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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 482

John Lindquist collection


Photographs, slides, negatives, 16mm films, correspondence, objects, ephemera, periodicals, personal papers, programs and published photographs of dance photographer John Lindquist.


  • Creation: 1910-1985

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are generally no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Physical albums in Series IX: Negatives are restricted; use digital surrogate. For access to original consult curatorial staff.


71 linear feet

Collection includes the archives of John Lindquist including photographs, slides, negatives, and a few 16mm films. Also includes correspondence, drawings, objects, ephemera, periodicals, posters personal and business papers, programs and published photographs.

The Photographs series contains 7,426 photographic prints (black/white, color, and sepia toned) and 2,803 contact sheets (35 boxes, 2 drawers (15 linear ft.)), depicting dancers, choreographers, and other people (chiefly affiliated with Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival), as well as choreographic works staged at Jacob's Pillow, particularly those of Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis. It spans the dates from 1917-1984 and undated. Also includes photographs of Jacob's Pillow buildings and surroundings, artistic photographs, and some subjects unrelated to dance. Also includes a large number of portraits of unidentified subjects. Includes photographs primarily taken and printed by Lindquist, as well as some photographs printed by Stephan Driscoll from Lindquist negatives. Also includes some photographs by other photographers, including Driscoll, and John Van Lund. Most of the photographs are not dated. Includes original prints, negatives and slides photographed by John Lindquist.

Correspondents include Ted Shawn, Ruth St. Denis, John Christian, Grace Badorek, Barton Mumaw, Hamilton Revelle. Objects include sculpture done by Lindquist and photo-engraved copper plates of Lindquist photographs. Personal papers include Keene (N.H.) High School diploma from 1910, and a certificate from (Mass.) Gov. King dedicating the 1980 Jacob's Pillow season to Lindquist. Also includes documents and clippings pertaining to travel, including a trip to Russia in 1932. The collection also contains programs, posters and reprints of Lindquist photographs.

All except the slides, negatives and films were formerly indexed into databases in the Harvard Theatre Collection that have since been turned into this finding aid. Former databases had filenames: LINDPHOT, LINDOTH, LINDSLID.

Biographical / Historical

John Lindquist (1890-1980) was a Boston area photographer who concentrated on dance-related photography. He was a lover of dance and theater, and in his early days as a photographer supported himself as a head cashier at Filenes. He began photographing Ted Shawn and his men dancers in 1938 and was the official photographer for the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival for four decades, from 1940 until his death. He formed close friendships with many dancers and choreographers; the collection includes much correspondence from Ted Shawn and others involved with Jacob's Pillow.

Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, located in Becket, Mass., got its start in 1930 when Ted Shawn purchased the property known as Jacob's Pillow. He used the farm as a summer dance theater and residence for his group of men dancers from 1933 to 1939. In 1941 the property was purchased from Shawn and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival was incorporated as an educational, artistic, non-profit organization, with Shawn named as founder and artistic director. Jacob's Pillow was the first dance festival in the U.S., and remains a unique institution. The Ted Shawn Theatre was built in 1942, one of the first theaters built specifically for presentation of choreographic works, and has been enlarged over the years. Shawn remained director until his death in 1972; subsequent directors include John Christian (1972), Walter Terry (1973), Charles Reinhart (1974), Norman Walker (1975-1979), Liz Thompson (1980- ). Hundreds of choreographic works have premiered at Jacob's Pillow, and many U.S. debuts have occured there, representing dancers and companies from all over the world.


Organized into the following series:

  1. Photographs, 1917-1984 and undated [Boxes 1-35]
  2. Correspondence
  3. Objects Boxes
  4. Periodicals
  5. Personal papers
  6. Programs
  7. Published photographs
  8. Slides
  9. Negatives
  10. Films
  11. Drawings, posters, etc...

Physical Location

b, pfd

Immediate Source of Acquisition

No accession number. Bequest of John Lindquist via Stephan Driscoll, ca. 1980.

Additional materials were acquired as a gift of Stephan Driscoll; these items are identified within the finding aid.

Processing Information

Amy Leigh and Bonnie B. Salt

Processing Information

This file was reviewed in 2024 to address outdated and harmful descriptive language. Given the context and placement of the term in a formal group name, it has been left as is. If you have questions or comments about these revisions, please contact Houghton Library. For more information on reparative archival description at Harvard, see Harvard Library’s Statement on Harmful Language in Archival Description.

Lindquist, John. John Lindquist collection, 1910-1985: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description
Processed and encoded as part of the Dance Heritage Coalition Access to Dance Research Resources Project, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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