The collection contains the personal papers and dance-related memorabilia (circa 1930-1993) of Ethel Tison Chaffin. Materials include photographic prints, newspaper clippings, programs, and correspondence, which are housed within a scrapbook and one Hollinger box. Many of the materials are annotated by Ms. Chaffin.
Included in the scrapbook are Ms. Chaffin's personal photographs documenting her involvement in dance and theater. These photographs depict several of her earliest dance recitals, university dance performances, and her 1948 performance as Laura in Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie. In addition, she has incorporated photos of colleagues in the dance world. Also included within the scrapbook is correspondence between Ms. Chaffin and various educational institutions regarding admission to advanced dance programs at New York University and Bennington College, as well as job enquiries. Ms. Chaffin documented her career as an instructor by incorporating programs, clippings, and advertisements from her private studio, as well as those relevant to her tenure at Louisiana State University, the University of Alabama, and the Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College) into the pages of her scrapbook. Memorabilia, including programs from festivals and performances that she attended, is also included within her scrapbook.
Records created after the compilation of the scrapbook are housed separately in a Hollinger box. Materials incorporated into this record set include correspondence with Elizabeth Andrews, educator and dance/drama critic, as well as newspaper clippings for a variety of well-known dancers and choreographers, including George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Charles Weidman, Merce Cunningham, and José Limón.
The collection includes photographic materials created and collected by the American Dance Festival, including negatives, contact sheets, prints, and transparencies.