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MC 691

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, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

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Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College


Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from the Radcliffe College Class of 1945.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 691
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Holly Near
Title: Additional papers of Holly Near, 1954-2011 (inclusive), 1975-2006 (bulk)
Date(s): 1954-2011
Date(s): 1975-2006
Quantity: 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)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: These addenda to the papers of singer, songwriter, activist, actor, and author Holly Near contain concert contracts; performance programs, posters, and advertisements; television and movie scripts; personal correspondence and fan mail; photographs; and records of Redwood Records.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 98-M65, 2001-M3, 2001-M90, 2001-M127, 2002-M150, 2002-M151, 2003-M109, 2006-M214, 2007-M14, 2007-M32, 2007-M60, 2007-M66, 2007-M79, 2007-M83, 2007-M232, 2009-M19, 2009-M37, 2009-M114, 2009-M143, 2009-M170, 2009-M184, 2011-M220
These addenda to the papers of Holly Near were given to the Schlesinger Library by Holly Near between 1998 and 2011.

Processing Information:

Processed: November 2011
By: Stacey Flatt, with assistance from Camille Torres.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted, although some files are closed as noted. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Holly Near is held by Holly Near during her lifetime. At her death, copyright will be transferred to Timothy Near, Laurel Lowell Near, and Frederick Eli Near, after whose deaths copyright is transferred to Lucas Near Verbrugghe and Devon Near Hill, after whose deaths copyright is transferred to the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Additional papers of Holly Near, 1954-2011; item description, dates. MC 691, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Holly Near Papers, 1967-1994 (96-M78--96-M118).

SEPARATION RECORD

Donors: Holly Near
Accession number:
Processed by: Stacey Flatt
The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library books division pending review by the curator:

BIOGRAPHY

Singer, songwriter, activist, actor, and author Holly Near was born in Ukiah, California, in 1949, the daughter of Anne (Holmes) and Russell Near. She grew up on a ranch in Potter Valley, California, and began performing at age eight, singing at local events and conventions. In the mid-1960s, Near was involved with acting and music while attending Ukiah High School, participating in all the school productions and in her senior year, won the coveted leading role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. After high school, Near attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she majored in drama. During her studies at UCLA, she was discovered by an agent and in 1968 began her professional career as an actor. Near appeared in a few films before landing a role on Broadway in the musical Hair. She moved back to Hollywood in the early 1970s, auditioned for a slot in the Free the Army (FTA) show, and was asked to join. With actors Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Pamela Donegan, Rita Martinson, and Glen Chandler, Near performed anti-war skits and entertained soldiers in Hawaii, the Philippines and Japan, from 1971 to 1973. The FTA tour was the beginning of her political awakening and opposition to the Vietnam War.
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

ARRANGEMENT

The collection is arranged in six series:

SCOPE AND CONTENT

These addenda to the papers of singer, songwriter, activist, actor, and author Holly Near contain concert contracts; performance programs, posters, and advertisements; television and movie scripts; personal correspondence and fan mail; photographs; and records of Redwood Records. Original folder titles are in quotation marks. See also the Holly Near Papers, 1967-1994, 96-M78--96-M118. Often dates overlap with the previous collection and this finding aid, especially correspondence and fan mail. Some repetition may be present in the mass-produced material such as concert programs and clippings.
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 [*].

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Actresses--United States
Antinuclear movement--United States
Audiotapes
Bisexual women--United States
Business records
Composers--United States
Concert tours
Copyright--Music
Copyright royalties
DVD-Video discs
Electronic records
Entertainers--United States
Fan Mail
Feminism and music--United States
Feminism--United States
Feminist music
Fliers
Folk music--United States
Lesbianism--United States
Lesbians--United States
Michigan Womyn's Music Festival
Music festivals
Musicians--United States
Photographs
Political activists--United States
Posters
Programs
Protest movements--Latin America
Protest movements--United States
Sheet music
Singers--United States
Songs
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-owned business enterprises--California
Women political activists--United States
Women singers--United States
Women's music
Women's rights--United States
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
Bucchino, John
Callen, Michael, 1955-1993
Fonda, Jane, 1937-
Gilbert, Ronnie
Guardabarranco (Musical group)
Indochina Peace Campaign (Organization : U.S.)
Inti-Illimani (Musical group)
Ladyslipper, Inc.
Langley, Jeff
Near, Anne
Near, Laurel
Near, Timothy
1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005 (Association)
Redwood Records
Seeger, Pete, 1919-2014

sch01369