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COLLECTION Identifier: Ms Thr 565

Joan Mowat Erikson collection of photographs of modern dance in Germany


Photographs from various schools of German modern dance from 1925-1931 including schools of movement as well as gymnastics.


  • Creation: 1923-1931

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English and German.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


.5 linear feet (1 box)

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.

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.

Physical Location


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.

Erikson, Joan M. (Joan Mowat), collector. Joan Mowat Erikson collection of photographs of modern dance in Germany, 1923-1931: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
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Language of description

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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