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
No Subnote ContentMildred 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.
0.3 Linear Feet
(1 box and 1 oversize folder)
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.
Collection is open for research.