New York University’s Fales Library Downtown Collection has been selected to receive the 2004 Award for Innovative Use of Archives from the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York. The award recognizes an individual or organization for its use of archival material in a meaningful and creative way, making a significant contribution to a community and demonstrating the relevance of archival materials to its subject.
The Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York commended the Fales Library for establishing and building the Downtown Collection, a unique research repository documenting the artistic scene of lower Manhattan from 1975 to the present. Fales Library and Special Collections, which is located in the university’s Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, is headed by Marvin Taylor, who joined the library in 1993; Mike Kelly is Curator of Books and Ann Butler serves as Archivist.
According to the Archivists Round Table, “this splendid and unusual archive is becoming a center for the study of New York’s Downtown culture, heavily used by scholars preparing biographies and popular with NYU undergraduates who enjoy working with primary documents.” Fales also installs exhibitions and sponsors seminars highlighting collection themes and featuring affiliate artists. It contains a broad collection of textual documents, audio recordings, video tapes, artist assemblages, and unclassifiable artifacts which resonate the period. Holdings include the papers of novelist Dennis Cooper, painter and multimedia artist David Wojnarowicz, and punk provocateur Richard Hell, as well as those of avant garde theatre practitioners Mabou Mines and Richard Foreman.
Previous recipients of this award include Ric Burns, producer of the documentary film Coney Island; The Jackie Robinson Foundation for a traveling multimedia exhibition; and Hamish Bowles for the exhibition “Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Founded in 1979, the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, Inc. (ART) is a not-for-profit organization representing a diverse group of more than 330 archivists, librarians, and records managers in the New York metropolitan area.