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Howard Holtzman collection on Isadora Duncan, ca. 1878-1990
1729  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Processing Note
  • Related Material
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID

  • Title: Howard Holtzman collection on Isadora Duncan
    Collection number: 1729
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 8.5 linear ft. (17 boxes and 24 oversize boxes)
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1878-1990
    Abstract: Isadora Duncan (1877-1927) was a modern dance pioneer influenced by Walt Whitman, Emerson and American Transcendentalism. She first gained recognition and support for her work after moving to London (1899). In 1904, she met Edward Gordon Craig, and they worked and toured together for three years. Later, she opened a school of dance for children in Bellevue near Paris (1914), and another in Moscow (1921). She continued to dance until her accidental death in 1927.

    Howard M. Holtzman (1921-1990) was a poet, lawyer and collector. His interest in Isadora Duncan began when he read her memoirs and sought to explore and document the influence of her artistic expression on the history of art. Recognizing the role that certain relationships, both personal and artistic, came to play in shaping her artistic development, Holtzman collected materials that reflect others' influences on Isadora, documented the impressions of many people who had seen her perform, and acquired the Edward Gordon Craig material in this collection.

    The collection consists of Isadora Duncan's business and personal papers, primary writings, and material about her. There are also materials by and about Edward Gordon Craig, Raymond Duncan, and Ellen Terry. Materials include dance programs, business correspondence, writings by Isadora Duncan, photographs, objets d'art created by her brother Raymond, research materials compiled by her biographer, Allan Ross Macdougall and collector Howard Holtzman, correspondence between Howard Holtzman and Irma Duncan, and programs and photographs of other dancers who influenced or were influenced by Isadora Duncan.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Creator: Holtzman, Howard

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Purchased from Golden Legend, Inc., 2006.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Howard Holtzman Collection on Isadora Duncan (Collection 1729). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Biography

    Howard M. Holtzman (1921-1990) was a poet, lawyer and collector. His interest in Isadora Duncan began when he read her memoirs and sought to explore and document the influence of her artistic expression on the history of art. For the next 32 years, he collected materials by and about Isadora Duncan. Recognizing the role that certain relationships, both personal and artistic, came to play in shaping her artistic development, Holtzman acquired the Edward Gordon Craig material in this collection. For the performing arts, the transition from the 19th to the 20th century was a change from the pictorial and romantic to a more architectural and impressionistic framework. Craig's work in the theatre and Duncan's in dance promoted these developments, and their collaborative works were considered revolutionary. Ellen Terry, Craig's mother and a famous Shakespearean actress, was a model for both of them as her artistic interests incorporated theatre, dance, music, and the visual arts and architecture. Holtzman conducted extensive research and collected materials that reflect others' influences on Isadora, and documented the impressions of many people who had seen her perform.
    Born Mary Dora Duncan on May 26, 1877 in San Francisco, Isadora Duncan lived with her mother, sister Elizabeth and brothers Augustine and Raymond in Oakland, California, where she began to teach dance at the age of eleven. Her mother introduced her to Dickens, Shakespeare and Greek mythology, and played works by Chopin and Schubert on the piano. She and her siblings spent many hours at home in the evenings, and sometimes at salons organized by her mother, where they recited from literature and danced. Her mother also read to the children from "free thinker" Robert Ingersoll, who rejected institutionalized religion. In developing her own form of art, Isadora Duncan was influenced by Walt Whitman, Emerson and American Transcendentalism, believing that dance movement should be motivated from within, based on a spiritual understanding of nature. Isadora and her family moved to Chicago in 1896, New York and then London in 1899, where she gained recognition and her work was supported by society patrons, artists and intellectuals. In Berlin in 1904 she met Edward Gordon Craig, with whom she fell in love. She and Craig worked and toured together for three years in Germany, Russia, Poland and Sweden. She opened a school of dance for children in Bellevue near Paris in 1914, and another in Moscow in 1921, and adopted several of her students, who peformed as "The Isadorables" and "The Isadora Duncan Dancers of Moscow." Isadora Duncan married twice, to Paris Singer in 1909 and Serge Essenin in 1922. She had two children, a daughter with Edward Gordon Craig (Deirdre) and a son (Patrick) with Singer. Both were drowned in a car that accidentally rolled into the Seine in 1913. She continued to dance until 1927. While riding in a Bugati, a scarf tied around her neck caught in the wheel, causing her death in Nice, France, on September 14, 1927.

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of original works of art by many famous artists contemporary to modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan, including drawings and sculptures depicting her in performances and rehearsals; dance programs and business correspondence documenting her tours in Germany, Russia and Poland from 1904-1907 when Edward Gordon Craig was her manager; writings by Isadora Duncan, including a prospectus for her dance school; and original photographs and photographic reproductions in clippings of Isadora Duncan, her students, her sister Irma, Edward Gordon Craig, Ellen Terry, and Serghie'i Essenin. It also includes materials about Isadora Duncan, such as graphic works by Edward Gordon Craig, programs and objets d'art created by her brother Raymond, and the research materials of her biographer, Allan Ross Macdougall. There are also articles and citations about Isadora Duncan compiled by collector Howard Holtzman, and correspondence between Howard Holtzman and Irma Duncan. Primary sources about Duncan's personal life and works include Edward Gordon Craig's diary from 1943-1947 and a letter to his mother Ellen Terry, along with interviews about Duncan by Craig, Ruth St. Denis, Hedwig Reicher and childhood friend Cornelia Lysight. There are also materials by and about Edward Gordon Craig, Ellen Terry, and programs and photographs of other dancers who influenced or were influenced by Isadora Duncan.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in five series, one of which has been further arranged in subseries. Contracts, telegrams and articles about Isadora Duncan are arranged chronologically. Works of art are organized by artist. The series and subseries arrangement is as follows:
    1. Isadora Duncan
      • Business papers
      • Personal papers
      • Primary writings about Isadora Duncan
      • Material about Isadora Duncan
    2. Material by and about Edward Gordon Craig
    3. Material by and about Raymond Duncan
    4. Material by and about Ellen Terry
    5. Material about other dancers

    Processing Note

    Processed by Genie Guerard and Lilace Hatayama, October 2006.

    Related Material

    Edward Gordon Craig papers (Collection 1006)  . Available at the UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.
    Dame Ellen Terry papers (Collection 643)  . Available at the UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 5482571 

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Duncan, Isadora, 1877-1927--Archives.
    Dancers--Archives.
    Works of art.