008
Announcement of lecture entitled An Uneasy Relationship: The Leach School, Black Mountain, and Traditional North Carolina Pottery presented by Mark Hewitt at the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center, Asheville, October 3, 2007

3. Black Mountain College Retrospective: An Exploration in Arts Administration, by Patricia Hewitt Fitt,July 15, 1978

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Includes the masters paper by Patricia Hewitt Fitt, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Maters of Arts, Goddard College (July 15, 1978). The paper was the culmination of the which ran from March 20 - May 8, 1978 and was hosted by Warren Wilson College, The Asheville Art Museum and The Arts Journal. The retrospective featured lectures, discussions, poetry readings, exhibits, films, workshops, special publications, and a walking tour. Several former BMC students, faculty and experts took part including M. C. Richards, Mary Emma Harris, Whitney Jones, Harold Taylor, Jonathan Williams, Robert Creeley, and Paul Hoffman. The paper itself includes essays describing the history of the college and Fitt's reactions to that history. It also reprints excerpts from documents such as articles, personal reminiscences, poetry, college publications, etc. Xeroxed photographs featured in the paper are from the Black Mountain College Records.

4. College Publications,1943-1945

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Includes materials printed by or for the college.

Catalog, Black Mountain College Bulletin, vol. II, no. 3,December 1943
Concert programs,Summer, 1945
Community Bulletins, July, 1945

5. Exhibitions,1978-2006

Catalog for the exhibition Art and Education at Black Mountain College, 1933-1956 at The Rocky Mount Arts and Crafts Center, , with text provided by Leverett T. Smith, Jr., 1978
Pamphlet and magazine article about an exhibition curated by Mary Emma Harris called The Arts at Black Mountain College, 1933-1957at Bard College,1987
Newspaper article and flyer dealing with the Gilliam & Peden exhibition The Black Mountain Connection, 1987
Announcements of exhibitions entitled Starting at Zero: Black Mountain College, 1933-57 and Playing John Cage at Arnolfini Gallery (Bristol, England), November 5, 2005 - January 15, 2006

6. Individuals

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Information about people associated with Black Mountain College including Kenneth Noland, M. C. Richards, Dr. Erwin Walter Straus and Jonathan Williams.

7. Photographs

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Sixteen black and white photographs of Charles Olson and his family taken at Black Mountain College. Also includes a postcard of Ma Peak's Tavern.

8. The Time of Your Life, by Leo Krikorian

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Memoir (n.d.) by Leo Krikorian, painter, former Black Mountain College student. The memoir primarily concerns the Beats in San Francisco, 1953-1960, and one of their hangouts which was owned by Krikorian. Krikorian and other former Black Mountain College community members were considered part of the Beats, and the memoir includes references to Knute Stiles, Ilya Bolotowsky, Robert Duncan and Robert Creeley.

9. My Black Mountain Summer: A Personal Account by Alma Stone Williams,October 1995

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Memoir (1995) by Alma Stone Williams, an African American student at Black Mountain College during the Summer Music Institute of 1944. The memoir includes: accounts of the Quiet House, North Lodge, and Studies Building; the creation of the murals and by Jean Charlot; experiences with fellow institute students; relations between students and teachers; World War II and BMC; tea time at BMC; Lotte Leonard's class; piano practice with Joanna Graudan and the teacher's impact on her; the classes of Edward Lowinsky; chamber music classes; Rudolf Kolisch and Nikolai Graudan; Josef Albers; the art of Josef Breitenbach; the lectures of Bernard Rudofsky; concerts at BMC, including a concert of music by Franz Schubert; Heinrich Jalowetz; the controversy concerning Eric Bentley, Jeanne Wacker and Barbara Anderson (Dupee) and the resulting disagreements in the college community; and race relations at BMC as compared to the rest of the South in 1944.

10. Exhibition catalog,1984

Willem de Kooning, Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou,1984
Box PC.1580.2

11. Oversized Materials,1978

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Six posters for the (March 20 - May 8, 1978), located with the oversized materials at the beginning of the Private Manuscript Collections.

Poster featuring a black and white sketch of the Studies Building, the dates of the events, and Warren Wilson College as their sponsor.
Folder PC.1580 - Oversized
Red poster featuring Ile De France by Robert Motherwell

Subject Headings

  • Cage, John
  • De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997.
  • Krikorian, Leo, 1922-
  • Noland, Kenneth, 1924-
  • Richards, Mary Caroline.
  • Straus, Erwin W. (Erwin Walter), 1891-1975
  • Williams, Alma Stone.
  • Williams, Jonathan, 1929-2008
  • Olson Family
  • Olson, Charles, 1910-1970
  • Joseph Albert Fiore
  • Richards, Mary Caroline
  • Patricia Hewitt Fitt
  • Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center.
  • Black Mountain College (Black Mountain, N.C.)
  • Black Mountain College Retrospective, 1978
  • African American students--North Carolina--Social conditions.
  • Art--Exhibitions.
  • Beat generation.
  • Music--Instruction and study.
  • Pottery
  • Universities and colleges--North Carolina--History.
  • Universities and colleges
  • College teachers
  • Concerts
  • Music
  • Letters of appreciation
  • Philosophy Teachers
  • Psychology Teachers
  • Psychiatrists
  • Poetry
  • Poets
  • Art
  • Black Mountain (N.C.)
  • Acquisitions Information

    Eulogy and newspaper articles re. Erwin Straus received from Miss Mary Emma Harris, July 1975 and accessioned July 15, 1975. Eight bulletins and music programs were a gift of Mrs. Margaret Balzar Cantieni, Bethlehem, Pa.; presented via Mary Emma Harris, New York; accessioned July 19, 1976. The multiple copies of two posters were a gift of Mrs. Patricia H. Pitt, Black Mountain College Project, Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, 1978. Sixteen black and white glossy prints and one postcard were a gift of Mr. George Pickering, Camp Rockmont, Black Mountain, NC; donated April 12, 1978. One volume by Leverett T. Smith was a gift of the Leverett T. Smith, Jr., NC Wesleyan College, Rocky Mount; accessioned June 26, 1979. One typescript article was a gift of Patricia Hewitt Fitt, Goddard College, Plainsfield, Vermont; accessioned June 26, 1979. One book about Willem de Kooning was a gift of Dominique Bozo, Director, Centre George Pompidou, Musee national d'art modern, Paris; accessioned January 31, 1985. One pamphlet was a gift of F. A. Foster, Montreat; accessioned December 12, 1985. Three postage stamps were a gift of Mrs. Barbara T. Cain, Raleigh; accessioned February 10, 1981. Some materials relating to the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center were purchased in 1995; other materials were a gift of the museum, 1999. Two printed items were a gift of Dr. Irwin Kremen, Duke University, 1998. A photocopy of the Alma Stone Williams memoir was a gift of Alma Stone Williams, Savannah, Ga., 2002. The publication Studiovoice was a gift, ca. 2003. Two exhibition announcements were gifts of Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, England, 2005. Two announcements and one catalog were gifts of the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center, 2007. During March-April, 2012, these records were moved from the State Archives building in Raleigh to the Western Regional Archives, Asheville, N.C.

    Processing Information

  • Processed by Ashley Yandle, February, 2002; an addition made in 2007 by George Stevenson; an addition made by Ashley Yandle, September, 2008.
  • Encoded by Ashley Yandle, June, 2002; additional encoding by Ashley Yandle, September, 2008.
  • This collection was processed in 2002 with the support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.