"May reconciliation, hope, diligence and justice be ever with you all.” Gurdjieff, 1912

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Library Project      French Documentary Film     A Project of forty years past



    This is a unique aspect of the Work that has been almost forgotten in the last forty or so years.

    As Mme. de Salzmann undoubtedly foresaw when she so strongly encouraged the idea of this project in the early Sixties, the time and effort we spent on it gave us many lasting and profound impressions.

    For years all the New York groups worked together with dedication in a sincere attempt to recreate as authentically as possible the music, dance, food and atmosphere that surrounded Mr. Gurdjieff in his youth. In November of 1963 a spacious hotel ballroom in midtown Manhattan was rented as the venue for a large public presentation and - President Kennedy was assassinated - and everything had to be cancelled!

   But preparations for “The Street” during those years brought together members of all the differing groups, including the children, and made for a warm unity in the Work. Gathering for much careful planning and active international research also generated meaningful outreaches to many of the ethnic communities in the New York area and overseas with resulting fruitful contacts and lasting friendships.

    Our musicians obtained exotic traditional near-eastern instruments and sought out Turkish, Armenian and Arab masters to teach them their use. Months of rehearsals prepared us for high quality performances of choral, orchestral and dance events while busy crews ambitiously mastered costume making, arts and crafts and large quantity food preparation. Also tackled were new skills in publicity, public relations, commercial and financial negotiations.

    For the first time some of us began to wake up to how little we really knew about Mr. Gurdjieff’s roots and homeland, his early years, his Greek Orthodox family background, their traditions of patriarchal hospitality and so on. We began to better appreciate his music, the meaning and origin of his Movements and to be more open to the subtleties of his humor and use of allegory.

    Yes, the Oriental Street would certainly have been a fantastic fund raiser, but just preparing for it was deeply inspiring and instructive - and even - perish the thought - a Work event that was great fun!

   Some of us valued and preserved much of the material that was gathered back then and it is still lovingly preserved in our archives - and in our aging memories.

    Surely it would be a shame if it weren’t shared and passed on.

Dushka Howarth
February, 2007

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The Gurdjieff International Review comments on GEORGE GURDJIEFF: A Documentary Film  In the Spring 2001 Issue, Vol. IV No. 2.

      (This Unique 1976 French TV Documentary, was finally re-located as a  project of The Gurdjieff Heritage Society, was preserved, and the Society arranged for the translation to English and the text publication).

Georges Gurdjieff: A French Documentary Film [Excerpt Only]
      The first English text of a 1976 French language documentary film—produced by Jean-Claude Lubtchansky—on the life and teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff. Narrated by Pierre Schaeffer and interspersed with interviews of Michel de Salzmann, René Zuber, Philippe Lavastine, Maurice Desselle, Henri Tracol, and Jean Vaysse, each of whom knew Gurdjieff.
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      Recently, we were shocked to discover that, although the new edition of the Gurdjieff Annotated Bibliography listed approximately 3000 "Gurdjieff" books and articles currently available, the entire New York Public Library system contained only 61 examples, (even omitting "All and Everything"). We felt this was something we could do something about.

     We are now working with the central research section of the NYPL to set up a special Gurdjieff Division. Randy Berenek and his recent successor John Bacon (Directors of "Planned Giving") with Beth Diefendorf ("Chief of Research Departments") have agreed to evaluate, coordinate and redirect materials as we provide them to appropriate departments such as Research, Dance, Music, and Humanities.

    In addition, more books related to the Gurdjieff Work will become available in research division of the New York Public Library.  We should remember that Mr. Gurdjieff wrote to us all: "I intend that the first series of my writings shall be made freely available without payment to all who are in need of their help." (Circular Letter, January 13, 1949).

For UPDATES regarding the Library Project, as continued after the death of Dushka Howarth in 2010, see the "News" link

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Created by for Gurdjieff Heritage Society, Inc ~ Copyright 2006 ~ Dushka Howarth, President ~ New York  ~ All Rights Reserved ~
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     Photographs on this website appear in Jessmin & Dushka Howarth's Book "It's Up To Ourselves" A Mother, A Daughter, and GURDJIEFF