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COLLECTION Identifier: hfa00001

Hollis Frampton Collection


This collection contains, in a variety of media, materials by, about, and related to the filmmaker, photographer, and critic Hollis Frampton. Donated by Marion Faller, with whom he spent his last 13 years, the items here were likely kept by Frampton during his lifetime, with additional elements being added by Faller after Frampton's death. From original artworks to invaluable audio recordings, this collection gives rare insight into the career and personality of one of the most important American avant-garde filmmakers.


  • 1963-2001

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions on physical access to the paper portion of this collection. Collection is open for research.The Harvard Film Archive's manuscript collections and paper-based materials are accessed through the Houghton Library Reading Room. This material is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Researchers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine retrieval policies and times.

Access to posters and audiovisual material is by appointment only. Applications to consult this material should be directed to the staff of the Harvard Film Archive. Film prints are made accessible in close consultation with HFA staff. Although materials do not circulate for individual use, students, filmmakers, artists, and researchers are encouraged to use the collections on-site.

Use Restrictions

Reproduction and/or publication of materials subject to copyright requires written permission from a) the copyright owner, his/her heirs or assigns and from b) the Harvard Film Archive, owner of the original material.


1035 cubic feet
17 boxes

The Hollis Frampton Collection includes: 16mm motion picture films and video tape copies of Frampton's work; photographs and xerographic art works made by Frampton, transcripts of lectures given by Frampton, videotapes of television interviews with and shows about Frampton, writings on Frampton by various authors from numerous magazines and newspapers, photographic slides picturing Frampton, books containing writings by Frampton, letters written to Frampton, paper materials corresponding to exhibitions of Frampton's work and that of his friends, and audiotapes of music produced by Frampton, of Frampton lecturing in public and the classroom, and of Frampton speaking at screenings of his own work.


There is no telling what Hollis William Frampton, Jr.'s mental age was when he was born on March 11, 1936 in Wooster, Ohio; however, when tested at approximately age 12, he was found to have that of one older than 18. At the biological age of 15 he attended Phillips Academy, Andover on full scholarship, where, from 1951 – 1954, as a classmate of Frank Stella and Carl Andre, he studied languages (French, German, Latin, and Greek), literature, and the arts (especially photography and poetry). A full scholarship to Harvard University was rescinded after complications surrounding Frampton's graduation from Andover, and so he attended Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio from 1954 – 1957, studying languages (Russian, Sanskrit, Chinese) and mathematics. In 1956, in relation to a radio program Frampton was running at Oberlin College, a correspondence began with Ezra Pound that resulted in Frampton moving to Washington, D.C. to study with Pound at St. Elizabeth's Hospital. In 1958, Frampton moved to New York, N.Y. and began his career as a still photographer and photographic lab technician.

Although Frampton began making films in 1962, he did not begin producing or exhibiting them on a regular basis until 1968-69. His Zorns Lemma (1970) was included in the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center and his serial film Hapax Legomena (1971-72) won him many in-person appearances at museums and colleges around the country. As his filmmaking career took off so did his career as a critic and academic (teaching at Cooper Union and SUNY/Buffalo [1973-1984]). Throughout the 1970s Frampton wrote substantial articles for Artforum and October on photography and film (many of these are collected in Circles of Confusion: Film, Photography, Video – Texts 1968 – 1980 [Rochester, New York: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1983]). After 1972, he turned his attention to the project that would dominate his attention for the rest of his life, the 36 hour calendrical film cycle Magellan, which was to be viewed over a period of 369 days, and remained incomplete at the time of Frampton's death. In the last decade of his life, Frampton also produced xerographic and photographic works and pursued his interests in computers.


Organized into the following series:

  1. I. Papers and Photographs, 1963-2001
  2. II. Audiotapes, 1968-1981
  3. III. Videotapes, 1971-1981
  4. IV. Motion Picture Films, 1971-1973

Aquisition Information

Donated by Marion Faller in July and November of 2003 as "Hollis Frampton artwork & research materials, gift of M. Faller."

Alternative Form Available

Selected materials are being digitized and will be available online and in the repository.

Related Materials

A complete list of related film, photographic, video, and paper material on Hollis Frampton located throughout the United States is available on file at the Harvard Film Archive.

Processing Information

Arranged and cataloged by Ken Eisenstein in Fall 2005 and encoded by Amy Sloper, August, 2009.

Frampton, Hollis, 1936-1984. Hollis Frampton Collection, 1963-2001 : Guide
Harvard Film Archive, Harvard University
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Film Archive, Harvard Library, Harvard University Repository

The Harvard Film Archive is one of the largest university-based motion picture collections in the United States, with a collection of 40,000 audio visual items, a growing number of manuscript collections, and nearly one million still photographs, posters, and other promotional materials from around the world and from almost every period in film history. The HFA's collection of paper materials, including the documentation of individual filmmakers as well as promotional materials such as posters, film stills, and ephemera are accessible to Harvard affiliates as well as to outside researchers.

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Harvard University
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