Mim Sihvonen, Wooden Plates made at Black Mountain College, n.d. Collection of Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. Gift of the Artist.

Mim Sihvonen, Stool made at Black Mountain College, 1948. Maple. Collection of Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. Gift of the Artist.

Mim Sihvonen (Student 1946-1949) (b.1919)

Miriam T. Sihvonen, known as Mim, was born in 1919 and grew up in Voluntown, Connecticut. Her first career was as a nurse: she attended nursing school in Hartford, Connecticut in 1937, then served as a registered nurse in the army for three years, both in the US and in Europe. While stationed in Paris, she read a feature about BMC in Reader’s Digest, and decided to attend. Her younger brother, Oli Sihvonen (b. 1921-d.1991) was released from service a year earlier and also attended BMC from summer 1946-1948; and their younger sister Eini Sihvonen (Student 1947-1949) (b. 1928-d.1982) became the third of the Sihvonen siblings to enroll in 1947. All three siblings took general courses, but also developed interests and friendships that would follow them through their lives.

While Oli and Eini became focused on painting and weaving, respectively, Mim was particularly drawn to the BMC’s Work Program and woodworking shop. She worked with Molly Gregory at the college and again later in Vermont. She returned to nursing later in life, working on several research projects and as a psychiatric nurse with the National Institutes of Health (NIH).