Rare Book and Manuscript Library Acquires BOMB Magazine Archives

NEW YORK, October 24, 2005 - Columbia University Libraries has acquired the editorial archives of BOMB magazine, the revolutionary interview-based arts journal founded in 1981.

The archives, to be housed in Columbia's Rare Book and Manuscript Library, comprise taped interviews, original manuscripts, photographs, slides, artwork, and correspondence from key contemporary visual artists, writers, performers, and critics. These include Kathy Acker, Jane Alexander, Laurie Anderson, Madison Smartt Bell, Jean Louis Borges, Paul Bowles, Chuck Close, Julio Cortázar, Chuck D, Willem Dafoe, Jeffrey Eugenides, Eric Fischl, Michael Frayn, Spalding Gray, Allan Gurganus, Keith Haring, Emmylou Harris, A. M. Homes, Gary Indiana, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jim Jarmusch, Maya Lin, Robert Mangold, Robert Mapplethorpe, Brice Marden, Elizabeth Murray, Michael Ondaatje, Saul Ostrow, Rachel Pollack, Francine Prose, James Rosenquist, Salman Rushdie, Luc Sante, Wallace Shawn, Lynne Tillman, Wendy Wasserstein, William Wegman, and Jeanette Winterson, as well as BOMB's founding editor Betsy Sussler.

“The BOMB archives are an unusual research trove for understanding the interdisciplinary nature of art and artists,” said Bruce W. Ferguson, Dean of the Columbia School of the Arts. “Access to these archives will provide a great resource for an ever-increasing number of students, faculty members, cultural researchers, and journalists.”

BOMB magazine's distinctive interview format puts artists of every medium in dialogue with their peers, and features in-depth discussions of the personal, intellectual, and cultural forces at play in the creative process. The Rare Book and Manuscript Library's collection of BOMB materials is designed to provide scholars of contemporary culture a unique view into a critical period of artistic production.

“It will always be of inestimable historical value to have provided these intimate glimpses into the personal centers of the creative process,” said Arthur Danto, Emeritus Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia. “But the BOMB interviews will have that value just because they are not merely documents for future reference. The interviews refer to the culture in its fluid and formative state, and in this way contribute to its direction. In and through them the culture encounters itself.”

The archive covers BOMB's entire span of publication, from 1981 to the present, and will be available for research use in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library as soon as it is processed. The collection will occupy 145 linear feet of shelf space in the library.

BOMB Magazine garnered support for its archive project from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and the Peter Norton Family Foundation. Columbia's BOMB collection will complement the magazine's online Archive Project, initiated with funding from National Endowment for the Arts Heritage and Preservation and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. The online archive will feature over 600 of BOMB's interviews.

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/ is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library owns over 600,000 rare books in some 20 book collections and almost 26 million manuscripts in nearly 2,600 separate manuscript collections. It is particularly strong in English and American literature and history, classical authors, children's literature, education, mathematics and astronomy, economics and banking, photography, the history of printing, New York City politics, librarianship, and the performing arts. Individual collections are as eclectic as they are extensive. For additional information about the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, please call 212-854-5153.