Burns M. Kattenberg collection on contortion and other papers
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.
Extent18 linear feet (37 boxes)
Kattenberg's personal papers include compositions of the plays he wrote, drafts of articles and a book on contortion, as well as programs and playbills associated with the plays and productions he directed, acted in, was on stage crew, etc... There are extensive studio portrait photographs of him throughout his life, and some publicity photographs depicting him with his contortion collection materials. At the end is a small collection of materials he saved pertaining to the theater, that do not concern contortion.
Includes an incomplete run of the serial Acrobatics: official journal of the Association of Acrobats (see item (860)). Also includes 2 volumes of the serial publication: The strand magazine. An illustrated monthly. Edited by George Newnes. London: Volume XI, 1896 January to June and Volume XIV, 1897 July to December (see item (869)).
Biographical / Historical
Burns M. Kattenberg (1901 September 20 - 1974 April) was born in Minnesota and later became a collector of contortion materials and other theater related items. He was not a contortionist himself, but a fan, and he worked as a hotel manager, wrote a number of plays, and worked and performed in the theater for a short time in his younger years.
The Burns Kattenberg collection is reputed to be the world's largest collection of material related to contortionist performance.
- I. Male and female contortionists
- II. "Matted" male contortionists
- III. "Matted" female contortionists
- IV. Special files for female contortionists
- V. Special files for male contortionists
- VI. Miscellaneous contortion material, "left-overs"
- A. Additional letters to Kattenberg
- B. Additional special files on contortionists
- C. Subject files concerning contortion
- D. Printed material on contortion
- E. Other material on contortion
- F. Portfolio-sized contortion material
- VII. Burns M. Kattenberg personal papers
- A. Compositions by Kattenberg
- B. Biographical miscellany of Kattenberg
- C. Photographs of Kattenberg
- D. Non-contortion theater material
- VIII. Contorition costumes and equipment
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Original paper finding aid retained in curatorial file.
- Kattenberg, Burns M., 1901-1974, collector. Burns M. Kattenberg collection on contortion and other papers, 1890-1976: Guide.
- Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
- Description rules
- EAD ID
Part of the Houghton Library Repository
Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA