The Mary Emma Harris and Black Mountain College Project, Inc. Oral History collection

The Mary Emma Harris and Black Mountain College Project, Inc. Oral History collection (AC.564) contains the administrative and general documents of Black Mountain College Project, Inc., faculty and student files, and files and materials of oral history interviews conducted by Mary Emma Harris from 1974 to 2016. 

The Black Mountain College Project (BMC Project) was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation in the State of New York in 1999 by Mary Emma Harris, Black Mountain College (BMC) scholar and author of The Arts at Black Mountain College (The MIT Press, 1987). The mission of the project was the preservation and interpretation of the history and influence of BMC through preservation of primary documents, interviews with former faculty and students, and dissemination of information via multiple platforms including presentations, articles, and online resources. Harris began interviewing former BMC faculty, students, and visitors in 1974, and continued through 2016. The almost 400 interviews in this collection include oral histories from Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Ruth Asawa, Michael Rumaker, David Pines, and many others.  The BMC Project was dissolved in 2023.



Drawing of planned campus building overlooking Eden Lake at Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina (1938). Architectural design by Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius (artist anonymous). Photograph with collage, ink, and gouache, on woven paper. Scanned from exhibit at Harvard Art Museums.

The administrative files of BMC Project cover the corporation's organization and history, meeting minutes, annual reports, and financial documents. There are also correspondence with contributors and grant applications for BMC Project. The faculty and student files are related to those individuals who were interviewed by Harris and the BMC Project. There are also files for faculty and students that were not interviewed. Those files contain biographies, obituaries, newspaper articles, exhibition catalogues, and books written and/or illustrated by the corresponding individual. The bulk of this collection consists of the oral history files and materials in Series 4. This portion of the collection includes the following: physical media (audio, video, and reel-to-reel tapes), paper copies of the final versions of the transcripts, administrative files (original copies of transcripts, correspondence with interviewees, and release forms), and digital files, including a limited number of digitized versions of the physical media.

- Contributed by Anna Smith, Archives and Manuscript Processor

Published: Mar 1, 2024 12:07pm