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The Administrative Files series holds records pertaining to a range of subjects. Some files contain materials related to magazine contributors, writers, and personnel, such as article drafts, poetry, timesheets, invoices, resumes, writing samples, and correspondence. Other files contain materials pertaining to business management, such as customer directories, invoices, professional correspondence, advertising leads, advertising solicitation letters, budgets, a two-year plan, and a history of Dance Pages. Additional materials include supply catalogs, brochures, photocopy request forms and receipts, magazine reply card layouts, personal correspondence, handwritten notes, press clippings, performance programs, a cooperative society newsletter, a magazine, photographs, and 35 mm slides.


Contains materials created or collected by Primus (and occasionally Borde) including correspondence, printed materials, notes, writings, and other materials. Prevalent are materials from Primus' second trip to Africa, including receipts, expense lists, notes, writings, poetry, project proposals, and memorabilia. Borde's activities in Africa during this time are documented by similar materials, as well as diaries, travel documents, and permits. Materials related to Primus' academic career, from high school student to college professor, are in the Notebooks and Notes subject folders. Course materials primarily date to Primus' tenure on the faculty of the Five College Dance Department and at SUNY-Buffalo's Cora P. Maloney College. Primus' daily life is characterized by personal notes, schedules, itineraries, and six diaries, which contain Primus' daily "to do" lists as well as shopping and correspondence lists and some financial information. Occasionally they contain brief musings or phrases of poetry she composed.


Contains various drafts of Primus' doctoral dissertation at New York University entitled "A Study of Sculpture-Dance as a Factor in the Enculturation of the Mano People of Liberia, West Africa, Between 1948 and 1963." The final version of the dissertation is not included. Also included are photocopies of research materials and illustrations used in the dissertation. Primus began her research in Liberia during the tour sponsored by Rosenwald Foundation in 1949, continued it during a brief visit to Liberia in 1952, and continued it again from 1959 to 1963. Primus' dissertation proposal, begun in 1959, was approved in 1975. Her doctorate was awarded in 1978 upon completion of the dissertation.


Includes 15 reels of 8mm film, primarily containing images of Africa shot by Primus in either 1949 or 1960 to 1963. This series also contains amateur VHS footage of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre rehearsing Primus' Impinyuza and of a speech Primus presented at Howard University in 1992. Also present is an interview with Primus conducted for the Standifer Oral History Archive in 1989, as well as a 1981 feature on Primus by Schenectady PBS affiliate WMHT. Titles are transcribed from the original label on each item.


Contains 1/4-inch reel-to-reel audiotapes and audiocassettes belonging to Primus, including interviews with Primus in 1950 and 1956 and a lecture-demonstration on "Dance and Life Crisis". This series also contains a copy of Pearl Primus' Africa, a set of three phonograph records of African stories, proverbs, and songs that Primus narrated, as well as copies of four other native music LPs. Also included are recordings of chants, drumming, and singing likely used to accompany rehearsals, or perhaps made to preserve native songs and rhythms for future study, although these are largely unidentified. Home recordings and duplicates of popular music, including Josh White, Miles Davis, Langston Hughes, and Billie Holiday, are also included.

Titles are copied from the original labels on the boxes of the sound reels and audiocassettes. Additional notes appear in brackets, including spelled-out abbreviations and uncertain readings of illegible titles.


Contains seven plaques, awarded for achievement in modern dance, anthropology, and teaching, and the 1991 Medal of Arts, awarded by President George H. W. Bush. This series also contains three female and one male ballet slippers, assumed to have belonged to Primus and her husband, Percival, and three dance costumes presumably worn by Primus. Notable is the one identifiable costume, worn by Primus during performances of The Negro Speaks of Rivers and Strange Fruit in the mid-1940s.

Box 69

Contains correspondence between audience and participants and ADF members. Materials include correspondence from audience members writing to express appreciation or unhappiness regarding ADF presentations and inquiries regarding programs, school visitation, and local accommodations. Series also includes congratulatory letters and telegrams from ADF personnel and students and personal letters to the directors regarding administrative details and personal appreciation for the festival. In addition, there are miscellaneous form letters to the community such as a 1951 form letter inviting local artists to sketch dance classes.

Box 74

Contains correspondence informing interested parties of the death of Ruth Bloomer, donations to the scholarship fund established in her honor, and acknowledgements of these donations, correspondence regarding the loss of Doris Humphrey and materials regarding a Doris Humphrey memorial program, funding requests and acknowledgements regarding the Louis Horst Memorial Fund and the 1964 Louis Horst Memorial Concert, materials regarding the 1973 Jose Limon Memorial Film Program, and materials regarding the Simon Sadoff Award to acknowledge the contributions and achievements of musical conductors in dance.

Arranged chronologically.