Scope and arrangement
The Craig-Duncan Collection consists of theater artist Gordon Craig's collection of materials relating to the dancer Isadora Duncan. It contains approximately 400 items dating from 1901 to 1957, the bulk of them falling in the years 1904-1920.
Gordon Craig kept almost all of the letters which Isadora Duncan wrote to him, as well as many of her notes and telegrams, from the time of their first meeting in December, 1904, until her death. He also kept photographs which they took of each other or which Isadora sent to him; drawings and sketches which he made of her and her pupils; several programs from her concerts with his comments pencilled in; and ticket stubs, magazine covers, and other miscellany. In December, 1904, Craig began to keep a series of notebooks filled with his notes on Isadora Duncan, clippings, and an occasional letter relating to her. Of these notebooks, only two are in the Craig-Duncan Collection, one dating from 1924-1928 and the other from 1933 after the publication of Maurice Dumesnil's book An Amazing Journey - Isadora Duncan in South America.Other sketchbooks and notebooks, dating from 1903 to 1906, containing drawings, some of Craig's notes on the theater, and Isadora's translation of a lecture by Ernst Haeckel which she and Craig attended together in 1905, are included in the collection. A group of letters and notes written by Craig, mostly to Isadora, and a number of letters and telegrams to Craig concerning Isadora from friends and family complete the collection.
The letters of Isadora Duncan comprise the bulk of this collection, and provide glimpses into her relationship with Gordon Craig, her intellectual and emotional life, and her struggles and triumphs in creating and performing dances. Because Craig and Maurice Magnus managed her bookings and other aspects of her business through their firm Direktion Vereinigter Kunst from 1905 to 1907, the letters also reveal something about her financial [UNK] and her practical problems as a performing artist.
Craig reread the items in this collection at various times during his life. He made notes on many pieces at first or subsequent readings. Very few of his letters to Isadora exist today. Those in this collection were retained by Craig and never sent. The collection provides insights into the development of some of his ideas on the theater, information about his activities during the period from December 1904 to 1908, and evidence of Isadora's influence on him and his career. It also reveals something of his character.
Other correspondents are: Elise de Brouckère, J. Paul Cooper, Augustin Duncan, Elizabeth Duncan, Irma Duncan, Raymond Duncan, Fritz Endell, Mary Endell, Count Harry Kessler, Fenella Lovel, Elena Meo, Barbara Rose, Martin Shaw, Paris Singer, Dame Ellen Terry, and Richard Wallace.
The Craig-Duncan collection is arranged in six series:
Correspondence is grouped by writer and a arranged into three subseries: 1) Isadora Duncan letters, cards, telegrams and notes, 2) Edward Cordon Craig letters and notes, and 3) Other Correspondents. The Isadora Duncan items are arranged in approximate chronological order, followed by a No Date catagory. Few of the letters were dated; a number of them were dated by Gordon Craig many years after he received them, and his dates are not always accurate. The letters have been placed in sequence on the basis of content. Only those giving insufficient clues to their place in sequence are in the No Date group. The Gordon Craig items were arranged in approximate chronological order in the same way. Most of the Craig letters and notes are not, however, real correspondence, since they were not sent. Some of his notes have been filed not by the date they were written, but by the time period to which they refer. Other correspondents are arranged alphabetically into the third [UNK] series. In addition, there are several pieces of correspondence regarding Isadora Duncan from Craig's friends in his notebooks (#340, 341).
Drawings of or related to Isadora Duncan by Gordon Craig. Dated drawings are in approximate chronological order, followed by a No Date group. Three undated drawings of unknown authorship complete the series.
Gordon Craig's sketchbooks and notebooks of clippings, correspondence, notes, and drawings relating to Isadora Duncan. In chronological order.
Programs from Isadora Duncan performances, with notes by Gordon Craig. In chronological order, No Date items last.
Photographs, some with annotations or inscriptions by Isadora Duncan or Gordon Craig. In chronological order, No Date items last.
Miscellaneous items including theater and train ticket stubs, a prescription, magazine covers and a poem, all relating to Isadora Duncan with the exception of a 1901 cover for Craig's magazine The Page.Approximate chronological order, No Date items last.