Bard College Archives & Special Collections collects, preserves and makes available materials in a variety of formats relating to the intellectual and social history of Bard College and its surrounding communities.
This collection consists of documents and artifacts created by the architectural firm of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates in 1989-1993 for the design of a new addition and the renovation of the existing buildings for the Bard College Library. Named for the principal donor, the Bard College Board of Trustees Chair Emeritus Charles P. Stevenson Jr., the completed library complex opened as Stevenson library in 1994. Documents include architectural plans, maps, mechanical drawings, and other technical drawings, ephemera, and manuals. Artifacts include mounted drawings and one model.
This collection consists of 277 reel-to-reel tapes of interviews conducted by Karl Eugene Fortess (1907-1993). The subjects of these interviews represent modern artists of the post World War II era. Interviews were conducted over the course of four decades between the 1950s to the 1980s.
This collection consists of material from Stefan Hirsch and Elsa Rogo detailing their journeys to Latin America, their professional work as artists and educators, and personal business and correspondence.
Jacob "Jake" Grossberg (1932-2014) taught sculpture at Bard College from 1969 until he retired in 1996. He was also instrumental in developing and starting Bard’s MFA program and was named director of the program in 1981.
The American Symphony Orchestra is a New York-based orchestra whose mission is to renew live orchestral music as a vital force in contemporary American culture. Under the direction of Leon Botstein ASO pursues innovation in concert presentation and is devoted to the promotion of musical education. At Bard College, the ASO appears in an annual winter subscription series at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, and also takes part in the Bard Music Festival and SummerScape. This collection includes organizational files including papers relating to the founding of ASO and historical financial and corporate documents. The collection also contains miscellaneous ephemera relating to ASO including stagebills; advertising flyers; news releases; and reviews. The collection was given to the Archives by Lynne Meloccaro (BArd class of 1985, executive director of the ASO) through Leon Botstein.
This collection consists of materials pertaining to the life of Theodore Russel Weiss and his activities as a poet, academic, critic, editor and publisher. Theodore Weiss was a professor at several institutions including Bard College and Princeton University as well as the co-founder and editor of acclaimed literary journal, the Quarterly Review of Literature (QRL). He was also an award winning poet, over a dozen volumes of his poetry were published by the likes Macmillan, NYU Press and others. A significant portion of this collection consists of original drafts of poetry by Weiss. The collection also contains materials pertaining to his marriage to poet, musician and editor, Renée Karol including their correspondences and drafts of their co-written poetry. The two were prolific collaborators on the QRL which they ran together for nearly sixty years.
Ricarda Schwerin (1912-1999), photographer and active communist, took a series of black and white photographs of Greek architecture, likely taken in 1963, while Schwerin was travelling with Hannah Arendt. She later gifted prints of these photographs to Arendt. The photographs probably came to Bard with Arendt’s library, which was gifted to Bard after her death in 1975.
This collection documents the life and activities of members of the Bard family over the course of five generations, beginning with Peter Bard (1679-1734), and ending with John Bard (1818-1899), who founded Bard College with his wife, Margaret Johnston Bard (1825-1875). Peter Bard came to the United States in 1706 and settled in Delaware. It was here that he met Dinah Marmion, who he married in 1709 and with whom he had eight children. The eldest son, John (1716-1799), married Susanne Valleau in 1737, and together they moved to Hyde Park, New York. John became a physician and together they had six children, the most notable of whom was Dr. Samuel Bard. Samuel attended King’s college (later Columbia); was imprisoned in France during the Seven Years War; received medical training in Edinburgh; launched and served as the first president of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York; and served as a professor and a Trustee of Columbia College. Samuel was a leader in American medical education. He wrote multiple medical books, and, though a Loyalist during the Revolution, served as George Washington’s personal physician. Samuel was not only a successful physician, he also accumulated large amounts of land in the Hyde Park, New York area, renting out parcels of land to tenants. He married his cousin, Mary Bard in 1770, and together they had eight children, three of whom survived to adulthood: Eliza Bard McVickar (1789-1838); William Bard (1778-1853); and Susannah Bard Johnston (1772-1845). Susannah was the eldest daughter of Samuel and Mary. In 1792, she married John Johnstone. Together, Susannah and John had twelve children. Their eldest son, Francis Upton Johnston (1796-1858) studied under his grandfather, Dr. Samuel Bard, attending the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and later was the attending physician at the New York Hospital. This collection contains correspondence documenting family matters, illness, local news, thoughts on religion and books, and academic and professional concerns. Materials also document the business and professional affairs of the family, including deeds of land, leases and indentures, three manuscript volumes containing the text of lectures on natural philosophy delivered by Samuel Bard to students at Columbia College. Also included are several portraits of family members, multiple wills, two framed copies of a genealogical chart, documents about the founding of St. Stephen's College in 1860, and a bound manuscript of family recipes titled "Receipt Book."
The Blithewood Estate today encompasses the Blithewood Mansion and Garden. The Estate is a contributing property in the Hudson River National Historic Landmark District, a 32-mile stretch that extends from Germantown to Hyde Park. Now housing the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College, the Estate represents several periods in American design history: notably the Romantic and Picturesque and the Neoclassical Italianate. The bulk of the Collection dates from three significant periods: 1835 until 1852, when it was under the ownership of Robert Donaldson, who worked with A. J. Downing and A.J. Davis to develop the estate; 1899 -1951, during which time Captain Andrew C. Zabriskie and his wife, Frances Hunter Zabriskie, built the present day mansion and garden; and 1951- present, covering the Estate under Bard College. The Collection includes photographs, personal letters, engravings, and magazines. Tearsheets and photocopies of contemporary magazine articles and book chapters, published from 1951-on, give the history of the site in full, and include reproductions of many important photographs, sketches, engravings and plans.
Heinrich Blücher came to Bard College as a visiting professor in 1952, at the invitation of James Case, then President of the College. He developed the Common Course for freshmen at the college and became its director as well as the primary lecturer for the course, which took as its subject the history of philosophy. Over the course of the next seventeen years he taught at Bard and at the New School for Social Research (now The New School: a University in New York City), leaving scores of tapes of his lectures but very little written material. He was known for his practice of lecturing from only a few notes on index cards. Working with Hannah Arendt, Blücher’s wife, Alexander Bazelow (’71) transcribed the tapes from the Bard lectures; many of the New School lecture transcripts appear to have been made by Ruth Shultz. In a deed of gift Arendt left Bard College a collection of reel-to-reel audio tapes of Heinrich Blücher's lectures, given at The New School and at Bard, along with transcripts of some of the audio tapes. Audio cassettes copies were made of many of the original tapes thanks to Dr. George Rose ('63). The collection includes a notebook belonging to Blücher, and some notes and letters.