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Collection Martha Graham at the Library of Congress

About this Collection

(clockwise from top left) The Dance: Washington Festival [review]; "Graham Presents Copland's Ballet" [clipping] by Oscar Thompson; A unique dance by Martha Graham [clipping], 1926; [Tangara], photograph of Martha Graham.

Dancer, choreographer, and company director Martha Graham (1894-1991) is considered one of the pioneering founders of American modern dance. In a career spanning over seven decades, Graham developed her own innovative technique and produced an impressive legacy of 181 choreographic works. In this Web presentation, we follow Martha Graham's work between 1918 and 1949, and offer a selection of materials related to them – concert programs, clippings (including press announcements and reviews), libretti, scripts and photographs.

The reader is encouraged to explore the presentation first via the timeline, which gives a chronological sequence of the events and ballets in Graham's life through 1949. Under Browse ballets by title, the reader will find a brief essay that introduces each ballet. A left sidebar will include links to a selection of materials related to that ballet. In some cases these materials will not only refer to performances from the year a ballet premiered, but from repeat performances given in subsequent years.

This presentation is culled from many different collections held within the Library of Congress Music Division. The Martha Graham Collection is comprised of materials that document the career of modern dance pioneer Martha Graham and traces the history of the development of her company and school. The Collection contains over 350,000 items and includes a significant assembly of manuscript music scores, scrapbooks, photographs, clippings, choreographic notebooks, publicity and production materials, correspondence, programs, and business papers.

The digital items in this site originate in collections held within the Library of Congress Music Division and include the Victoria Phillips Geduld Collection; the Ethel Winter and Charles Hyman Collection; Martha Graham Legacy Archive; the Moselsio Collection; the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Collection; the Miriam Cole Collection; the Helen McGehee and Umaña Collection of Dance Materials; the Erick Hawkins Collection; the Aaron Copland Collection; and, the Music Division Old Correspondence Files.