Skip to content

November 11, 2014


Volunteers Needed to Transcribe Zenkei Blanche Hartman’s Oral History

A group of teachers and senior students—Mel Weitsman, Victoria Austin, Mary Mocine and Mary Watson—have just completed recording a series of interviews with Zenkei Blanche Hartman. The interviews explored Zen Center’s robe-sewing tradition, Zenkei’s relationships with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and Mitsu Suzuki Sensei (Okusan), Zenkei’s family and marriage, her role as abbess, and other topics. All the interviews will be gifted to Zen Center for its archive, and some of the interviews may be shared quite soon with other practice centers, particularly the interviews focused on sewing Buddha’s robe.

blanche_bio_210x171Volunteer help is needed to type the transcripts. Help is offered to teach anyone how to turn their Mac or Windows computer into a wonderful transcription machine—the software is free and easy to use. The work can be done from home via the convenience of a link to the digital file stored online. If you would like to volunteer to type a transcript, please contact the organizer of the project, oral historian and former Zen Center resident and staffer Basya Petnick: call 415-252-0694 or email or visit

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. A Lincoln
    Nov 12 2014

    Tell me which software and I would be honored to help with this project.

    • Jay Pennington
      Nov 13 2014

      Thanks for your interest! Please contact Basya directly (contact info above) with any questions.

  2. Nov 12 2014

    I have wished so often and so long that Blanche’s history be recorded and available for those who already treasure her and for those who will treasure her when they read it.

    I will be in the US next year, scheduled to be at Tassajara June-December, but available at IRC for transcription starting in April. Please let me know then if there are still tapes available.

    love and bows,


  3. Nov 12 2014

    I am old student of Suzuki roshi I started zazen at same age as dogen zenji,14 years old I started at soto mission(synagogue)helped at tassajara,and lived at jewish girls boarding house with menoras on door jambs(sfzc)

  4. Diane wells-Nowell
    Nov 12 2014

    I would be happy to transcribe some of Zenkei Blance Hartman’s history. I have a big craft show on Nov 22nd. So if you need help after that date I am your girl!


Leave a comment

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published. Comments are held for moderation.

Subscribe to comments