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Preserve Voices of the Counterculture: The Bob Fass Archive

$31,926
63%
Raised toward our $50,000 Goal
44 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on January 21, at 12:00 AM EST
Project Owners

Preserve Voices of the Counterculture: The Bob Fass Archive

Activist and “Radio Unnameable” host Bob Fass earned a reputation as “the midwife at the birth of the counterculture” for his commentary on the culture and turbulent politics of the 1960s and ‘70s, covering such landmark events as the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the Columbia University student protests, and the Tompkins Square Riots. First aired in 1963 on New York’s WBAI, “Radio Unnameable” connected ordinary callers with each other as well as with cultural icons of the counterculture in an unscripted fashion that gave voice to social justice issues like free speech, pacifism, and poverty.

Columbia University Libraries’ Rare Book & Manuscript Library acquired Fass’s archive, an extensive collection of radio broadcasts, original photographs, and personal correspondence, in 2016. Highlights from the 600,000 minutes of broadcast footage include conversations with Abbie Hoffman, Allen Ginsberg, and Timothy Leary as well as performances by and in-studio visits with Bob Dylan, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Arlo Guthrie.

Offering in-depth, unfiltered insight into an era of widespread change in America, the recordings are stored on fragile tapes that are at risk of ruin if not preserved by curators in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Your contributions will fund the Libraries’ initial effort to digitize and preserve these broadcasts for future generations of scholars and students. The tapes must be digitized before the multitude of voices that Fass made heard are lost to history.

Our crowdfunding page closes at midnight on Friday, January 13. However, should you like to make a donation offline or check on our progress, please do reach out to Matthew Hampel at mh932@columbia.edu.

Levels
Choose a giving level

$50

1 Hour of Radio Unnameable

Your $50 donation will preserve one hour of broadcast footage, such as Fass's conversation with Arlo Guthrie and Guthrie's first public performance of "Alice's Restaurant."

$100

2 Hours of Radio Unnameable

Your $100 donation will preserve two hours of broadcast footage, such as segments of Fass's "Fly-Ins" at JFK airport in the late 1960s, during which Fass socialized with ordinary callers and welcomed incoming travelers to New York City.

$250

5 Hours of Radio Unnameable

Your $250 donation will preserve five hours of broadcast footage, including, for example, Fass's comprehensive coverage of the 1968 Columbia student protests.

$500

10 Hours of Radio Unnameable

Your $500 donation will preserve 10 hours of broadcast footage, such as Fass's in-depth discussion of the contentious politics and historic turmoil of 1968, including the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.

$1,000

20 Hours of Radio Unnameable

Your $1,000 donate will preserve 20 hours of broadcast footage, including, for example, Fass's on-the-scenes coverage of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, a rare instance in which Fass left his New York-based studio.

$5,000

100 Hours of Radio Unnameable

Your $5,000 donation will preserve 100 hours of broadcast footage, such as Fass's discussion of the months-long "Chicago Seven" trial featuring on-air commentary from defendant Abbie Hoffman.

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