- Horst, Louis
- Call number
- (S) *MGZMD 57
- Physical description
- 116 items in 14 folders
- Preferred Citation
Horst, Louis, 1884-1964. Papers, (S) *MGZMD 57, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
- Jerome Robbins Dance Division
- Access to materials
- Some collections held by the Dance, Music, Recorded Sound, and Theatre Divisions at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts are held off-site and must be requested in advance. Please check the collection records in the NYPL's online catalog for detailed location information. For general guidance about requesting offsite materials, please consult: https://www.nypl.org/about/locations/lpa/requesting-archival-materials
The Louis Horst Papers document his professional, and primarily his personal, life from 1962 to 1964. There are, however, letters and contractual information dating back as early as 1935 and 1959. The importance of this collection lies in its personal nature. The appreciation, gratitude, and honor bestowed upon Horst by students, contemporaries, supporters, and friends is repeated again and again in the correspondence written to him. The content consists mainly of correspondence to Horst by friends, such as Gertrude Lippincott, and dance associates, such as Harriet Berg. There is also correspondence from relatives, primarily May, his sister, George, her husband, and Betty, Horst's wife.
Louis Horst was born to Conrad and Leva Horst on the twelfth of January, 1884, in Kansas City, Missouri. Horst began to study piano at an early age. He became a professional accompanist, playing for silent films, stock theater companies, Broadway rehearsals, and later for many of the modern dance personalities of the thirties and forties.
In 1915, Horst joined the Denishawn Company as accompanist; his wife, Betty, was a member of the company. He remained with Denishawn until 1925. There he met, among others, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, and Martha Graham. Horst later collaborated with these second generation modern dance pioneers as accompanist, composer and teacher of choreography.
Leaving Denishawn with Martha Graham, Horst composed several of Graham's early group works: Primitive Mysteries(1931), Frontier(1935), and El Penitente(1940). He also wrote scores for other dance artists, for dance classes and for publication. He taught the art of choreography at the Neighborhood Playhouse, several colleges such as the Juilliard School of Music and Connecticut College, and in workshops around the country.
In 1934, Horst founded a major dance periodical, The Dance Observer.This magazine was a voice through which modern dance spoke. He and the other writers volunteered their knowledge, experience, and time to the critical review of modern dance concerts and recitals. Horst also published two books, Pre-Classic Dance Forms(1937) and Modern Dance Forms(1960). Aside from Horst's musical, literary, and aesthetic criticism of modern dance performances, he “managed to train at least half of the choreographers now producing.” His students include Anna Sokolow, Meredith Monk, Yvonne Rainer, and Lucinda Childs.
Louis Horst was granted many awards, including the Capezio Award and an honorary degree from Wayne State University in 1964.
Source of acquisition
Gift of Louis L. Himber. Received: November 8, 1976.
Processed by Marcia Ethel Hicks.
Using the collection
LocationJerome Robbins Dance Division
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center
40 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023-7498