January 7th, 2011
In late 2008, the HFA received the Norman Mailer Collection, the largest single holding dedicated to the writer’s work in film. Along with the 40 + boxes of film materials delivered to Cambridge that October came film scholar and archivist Michael Chaiken from NYC to assist with the identification and processing of these rare materials. For the next six months, Chaiken, along with the help of the HFA conservation center staff, identified, rehoused, and cataloged this important collection.
By mid-2009, with the film materials safely in cold storage, work began on creating ways for students, filmmakers, artists, and researchers to learn about and access Mailer’s work. The nature of this collection, consisting not only of projection prints, but also many pre-print materials, including workprint, original camera rolls, and audio recordings, deemed it necessary to create a collection level finding aid to describe the materials fully and accurately.
We are pleased to announce that the online finding aid is complete and the collection is now fully available for access at the HFA’s conservation center:
Mailer’s films have up until now been virtually unavailable. Accessibility to this work sheds new light on Mailer’s persona as an artist; the presence of the production materials collected and organized in one concise collection lends insight to his process as a filmmaker; and the immense trove of outtake material provides rare documentation of Mailer and his community in the late 1960s and early 1970s.