Scope and arrangement
The Selma Jeanne Cohen papers contain documents from the 1940s to the 1990s, and cover the academic and professional career of the distinguished dance historian and author. The collection is divided into five series: Correspondence, Writings, Teaching Materials, Conference and Travel. The earliest correspondence includes letters to and from Cohen while she was a doctoral student at University of Chicago. Correspondence dealing with Cohen’s journal Dance Perspectives and International Encyclopedia of Dance are also held in this series. Cohen’s affiliation with the Wesleyan University Press, which published her books, Modern Dance and Doris Humphrey, An Artist First is represented in the correspondence. The writings series includes published and unpublished manuscripts, reviews and small articles by Cohen and others. Research notes and drafts for Cohen’s biography of Doris Humphrey are included in this series. The teaching materials include lecture notes, student work and organizational materials for most of Cohen’s academic positions from the 1960 to 1976. The conference series documents Cohen’s professional activities in various academic fields including the history of aesthetics, theater, dance and literature. The conference series reflects Cohen’s international interests and includes materials from conferences Cohen attended Canada, France, Finland, Germany, Russia and Sweden. Cohen visited with scholars and dance groups around the world and materials from these travels are included in the final series, Travel.
The Selma Jeanne Cohen papers are arranged in five series:
- undated22 boxes
The correspondence is mostly of a professional nature concerning Cohen’s academic work from the 1960s until the 1980s. It contains correspondence with organizations and individuals. Documents from Dance Perspectives journal, as well as the International Encyclopedia of Dance are also included. Notable people included in the Dance Perspectives correspondence are Pauline Koner, Charles Weidman and Merce Cunningham.
- undated2 boxes
The writings span a wide range of themes and dates, and contain articles written both by Cohen and other authors. The series contains original manuscripts as well as printed and published materials from various scholarly journals. Also included are research notes, drafts and other materials used by Cohen in writing her book Doris Humphrey, An Artist First.
- 1949 - 19926 boxes
The teaching materials date from the beginning of Cohen’s teaching career as a doctoral student at University of Chicago to the end of her career as a lecturer and professor in the early 1990s. Her work in developing dance history curriculum at institutions of higher education is well documented. Files such as class lists, lecture notes and student work are also included in this series.
- undated10 boxes
Conferences played a large role in the work and life of Cohen. As a member of several scholarly associations promoting the academic pursuits of dance, dance history, choreography, theater and literature Cohen attended many conferences. Event programs, academic presentations and correspondence regarding the planning of meetings make up the bulk of this series.
- undated1 box
This series includes documents collected from Cohen’s travels of the world and work with international dance groups. Cohen worked with dance groups in Russia and Germany and much of the material comes from her time spent in Uzbekistan and Berlin.