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Mary Caroline Richards papers, 1898-2007, bulk 1942-1999

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Richards (Mary Caroline) papers

Scope and Content of Collection

The papers of Mary Caroline Richards gather together a lifetime of work in several artistic disciplines and touch upon many others. Richards's career saw a progression from scholarship and teaching in English literature, to freelance work as a poet, potter, author, and translator, to work in arts education through lectures and workshops. During this time she established close relationships with a large number of people, as may be seen through her correspondence, which is remarkable for its intimacy and warmth. Her correspondents include representatives from virtually every artistic discipline and many of the major American art movements of the 1950s through the 1980s.

The papers give special emphasis to the period during which Richards served on the faculty of Black Mountain College in the 1940s and 1950s. Here began many of the associations which connect her to the music and art worlds, through friendships with David Tudor, Lou Harrison and John Cage in music, Merce Cunningham and Remy Charlip in dance, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, and Robert Duncan (loosely known as the "Black Mountain Poets") in literature, and Lyle Bongé and Joe Fiore in the visual arts. Her involvement with theater began at Black Mountain College with her translation of plays by Cocteau and Satie, and continued after her departure when she became the first English translator of Artaud, acting on an interest which began at Black Mountain.

Included in the collection are manuscripts, correspondence, diaries and notebooks, books, photographs, slides, clippings, ephemera, posters, audio tapes, and artwork (including oil paintings and drawings in pencil, ink, chalk and pastels).

Items counts are approximate.

Arrangement note

The collection is arranged in nine series: .
Series I: Black Mountain College and its critical reception, 1945-1999;
Series II: Correspondence, 1904-2007;
Series III: Writings, 1905-1999;
Series IV: Workshops, lectures and exhibitions, 1944-2005;
Series V: Clippings and Ephemera, 1951-2003;
Series VI: Diaries and notes, 1948-1999;
Series VII: Artwork, 1955-1998, undated;
Series VIII: Memorabilia, personal miscellany, 1898-2003

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