October 25, 2018

MacDowell Colony Library Renamed to Honor James Baldwin

PETERBOROUGH, NEW HAMPSHIRE—MacDowell Colony, the New Hampshire-based residency program for writers, interdisciplinary artists, and filmmakers, has renamed its library in honor of American author James Baldwin. A dedication ceremony will be held Sunday, November 4, 2018, with speeches by Kevin Young, The New Yorker poetry editor and director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where Baldwin’s personal archive is housed, and Florence Ladd, MacDowell Fellow and overseer of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Baldwin was a MacDowell Fellow in 1954, 1957, and 1960, and developed the novels Notes of a Native Son, Giovanni’s Room, and Another Country while in residence.

The library at the MacDowell Colony holds more than 15,000 materials, including texts, works of visual art, recordings, films, and musical scores. The library was remodeled in 2012 by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects to accommodate spaces for contemporary art practice and research. The colony will launch the Baldwin Initiative to raise funds to sustain the fellowship program and alleviate the financial burdens of being an artist.

“It’s wonderful how the Baldwin legacy is coming full circle, for not only have the Baldwin papers come back to Harlem to a permanent home right around the corner from where he was born, in a library where he read as a child, but now his name will grace a beautiful research library at MacDowell, a place Baldwin came to love for its creative nourishment,” Young said. “Personally, I had the privilege of working in a MacDowell studio where Baldwin himself worked—writing beneath his signature on the wall was inspiring. With his name on the library, every MacDowell Fellow will now be able to share in that inspiration.”

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