Photographs from Emory’s Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade papers are open for research

By Anicka Austin, Emory University Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library and SGA Blog Contributor

In the gospel of Mark in the New Testament of The Bible, readers meet Salome, Herodias’ daughter. Herodias harbored a strong dislike of John the Baptist, who disapproved of her marriage to Herod, her previous husband’s brother. Herodias’ opportunity to enact revenge came unexpectedly when Herod gave a banquet on his birthday. Salome dances beautifully for Herod and his guests during the banquet, prompting Herod to offer Salome anything she wants. Salome asks Herodias what she should request, returns to Herod and says, “the head of John the Baptist on a platter”. Herod reluctantly acquiesces (Mark 6:17-29). This story has been explored by artists throughout history and choreographer Lester Horton almost obsessively recreated and reimagined it throughout his career.

Carmen de Lavallade as Salome, and in The Beloved, Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University

Carmen de Lavallade first danced the hefty role of Salome in Horton’s production when she was still a teenager.  Frank Eng, Horton’s business manager and partner, said she possessed “a youthful, lovely lyricism; an implicit and natural feeling for drama…and, most important, the drive.” (Bizot, 1984).  De Lavallade’s commanding presence and ability to tap into the dramatic elements of a work would be a defining quality throughout her career.

For de Lavallade, dancing with Horton helped shape her formative years. She recalls working with Horton’s company as being part of a team. The group did everything from painting sets to cleaning, which she says set her up for a well-rounded career in the arts (You Might Know Her From, 2020). This is evident in early photographs of the company, including depictions of de Lavallade teaching young students, performing Salome (1950-1953) and The Beloved (created in 1948), and working intently in rehearsal processes. She would help reconstruct Salome, or as Horton later called it, The Face of Violence, along with James Truitte for the Cincinnati Ballet Company in 1972 (Bizet, 1984).

Carmen de Lavallade with children, Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University

Throughout the collection of photographs in the Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade papers, researchers might notice de Lavallade’s commitment to a variety of projects, which explains the range with which she performs. From actor to choreographer to dancer to educator, de Lavallade made her way through commercial film, Broadway, Yale Repertory Theater, and the stages of Paris where she danced with Josephine Baker. A series of negatives, slides and photographs show her journey through Southeast Asia as headliner of de Lavallade-Ailey American Dance Theater (1962). Her work with choreographer John Butler is also well-documented, including photographs of the well-loved Portrait of Billie (1960-1992) performed throughout several years.

Carmen de Lavallade and John Butler rehearse Portrait of Billie, and de Lavallade and Alvin Ailey on Southeast Asia tour, Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University

Through photographs, researchers can also see de Lavallade celebrated and celebrating at formal events such as Kennedy Center Honors and the “Divas of the Twentieth Century” award ceremony (1991).  De Lavallade’s life in photographs is rounded out by decades of headshots and documentation of dinners, parties and relationships with friends and family.

Carmen de Lavallade at White House, and with friends, Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University

The photographs shown here represent a fraction of de Lavallade’s early life (circa 1949-1968), but researchers can find photographs in this series from circa 1900-2017. Photographs of Geoffrey Holder’s life and career are also prominent. For research questions, please reach out to rose.library@emory.edu

Finding aid: https://findingaids.library.emory.edu/documents/holder1432/series2/ 

References:

Bizot, Richard (1984). Lester Horton’s Salome, 1934-1953 and after. Dance Research Journal, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 35-40. https://doi.org/10.2307/1478256

Bellino, Damian and Anne Rodeman. 2020 February 20. Carmen de Lavallade [Audio Podcast Episode]. “You Might Know Her From”. https://youmightknowherfrom.libsyn.com/carmen-de-lavallade

New International Version of the Bible. Biblica. https://www.biblica.com/bible/niv/mark/6/

Scripts in the Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade papers at Rose Library are open for research

By Anicka Austin, Emory University Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, SGA Blog Contributor

Roger Moore had tough shoes to fill when he took over the job of depicting Ian Fleming’s James Bond in 1973’s Live and Let Die. Bond, up until that point, was played by a relatively well received Sean Connery and once by George Lazenby. Another Roger (Ebert) called Moore’s performance humorless, saying “Moore has been supplied with a lot of double entendres and double takes, but he doesn’t seem to get the joke.” (Ebert, 1973) While Moore’s lack of wit may have been a shortcoming, Geoffrey Holder’s scene-stealing portrayal of Baron Samedi held the “convoluted” (Mager, 2001) film together. Holder’s guttural laughter and mischievousness as the loa of the dead gave some weight to vodou themes in the film, as did his choreography.

Holder’s choreographic vocabulary is reflected in several moments in the film. In an opening scene on the fictional Caribbean island, San Monique, an MI-6 field agent named Baines cowers as Dambala dances a snake in front of his face. Behind Dambala, a crowd of people dressed in white step side to side, contracting and releasing their spines in a ritual dance. A revised Live and Let Die script described that same crowd in a later scene:

Ext: VOODOO CEMETARY – NIGHT

Lines of WORSHIPPERS and ACOLYTE GUARDS sway back and forth to the beat of drums, chanting. Oddly-dressed people of all sorts: WOMEN with cigars and bowler hats, MEN with rum kegs smoking root drugs, most wearing strange fetishes and amulets. A large cross-like stake with ropes hanging from it has been erected nearby, exactly in the place where we saw BAINES killed in the pre-title sequence. DAMBALA stands by the stake, takes in the proceedings, looks off as if waiting for something.

Holder’s relationship with Haitian vodou, and particularly with Baron Samedi, permeates through most of his work. His early writings, including Les Mysteres (undated), depict the goings-on of several loas, including Baron Samedi, Erzulie, and Agwe as well as Hector Hippolyte, a Haitian painter and spiritual leader from whom Holder drew inspiration. 

An excerpt from Les Mysteres:

The languid brown hand draws another delicate tracery on the orange earth: the vever of Ogoun. . .God of fire and might, power, authority, triumph, politics, war. Being an honest hero, a real shaker of history, Ogoun wears the sad tortured face of Christ, just unhung from the cross. The martyred warrior hero; his flesh is impervious to wounds but his spirit is not. The sword is sacred to him, the blood color of red, and the flames of burning rum on the earth are his salute. Thunder is the sound of Ogoun announcing that his balls are cold and he demands a drink of rum which he spits through his teeth.

Access to Live and Let Die and Les Mysteres is now available in the Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade papers. Holder and de Lavallade were both heavily involved in and influential to modern theatre, dance, and visual art. Scripts in Holder’s papers include other original writings such as The Odyssey of Anna and the Red Pumps (circa 1991-2002) and Sister Alice in Wonderland (circa 1998-2008). Holder, whose work truly ran the gamut, was also featured in ads for 7-up, as narrator for films like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), and as “Chef Geoffrey Lamont” on The Cosby Show (1990). These scripts and more, including several drafts of the Broadway productions The Wiz and Timbuktu, which Holder directed and costume designed, are well represented in the collection.

Researchers interested in learning more can view the finding aid, learn how to request materials from the Rose and contact reference services to make an appointment (rose.library@emory.edu).

References: 

Ebert, Roger. (1973 July 6). Live and Let Die movie review. https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/live-and-let-die-1973

Mager, William (26 July 2001). Live and Let Die. BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2001/07/26/live_and_let_die_1973_review.shtml

Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking

By Jill Sweetapple, SGA Blog Contributor

Kyo uchiwa fan, Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking

As archivists, many of us work with paper every day. But how about a museum and archive devoted to paper? The Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking, on the campus of Georgia Tech, is exactly that. Virginia Howell is the museum’s director, which holds about 100,000 artifacts and 10,000 books. Not all pieces are catalogued; it is an ongoing project, and the collection breaks down into three large categories:
– artifacts, which make up the bulk of the collection, and primarily paper or paper making tools and materials
– the Dard Hunter Library, which contains books about papermaking, Hunter’s works, and related topics such as typefaces and papermaking machinery
– the museum archive, the smallest part of the collection, primarily supporting documents provided by Museum founder Dard Hunter, relevant information from the Institute of Paper Chemistry, and a slide collection of paper artists.

Howell says that one of the biggest challenges is a philosophical question: when is an item an artifact, and when is it archival material?

“A great example of this is the paper sample books in the collection. Over time they have been housed as books in the book room (but they have no text) or as artifacts (but they are more useful due to their content than as an object). When we had only a few identified sample books, it made sense to treat them as artifacts. But when we discovered that there were many, many more sample books than initially thought, we decided to change approach and treat them more like books. But further discussions about possible use and storage needs have resulted in us treating them as a hybrid: they are stored in a single location in the main collections storage, but the descriptions and information about the work is treated more like we catalogue items in the book room.”

Howell and the museum are working on making the collection more accessible in virtual formats. That includes gallery talks and panels, hands-on workshops and virtual exhibits. Additionally, they hope to be able to get more of collections online.

“The pieces in the archive are primarily letters and ephemera, with the exception of the slide collection. Because the collection is so small, we typically include it, catalogue-wise, with the artifacts in the collection. Items have been organized, but many were not entered into Past Perfect, so we are slowly entering into the database and scanning/photographing as we go along.”

You can sign up for an informational email that highlights the workshops they create for all ages, plus my favorite feature, Artifact of the Month. Howell says artifact of the month is a student-run project. April’s feature on a Japanese Kyo uchiwa fan, a fan which does not open, was written by Kayla McManus-Viana:

“Japanese Kyo uchiwa fans are thought to have been developed after similar Korean fans, which were brought to Japan by wakou (pirates) active along the coasts of China and Korea during the 14th century, influenced the designs of the fans used by the Japanese imperial household. However, it was not on the coast but in Kyoto where the design of these Japanese fans was perfected and from where they got their name (“kyo”).”

Classes vary from virtual silk screen printmaking (April 28) to making paper beads. In May, you can make a tunnel book or a stomp rocket. What are those? Visit the Workshops page to find out. Programs are free or low cost. Do not forget their You Tube channel, where you can check out the Paper Animation Fast Film Festival!

You Tube Channel: Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking

Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking, Georgia Tech
https://paper.gatech.edu/

Women of Atlanta Collections Now Processed and Available to Researchers

by Kate Daly and Leah Lefkowitz, Visual Culture Archivist and Manuscript Archivist, Atlanta History Center

In June 2020, the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center received funding from a private donor to complete a project to catalog and process over 30 linear feet of archival materials related to Atlanta’s women’s history. Archivists have completed processing several collections, allowing these historically significant materials to be widely available to researchers.

The Atlanta History Center will use these materials, as well as others related to women’s history in our collection, to curate an online exhibition. We are also soliciting new donations from prominent Atlanta women. These materials will facilitate public research and provide support for the Atlanta History Center’s programs and exhibitions.

The following collections have been processed and are now available on the Kenan Research Center’s Finding Aids database (https://ahc.galileo.usg.edu/):

– Atlanta Tomboys documents, MSS 1204, 1917-1926, 1944-1986, undated

This collection contains papers that document the Atlanta Tomboys, an amateur, later semi-professional, women’s basketball and softball team, both organized and coached by Johnny Moon. Included are game schedules, team rosters, promotional materials, and correspondence about sports scholarships and exhibits.

– Atlanta Women’s Chamber of Commerce photographs, VIS 398, 1952-1989

This collection contains images and items related to the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Atlanta’s outreach activities and members. Included are photographs, negatives, and slides of annual events and contests, as well as WCC members and officers, meetings, and committees.

– Atlanta Women’s Network records, MSS 710, 1978-1989, undated

This collection contains documents from the Atlanta Women’s Network, an outgrowth of the Feminist Action Alliance, that brings together professional Atlanta women through tools and relationship building. Areas of the organization documented include the Board of Directors, committee creation and work, luncheon and other event planning, and business operations.

– Cathy Woolard papers, 1986-2013, undated

This collection documents the career of Atlanta City Council Woman Cathy Woolard, who was the first openly gay elected official in the position, which she held from 1997 until 2002 Papers include campaign flyers, voter surveys, press clippings of her work, legal paperwork, and administrative binders. The bulk of documentation is planning materials pertaining to the construction of the Atlanta Beltline, such as financial and environmental studies, formal presentations, and outreach magazines and publications.

– Chris Mastin photographs of protest marches, VIS 399, 2017-2018

This collection contains digital images taken by Chris Mastin of the March for Science Atlanta, the Martin Luther King Jr. March and Rally in Atlanta, and the Women’s March on Washington. Photographs in this collection depict protesters holding signs and marching in downtown Atlanta and Washington D.C.

– Emily Bourne Grigsby papers and photographs, MSS 1201, 1943-2004, undated

These collections contain documents and photographs from Emily Bourne Grigsby’s career as an opera singer and model, as well as her time as president of the Atlanta Music Club and her association with the Atlanta Opera Arts Association.

– Florence Inman photographs, VIS 389, 1970-1990, undated

This collection contains photographs of Focal Point Inc.’s awards and recognitions, the staff and workshop, and the moldings they designed and manufactured. Examples of moldings and decorative medallions are shown that were manufactured in the Focal Point workshop, or installed in residences and historic properties.

– Leila Ross Wilburn visual arts materials, VIS 72, 1920-1979

This collection documents the prolific work of one of Atlanta’s pioneer women architects and businesswomen. It is comprised primarily of architectural plans, photographs, negatives, and slides of private residences, multi-family homes, and apartment buildings Wilburn designed during her career.

– Lochrane and Reid family papers, MSS 1203, 1833-1977, undated

This collection contains papers from the Lochrane and Reid family, primarily Sallie Fannie Reid, the funder a Confederate military company during the Civil War and the secretary of the Ladies of Soldiers Relief. The bulk of the collection is correspondence written by Reid

– Lucinda Bunnen photographs, VIS 395, approximately 1976-1978

This collection contains photographs taken for Movers and Shakers in Georgia by Lucinda Bunnen and Frankie Coxe. The collection includes images of notable political, business, cultural, and arts figures between 1976-1978 in Georgia. Also included are photographs of events such as Jimmy Carter’s presidential election, a Decatur Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) planning meeting, the Ramblin’ Raft Race on the Chattahoochee River, an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert in Piedmont Park, Atlanta Braves baseball team opening days, and Isamu Noguchi’s Playscapes opening event in Piedmont Park.

– Maria Helena Dolan papers, MSS 1196, 1970-2007, undated

This collection contains materials collected by Maria Helena Dolan that document her work in LGBTQ+ and feminist organizations, her personal life, events she attended, her work at MARTA, as well her various other interests, including gardening, arts, and travel. Specific causes documented include AIDS awareness and safe sex, domestic violence, civil rights, and LGBTQ+ rights. Organizations represented include Atlanta History Center, Charis Books & More, Pride, ACLU, and Atlanta Lesbian and Gay History Thing, amongst others.

– Roan family papers, MSS 1202, 1913-1971, undated

This collection documents the Roan family, including Margaret Zattau Roan, who was a suffragist, activist, and pioneering music therapist. Suffragist papers consist of telegrams to the Convention League of Women Voters, articles, and documents from the National League of Women Voters

– Yolande Copley Gwin visual arts materials, MSS 1202, 1913-1971, undated

This collection contains illustrations submitted to the society column that Yolande Copley Gwin edited at the Atlanta Journal. Editorial cartoonists featured in the collection include Clifford “Baldy” Baldowski (1917-1999), Lou “Eric” Erickson (1913-1990), Howard Paris (1919-2004), and others.