Bern Porter Collection


Porter created conceptual maps in addition to working in other art forms. He also experimented with photography, poetry, prose and publication techniques.

Bernard Harden Porter, Colby class of 1932, was a physicist, poet, artist, publisher, innovator and – throughout his life – a provocateur. Born in Houlton, Maine in 1911, he died in Belfast, Maine in 2004, ending a life filled with artistic and intellectual journeys and world travels. The June 1970 issue of the Colby Library Quarterly contains articles on Porter’s life and work up to that point.

Details about our Bern Porter Collection of Contemporary Letters are available online.


Porter offered copies of his various book publications to Curator Richard Cary in 1959. Cary opened a discussion with Porter about adding unpublished materials to his collection. Although Porter originally envisioned UCLA as the primary repository for his manuscripts and other materials, and he deposited a large quantity there, he chose Special Collections at Colby as the home for his later donations.

Additional works consulted:

Bern Porter Collection. Colby College Special Collections.

Bern Porter donor file. Colby College Special Collections.