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Bard College Archives & Special Collections


The Bard College Archives is a research collection that contains records of administrative and/or historical value worthy of long-term preservation.

Materials in the archives generally fall into one of the following categories:

Institutional Records - The official records of Bard College include non-current records of selected administrators, governing boards, academic departments, and major administrative offices, as well as publications which document significant college events. Examples include, but are not limited to, minutes of faculty or trustee meetings, college yearbooks, commencement brochures, non-current office files of historic value and student, faculty, and staff handbooks.

Student Records - The printed and manuscript records of student life include scrapbooks and albums generated by individual students during their years at Bard; minutes, reports and memorabilia of student clubs, fraternities and organizations; and senior projects and masters theses completed as part of a student’s graduation requirements. Student records pertaining to grades/ transcripts are maintained by the Registrar’s Office at (845) 758-7458.

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

Audiovisual Collections - Audiovisual collections are represented by various formats including: photographs, slides, drawings, cassette tapes, videotapes, and reel-to-reel tapes. These document student life, faculty activities, campus scenes, Bard and St. Stephen’s College events, performances, lectures, and include some alumni/ae oral history interviews. These collections are selective, not comprehensive.

Gatehouse to Blithewood
The "Gardener's Cottage," the gatehouse to
Blithewood, Robert Donaldson's estate; later renamed
Annandale by John and Margaret Bard.

College Publications - Publications issued by Bard College offices or students are kept in the Archives. Examples include college catalogs; alumni/ae publications; newspapers and other student publications; yearbooks; college handbooks and directories; annual reports; and publications which advertise and describe individual programs of the college such as the MFA or Language and Thinking programs. For online access to backfiles of student newspapers, search the Bard College Student Newspaper Archive.

Summer of 97 Bardian cover
"Bardian" cover, Summer 1997.

Alumni/ae Collections - Alumni/ae collections include some biographical subject files, and, in some rare cases, materials donated to the college relevant to the archives’ mission. Student records pertaining to grades/ transcripts are maintained by the Registrar’s Office at (845) 758-7458. Additional files on individuals are also maintained by the Alumni/ae Office.

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.

Papers of Individuals - 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.

Bard Family Papers include correspondence among members of the Bard Family and their acquaintances from the 17th – 19th centuries, as well as land deeds and other legal documents of some prominent family members, including, among others: Dr. John Bard (1716-1799) the first President of the New York Medical Society and who claimed all of Hyde Park, NY as his estate; Dr. Samuel Bard (1742-1821), son of Dr. John Bard and one of the founders of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (attached to Kings College, now Columbia University); his son William Bard (1778-1853), a lawyer and an early president of the New York Life Insurance and Trust Company; and John Bard (1819-1899), son of William Bard, and a founder 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.)

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