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Guide to the Mildred Davenport Dance Programs and Dance School Materials
MS-P029  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection comprises dance programs, dance school materials, photographs, and ephemera documenting the early career of the Boston-based African-American dancer, dance instructor, and civic official Mildred Davenport. The bulk of this collection consists of dance programs and dance school materials. The collection also contains 29 photographs of Davenport, her students in various performances, and friends or individual students. Dance programs from 1925 to 1942 feature her solo performances and group performances with her students. The collection includes a complete run of programs for Bronze Rhapsody, an annual performance series choreographed, staged, and directed by Davenport. Her personal copy of a typescript of stage directions for a 1934 performance is included with these programs. Her dance schools, Davenport School of the Dance and Silver Box Studio, are documented in course brochures and applications. Biographical and academic materials include a 1939 newspaper article on Davenport.
Background
Mildred Ellen Davenport was a noted civic official and military officer with an extensive career as a dancer and dance instructor in Boston in the 1930s and 1940s. She was born in Boston on November 12, 1900. She began her dance studies at C.C. Perkins Grade School and Prince School as a teenager, and graduated from Boston Girls' High School in 1918. In the 1920s she studied at the Sargent School for Physical Culture and at Harvard, and opened her first dance school, the Davenport School of Dance. Over the next ten years she studied under Ted Shawn and taught dance in Boston. She was also progressively more involved in road show performances such as Hot Chocolates. From 1930 to 1935 she performed in a number of African-American musical productions on Broadway, including Fast and Furious, Flying Colors, and Black Birds. In 1932 she established her second dance school, the Silver Box Studio, in the South End of Boston. She became the first African American woman to perform with the Arthur Fiedler Pops unit of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at this time.
Extent
0.3 linear feet (1 box and 1 oversize folder)
Restrictions
Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Availability
Collection is open for research.