Charles Olsen writing at Black Mountain College, ca. 1951

Charles Olson at work.

Courtesy of Western Regional Archives, a branch of the North Carolina State Archives



Charles Olson (1910-1970) first taught at Black Mountain College on weekends during the 1948-1949 school year. He returned to the faculty in 1951 and became Rector in 1953 after many staff members departed. Inheriting a deeply divided institution, he attempted to rebuild the school with a particular focus on writing and poetry. 

The 1950s section of the exhibit draws on photographs and manuscripts to focus on Black Mountain College writers and writing, including the development of The Black Mountain Review; the flourishing of music and dance at the College; and the outcome of the College library, which started with John Andrew Rice's personal library.