Duke University Libraries recently made available through iTunes U and YouTube a treasure trove of video interviews from its archives. Some of the the most iconic cultural figures of the 20th century are represented, among them artists, architects, designers, musicians, photographers, and more.
The library system's digital collections staff and students spent six months creating digital versions of the tapes. All dating from the 1970s and 1980s, the interviews were conceived, conducted, and produced by arts commentator, exhibit curator, author, and educator Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel. Tapes of the interviews are also archived at the U.S. Library of Congress, but they aren't available for viewing remotely. Duke University Libraries' work has expanded access to these culturally valuable interviews.
"What's significant about the interviews is that they are people who are distinguished in their fields of the arts, who have had an impact on and influenced the directions of their fields," says Deborah Jakubs, Ph.D., the Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian and vice provost for library affairs. "We have enhanced access to these interviews and the words of all these people, not all of whom are still alive."
The collection comprises eight series of interviews—some conducted for television series Diamonstein-Spielvogel produced and others for courses she taught at Parsons The New School for Design in the 1980s. Frank Gehry, FAIA; Michael Graves, FAIA; Charles Gwathmey, FAIA; Philip Johnson; Richard Meier, FAIA; and Denise Scott Brown, RIBA, Int. FRIBA, and Robert Venturi, FAIA, Int. FRIBA, are just a few of the architects featured in interviews from Diamonstein-Spielvogel's "American Architecture Now" course at Parsons.
Although she didn't attend or teach at Duke University, Diamonstein-Spielvogel gave the collection of tapes to Duke in 1986 because of her long association with the university through her friendships with faculty members.