Bard College Archives

The Archives consist of paper collections, photographs, student publications, maps, ephemera, and memorabilia that help tell the story of the College and surrounding communities. These three categories of archival materials are described below.

  1. College archives
  2. Local and Regional History Archives
  3. Delafield Family/Montgomery Place Archives


Finding aid descriptions are available for many of these materials, and requests about the archives can be directed to the archivist at [email protected] A growing number of these finding aids are also available through the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative, with Bard’s finding aids available here. Items in these collections do not leave the library.

The Archives & Special Collections Reading Room has reopened to researchers by appointment. If you wish to view any items from our non-circulating collections, please complete the following form.

1. College Archives

Senior Projects

Hard copies of senior projects and masters theses are housed in the archives. Dating back to 1939, these are searchable in the library’s catalog. Many senior projects written after 2011 are available on Digital Commons. Requests to view bound copies of senior projects can be made at the Reference Desk or through the Special Collections Request Form.

Senior projects cannot leave the building.

Institutional History

College records in the archives include non-current (most pre 2000) documents of selected administrators, governing bodies, and academic departments, as well as publications which document college events. Examples include, but are not limited to: minutes of faculty and trustee meetings; commencement programs; campus master plans; college and event promotional literature; selected non-current department files; handbooks; and directories.


The archives houses several thousand photographs documenting college events, activities and people. Many photographs can be viewed from our Digital Collections page, and a container list of photo files can be viewed here. For access to unpublished photo images, please contact the archivist at [email protected]

Audio Collections

The archives has several reel to reel tapes collections that are fragile. Much of the content is currently unavailable for researchers but the College hopes to eventually see all this material digitized. Reel to reel tape collections include the Fortess Collection, a collection of 276 interviews with 20th century artists conducted by Karl Fortess (1907-1994); the Towbin Poetry archive, a collection of 100+ tapes of poetry readings and lectures recorded at Bard from 1982 through the 1990s, and the Blücher Archive, recordings of Freshman Seminar philosophy lectures given at Bard in the 1960s.

Summer of 97 Bardian cover

"Bardian" cover, Summer 1997.

College Publications

Examples of college publications in the archives include college catalogs; alumni/ae newsletters and magazines; student publications; college yearbooks; and annual reports. For online access to backfiles of student newspapers, search the Bard College Student Newspaper Archive.

Paul Hartzell scrapbook photo

A page from a photo scrapbook compiled by Paul Hartzell, class of 1915.

Alumni/ae Materials and Memorabilia

These items help to document student life at the College over time. Examples include: photo scrapbooks; fraternity documents including minute books, ledgers and reports; and other memorabilia including banners, class rings, and letter sweaters.

Student records pertaining to grades/ transcripts are maintained by the Registrar’s Office at (845) 758-7458.

Subject Files

The Archives also contains hundreds of files on topics relevant to the life of the college. These have been created and added to for many decades, and though they are not by any means comprehensive in any area, these files often represent an excellent starting place for research on an individual, a program, or a significant event.

Personal Papers & Manuscripts

The college has not sought to collect the personal papers, given the lack, until recently, of an established archives. As the Bard College Archives continues to grow, it is hoped that more personal papers that significantly add to the documentary history of the college will be donated to the archives. One such gift was the donation of the Bard Family Papers entrusted to Bard College in 1938-39 by J.A. Sands, Bard Family historian, and great-great-grandson of Dr. Samuel Bard.

Letter to John Bard

Letter to John Bard by members of the Trinity Church vestry, Madalin, NY.

Bard Family Papers

This collection includes correspondence among members of the Bard Family and their acquaintances from the 17th – 19th centuries, as well as land deeds and other legal documents. Some correspondents include: Dr. John Bard (1716-1799) of Hyde Park, the first President of the New York Medical Society; Dr. Samuel Bard (1742-1821), one of the founders of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, (attached to Kings College, now Columbia University); William Bard (1778-1853), a lawyer and an early president of the New York Life Insurance and Trust Company; Susannah Bard Johnston (1772-1845) mother and mistress of Bellefield, in Hyde Park; and John Bard (1819-1899), a founder with his wife Margaret Johnston Bard of St. Stephen's College (now Bard College).

For a brief history of the Bard Family and the early history of Bard College, read The Bard Family by Felix Hirsch, a former librarian and professor at Bard.

2. Local and Regional History Archives: Wiles Collection

Wiles Collection

This unprocessed and minimally described collection contains 25 boxes of local history documents, ledgers, ephemera, newspaper clippings and photographs donated in 2018 by the estate of Richard Wiles. Professor Wiles taught economics at Bard from 1969 until his retirement in 1998. This collection includes a wide variety of local history materials including records of apple orchards, some early St. Stephen’s correspondence, Saugerties steamboat documentation, an original Robert R. Livingston ledger, miscellaneous Tivoli documents, and more. This material will be processed as time allows, but the collection has been inventoried and is available for research.

3. Delafield Family/ Montgomery Place Archives

The Montgomery Place Archives contain extensive paper and photograph collections of John Ross Delafield (1874-1964), his wife Violetta White Delafield (1875-1949) and their family dating from the 1880s to the 1980s, the bulk of which date between the 1920s - 1960s. These papers include personal correspondence, genealogical, military, and business records, garden documentation, and Montgomery Place Orchard and Montgomery Place Mansion files.

Other archival collections at Montomery Place include some 19th century correspondence between Louise Livingston of Montgomery Place and Robert Donaldson of Blithewood; many 18th and 19th century maps of Montgomery Place and the surrounding communities of Red Hook and Rhinebeck; extensive architectural and landscape drawings of Montgomery Place from the 1980s to ca. 2010; and selected research and conservation documentation from Historic Hudson Valley dating from 1986-2016 reflecting the years that Montgomery Place was in their care.