Prominent Archival Collections Come to Western North Carolina

[This blog post comes from a Dept. of Cultural Resources press release – you can find other news related to NC Cultural Resources here.]

Prominent Archival Collections Come to Western North Carolina

The Western Regional Archives in Asheville, which opened last month, recently received documents collected by the Black Mountain College Project. This collection includes hundreds of photographs and negatives, journals, student notes, memoirs, college documents and publications, and correspondence, including “letters home to mom” from students at Black Mountain College.

The experimental interdisciplinary college operated in Black Mountain, N.C., from 1933 to 1957.  Its faculty included Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, Walter Gropius, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and Anni and Josef Albers.

“These one-of-a-kind Black Mountain College Project materials will augment the outstanding collection of College documents in the collections of the Archives including the official College papers, the Black Mountain College Research Project Collection, the Martin Duberman Papers, and the Theodore Dreier and Barbara Loines Dreier Black Mountain College Collection now housed at the Western Regional Archives,” said North Carolina’s State Archivist Sarah Koonts.

The Black Mountain College Project, a New York State not-for-profit corporation, was created by Mary Emma Harris, Black Mountain scholar and author of “The Arts at Black Mountain College,”(The MIT Press, 1987), to document, interpret and preserve the history of the College. One goal has been to locate, collect and identify materials related to the college’s history.  When additional archival materials are located, the Project will work with the State Archivist to facilitate their donation to the Western Regional Archives, administered by the State Archives.

At present, the Project is completing the transcription of over 300 interviews conducted by Harris with Black Mountain faculty, students and visitors and is working on the development of the Project web site.  The Project staff hopes to obtain funding to permit them to place the interview transcriptions on the web site and link them to biographies and other materials.

The Western Regional Archives opened to the public on Aug. 13. Several collections relating to western North Carolina were recently transferred from the State Archives in Raleigh to Asheville including the Black Mountain College Collection, the Blue Ridge Parkway Photograph Collection and the Appalachian National Park Association Papers.

For a complete list of the collections available at the WRA, visit the State Archives of North Carolina blog.

Operating hours for the WRA are Monday from 1 to 4 p.m.; Tuesday –Friday from 9 a.m. to noon; and all other times by appointment. It  is closed on state holidays.  The Western Regional Archives is located on the third floor of the Department of Cultural Resources’ Western Office at 176 Riceville Rd., Asheville, N.C. 28805.