Additional papers of Holly Near, 1954-2011 (inclusive), 1975-2006 (bulk)
- Majority of material found within 1975-2006
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
26.65 linear feet ((58 + 1/2 file boxes, 1 folio box, 1 folio+ box) plus 2 folio folders, 3 oversize folders, 1 supersize folder, 46 photograph folders, 2 folio photograph folders, 184 slides, 2 objects, electronic records)
Near's email (2002-2005) was donated to the Schlesinger Library in 2006 will be deposited in Harvard's Digital Repository Service (DRS). In addition, paper copies are available within the collection, listed by their original folder titles. Near's web site is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection service (WAX); searchable archived versions of the web site are available through this finding aid. Audiovisual material will be cataloged separately. Additional material received in electronic form will be reformatted at some future date for inclusion in this collection.
Series I, PERSONAL, 1960-2009 (#1.1-6.10, 60FB.1m, PD.1sl, E.1), includes awards; donations and endorsements; school papers and performance programs; "FTA" (Free the Army) show files and related projects; and writings. Near's web site is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection service (WAX); searchable archived versions of the web site are available through this finding aid. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order by topic and chronologically within. Original folder titles are in quotation marks.
Series II, PROFESSIONAL, 1963-2009 (#6.11-35.8, PD.2f) includes material related to Near's acting and musical career. This series is arranged in three subseries.
Subseries A, Acting, 1967-2001 (#6.11-6.21, PD.2f), includes clippings, talent agent correspondence and contracts, and scripts used by Near from television shows and movies. This subseries is arranged in chronological order.
Subseries B, Concerts, appearances, tours, 1963-2009 (#7.1-31.10), contains concert logistical material; contracts and itineraries; publicity files, and rejected event files. The logistical material detail merchandise sales, lighting requirements/schematics, and set lists. Contracts and itinerary files contain agreements for events, travel schedules, technical requirements, set lists, and a small amount of concert advertising and programs, which may overlap with publicity files. Near kept contracts in a variety of ways: by event title, date, or geographic area. Original folder groupings have been kept by the processor when possible. Publicity files include event announcements, advertisements, press releases, event programs, and clippings. Rejected event files contain correspondence and contracts for those events Near was invited to participate in, but chose not to. This subseries is arranged in alphabetical order by subject and chronological within. Original folder titles are in quotation marks. See also Series VI.
Subseries C, Music production, 1970-2009 (#31.11-35.8), includes recording and lyric notes for album production, etc., dating from after Near's separation from Redwood Records (1996); lyrics; song title lists; and permissions for use of Near's lyrics or music throughout her career. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order by general topic and chronologically within. Original folder titles are in quotation marks. Material from her earlier albums can be found in Series IV.
Series III, CORRESPONDENCE, 1961-2011 (#35.9-51.16, PD.3), contains correspondence with friends, family, and business associates, as well as fan mail. There are many cards for birthday or holiday greetings and well-wishes for her concerts and play Fire in the Rain. The letters share news of friends/associates' activities and events, projects with Near, interspersed infrequently with updates from Near regarding her activities on tour or at home. Well-known figures with letters in this series include: Jane Fonda, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Mimi Fariña, Adrienne Torf, Sam Waterston, Michael Callen, Lily Tomlin, Alice Walker, and Peter Yarrow. This personal correspondence section of the series is arranged by family member, followed by individual listings of friends, business associates, and subject headings in alphabetical order, and end with chronological correspondence files which include extended family, friends, and business associates.
Near's email (2002-2005) was donated to the Schlesinger Library in 2006 in electronic form and will be deposited in Harvard's Digital Repository Service (DRS). In addition, paper copies paper copies of some of the email are available within the collection, listed by their original folder titles.
The fan mail portion of this series contains form letters sent by Near to fans while touring, providing news on her activism, album releases, and tour dates. The fan mail is mainly written by women and while some of the letters are brief and impersonal, including congratulations or thanks for Near's work, many consist of lengthier writings. Some discuss issues of great personal and/or political concern, including child and spousal abuse, and the mentally or physically challenged. Controversial issues within the women's and gay/lesbian rights movements are also discussed including transsexualism, bisexuality, and lesbian parenting. Original folder titles are in quotation marks.
Series IV, REDWOOD RECORDS/REDWOOD CULTURAL WORK, 1974-2005 (#51.7-59.20) includes documents related to the albums and artists, including Holly Near, promoted by Redwood. In 1972, Holly Near started Redwood Records with pianist/composer Jeff Langley and her parents Anne and Russell Near, primarily so Near could record the songs she wanted to sing, without having to sell the concept of her choices to major labels. She was joined in 1980 by partners Jo-Lynne Worley and Joanie Shoemaker. In 1983, Redwood established a small non-profit arm, the Redwood Records Cultural and Educational Fund, in order to support cultural and educational projects, including development of international artists, solidarity work in Central and Latin America, and collaborative projects with groups like Inti-Illimani and Guardabarranco. The artists promoted and produced by Redwood Records were independent singers and songwriters including Ronnie Gilbert, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Linda Tillery, Teresa Trull and Judy Small. Also, national tours and concerts were organized by Redwood, including Redwood Music Festivals. While Near separated her career financially and programmatically from Redwood Records in 1984, her recordings continued to be released by the label. In 1986, Redwood Records incorporated as Redwood Music, Inc. In December 1988, Redwood Records and the Cultural and Educational Fund merged to become a single non-profit organization, Redwood Cultural Work. The organization eventually closed down in 1996; its final record received a GRAMMY nomination in Latin Jazz for Ritmo y Candela: Rhythm at the Crossroads, an collaboration between the three legendary Afro-Cuban percussionists, Patato Valdes, Jose Luis "Changuito" Quintana and Orestes Vilato.
This series contains album-related material including mock-ups of album covers, promotion kits, lyrics, and concert information for Near and other Redwood artists, and is arranged by album release date. Redwood artists and group files, Redwood promotional material, events, newsletters, correspondence, and subject files are also included in this series. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order by general topic and chronologically within. Original folder titles are in quotation marks.
Series V, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1955-2009 (#PD.4-PD.48f), contain portraits of Near from childhood to adulthood, concerts and tours, Near with family members and friends, trips, Redwood Records artists, etc.
Series VI, OVERSIZED, 1954-2009 (#FD.1-FD.2, 61F+B.1-61F+B.5, OD.1-OD.4, SD.1), includes a scrapbook, early song arrangements by Jeff Langley, Holly Near concert posters, Redwood Record event posters, blueprints of lighting of Near concerts, and edited layouts for album covers.
Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].
In 1972, Holly Near was one of the first women to create an independent record company, Redwood Records, which she co-founded with pianist/composer Jeff Langley and her parents Anne and Russell Near. Near wanted the freedom to record the songs she wanted to sing, without having to sell the concept of her choices to major labels, and also hoped to promote and produce music by politically conscious artists from around the world. In 1973 Near released her first album, Hang in There, and went on release three other albums in the 1970s. Near became involved in the women's music scene in 1975, by performing at the annual fundraiser for the Los Angeles Woman's Building with Meg Christian, Margie Adam, Cris Williamson, and Lily Tomlin. Later that year she performed in her first women's music festival at the San Diego Women's Music Festival and the following year Meg Christian, Margie Adam, Cris Williamson, and Holly did a seven-city tour of California called "Women On Wheels," which was the first major tour of feminist and lesbian artists. Near toured widely after that and performed around the United States and abroad at many women's music festivals and concerts. The interactions she had with her audiences led her to write more women-identified songs and also integrate feminism into her existing political beliefs, which she was sharing with fans during her concerts. Often cited as one of the founders of the "women's music" movement, Near not only led the way for outspoken women into the music world, but also worked for peace and multicultural consciousness. Near also became closely identified with the lesbian movement.
Beginning in 1979 and continuing into the early 1980s, Near began her "Anti-Nuke Tour." She toured the country speaking out against the threat of nuclear war and the problems of nuclear weapons. She also became active in the broad coalition of organizations and people supporting Latin Americans working for self-determination. She performed with Inti-Illimani, a Chilean ensemble, and Redwood Records produced their album, Sing to Me the Dream, in 1984. Near, Arlo Guthrie, Ronnie Gilbert, and Pete Seeger recorded H.A.R.P. and toured during 1985; she further collaborated with Ronnie Gilbert on two albums: Lifeline (1984) and Singing with You (1986). Near's career was separated financially and programmatically from Redwood Records in 1984; however, her recordings continued to be released on the Redwood Records label until the company closed down in 1996.
In the early '90s, Holly wrote an autobiography, Fire in the Rain...Singer in the Storm, which she and her sister, Timothy, turned into a one-person musical Fire in the Rain. Holly performed the show at The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, California, and at the off-Broadway Union Street Theater in New York City.
In the late 1990s, Near began cutting back her touring/recording schedule and moved back to Ukiah, California. She went on to create Calico Tracks Music and used her time at home to reissue her older recordings in historic collections. She also recorded a collection of standards from the 1930s and 1940s titled With a Song in My Heart. In the last few years, Near has remastered some of her previous albums, as well as released several CDs of new material and she continues to tour and stay politically active in many causes. As of 2011, Near has released 26 solo recordings in her career.
In addition to Near's musical career, she has also appeared as an actress in numerous films and television programs, including Slaughterhouse 5, Minnie & Moskowitz, Dogfight, Heartwood, All in the Family, Room 222, Partridge Family, and L.A. Law.
For a more in depth biography and timeline, view Holly Near's web site: www.hollynear.com
- Series I. Personal, 1960-2009(#1.1-6.10, 60FB.1m, PD.1sl, E.1)
- Series II. Professional, 1963-2009 (#6.11-35.8, PD.2f)
- ___Subseries A. Acting, 1967-2001 (#6.11-6.21, PD.2f)
- ___Subseries B. Concerts, appearances, tours, 1963-2009 (#7.1-31.10)
- ___Subseries C. Music production, 1970-2009 (#31.11-35.8)
- Series III. Correspondence, 1961-2011 (#35.9-51.6, PD.3)
- Series IV. Redwood Records/Redwood Cultural Work, 1974-2005 (#51.7-59.20)
- Series V. Photographs, 1955-2009 (#PD.4-PD.48f)
- Series VI. Oversized, 1954-2009 (#FD.1-FD.2, 61F+B.1-61F+B.5, OD.1-OD.4, SD.1)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These addenda to the papers of Holly Near were given to the Schlesinger Library by Holly Near between 1998 and 2011.
Processed by: Stacey Flatt
The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library books division pending review by the curator:
- Anne Near, A Dubious Journey (Oakland: Hereford Publishing, 1993)
- Holly Near, The Great Peace March (New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1993)
- Holly Near, Singing for Our Lives (Oakland: Redwood Records, 1982)
- Redwood Cultural Work, Community Music, and Friends, Note by Note, edited by Joanie Shoemaker (Oakland: Redwood Cultural Work, 1989)
By: Stacey Flatt, with assistance from Camille Torres.
- Actresses--United States
- Antinuclear movement--United States
- Bisexual women--United States
- Business records
- Composers--United States
- Concert tours
- Copyright royalties
- DVD-Video discs
- Electronic records
- Entertainers--United States
- Fan mail
- Feminism and music--United States
- Feminism--United States
- Feminist music
- Folk music--United States
- Lesbianism--United States
- Lesbians--United States
- Michigan Womyn's Music Festival
- Music festivals
- Musicians--United States
- Political activists--United States
- Protest movements--Latin America
- Protest movements--United States
- Sheet music
- Singers--United States
- Ukiah (Calif.)--Social life and customs--20th century
- Vancouver Folk Music Festival
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
- Web sites
- Women and peace--United States
- Women musicians--United States
- Women political activists--United States
- Women singers--United States
- Women's music
- Women's rights--United States
- Women-owned business enterprises--California
- Near, Holly. Additional papers of Holly Near, 1954-2011 (inclusive), 1975-2006 (bulk): A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from the Radcliffe College Class of 1945.
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
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