Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Weekly report

No inter-library loans arrived today, so I took the opportunity to browse the stacks at the SFPL. I borrowed a couple of books, including Ted Shawn's 1960 autobiography, One Thousand and One Night Stands. Shawn references Louise Brooks in this look back at his career as a dancer. I also borrowed Jane Sherman's 1983 study Denishawn: The Enduring Influence. Sherman, a one-time Denishawn dancer, exchanged letters with Brooks regarding her time with the pioneering dance company. One of those letters is quoted in this book.

I also borrowed three videos, a documentary entitled Denishawn: The Birth of Modern Dance (1988), a video of dance recreations entitled Denishawn Dances On (2002), and another documentary, The Men Who Danced: The Story of Ted Shawn's Male Dancers, 1933 - 1940  (1986). I plan to watch all three within the week, as they are due back in seven days.

There were no inter-library loans on-hand because I requested only a few in December. (Once they are processed, loans take about four or five weeks to arrive.) My week long research trip to the Midwest, as well as the holidays, reduced the number of requests I placed last month. As well, a few of my requests came back "negative."

I had requested Narodni Osvobozeni, a newspaper from Prague. I was planning to scan the summer months of 1929 in hopes of stumbling across something / anything on Pandora's Box in this Czech newspaper. But no luck. I also requested Critica and Argentinisches Tageblatt, both from Buenos Aires. Pandora's Box showed there in November of 1929, and again, I was hoping to come across an article or review, especially in the later German-language paper. (I have articles and reviews from other Buenos Aires newspapers of the period.) Also put in requests for two American newspapers, the Selma Times-Journal (from Alabama) and Macon Daily Telegraph (from Georgia). In each of them, I was hoping to gather material on Denishawn performances in those Southern towns. My requests for each of these publications came back unfilled. Apparently, there is no library or archive in the United States which has these publications on microfilm for the period I requested - and which is willing to loan it.

On a related note: I found out yesterday that I will be travelling (for work) to New York City in early June. I will be returning to "the Big Apple" to attend the booksellers convention. (For those that don't know, I work in a bookstore in San Francisco.) While there, I plan to stay an extra three days. I figure on spending one whole day (from open to close!) at the New York Public Library, where I will continue my survey of New York City newspapers. I was in NYC a few years ago under similar circumstances, and at that time, I went through a bunch of micofilm at the NYPL. I also want to spend two full days at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. This library / archive is a goldmine for researchers - and the stuff they have there is often unique! Between now and June, I will draw-up a list of things I hope to find by looking through each library's online catalogs.

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