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Henrietta McDowell Memorial Photographic Collection, 1958-1979
984.013  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Henrietta (Henri) Deming McDowell (1916?-1983) was a journalist and photographer. From the late 1950s to the 1970s, McDowell was the official photographer for the San Francisco Ballet, documenting nearly every ballet performed in that period of time. Promotional materials and souvenir programs often featured her photographs. Her photography and articles about ballet and Lew Christensen appeared in numerous publications. The collection at MP+D includes approximately 10,000 negatives, 5,000 mini positives, 221 35mm and 2 1/4 slides, 5,000 loose and bound black and white and color glossy 8 x 10 prints, 200 16 x 20 mounted and unmounted black and white prints, 100 11 x 14 black and white prints, and personal papers consisting of news clippings, manuscripts, publications, correspondence, and awards. Noted dancers and choreographers featured in the collection include individuals such as Lew Christensen, Michael Smuin, Carlos Carvajal, Robert Gladstein, Sally Bailey, and Jocelyn Vollmar.
Background
Henrietta Deming McDowell, a native of Connecticut, was the daughter of painter William Edward Deming. Deming is famous for his Indian paintings, some of which are in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution. Henrietta's mother was a writer and a publisher of childrens' books about Indians. Henrietta, or Henri as she came to be called, graduated from Columbia University in New York with a degree in journalism. She worked for the "New York Herald Tribune" as a reporter and later married Army Colonel James V. McDowell. She continued her work as a journalist as she and her husband moved about to various army bases. As a member of the International Photographic Society and the Photographic Society of America, Henrietta often entered photographic contests. One of her photographs, taken while her husband was stationed in Darmstadt, Germany, won a national award. From the late 1950s to mid 1970s, Mrs. McDowell was the official photographer for the San Francisco Ballet. Nearly every ballet performed in that period of time was photo-documented by her. Promotional materials and souvenir programs often featured her photographs. A writer as well as a photographer, her articles about ballet and Lew Christensen have appeared in "Dance Magazine", "California Living", and other publications. Towards the end of her life, Mrs. McDowell began work on a book featuring her dance photography. Unfortunately, she was never able to see this project to completion. She died of cancer in 1983 at age 67.
Extent
Number of containers: 18 albums; 4 binders; 26 shoeboxes; 4 cartons; 15 hollinger boxes; 6 oversized boxes. Linear feet: 28.0
Restrictions
Copyright has been assigned to the Museum of Performance + Design.
Availability
Entire collection is open for research use.