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Mary Elizabeth Whitney Collection - MS 289
Mary Elizabeth Whitney taught in the Department of Health Physical Education and Recreation at Bowling Green State University from 1952 until her retirement in 1974. She specialized in dance instruction. The half a cubic foot collection includes correspondence, an interview with her, news clippings/articles, dance programs, photographs and books. Her papers were donated to the Center for Archival Collections by Dolores Black, January 18, 1983. There are no restrictions placed upon the use of the collection for research purposes. The collection was processed and finding aid written by Eric Honneffer, November, 2009.
Mary Elizabeth Whitney (know as Eli to her friends) of Port Sanilac, Michigan, received her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Michigan in 1931. A year later she earned her master’s degree in education from New York University. Before coming to BGSU in 1952 to join the Health Physical Education and Recreation faculty, she taught at Utah State University, Kearney State College, Ohio University, Vassar College and Arizona State College. In her classroom she drew upon her training in modern dance methods of Doris Humphrey, Martha Graham and Hanya Holm among others.
She retired from teaching dance at BGSU in 1974 and died in 1981. In 1995 the university named a second-floor dance studio in Eppler North in her honor.
The Mary Elizabeth Whitney Collection contains a few pieces of correspondence, the most significant of which were sent upon her death by friends and colleagues who admired her talent and passion for dance and recorded their recollections of her contributions to its study. Another significant resource in the collection is the transcript of an interview given by her recalling her attendance at many dance workshops (in this particular instance – Bennington) where she learned new techniques, danced and became friends with some of the major proponents of modern dance in the United States. This experience in turn prompted her to incorporate important innovations into her dance classes at BGSU.
Photographs of her students at Vassar College are an important visual resource to the study of her career as are portraits of her from various times throughout her life. Miscellaneous theater and dance programs are included along with some general clippings and articles relevant to dance. Several books of significance to the history and teaching of dance are also housed in the collection.
Comprised primarily of letters sent in memory of Mary Elizabeth Whitney.
Manuscript of “Bennington Summer School of the Dance Project” a memoir by Mary Elizabeth Whitney.
Includes various dance and theater programs.
Includes four miscellaneous dance-related clippings and articles.
Includes various dance-related textbooks and studies by various authors.
PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS - VASSAR
Features photos of dance students of Mary Elizabeth Whitney when she taught at Vassar College.
PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS - JUNE COAN
Includes photos by Jane Fiske of dancer June Coan.
PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS - BENNINGTON
Comprised of copies of original snapshots (loaned by Dolores Black for copying) taken at Bennington of such dancers as Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Martha Hill, Hanya Holm, José Limón and possibly Erik Hawkins.
PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS - PUBLICITY PHOTOS
Comprised of copies of original publicity photos, some of which were signed by the artists and inscribed to Mary Elizabeth Whitney (loaned by Dolores Black for copying). Dancers featured include Valerie Bettis, Sybil L. Shearer, Martha Graham, and Charles Weidman.
PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS - PORTRAITS
Features a selection of copies of original photographic portraits of Mary Elizabeth Whitney throughout her career (loaned by Dolores Black for copying).
ART PRINTS PORTFOLIO (OVERSIZE)
A set of polish dance prints are featured. The text is in Polish.
- Memorial Correspondence sent to Mary Elizabeth Whitney, 1980-1982 (scattered)
- Transcript of interview with Mary Elizabeth Whitney – "Bennington Summer School of the Dance," by Theresa Bowers, 1980
- Miscellaneous theater and dance programs, 1940-1974 (scattered)
- Miscellaneous dance articles and clippings, 1931-1941 (scattered)
- Book – The Dance by John Martin, 1946
- Book – Modern Dance Techniques and Teaching, by Gertrude Shurr and Rachael Dunaven Yocom, 1949
- Book – The Modern Dance: Seven Statements of Belief, edited and with an introduction by Selma Jeanne Cohen, 1966
- Book – The Art of Making Dances by Doris Humphrey, 1959
- Book - The Dance by An Antiquary, 1911
- Photos – Dance students at Vassar College, 1943-1944
- Photos – Dance students at Vassar College, c. 1940
- Photos – Dancer June Coan by Jane Fiske, 1946
- Photos (copies) of notable dancers at Bennington, c. 1940
- Photos (copies) of notable dancers, c. 1940
- Photos (copies) of Mary Elizabeth Whitney, nd
- Portfolio of Polish Dances – "Tańce Polskie," by Zofja Stryjeńska, Krakow, 1929
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