The Drucker Institute and Transdisciplinary Studies Program at Claremont Graduate University announced today that the university has received an extraordinary donation of more than 2,500 taped television interviews with prominent authors of fiction and nonfiction over the last 30 years. CGU plans to digitize the tapes for easy online access by scholars and the general public.
The gift was made by Connie Martinson, host of the cable TV program “Connie Martinson Talks Books,” which has been described by Los Angeles magazine as the city’s “premier television book show,” attracting “a profusion of important and well-known authors.” Among them: Maya Angelou, Ray Bradbury, Al Gore, Rosa Parks, Gore Vidal, Barack Obama, Studs Terkel, Joyce Carol Oates, and many, many, many more.
Under the direction of the Drucker Institute and Transdisciplinary Studies Program, the Connie Martinson Talks Books Collection will be digitized on an ongoing basis over the next several years, with all of Martinson’s interviews eventually made available online to anyone who would like to view them. The project will be handled through the Claremont Colleges Digital Library.
“This is a remarkable gift,” said Rick Wartzman, director of the Drucker Institute, a campus-wide resource of CGU. “There aren’t too many authors of note who have passed through L.A. in the last three decades whom Connie hasn’t interviewed, and interviewed well.”
Wendy Martin, associate provost and director of Transdisciplinary Studies, pointed out that the Martinson Collection offers a window into an unusually wide range of fields, including art, architecture, economics, education, history, literature, management, mathematics, philosophy, physics, politics, psychology, technology and more.
“This inherently transdisciplinary archive will provide material for research projects for generations of scholars and students,” Martin said.
A list of the first 100 tapes to be digitized-touchstones of literary achievement and popular culture alike-is attached. After these are completed, the rest of the collection will be put online, starting with the oldest tapes first.
“Digitizing these tapes will give students and others an opportunity to hear and watch these outstanding authors for themselves, whenever they want,” said Martinson. “Seeing authors up close like this provides a rich point of view to their work.”
Wartzman noted that the Drucker Institute-whose mission is to stimulate effective management and ethical leadership across society by advancing the ideas and ideals of the later Peter F. Drucker-has a keen interest in the Martinson acquisition because of Drucker’s notion that management is “a liberal art.”
“Drucker believed that a healthy society is run by organizations whose values are shaped by a wide range of disciplines: history, sociology, psychology, culture and religion,” Wartzman said. “In fact, Drucker once described management books as ‘dreadful trash’ and suggested that he derived much of his philosophy from novelists such as Austen, Balzac and others.”
Martinson herself recalled meeting Peter Drucker at the home of her longtime friend Jean Lipman-Blumen, the Thornton F. Bradshaw Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Organizational Behavior at CGU’s Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management. “Claremont,” said Martinson, “is a beautiful setting for the tapes to call ‘home.’”
About Connie Martinson and ‘Connie Martinson Talks Books’
“Connie Martinson Talks Books” originates from L.A. CityView Channel 35 and can be seen on government-access cable outlets around the country and PBS in New York. Connie Martinson grew up in Boston and graduated from Wellesley College, where she was awarded the Davenport Prize for Speech and Literature. She worked as an editor for Writer magazine in Boston before moving to Los Angeles with her husband, film and television director Leslie Martinson. She became involved in public relations for the Coro Foundation and taught at UCLA and the University of Judaism before starting her television program in 1979 on Theta Cable (one of L.A.’s first cable outlets), parlaying her love of literature into a self-financed half-hour series on books. For more on “Connie Martinson Talks Books,” go to http://www.conniemartinson.com.
About Transdisciplinary Studies