These records document the planning and execution of "Living Self-Portraits," a series of interviews with prominent American artists. Marc Pachter, Chief Historian, conducted the interviews at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG). The "evenings" were a collaborative effort between the Resident Associates Program, Smithsonian Productions, WETA (Washington, DC's public television station), and NPG.
As stated in a letter to Agnes De Mille (interviewed October 10, 1990), "the self-portraits are informally autobiographical, going beyond what might be found in published biographical sources" and the format was "an hour of conversation with...Marc Pachter" before "a select group of 250 enthusiastic and informed guests to share the event in the Great Hall of the National Portrait Gallery." The interviews were videotaped and segments were to be used in the Smithsonian Productions series "Smithsonian World" that aired on WETA television.
The interviewees featured in the records are dancer and choreographer Agnes De Mille, actor Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., editor of the Washington Post Katharine Graham, and photographer Gordon Parks.
Materials include correspondence, memoranda, program notes, budgets, itineraries, sketches of the Great Hall (NPG), technical specifications, releases and agreements, logistical planning files, reference files, mailing lists, notes, and related records.