sub-sub-series 9 - FIT Oral histories project

Selma Frankel interview, 1982 August 31 Arthur Jablow interview, 1982 May 14 Bernice Jablow interview, 1982 May 11 and 1982 September 20 Mildred Klare interview, 1982 August 23 Paula Neiman interview, 1982 September 14 Ira Rentner interview, 1982 August 31 Lilian Sloan interview, 1982 September 1 Andrew Goodman interview, 1977 December 13 Steven Elkin interview, 1994 July 13 Norman Axelrod interview, 1987 January 16 Gordon Cooke interview, 1986 November 5 Barbara D'Arcy interview, 1986 November 5 Dennis Garro interview, 1987 January 16 Alan Reyburn interview, 1987 January 16 Lester Gribets interview, 1986 November 19 Terry Schaefer interview, 1986 November 21 Margaret Hofbeck interview, 1987 January 16 Julian Tomchin interview, 1986 November 24 Carl Levine interview, 1986 December 12 Barbara Bass interview, 1987 January 16
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Identity area

Reference code



FIT Oral histories project


  • 1967-2019 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

A growing collection of over 370 recorded oral history interviews stored on audio cassette tapes, VHS tapes, mini-DV tapes, and born-digital files. Recordings on magnetic tape media were digitized and are comprised of preservation master .wav files and access copy .mp3 files. Transcription documents exist for most interviews in paper and/or PDF/A digital format. Various documents also exist for each interview and series in physical and/or digital format.

Context area

Name of creator

Administrative history

Archival history

Arrangement, description, and/or archival processing by:
2014-2017 - Tess Hartman Cullen, Ashley Kranjac, Samuel Neuberg, Rebecca Love, and Molly Seegers
2018-present - Samantha Levin (archivist), Kari Belsheim (intern-bios and scopes), Oleg Mindiak (intern-subject terms)

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Launched in 1978, an oral history of the fashion industries has been maintained by the Gladys Marcus Library’s Special Collections and Archives department, amassing nearly 375 oral history holdings in various formats, to date, and growing.

In anticipation of FIT's 75th anniversary in 2019, “FIT Talks” was established and institutionalized in [2012?] to make available previously inaccessible content, and to continue to build a rich library of oral histories representative of the fashion and broader creative industries that will be of interest and available to the public at large.

Interviews already include current and former members of the FIT community as well as significant and well-known figures in the fashion industry. For example, charming dialogue about fashion between Princess Grace of Monaco and designer Vera Maxwell is now available to any researcher. Interviews provided through Ford Models, Inc. are also part of the collection.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Notes dating back to the 1980s indicate that some original recordings were removed from the overall collection because they were deemed lectures, and not traditional oral history interviews. Some recordings were not digitized, however there are no notes indicating why, and the original copies of these are not in the possession of the College Archive. Process sheets about these recordings indicate they may also have been lectures by Robert Green, and not true oral histories.

Overall quality of recordings is very positive. Variations in quality depend on who was controlling the recording equipment, how loud the ambient noise was in each interview location, and how well the original medium has survived over time until it could be digitized. Some recordings are very difficult to understand, and others have experienced extensive damage.


System of arrangement

The FIT Oral History collection has been designated to be a subseries within the College Archive, and the Gladys Marcus Library. The overall oral history collection has been separated into 10 subseries consisting of: 1. Project of the Fashion Industry 2. Bergdorf Goodman oral history 3. Bloombingdale's oral history 4. FIT 50th Anniversary oral history 5. Ford Model interviews 6. Fragrance Foundation oral history 7. Norman Norell memoirs 8. Maurice Rentner memoirs 9. Saks Fifth Avenue oral history 10. FIT Talks oral histories. Because these subseries fall at the sub-sub-sub-series level in the overall hierarchy, where further subseries can be perceived within them (such as with the Pomerantz family interviews), they will be grouped together sequentially and via metadata rather than by placing them in deeper levels.

In general, digital versions of each interview are stored in a folder titled with its SPARC ID and the subject's name. Inside that folder, any digitized transcript(s), and related digitized documents are kept along with two media folders: Preservation Master and Access Copy. In the Preservation Master folder the highest resolution and most stable version of the digital media is kept. In the Access Copy folder, a lower resolution copy of the media is kept. In many cases, a fixity file is with the media files in both the Preservation Master and Access Copy folders.

Original media (e.g. magnetic audio cassettes, VHS cassettes, reel-to-reel tape, paper documents, etc.) are kept in SPARC's vault.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Access is open to researchers by appointment at the Fashion Institute of Technology Library, Department of Special Collections and College Archives. If you have any questions, or wish to schedule an appointment contact us at or call (212) 217-4385.

The contents of this collection are also available to the public via our Archive on Demand repository:

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Generated finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

The original audio and video interviews originally recorded on what will soon be obsolete media, such as VHS, Beta, cassette tape, etc. are being stored in a temperature-controlled area in SPARC.

Born-digital interviews are stored in FIT's local servers.

Existence and location of copies

Digital versions of all recordings are being stored in FIT's local servers. FIT's SPARC endeavors to keep both preservation master copies as well as access copies of each recording.

Links to versions of interviews online are available in each interview's individual record.

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail


Dates of creation revision deletion




Accession area

Related subjects

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