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Michigan Dance Archives: Harriet Berg Papers

 Collection
Identifier: UP001608

Scope and Content

Part 1: Berg’s collection reflects her interest in all aspects of dance and in other performing and fine arts. Some of the papers also reflect aspects of her personal life as well as that of her family members.

Subjects: American Dance Festival. Harriet Berg. Choreographers. Choreography. Connecticut College. Dance Books. Dance Companies. Dance Education. Dance in Detroit. Detroit Metropolitan Dance Project. Historical Dance. Isadora Duncan. Jewish Community Center. Madame Cadillac Dance Theater. Michigan Dance Association. Modern Dance. Renaissance Dance Company. Resources for Dance. Wayne State University.

Correspondents: Kay Bardsley. Irving Berg. Leslie Berg. Martin Berg. Merce Cunningham. Raymond Duncan. Louis Falco. Martha Graham. Lucas Hoving. Jose Limon. Paul Taylor. J.J. Waratt.

Series description. Series 1: Berg Family Correspondence, 1940s-1980s, to and from members of the Berg family, most of it personal. Also clippings, writings and drawings done by members of the Berg family. Series 2: Book and Video Catalog Lists, 1987-2001. Series 3: Connecticut College and American Dance Festival, 1948-1978, class notes, programs, memos and schedules. Series 4: Dancers, Choreographers, and Companies, 1960s-1980s, includes scrapbooks. Series 5: Detroit Metropolitan Dance Project, 1969-1989, flyers, programs, press releases and correspondence. Also scrapbooks and issues of Detroit Dance Magazine. Series 6: Early Career and Wayne State University, 1950s-1960s, information pertaining to Berg’s early career, mainly at Wayne State, but others as well, such as Burton School. A few pieces are dated after the 1960s. Series 7: Harriet Berg General Information, Projects and Performances, 1970s-1990s, on involvement with various projects and performances, her choreography and teaching material. Series 8: Historical Dance Books, various historical books pertaining to dance. Series 9: Isadora Duncan, 1970s-1980s, information about the dancer-choreographer, including articles, clippings, notes and newsletters. Series 10: Jewish Community Center, 1959-1987, includes other related material such as Camp B’nai B’rith. Series 11: Madame Cadillac Dance Theater, 1980s-1993, consists of scripts, correspondence, flyers, articles, schedules, and programs. Series 12: Michigan Dance Association, 1977-1991, includes financial statements, meetings, policies, correspondence and newsletters. Series 13: Renaissance Dance Company, 1969-1979, includes their engagements, historical background information and a scrapbook. consists of programs, flyers, clippings, scripts and correspondence. Series 14: Resources for Dance (Songs, Dances, and Drawings), 1950s-1980s, includes various songs, dances, drawings, poems, choreography notes and costumes all pertaining to dances. Also includes some books relating to dances. Series 15: Dancers, Companies, Locations and Events, 1980s-1990s: continuation of Series IV with information on various dancers and companies, as well as information on dance schools, theaters and special events.
Part 2 includes Berg’s work as director of the Renaissance Dance Company and Madame Cadillac Dance Theater, as well as her work with the Jewish Community Center and Camp Maas. Also included are materials relating to Isadora Duncan, local, state and national dance schools, dance programs, as well as artwork and publications relating to dance.

Important Subjects: Ballet. Choreography. Contemporary Dance. Dance. Dance and art. Dance—Education. Dance History—Study and teaching. Modern Dance. Isadora Duncan.
Part 3 is comprised of photographs and audiovisual materials including audiotapes, videotapes, slides, photo negatives, vinyl records, films. Audiotapes and vinyl records include music used in Berg's choreograhy. This part also includes some correspondence and documents on national and local dancers and dance companies, professional and amateur. There are scrapbooks and photos from the American Dance Festival dating from 1948 to the 1970s. Exhibits and events in which Berg participated are represented, as well as her choreography in photos and audio and video recording. There are several oversize boxes of posters, photographs and other ephemera, as well as three oversize boxes of rolled posters. Series description. Series 1: Dance companies and schools, 1920s-2000; Series 2: Individual Dancers, 1930s-2000s; Series 3: Dance history and events, publications, associations, miscellany, 1850s-2000s; Series 4: Harriet Berg's choreography and dance groups, 1950s-1990s; Series 5: Oversize photos, posters, ephemera, 1920s-1990s; Series 6: Audiotapes, videotapes, films, slides, photo negatives, vinyl recordings, 1950s-2000s.

Dates

  • 1925 - 2007
  • Majority of material found within 1960 - 1995

Creator

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Use

Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.

History

Harriet Berg, born Harriet Jean Waratt in Detroit in 1924, was a choreographer, teacher, performer, and arts advocate in the Detroit area for many decades. She received a B.A. in Art Education and M.A. in Humanities from Wayne State University and also studied dance in New York City. Berg taught at Wayne State University beginning in the 1950s and established a long-running dance program at the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit and at its Camp Tamarack. Other teaching positions included Burton School in Detroit and the Bloomfield Hills (Michigan) Academy, as well as the Connecticut College Summer School of Dance and the Perry-Mansfield Dance-Drama School in Colorado. Berg was the director of the Festival Dancers and the Young Dancers Guild at the Jewish Community Center and directed and performed with the Renaissance Dance Company and the Madame Cadillac Dancers, both companies specializing in historical dance. In addition to her teaching and dancing, Berg served as a member and dance committee chair for the Michigan Council of the Arts, the Detroit Council for the Arts, the Detroit Adventure Planning Project, the Michigan Foundation for the Arts and the Detroit Metropolitan Dance Project. Her choreographed dances comprise an extensive list and were inspired by folk tales and songs, Americana, Jewish and Israeli folk themes, French history and other historical sources. Harriet Berg’s mentorship of dancers and dance companies, as well as her championing of the arts in Detroit and Michigan, is legendary. She is the founder of the Michigan Dance Archives at the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University.

Extent

63 Linear Feet (60 MB, 18 SB, 11 OS)

Abstract

Harriet Berg (born 1924) was a choreographer, teacher, performer, and arts advocate in the Detroit area for many decades. Her papers reflect her interests in all aspects of dance and other performing and fine arts, including material on a wide variety of dance companies and individual dancers, local, national and international. Some of the papers reflect her personal life as well as that of her family members. Part 1 includes materials on many aspects of dance and other performing and fine arts, as well as her personal family life. Part 2 reflects Berg’s work as director of the Renaissance Dance Company and Madame Cadillac Dance Theater, as well as her work with the Jewish Community Center and Camp Maas. Also included are materials relating to dance history, Isadora Duncan, local, state and national dance schools, dance programs, as well as artwork and publications relating to dance. Part 3 is a continuation of these topics and includes a collection of photographs and audiovisual materials including vinyl albums, videotapes, and audiotapes.

Arrangement

Part 1, Boxes 1-60: Arranged in 15 series. Series 1 (Boxes 1-7), Series 2 (Boxes 8-9), Series 3 (Boxes 10-12), Series 4 (Boxes 13-19), Series 5 (Boxes 20-26), Series 6 (Boxes 27-29), Series 7 (Boxes 30-33), Series 8 (Box 34), Series 9 (Boxes 35-36), Series 10 (Boxes 37-40), Series 11 (Boxes 41-43), Series 12 (Boxes 44-45), Series 13 (Boxes 46-47), Series 14 (Boxes 48-57), and Series 15 (Boxes 58-60). Folders are arranged alphabetically and chronologically.
Part 2, Boxes 61-65: Folders are listed by their location within each box. They are not necessarily arranged, so any given subject may be dispersed throughout the collection.
Part 3, Boxes 66-78: Arranged in 6 series. Series 1 (Boxes 66-67), Series 2 (Boxes 67-68), Series 3 (Boxes 68-69), Series 4 (Boxes 70-71), Series 5 (Boxes 72-78), Series 6 (Boxes 79-88). Folders and items are listed by their location within each box. They are not necessarily arranged, so any given subject may be dispersed throughout Part 3.

Acquisition

Part 1: The Harriet Berg Dance Collection was first given to Wayne State University in 1984 by Harriet Berg, and has been added to over the years since that time (up to 2002).
Part 2: The collection was placed at the Reuther Library primarily in 1995-1996 with an additional gift in 2007.
Part 3: Additional materials received from Harriet Berg, mainly audiovisual materials give by Harriet Berg in 2018.

Transfers

Part 2: One oversize poster titled, “Hugh Grannum, Spirit of Dance” with a personal note to Harriet from Hugh Grannum, and slides from Camp Maas were transferred to the Reuther Audiovisual Department. Part 3: Ten boxes of audiotapes, videotapes, slides, photo negatives, vinyl records, films transferred to Reuther Audiovisual Department.

Processing History

Part 1: Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Part 2: Finding aid written by Kathy Makas on February 15, 2011.
Part 3: processed and finding aid written by Aimee Ergas, May 2018.
Title
Guide to the Michigan Dance Archives: Harriet Berg Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA