Scope and arrangement
The additions to the Charles Weidman papers contain material related to choreographed works he performed with his two companies, Theatre Dance Company and An Expression of Two Arts; files representing his time with the Denishawn Dancers; programs and news clippings; photographs; and scrapbooks. The papers document his childhood in Lincoln, N.E., including his interest in dance from a young age, and his later work choreographing and performing in the 1960s and early 1970s. Material from the Humphrey-Weidman Concert Company is occasionally present if a work from that era was revisited by one of his later companies.
Files regarding choreographed works make up the bulk of the collection and primarily represent works performed in New York City and in Berkeley from 1961 to 1975. The files all contain choreographic notes and many contain costume designs, lighting cues, photographs, programs, and scores. Files for And Daddy Was a Fireman, A House Divided, and Jacob's Wedding contain typescript narratives written by Weidman that informed, or perhaps were part of, the work. The file on New Dance contains a statement from Doris Humphrey from 1936, when the work was first performed, and the file on Fables and Further Fables contains material from the original mounting of Fables for Our Times.
Weidman often wrote his choreographic notes on the back of press releases, programs, and form letters from his companies, repurposing these documents as scrap paper. There is one file titled Singers and Actors Charts that consists of news clippings, photographs, and prints that portray various expressions and movements of athletes, actors, and dancers.
The Denishawn Dancers files are arranged in chronological order, from 1920 to 1929, and contain news clippings, programs, and photographs depicting Weidman's time with the company. There are additional files for the an Expression of Two Arts and the Theatre Dance Company that contain programs and informational material.
Photographs date from 1894 to 1925 and consist of studio portraits of Weidman as a child and his family members, including many pictures of his father as a young man. There is one photograph of Weidman as an adult. Also present is a signed photograph of a Japanese dancer named Takio dated 1925 and a note regarding his role as God of the Mountain in the play Mamijigari. The programs and news clippings are for and about performances that Weidman danced in or choreographed.
There are two scrapbooks in the collection. One scrapbook, from 1902 to 1922, documents Weidman's childhood and early career in dance. It is composed of photographs of Weidman as a young child with his sister, and studio portraits of his mother and his aunt, Jessie Hoffman; programs from and news clippings about his early dance performances in Lincoln; publicity photographs of people he admired including Ruth St. Denis, Martha Graham, and Ted Shawn; and personal material such as his confirmation certificate, report cards from middle school, news clippings regarding his family's social activities from the local paper, sketches, and a small amount of correspondence. The second scrapbook dates from 1901 to 1914 and consists of news clippings documenting his father's career as fire chief of Lincoln and his later work in Panama.
The collection is arranged alphabetically by subject, format, or title.