Scope and arrangement
The collection chronicles Elizabeth Polk's work in dance, dance therapy, and dance education, as well as the overall evolution of her career. The collection consists of documents created or collected by Polk in the course of teaching classes, attending and/or presenting at conferences, conducting research for publications or courses, and generally staying abreast of her fields of interest. Though the collection spans from the 1930s to the 1990s, most of the materials date from the 1950s through the 1980s.
Polk's involvement in dance and dance therapy is primarily revealed through the scrapbooks and subject files she maintained. The scrapbooks and subject files are comprised of programs, certificates, manuscripts of Polk's articles and addresses, teaching materials, clippings, publicity materials, and correspondence. Programs, clippings, and other publicity materials document Polk's own classes and workshops as well the work of other dancers. Correspondence in these files is between Polk and her employers, colleagues, professional organizations, and dance students and their parents. Two subject files pertain specifically to Polk's work at Adelphi University, documenting her course on the history of dance and a training course she delivered to Taiwanese teachers. Another subject file contains programs, catalogs, pamphlets, and flyers from various conferences and workshops related to dance, music, physical education, and/or disabled children. Researchers should note that some materials may be duplicated across multiple scrapbooks, subject files, and other parts of the collection.
The collection also includes some of Polk's published writings on using dance therapy with disabled children, as well as biographical materials such as resumes and retrospective articles on her career. Five notebooks in German may date from her 1927-1934 study with Hedwig Müller at the School for Movement Study, and other notes appear to be ideas for a book. Photographs, negatives, and contact sheets depict Polk and her students taking part in dance exercises at the various schools where Polk taught or demonstrated. Photographs are arranged alphabetically by institution name.
Polk's interests in the wider worlds of dance and education are reflected in her collection of programs from dance performances and course catalogs for dance classes. She also collected songbooks and teaching guides, likely for use in her classes. Press and promotional material relates to Polk's workshops and an audio record she produced for children's dance classes. Children's artwork from Polk's students is also present.
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts' dance research collection includes additional materials related to Elizabeth Polk. Photographs, video recordings, accompaniment music, and clippings can be found by conducting separate author and subject searches for "Polk, Elizabeth" in the library's catalog.
The collection is arranged alphabetically by document type.