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Frampton, Hollis, 1936-1984. Hollis Frampton Collection, 1963-2001 : Guide

Harvard Film Archive, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: hfa00001
Repository: Harvard Film Archive, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Title: Hollis Frampton Collection
Date(s): 1963-2001
Quantity: 1035 cubic feet
Quantity: 17 boxes
Abstract: 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.

Aquisition Information:

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

Processing Information:

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

Access Restrictions:

Access by appointment only. To consult any portion of this collection, send an email to HFA@fas.harvard.edu.
Access to paper material in this collection is by appointment only at the Fine Arts Library. Boxes can be requested via HOLLIS by patrons and be sent to the Fine Arts Library for use in the reading room.
All posters are stored on site at the Harvard Film Archive's Conservation Center and the research liaison should be contacted directly for access to this portion of the collection.
Film, video, and audio materials in this collection are made accessible by appointment only and in close consultation with HFA staff. Although these items do not circulate for individual use, students, filmmakers, artists, and researchers are encouraged to use the collections on-site. If their condition allows, prints from the HFA collection may be viewed on a flatbed viewer at the HFA's Conservation Center.
Digital files linked on this finding aid are available to users with Harvard affiliation via PIN. To access digitized recordings in other forms, please contact the research liaison directly.

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 Fine Arts Library, owner of the original material.

Alternative Form Available:

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

Preferred Citation:

Frampton, Hollis, 1936-1984. Hollis Frampton Collection, 1963-2001. Harvard Film Archive, Fine Arts Library, Harvard University.

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.


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:

Scope and Content

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.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Motion pictures -- United States -- New York
Film posters -- Exhibitions -- United States
Motion Pictures -- Catalogs -- United States
Museum publications -- United States
Compact discs
Motion picture programs
Video recordings
Frampton, Hollis. 1936-1984
Brakhage, Stan
Magalhães, Fernão de. d. 1521
Snow, Michael. 1929-
Nauman, Bruce. 1941-
Serra, Richard. 1931-
Faller, Marion
Vasulka, Woody. 1937-
Jacobs, Ken. 1933-
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts.
Harvard University -- Dept. of Visual and Environmental Studies.