Scope and arrangement
The Hanya Holm Papers range in date from 1809 to 1984 and primarily document Holm's professional life as a dancer, teacher and choreographer of concert dance, musical theater and opera. Included are: correspondence; teaching material (including roll books); choreographic notes, designs and annotated scores for both concert dance and musical theater; material related to Holm's forty-three summers at Colorado College; material related to honors and awards; biographical material; financial information regarding the Hanya Holm Studio; publicity material and programs for Hanya Holm and Dance Company; and drafts for both published and unpublished writings; and photographs. Abundant correspondence from Holm's former teacher, Mary Wigman, is evidence of a steadfast friendship which spanned continents and decades. Family material dating from 19th century Germany as well as papers from Holm's childhood are also included. Most of the material is in English, with portions of the correspondence, teaching and choreographic notes, Holm's writings, and family documents in German. These papers demonstrate Holm's unique contributions to the field of both modern dance and musical theater. The breadth of material reflects her extraordinary energy, dedication and longevity. The wealth of commissioned scores is a resource for scholars both of Holm's concert dance work and of twentieth century music for dance. Annotated theatrical scripts, choreographic notes, labanotation scores, production materials and professional notebooks provide insight into Holm's creative process and suggest the rich artistic climate in which she worked. As Holm's reputation grew, so did the volume of mail from the public with requests for information, interviews, expertise, and time. The numerous replies from Elsa Rainer, Holm's secretary, reveal a standard of courtesy and respect for all correspondents, and document Rainer's faithful allegiance to her employer. These, the Wigman letters and most other correspondence are held in the Correspondence series, with additional correspondence contained in the series labeled Teaching, Choreography, Colorado College, and Personal and Family.
The Hanya Holm papers are arranged in eleven series:
- 1920-1980 and n.d.7 boxes (293 folders
This series contains personal and professional correspondence from colleagues, students, organizations, and others, and includes letters in pursuit of copyright for musical theater choreography. Of particular note is the volume of handwritten letters and postcards from Mary Wigman (folders 274-283), written in German between 1920-1972. These were sent from Germany during periods when Wigman was teaching at one of her schools, and from cities around the world when she was vacationing or on tour. Holm's and Wigman's mutual devotion is further demonstrated in letters from colleagues regarding the celebrations Holm organized in honor of Wigman's 70th, 75th and 80th birthdays.
- 1913-1968 and n.d.8 boxes (119 folders
Material related to the Hanya Holm Studio dominates this series. Correspondence concerns letters of recommendation, arrangements for studio visits, assessments of student potential, etc. The many roll books and tuition ledgers from 1937-1968 provide data regarding student and course registration at the Studio. Holm's interest in labanotation as a pedagogical tool is reflected in related articles and student exercises. Earlier material documents Holm's Dalcroze certification and teaching, as well as her work at the New York Wigman School of the Dance, Bennington College and other institutions.
- 1938-1958 and n.d.12 folders
Programs (1932-1954) form the bulk of this small series: tracking the development of Holm's concert dance repertoire and Demonstration Program; identifying company members and artistic collaborators; and detailing the itineraries of her New York seasons and transcontinental tours. Announcements and publicity materials offer insight into Holm's marketing strategies.
- 1927-1969 and n.d.124 folders
This series is divided into two subseries: Concert Dance and Musical Theater. Choreographic notes form the bulk of the Concert Dance material and include Holm's notations and writings as well as those of her dancers -- in prose, drawings, charts, and musical scoring. Most of this material is undated. The Musical Theater collection includes the numerous scripts, many with Holm's annotations, for productions on which Holm worked. Most of these are from the 1940s-1960s, including Kiss Me Kate, Reuben Reuben, and Christine, but also included is the script for Farewell, one of Holm's earliest efforts. Production materials for some shows document the audition process and technical aspects of stage and costume design. Opening night letters and telegrams include congratulations from theatrical luminaries, providing a taste of the shared excitement generated by these events. Additional materials relating to Holm's choreography, including scores, designs, and Labanotation, will be found in Series IX: Oversize.
- 1941-199035 folders
This limited series reflects the growth of the Colorado College Summer Dance Program (sometimes referred to as the Hanya Holm School of the Dance) from its opening in 1941 through its final year in 1983. Included are annual program bulletins, announcements, programs, student lists and correspondence. Titles of dances Holm created during the summer session appear on programs along with those of student dancers. Larger productions are more fully documented. Material concerning Holm's honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Colorado College as well as her 25th and 40th anniversary celebrations are included here. Programs also document Holm's work on the Colorado Opera Festival.
- 1930-1984 and n.d. (bulk 1932-196629 folders
Professional notebooks from the 1930s and 1940s form the bulk of this series. They are typically multipurpose and include Holm's writings on various themes, notation of dances, teaching notes, book lists, and lists of expenses. Appointment calendars from 1948 and 1982-1984 document Holm's busy professional schedule. Holm's articles and speeches on Mary Wigman and dance pedagogy are included, as well as radio scripts and writings by others on cultural themes. Biographical material compiled by Holm's secretary in resume and prose format are also here.
- 1925-193514 folders
This series contains material from the 1920s and 1930s. Wigman's writings form the bulk of the series and include her 1931 lecture at the Sorbonne and other articles in English and German. Wigman's performance work is documented in material related to the 1930 production of Totenmal and to her Tanzgruppe. Other folders contain meterials from 1929-1934 pertaining to Wigman's schools in Germany.
- 1803-196927 folders
This small series has a broad date range (1803-1969) and includes business logs, ledgers, official documents, patent applications and awards, school documents -- including an autograph book, probably signed by Holm's high school classmates -- notebooks, calendars, sketches, and financial papers. The early family material is in German, written in a formal hand. Papers regarding Holm's Dresden residence in the 1920s, correspondence concerning Klaus Holm's schooling, and an interview with Klaus Holm are also included in this series.
- 1924-196558 folders
This series includes the numerous scores Holm commissioned for concert dance, some scores and vocal parts for musical theater productions, costume designs, labanotation and posters. Composers represented here include Wallingford Reigger, Alex North, John Cage, Henry Cowell, Marc Blitztein and others. Costume designs by Lemuel Ayers for "Kiss Me Kate" and Cecil Beaton for "My Fair Lady" are included. Labanotation for some dances from "My Fair Lady" are also in this series.
- 5 folders
This series contains supplementary material related to Holm's personal and professional lives. Student registration forms for classes at the Hanya Holm Studio from the 1940s-1960s fill two boxes and are arranged alphabetically, some with annotation. Holm's personal library is catalogued alphabetically in two boxes of shelf list cards. Her 40th anniversary at Colorado College in 1980 is celebrated in an embossed, leather-bound scrapbook, full of clippings, photos and tributes.
- 154 folders