The public service staff of Special Collections and Archives work closely with researchers daily. As a new feature of this blog, we will be sharing stories about research in Special Collections and Archives that yielded successful outcomes. We hope to further expose the wide variety of research that our collections support and to encourage others to ask us for assistance. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 949-824-3947.
SUCCESS STORY 2
WHO: María Gabriela Estrada, a UCI Graduate Student in Dance.
THE CHALLENGE: Ms. Estrada was working on a UCI MFA thesis on the choreographic development of the ballet The Three-Cornered Hat from the debut in 1919 through 2009. Of particular interest to her research was information on the various re-stagings of the ballet from the initial staging of Leonide Massine’s 1919 choreography through contemporary Spanish dance.
ASSISTANCE PROVIDED: María Gabriela Estrada was enrolled in UCI Dance Professor Nancy Ruyter’s Dance 284 class – a graduate seminar on dance bibliography and research. Professor Ruyter asked Steve MacLeod to do a session for her class on doing dance research using Special Collections and Archives materials. She provided Steve with a list of some of the research topics that students in her class were just beginning to work on, so that he might select a representative sample of materials to bring to the class that would both reflect the broad range of materials in our dance collections as well as be of relevance to topics for her students. One of the items Steve selected was:
- Beaumont, Cyril W., 1891-1976. The three-cornered hat / written by C.W. Beaumont; decorated by Ethelbert White. London: C.W. Beaumont, 1919. Dance GV1787.B45 1919 no. 5 c.1 [La Meri’s (Russel Meriweather Hughes) copy, with her penciled annotations. Le Meri used this copy for the staging of a revised version of the original Diaghilev 1919 one-act production of Three-Cornered Hat.]
POSITIVE RESOLUTION: Ms. Estrada was ecstatic to learn of our copy of the book that includes detailed choreographic notes and descriptions of how La Meri approached the staging of The Three-Cornered Hat. She spent a great deal of time in the Special Collections and Archives reading room examining and studying the annotations. As aspects of her thesis evolved, she worked with Steve and other reference staff in the reading room to locate and use other books and archival collections to address those needs. She became a regular in our reading room. After she completed her thesis and moved on to a teaching position elsewhere, she kept in-touch with us. She also donated some of her research material to our collections.
MORAL: The book and archival collections pertaining to dance history is able to support research broadly, as this and many other stories attest to.