Simon’s Rock History on View at the Daniel Arts Center

Photographs, newspaper clippings, commencement programs and footage from super 8 reels illustrate the evolution of Great Pine Farm as a working farm into Bard College at Simon’s Rock. The exhibition of over 60 photographs and archival materials is on display at the Hillman-Jackson Gallery at the Daniel Arts Center though October 31, 2012.

The photographs begin in the 1940s when the 900 acre Great Pine Farm estate was owned by Thomas and Margaret Blodgett. In the 1960s, their daughter Elizabeth B. Hall, would go on to found Simon’s Rock. "Most people are unaware that this property was a great estate and that they can still visit the landmark 'rock' on the property that inspired the name of the school," explained Margaret Cherin, college archivist and curator of the exhibition. "Simon’s Rock is now 45 years old, it was time to look back and tell its story using materials from the archives."

SIMONS ROCK ARCHIVAL EXHIBIT

After several decades away, Elizabeth Hall returned to the Berkshires in the early 1960s to care for her ailing mother. Photographs from that era show Hall standing on top of “Simon’s Rock” as if ready to declare to the world her ideas about revolutionizing education. Another shows Hall proudly standing over the architectural plans for the new campus, and in the next photograph she is at the ground breaking, beaming at the reality of a dream come true.

2.jpg

Hall’s own scrap books of the first news clipping about Simon’s Rock and several super 8 reels document the campus under construction and the first commencement ceremony celebrated in May 1970.

The show also focuses on the lively students and iconic faculty of Simon’s Rock who came to campus throughout the 1970s and 80s, including photos of the brave first entering class of young women in 1966.

The exhibition opened during the College’s 45th Reunion Weekend this May, which brought back over 300 alums to campus. Cherin said, “Being able to stand next to four women from the first entering class of 1966 while they watched the commencement footage was a thrill; they were transfixed to see their 19 year old selves on the podium and they named each and every person they saw.”

3.jpg

The Simon’s Rock College Archives were founded in 2002 when the significant papers of Elizabeth and Livingston Hall were donated to the College. It is now the official repository for the College’s non-current records of enduring historical value. Included in the collection are the many papers, publications, photographs, and media produced by students, faculty, administration, and staff over the course of the College’s history.

For more information about this exhibit or the Archives at Bard College at Simon's Rock, please contact Margaret Cherin at (413) 528-7389 or mcherin@simons-rock.edu.