Special Collections and Archives

Kim Sorvig papers

Special Collections and Archives

Kim Sorvig papers

Important Notice: Due to a grant-sponsored project to digitize materials from the May 4 Collection, in-person use of the May 4 Collection is available by appointment only. Please help us serve you better by contacting us in advance to schedule an appointment for access to this collection.

Kim Sorvig papers

May 4 Collection - Box 86

Finding Aid

Prepared by Nancy Birk, 24 May 1994. Updated by Penny White, June 2013; Updated April 2017


Inclusive Dates: 1985-1990
Extent: .50 cubic feet (1 document case + oversized folders)
Physical Location: 12th floor


Biographical Note: Kim Sorvig, a graduate of Colorado State University and University of Pennsylvania, is a Consultant for the National Park Service Historical Landscape Study and a Research Associate Professor at the School of Architecture and Planning, University of New Mexico. His areas of specialization include land-use, sustainable design and planning, and he is co-author of Sustainable Landscape Construction: A Guide to Green Building Outdoors, among numerous other scholarly  works.

In 1986, Sorvig submitted a design proposal in the National Design Competition to create a May 4 memorial at Kent State University. Sorvig's design was not a finalist, but the process of the creation of the design affected him deeply. He wrote To Heal Kent State: A Memorial Meditation about this experience.

Scope and Content:  The collection includes a heavily edited typescript of To Heal Kent State as well as Sorvig's research notes, subject files, and drawings for his memorial design. The collection carefully documents every step in the design process and would be of value to any researcher who is interested in the psychological and sociological implications of creating a public memorial for an event that evokes a wide range emotions and reactions.


Arrangement: This collection is divided into two series: Series 1: Memorial Design papers and Series 2: To Heal Kent State papers.

Acquisitions Note: Sorvig donated this material to the Department of Special Collection and Archives on April 19, 1991.

Related Material: The book To Heal Kent State: A Memorial Meditation is available in Special Collections and Archives in the LC-classified book collection. Researchers interested in additional information regarding the Kent State University Memorial Design Competition should consult the May 4 Memorial Design Competition records.


May 4 Collection - Box 86
Folder -- Contents

Series 1: Memorial Design papers

  1. Sorvig Memorial Design: Correspondence, 1986
    Scope and Content: Includes a letter from Sorvig to the editor of Landscape Architecture Magazine and a letter from Sorvig to President Michael Schwartz regarding the memorial design competition.
  2. Sorvig Memorial Design: Drawing: Lighting, 1985-1986
    Extent: 1 sheet.
    Physical Location: Filed in map case.
  3. Sorvig Memorial Design: Drawings: Concepts and Notes, 1985-1986
    Extent: 24 sheets.
    Physical Location: Filed in map case.
  4. Sorvig Memorial Design: Drawings: Overall and Center Section, 1985-1986
    Extent: 6 sheets.
    Physical Location: Filed in map case.
  5. Sorvig Memorial Design: Drawings: "Right" Section, 1985-1986
    Extent: 8 sheets.
    Physical Location: Filed in map case.
  6. Sorvig Memorial Design: Drawings: "Left" Section, 1985-1986
    Extent: 16 sheets.
    Physical Location: Filed in map case.
  7. Sorvig Memorial Design: Drawings: D1-D5 and D7-D18, 1985-1986
    Extent: 18 sheets.
    Scope and Content: Includes drawings designated D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D7, D8, D8-B, D9, D10, D11, D12, D13, D14, D15, D16, D17, D18. Collection lacks drawing D6.
    Physical Location: Filed in map case.
    Related Material: See Index to Drawings for notes on the "D-series" of design sketches.
  8. Sorvig Memorial Design: Drawings: Technical Studies and Selective Inventory, 1986
    Extent: 10 sheeets
    Physical Location: Filed in oversized map case.
  9. Sorvig Memorial Design: Index to Drawings, undated
  10. Sorvig Memorial Design: Layout, undated
    Scope and Content: Includes statement about one's physical approach to the proposed memorial and photocopies of sketches of views in varying sizes. Also includes three transparencies with Filo photograph, map, and site diagram of shootings.
  11. Sorvig Memorial Design: Maps and Site Illustrations, undated
    Scope and Content: Contains photocopied maps, illustrations, and photographs of Ohio, Kent, and Kent State University from a variety of published sources used in Sorvig's research and planning process for his memorial design.
  12. Sorvig Memorial Design: Notes, 1985-1986
    Scope and Content: Notes compiled by Sorvig regarding his memorial design. Also includes typed "Program/Proposal" for the memorial design.
  13. Sorvig Memorial Design: Subject File: "Filo," undated
    Scope and Content: Image reference file comprised of photocopies of publications featuring John Filo's photograph of Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling over the body of Jeffrey Miller and a computer-generated sketch based on this image.
  14. Sorvig Memorial Design: Subject File: "Left," undated
    Scope and Content: Image reference file comprised of photocopies from a variety of publications depicting images of "the Left." Also includes photocopies of some of Sorvig's drawings related to these images.
  15. Sorvig Memorial Design: Subject File: "Right," undated
    Scope and Content: Image reference file comprised of photocopies from a variety of publications depicting images of "the Right." Also includes photocopies of some of Sorvig's drawings related to these images.

Series 2: To Heal Kent State papers

  1. To Heal Kent State: Correspondence, 1987-1989
    Scope and Content: Correspondence to/from Chris regarding draft of manuscript.
  2. To Heal Kent State: Notes/Journal, 1986-1987; undated
    Scope and Content: Journal entries and notes regarding Sorvig's memorial design process and several versions of a chronology of the design process, as well as other chronological lists, photocopied drawings, bibliographical sources, and other documents.
  3. To Heal Kent State: Notes on Cover Art and Textual Design, undated
  4. To Heal Kent State: Notes on Index Cards, 1986-1988; undated
    Scope and Content: Notes compiled by Sorvig on index cards regarding events that took place on May 4 of various years, bibliographical notes and quotations from research sources, and other notes related to the memorial design process.
  5. To Heal Kent State: Promotional Flyer, undated
  6. To Heal Kent State: Typescript: "Last Major Revision," 1989-1990
    Scope and Content: Manuscript of To Heal Kent State, with additions, notes, edits, and corrections by Sorvig throughout.