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Roberta Cantow Papers, 1965-2010 (ongoing)
13 boxes (12.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 559

Abstract:
Filmmaker. Biographical information, personal writings, artwork, photographs, awards, and psychic readings (audio tapes), photographs, correspondence, email, publicity, and other documents pertaining to the production and distribution of Cantow's films, as well as Cantow's thoughts on issues and circumstances covered in the films, including: the documentary Clotheslines, Dr. Clown (about Patch Adams, M.D.) The Book of Laughs, If This Ain't Heaven, and Illuminada. [NOTE: The contents list for this collection is not online. Contact the Sophia Smith Collection if you would like one sent to you.]

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveats:

  • Partially restricted access - contact the Sophia Smith Collection for more information.
  • Access to audiovisual materials or digital files may first require production of research copies.
  • This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Restrictions on use:

Roberta Cantow retains copyright to her works. Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Roberta Cantow was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Janet Leah Wohfield and Lawrence Albert Cantow, M.D. She earned an A.B. from the University of Michigan in 1969, and an M.F.A. from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in 1972. From 1969 to 1970, she studied at the Etienne Decroux School of Mime in Paris, France. She is the founder of Buffalo Rose Productions (1982), Original Digital (1997), and One Of A Kind Video Portraits (1993-2003). She has produced, directed and edited numerous independent films and videos, including The Book of Laughs (1988), If This Ain't Heaven (1984), Clotheslines (1981), Moon Festival (1994), Mosaics (1994), and Doctor Clown (1992). Cantow often presents and discusses her work in public forums, and has served as an educator among multi-ethnic populations in community college, adult education, and youth-oriented museum and artist-in-residence programs. She has been the recipient of numerous grants, and has garnered many honors and awards for her work.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Roberta Cantow Papers are comprised of biographical information, personal writings, artwork, photographs, awards, and psychic readings (audio tapes), photographs, correspondence, email, publicity, and other documents pertaining to the production and distribution of Cantow's films, as well as Cantow's thoughts on issues and circumstances covered in the films. Audiovisual materials include original prints and copies in various formats (16mm film, video tape, DVDs, soundtrack, audio tapes, and audio CDs), of Cantow's films and performance pieces. The films are documentary and include Clotheslines, "an homage to women and their daily work,...a lively and humorous look at the relationship that women have with the chore of cleaning the family clothes.... In this documentary, layers of emotions come to the surface as the commonality of women's work is exposed." Other films include Dr. Clown, about Patch Adams, M.D.; The Book of Laughs, about the shared memories of two sisters; If This Ain't Heaven, the reminiscences of a fifty-year-old African American man; and Illuminada, a visual impression of Mexico. There are smaller amounts of materials pertaining to other films and film possibilities that Cantow pursued, e.g. a script for TThe Revolt of the Mother, based on the novel by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. There are also recorded interviews by Cantow of herbalist, Susan Weed, and Goddess scholar, Karen Tate.

[NOTE: The contents list for this collection is not online. Contact the Sophia Smith Collection if you would like one sent to you.]


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveats:

  • Partially restricted access - contact the Sophia Smith Collection for more information.
  • Access to audiovisual materials or digital files may first require production of research copies.
  • This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Restrictions on use:

Roberta Cantow retains copyright to her works. Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Roberta Cantow Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

Additional Formats

Some audiovisual recordings have been converted to digital format for research use.

History of the Collection

Roberta Cantow began donating her papers to the Sophia Smith Collection in 2006. Periodic additions to the collection are expected.

Accruals:

Periodic additions to collection are expected and may not be reflected in this record.

Processing Information

Accessioned by Burd Schlessinger, 2006


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English


Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Adams, Patch, 1945-
  • Cantow, Roberta
  • Documentary films -- United States -- Production and direction
  • Housekeeping -- History
  • Housewives -- History
  • Independent filmmakers -- Biography -- Sources
  • Laundry -- History
  • Motion pictures -- United States -- Production and direction
  • Women motion picture producers and directors -- Biography -- Sources

Contributors
  • Buffalo Rose Productions


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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