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Ms Thr 565

Erikson, Joan M. (Joan Mowat), collector. Joan Mowat Erikson collection of photographs of modern dance in Germany, 1923-1931: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: Ms Thr 565
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Erikson, Joan M. (Joan Mowat),
Title: Joan Mowat Erikson collection of photographs of modern dance in Germany,
Date(s): 1923-1931.
Quantity: 1 collection (.5 linear feet (1 box)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English and German.
Abstract: Photographs from various schools of German modern dance from 1925-1931 including schools of movement as well as gymnastics.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

No accession number. Gift of Joan Mowat Erikson, 1705 Centro West, Tiburon, California 94920; received: 1983 May 21 through the kindness of Barbara Mettler.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Diana Haynes with the assistance of Jennifer Lyons.

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Joan Mowat Erikson Collection of Photographs of Modern Dance in Germany, 1923-1931 (MS Thr 565). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Between Germany's defeat at the end of World War I in 1918, and Hitler's rise to power in 1933, culture was flourishing in the arts and sciences in the region. During this time, Rudolf von Laban and Mary Wigman laid the foundations for the development of modern dance. Laban had schools located throughout Germany; his schools and style are considered influential in early twentieth century modern dance education.


Arranged alphabetically either by the name of the school or by the name of the school's founder.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains photographs from various schools of modern dance also including schools of movement and gymnastics. The time span (1923-1931) covered in the collection provides a glimpse into a developmental period in German body culture, the ideals of which include grace, strength, and natural physical beauty through movement and exercise.
Students of Rudolf von Laban and future teachers themselves inclued in this collection are Mary Wigman and Margarete Schmidts. Other dancers and teachers included are Isadora Duncan (who founded a school of dance in Berlin, Germany) and Dora Menzler.

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