The Correspondence series is comprised of paper communication both composed and received by Davis. The series consists of personal and business correspondence and memos, postcards, invitations, announcements, and greeting cards. A bulk of correspondence are those maintained with the hosts and collaborators of his excursions to West Africa during the early 1990s. Additionally, there are letters and postcards written to Davis's parents, Tony and Ethel.
The Administrative Records series consists of written materials related to Davis's professional career, including institutional records of the dance companies he founded, the Chuck Davis Dance Company (1968 - 1986) and the African American Dance Ensemble (1984 - present).
The Subject Files series contains reading material related to dance, poetry, music, and Africa. Additionally, there are several scripts and scores from dramatic productions and stagings that Davis choreographed, as well as curriculum guides, handouts, educational resources, and other teaching materials Davis collected for use in his classes and workshops on dance, Africa, and related topics.
The Newspaper Clippings series contains newsprint and photocopied articles documenting the performances, festivals, lecture demonstrations, and community activities sponsored by Davis, Chuck Davis Dance Company, African American Dance Ensemble, and DanceAfrica. Also included are clippings related to friends and colleagues of Davis as well as news, performances, and events of personal interest to Davis.
The bulk of the entries in the notebooks and legal pads consist of Davis's handwritten personal notes ranging in subject from ideas for choreography, company production details, and costume notes to lesson plans, lottery numbers, sketches, and shopping and to-do lists. Additionally, there are first drafts of schedules for the Cultural Arts Safari trips as well as rehearsal schedules and community engagements. Also included are handwritten drafts of correspondence and business memos.
The Memorabilia series contains an assortment of keepsakes and momentos from Davis's career and personal life. A substantial portion of this series is comprised of blank postcards collected during Davis's many travels. Davis's travels are also documented in this series through assorted foreign currencies, travel brochures, and a passport. Additionally there are two scrapbooks, a spelling book, several yearbooks, and a US Navy book from Davis's time in the Navy. There are business cards collected throughout Davis's career, pins from the Chuck Davis Dance Company, Christmas cards, costume designs and patterns, and nametags from conferences.
The Magazines series contains copies of Dance Pages magazine, beginning with Spring 1987 (vol. 5, no. 1) and ending with September/October 1997 (vol. 15, no. 2). Two issues from 1987 (vol. 5, no. 2-3) and issues published before 1987 are not included in the collection.
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.
Subject Files, 1934-1994 and undated 4 Linear Feet
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.
Dissertation Materials, 1959-1977 and undated .5 linear foot, 21 folders
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.
Moving Images, circa 1949-1992 22 items
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.
Artifacts, 1974-1991 and undated 2.92 Linear Feet
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.
General Correspondence, circa 1948-1977 28 folders
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.
Contains most printed materials created by ADF. Some printed materials are in other series. For example, school catalogs are under School, Curriculum, Bulletins and Catalogs.
Awards and Tributes, 1959-1974 and undated 13 folders
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.
Other Organizations, 1942-1977 0.42 Linear Feet
Contains printed materials concerning organizations with parallel or related activities (e.g., Jacob's Pillow and the Dance Notation Bureau).
Contains material pertaining to the daily workings of ALFA, including events ALFA sponsored or participated in and the publicity for these events; information about individual members; fundraising for the organization; committees within the organization; meetings; correspondence; information about the Southern Feminist Library and Archives; and Atalanta, ALFA's newsletter.
Files in this series fall roughly into two categories: 1) material sent to ALFA by women's, lesbian and gay organizations, including information about the organizations themselves or about events each sponsored; and 2) papers, newspaper and journal clippings, etc. on issues affecting women, lesbians and gays.
Series comprises 99 traditional darkroom black-and-white photographs, 127 digital image files, and one digital video (2 mins., 18 secs.) documenting life and culture, and landscapes in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, with a focus on Bolivia.
Digital image files are associated with the Bolivia series, and include TIFs, PSDs, and a PDF contact sheet.
The photographic prints are arranged in series chiefly by country and then by travel dates; they measure approximately 16x20 inches. Areas represented are Patagonia and Argentina; the Bahamas; the Altiplano region of Bolivia; Foz do Iguaçu and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; El Salvador; Guatemala; Martissant, Cité Soleil, and Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Nicaragua; Ciudad del Este, Paraguay; and Cusco, Peru.
Images show people working and farming, cooking, minding children, socializing, parading, traveling, going to market, resting, and playing games. Several portraits feature people in traditional dress.
The largest groups of images are from Bolivia, El Salvador, and Haiti. The Haiti photographs, taken when Barth returned following the 2010 earthquake, include scenes of destroyed buildings, street life, and people among the rubble in the epicenter zone, at Martissant, and in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
The digital video (2 mins., 18 secs.) chiefly shows landscapes in Nicaragua and Honduras, most shot from a moving vehicle, border crossings, and possibly other South American locations.
Series consists of two subgroups, each representing a different project by photographer Petra Barth, exploring the natural and built environment as well as the human stories of the border crossing between Arizona and Mexico. Each series comprises photographic prints as well as associated electronic files.
The 57 black-and-white digitally printed photographs in the first subseries document border crossings, desert locations, and various services and shelters supported by the Comedor/Kino Border, ARSOBO/ArizonaSonoraBorder, and San Juan Bosco Albergue Para Immigrantes initiatives, in partnership with: BCA Border Community Alliance, FESAC Fondacioa Del Empresariado Sonorese, A.C. The prints measure 13x19 inches. Associated digital records include image files and one contact sheet.
The second subseries, entitled "Los Mochileros," or "The Backpackers," embodies 32 stark portraits of migrants, mostly men but also a few women, who are awaiting deportation decisions on the border between Arizona and Nogales. The prints measure 13x19 inches and are digitally printed. Associated digital records include book layouts as well as image files and Barth's statement's about the project.
Chernobyl, Ukraine, 2009-2012 92 prints; 129 digital files
The 92 black-and-white digital inkjet prints, digital video (2 mins., 19 secs.), and associated digital image files in this series document various sites surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in what is now Ukraine, abandoned after a catastrophic breach in April 1986. The prints measure 13x19 and 17x22 inches.
Locations include abandoned cities and towns (Pripyat is one of the most well-known) and other sites in the exclusion zone; inhabited villages and towns outside the exclusion zone; and the exclusion zone visitors center. Included are many portraits of resettled refugees; squatters; and visitors to the areas.
The digital video records landscapes, abandoned buildings and other locations, and official escorts with Geiger counters.
Market of the Heroes, Sarajevo, 2017 July 54 prints; 188 digital files
Series consists of 54 black-and-white inkjet prints, measuring 13x19 inches, along with associated digital files. The majority of the images are individual and group portraits of veterans of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, gathered in a Sarajevo city square in summer of 2017. There are also photographs of panoramic city views, street views, Jewish cemeteries, monuments, and buildings with bullet holes.
In addition to image files in various formats, the digital components include a Word document containing the photographer's statement about the project, as well as three pages of short biographies of each individual whose portraits are in the collection. A hard copy of this document accompanies the photographs in the box.
Jerusalem / West Bank / Jordan, 2016-2017 6 folders — 1 box — 47 prints; 101 digital files
The 16 black-and-white digital photographs featuring the city of Jerusalem and the West Bank have as their focus buildings, streets, and inhabitants. The prints measure 13x19 inches.
The 31 black-and-white digital prints in Jordan were taken by Barth in refugee camps housing thousands of displaced people, mainly from Syria, but also from Iraq and Palestine. Portraits include men, women, children, and family groups, in their temporary housing and at refugee processing centers. The prints measure 13x19 inches.
The photographic prints in this series are accompanied by digital images files and the photographer's statement about displaced peoples, the refugee camps, and her project to document life there.