Oral History Project

Click here to view the current Online Exhibits page.

BardCorps is a collaborative oral history project of the Alumni/ae Office and the Bard College Archives. This is modeled on the famous StoryCorps initiative that travels the country recording personal stories in an Airstream trailer. We are recording the stories of Bardians not only to preserve memory, but to document and expand our understanding of Bard's history


BardCorps follows the Bard Oral History Project which was launched in 2000 as a joint effort between alumni/ae interested in recording the ever evolving story of Bard, and a faculty member then teaching a course in oral histories.

Richard F. (Dick) Koch - Class of 1940

Dick majored in physics and math at Bard. He and his wife Gladys return to the campus frequently during reunion weekend, as they did last year to celebrate his 70th reunion. Dick will be honored at the President's Dinner on May 20, 2011 where he will receive the Bard Medal, given to those 'whose efforts on behalf of Bard and whose achievements have significantly advanced the welfare of the college.'

The excerpted audio clips and video interview available here were recorded on May 28, 2000. The interviewer is M Mark, and the videographer is David Avallone, '87.

Listen to Dick describe formal proms at Bard:

koch prom
Three dance cards given to Bard by Dick and Gladys Koch

Dick relates his experience of being a Jewish student at Bard at a time when Jews were not allowed to join one of the existing three fraternities:

Watch the complete interview below:

Barbara Italie - Class of 1950

A history major at Bard, Barbara graduated as Barbara Sue Markell. Her interview covers many topics, including her work with Librarian and Professor of history, Felix Hirsch, whose influence she later felt in her own decision to become a librarian.

Barbara was interviewed by Don Moore, '67, on May 27, 2000. Her voice on this recording is very quiet, and it is sometimes difficult to make out her words despite efforts to augment the recording.

Listen to Barbara Italie describe her memories of working on her senior project, and her wonderment at those who would call Felix Hirsch 'Popsie' behind his back:

koch prom

A scan of the title page of Barbara's 1950 senior project entitled: 'Saint Ignatius of Loyola and the Role of the Jesuits in France, Spain, and Austria (1540-1648)'

Henry Kritzler - Class of 1938

Prior to attending Bard in 1934, Henry received a certificate from the Pratt Institute, and throughout his career he continued to combine his artistic talent with a love of the natural world. In addition to studying biology at Bard during the Great Depression, Henry returned to the college to teach biology from 1961 to 1967. For years his drawings of campus scenes were auctioned off at college fundraisers, or made into note cards. Two of these images are reproduced here. Henry Kritzler died on June 3, 2002.

Henry was interviewed by Don Moore, '67 on May 28, 2000. Excerpts from his interview appear below.

Henry describes being influenced by friend and St. Stephen's graduate, William Bolt, '25, his interest in Bard, and his subsequent acceptance by Donald Tewksbury:

Listen to Henry talk about his work feeding and watering horses boarded in the barns, including 'Old Tom, the College Horse.' He jokes about Bard being a 'One horse college in those days.'

Print of Henry Kritzler drawing featuring the library and rugby field

Click below to hear Henry's version of the installation of the organ at the chapel, including the students' renaming of  the donor, 'The Reverend Dudley Barr' to that of 'The Reverend Deadly Bore.'

Henry relates how he was elected to teach 'the crap course' for non-scientists during his tenure in the biology department at Bard:


Print of Henry Kritzler's illustration of the Bard Chapel in winter.

Charles Dyson Friou - Class of 1946

Charles Friou was a social studies and religion major at Bard and his interview reveals him to be a person of deep social conscience. His years at Bard coincided with U.S. involvement in WWII, and the College found it could not survive without additional revenue. Thus, in 1943 the Army Specialized Training Program was created to instruct young soldiers in needed areas, and in 1944 the College began to accept women for the first time. The full video below illustrates Charles' response to these transitions, and includes as well as a moving segment of Charles' memories of the émigré faculty of the time.

Charles was interviewed on May 26, 2001 by Barbara Crane Wigren, '68. David Avallone, '87 filmed the interview, and posed some additional questions.

In this excerpt Charles describes what it was like to live and work with almost 300 student soldiers when Bard hosted the Student Army Training Corps:

Listen as Charles talks about several Nisei (second generation Japanese) students who were allowed to attend Bard while their families were housed in Japanese internment camps. Among these is Jin Kinoshita, who later received an honorary doctorate from the College in recognition of his career and research.

Watch the complete interview below:

Charles Friou Interview - Part 1

Charles Friou Interview - Part 2