Research Catalog

Lavinia Williams papers

Title
Lavinia Williams papers 1940-1989.
Author
Yarborough, Lavinia Williams.
Supplementary Content
Finding aid

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About 21 Items.
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StatusVol/DateFormatAccessCall NumberItem Location
Box 1Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 1Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 2Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 2Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 3Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 3Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 4Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 4Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 5Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 5Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 6Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 6Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 7Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 7Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 8Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 8Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 9Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 9Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 10Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 10Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 11Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 11Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 12Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 12Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 13Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 13Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 14Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 14Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 15Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 15Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 16Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 16Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 17Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 17Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 18Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 18Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 19Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 19Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 20Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 659 Box 20Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives

Details

Description
8.9 lin. ft.
Subjects
Genre/Form
  • Clippings.
  • Diaries.
  • Programs.
  • Scrapbooks.
Note
  • Photographs transferred to the Photographs and Print Division.
  • Films, video and audio cassettes transferred to the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division.
Source (note)
  • Williams, Lavinia
Biography (note)
  • Lavinia Williams was an African-American dancer, teacher and choreographer who played an influential role in the development of modern and folkloric dances in Haiti, Jamaica, Guyana and the Bahamas.
Language (note)
  • Haitian material generally in French.
Provenance (note)
  • Collection willed to the Schomburg Center by Lavinia Williams but impounded by the Haitian government until 2001.
Processing Action (note)
  • Accessioned
  • Cataloged
Call Number
Sc MG 659
Author
Yarborough, Lavinia Williams.
Title
Lavinia Williams papers 1940-1989.
Summary
Organized into fourteen inter-related series, the collection documents Williams' career as a dance teacher and choreographer in Haiti from the mid-1950s to the end of her life. Additional materials pertain to her early career in the United States, the world of Caribbean dance, her daughter Sara Yarborough's professional achievements, and Katherine Dunham. Williams' early career is sketchily documented with reviews and promotional material about Eugene von Grona's 1939 festival, "The Dance;" Agnes de Mille's recreation of a West Indian ritual, "Obeah" (1940); and the Broadway productions of "Finian's Rainbow" (1947) and "My Darling Aida" (1952). Other memorabilia include a scrapbook and a travel diary of the artist's USO tour in Europe in 1945-46, and a 1942 to 1945 notebook containing drawings and sketches by Williams and her notes on the Katherine Dunham dance technique.
The largest in the collection, the Haiti series includes material related to Williams' work as a dance teacher and choreographer at the National School for the Arts (ENARTS) from 1984 to 1989. Earlier materials include a 1954 proposal for a dance studio-theater, and a later proposal for a National Opera House (1972). Williams maintained individual files on the career of her students who later became professional dancers and choreographers, most notably Regine Maximilien, Regine Montrosier and her own daughter Sara Yarborough. Williams' work was strongly influenced by Vodou (voodoo) dances and rituals and there is a fair amount of documentation that she collected on that religion, as well as on Haitian music and Haitian folklore.
The Caribbean dance series documents Williams' contribution to the development of modern dance in Guyana, the Bahamas and Jamaica. Included are lecture notes, printed matter and reviews of performances choreographed by Williams, research material on the Bahamian festival of Junkanoo and on Trinidadian dance, and programs and promotional material of the Jamaica School of Dance and the National Dance Theater of Jamaica.
The Katherine Dunham and Sara Yarborough series incorporate material by and about these artists, including some correspondence and writings, performance programs, and reviews. The remaining series are mostly printed matter, dance notations and props used in her dance classes and in the choreography of various ballet productions in Haiti. Two flat boxes of oversized documents include certificates, performance posters, promotional material for Haitian tourism, a series of Veve drawings annotated by Williams, and another set of Veve embroideries.
Biography
Lavinia Williams was an African-American dancer, teacher and choreographer who played an influential role in the development of modern and folkloric dances in Haiti, Jamaica, Guyana and the Bahamas. She was a member of the Katherine Dunham Dance Company between 1940 and 1945. Her daughter Sara Yarborough was a star dancer with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. She died in Haiti in 1989.
Language
Haitian material generally in French.
Connect to:
Research Call Number
Sc MG 659
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