The Mary Harron Archive at NYU Fales Library & Special Collections
The archive of filmmaker and music journalist Mary Harron, known for her early punk reportage and her successful career as writer and director of I Shot Andy Warhol (1996), American Psycho (2000), and The Notorious Bettie Page (2005). The Archive gathers Harron’s research, correspondence, interviews, and production materials, documenting the process of this icon of feminist cultural production.
The Mary Harron Archive also serves as an exemplary collection of the larger punk movement as related to women. Throughout her career, Harron defined and documented punk during its nascent stages as a downtown DIY culture and existence as a mainstream media phenomenon, first as a music journalist for Punk and later as a Hollywood director. Harron’s writing on the early years of punk music and culture in London and New York is some of the most extensive on record. She was the first journalist to interview The Sex Pistols for an American publication. She contributed to the pioneering magazine Punk, which covered the early days of New York’s downtown scene, raising the profile of acts such as The Ramones, The Patti Smith Band, and the Talking Heads long before they were recognized in the mainstream.
The Archive’s most in-depth subject matter concerns Valerie Solanas, an anarcho-feminist writer famous for The SCUM Manifesto and attempting to assassinate Andy Warhol, who was the focus of Harron’s celebrated film, I Shot Andy Warhol. This component of the Archive contains the rigorous research that led to Harron’s complex portrait of Solanas, a figure often marginalized by the authors of the historical record as an unserious hysteric. Research materials include interviews with those closest to Solanas and official documents like Solanas’ death certificate, medical records, and correspondence, much of which was obtained by Harron via the Freedom of Information Act. Presented with this research is the correspondence between Harron and government officials, documenting the arduous process of procuring these documents. This is likely one of the largest collections of research devoted to the life and work of Valerie Solanas.
Also collected in the Archive are production materials, correspondence, shooting schedules, interviews, and scholarly research for Harron’s other feature length films, American Psycho and The Notorious Bettie Page.