Here’s a treasure from the NYPL’s archives - a photo taken exactly 107 years ago today of our iconic Rose Main Reading Room being constructed. The final product can be seen below.
Annemarie van Roessel - an archivist at our Library for the Performing Arts - was featured in today’s New York Times discussing her job and the collections she works with. She is the star of an accompanying video - check it out.
Federico Fernando Pita, President of DIAFAR (African Diaspora of Argentina) visited the Schomburg Center today. DIAFAR is an organization that includes “the Afro born in Argentina, African-Americans and African immigrants” to Argentina who are reviving the 500-year-old history and culture of Africans in Argentina.
(1): Tammi Lawson, Librarian of the Schomburg’s Art and Artifacts Division, shows woodcuts related to the writings of Langston Hughes by Argentina artist Antonio Frasconi.
(2): Sharon Howard (second from left), Chief Librarian, displays books in English and Spanish, relating to Argentina.
(3): Diana Lachatanere (far right), Curator of Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, shows documents detailing the history of Africans in Argentina, which began with the arrival of enslaved Africans in the early 1500s.
(4): Mary Yearwood (far right), Curator of the Photographs and Prints Division Mary Yearwood (far right), displays photographs and illustrations related to Argentina and all of Latin America.
The collection contains a number of items relating to current events in the 1950s and ‘60s. In particular, Robbins was keenly interested in the civil rights movement.
One treasure discovered in the audio collection is “Project 65: Mississippi Summer,” a two-hour radio documentary produced in 1965 by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, exploring the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project.
The doc allows activists, locals, blacks, whites, mayors, tenant farmers, and schoolchildren to speak for themselves, creating a multi-faceted portrait of the struggle for African-American civil rights. Fannie Lou Hamer describes being beaten in a Winona, Mississippi jail; a young volunteer from Wisconsin canvases for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party; the president of the pro-segregation White Citizens’ Councils defends their purpose; farmer Hartman Turnbow describes his attempt to register to vote and the subsequent firebombing of his home.
Also in the Jerome Robbins Audio Collection is an archival recording of a 1964 gathering of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Greenwood, Mississippi, at which Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier (who are heard on the tape delivering speeches) appeared to present funds raised for SNCC; and radio news reporting about race riots in Detroit, Milwaukee, and other cities in July, 1967.
Another gem to emerge from the collection is a complete audio recording of the television program Night Beat, on which John Wingate interviews Jack Kerouac and Earle Hyman. Hyman discusses his struggles and triumphs as an African-American actor and his love of theater.
Kerouac, on the occasion of the publication of The Subterraneans, defines Beat vocabulary for his host and discusses the controversy surrounding the “Beat Generation,” his writing process, his cats, his painting, and his study of Buddhism.
These extremely rare sound recordings are now available for research use on-site at the Library for the Performing Arts, along with a two-hour lecture-performance by Stephen Sondheim at the 92nd Street Y in 1971, a radio interview with Lee Harvey Oswald, a recording of Arthur Miller’s biblical musical Up From Paradise, archival recordings of traditional Japanese music, and other audio materials reflecting Jerome Robbins’s wide-ranging, ever-searching intellect.
- Imogen Smith
RIP Ray Bradbury, one of the great ones. We’re even more convinced after watching this 1963 television documentary, “The Story of a Writer,” which the Library for the Performing Arts has on 16mm. The film “reveals the working habits of creative writers by showing how the American science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury conceives and finally produces his various stories.”
It’s a great short film on the mechanics of writing, as well as a look back into Bradbury’s world at the time.
You can watch it online via archive.org.
Elizabeth Gilbert and John Hodgman came to the library on Tuesday to talk about Gilbert’s new/old book, At Home on the Range. Here they explore some of the library’s collection items before the event begins.
Bookmark http://www.nypl.org/live/multimedia and come back in a week or so to see video of the conversation, which was sweet and hilarious.
Photos by Jori Klein.