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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 1784

Angna Enters collection

Includes watercolor costume designs from Enters' mime and dance performances, drawings and sketches from her time as a Guggenheim Foundation fellow that may have informed her dance and mime performances, as well as drawings, pastels, paintings, and prints.

Dates

  • 1929-1962, and undated

Language of Materials

Collection is in English, French.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.

Extent

4.32 linear feet (5 boxes and 128 over-size folders)

Includes visual materials relating to Angna Enter’s career as a performer, creating self-designed solo dance and mime performances that toured the United States and Europe from 1924 through the 1960s, as well as her career as a visual artist working across media such as drawings, paintings, and prints.

Series I includes designs, mostly watercolor and a few ink on paper and cardboard, for her costumes for performances of “The Theatre of Angna Enters,” “Pagan Greece,” and “Episodes,” among others, dating from 1932 to 1948.

Series II includes drawings and sketches made by Enters during her time as a Guggenheim Foundation fellow in 1934-1935, traveling to Greece and Egypt to study the arts of ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Byzantine societies, likely carried out as research for her solo dance production “Pagan Greece,” performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, New York, in 1943.

Series III includes, drawings, painting, and prints from Enters’ career as a visual artist, working across media and subject matter. Some of these materials are grouped together as studies of similar subject matter, such as a group of sketches of boat in the style of Enters’ friend John Marin, or the groups of “bullfight drawings,” “Persian drawings,” and “Oriental sketches.” It is possible that these latter two groups were created as part of the artistic process behind the design of dance and mime performances. Further works include self-portraits; a portrait of her husband, Louis Kalonyme; as well as depictions of dance positions, cityscapes, and theatrical and film performers; as well as a few lithographs and woodblock and dry prints from earlier drawings and designs, reduced to smaller sizes in print format. A single letter from Dorothy Newman appears on the back of a print by Francisco Goya, and an Indonesian choreographer doll, painted on buffalo hide, which might have been used in Enters’ studies, is included.

Biographical / Historical

Angna Enters was born Anita Enters on 1897 April 18 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Enters graduated from North Division High School in Milwaukee in 1915, and began taking courses at Milwaukee State Normal School in 1916, specializing in design. Around this time, Enters saw the first Denishawn concert tour and the first American tour of Serge Diaghilev's Les Ballet Russes. She became a student of the Art Students League in October, 1919, and worked in an advertising agency. By 1920, she began studying with Michio Ito and continued her work as a commercial artist.

In 1921, Enters met Louis Kantor, and they began a secret relationship in 1924. Also in 1924, she altered her name to Angna and began using 1907 as her birth year. Kantor similarly changed his name to Louis Kalonyme in the same year. Enters and Kalonyme were secretly married in Spain in 1936, and they maintained separate living spaces throughout their relationship. Kalonyme did not publically acknowledge Enters as his spouse until close to his death in 1961.

Enters produced her first solo dance and mime performance in 1924, appearing as many characters and performing dance and silent expressions in her self-designed productions. She toured the United States and London with her program, The Theater of Angna Enters, from that time until 1939. She performed Pagan Greece at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, New York in 1943, with positions and expressions based on her studies as a Guggenheim Foundation fellow traveling in Greece and Egypt in 1934-1935. Though less active in her touring schedules, Enters continued to perform through the 1960s.

Enters was a visual artist with a prolific body of work, as well, from sketches and paintings to woodblock prints and lithographs. Her visual works were exhibited in the United States and Europe, sometimes coordinated to appear simultaneous to her performances. The sketches were often costume designs for her performance characters.

Enters was an author of multiple autobiographies and books based on her career as a dancer and artist. She had an active academic career as well, first as an instructor at the Stella Adler School from 1957-1960. She was an artist-in-residence at the Dallas Theatre Center after Kalomyne’s death in 1961, teaching courses on mime at Bailor University during her time in Texas, and from 1962-1963, taught at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. From 1970-1971, Enters was an artist-in-residence at the University of Pennsylvania, and and gave her last known public performance during that academic year.

Enters lived in several nursing homes in the New York, New York area from 1976 until her death in 1989 February.

Arrangement

Collection is arranged into the following three series: I. Costume designs; II. Guggenheim Foundation fellowship drawings; III. Drawings, paintings, and prints.

Physical Location

b, pfd (P1.C5.03.01 - P1.C5.03.05 [Folders 1-123]), ppf (P1.C5.03.06 [Folders 124-128])

Immediate Source of Acquisition

No accession numbers. Donated by Elizabeth Berger, 1983-1989. A single item donated by G. Barry Bingham, Senior, 1986 February 03.

Related Materials

Additional correspondence relating to Angna Enters can be found in numerous collections at Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Further materials related to Angna Enters is located in the Angna Enters Papers, (S)*MGZMD 158. Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Processing Information

Processed by Betts Coup, 2018.
Link to catalog
Title
Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Angna Enters collection, 1929-1962, and undated (MS Thr 1784): Guide.
Status
completed
Author
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
Date
2018 April 16
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
EAD ID
hou02912

Repository Details

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.

Contact:
Harvard Yard
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2440