I’ve done quite a few Black Mountain College (BMC) collection blog posts over the years. Both the college itself and its records seem to be endlessly fascinating to people, especially individuals who don’t visit archives on a regular basis and who therefore may not be aware of the types of materials we have in our collections. As a result, the BMC materials have often been a wonderful way for us at the North Carolina State Archives to begin talking with people and communities with whom we rarely have interaction, for example…
Today I noticed a link to our blog from The Thread, “the blog of Duke Performances, Duke University’s premier performing arts organization.” That link originated on a blog post by Brian Howe called “The Black Mountain Archive,” which discusses the upcoming performance of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in Durham. Merce Cunningham visited BMC several times and taught dance during the summer sessions of 1948, 1952, and 1953 (see the faculty and student roster in The Arts at Black Mountain College by Mary Emma Harris). Brian Howe also goes on to mention a panel presentation about Black Mountain poetry during the 2010 Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh. I attended that presentation and while talking with the participants afterward mentioned our collections, only to find out that not all of them were aware of the wealth of information available a few minutes walk from where they were standing. Brian kindly glosses over what I did then, but I’ll confess here that I went home and (in perhaps one of the geekiest ways to spend a Friday night ever) tracked down the websites and email addresses of as many of the participants as I could find and then sent them lists of our materials, websites, blog posts, and Flickr images related to BMC. But clearly all the geekiness was worth it, because Brian mentioned our resources again in his Thread post (thanks Brian).
What’s the point I’m trying to make here (besides the fact that you should all come visit us to use our Black Mountain College materials)? The point is that I bet that not all of you know that BMC is not the only group of defunct college records that the North Carolina State Archives holds in its collections. In fact, we have a very impressive list of college records in our custody on our website; the list was just updated last week when Gwen Mays, our Organization Records archivist, added a new school.
So do come to visit us or at least visit our websites and blogs to learn more about what we have. You may be surprised.