Inventory of the Margaret Palmer Taylor Collection of Sacred Dance

Kathleen O'Connor, Lucinda Glenn
Graduate Theological Union Archives
Graduate Theological Union
2400 Ridge Road
Berkeley, California, 94709
Phone: (510) 649-2523/2501
Email: archives@gtu.edu
URL: http://gtu.edu/library/information/special-collections
© 2010
Graduate Theological Union. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the Margaret Palmer Taylor Collection of Sacred Dance

Collection number: GTU 96-7-01

Graduate Theological Union Archives

Graduate Theological Union

Berkeley, California
Processed by:
Kathleen O'Connor, Lucinda Glenn
Date Completed:
2004
Encoded by:
David Stiver
© 2010 Graduate Theological Union. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Margaret Palmer Taylor collection of Sacred Dance
Dates: 1920-2004
Collection number: GTU 96-7-01
Creator: Taylor, Margaret Palmer (1908-2004)
Collection Size: 2.2 linear feet (2 archives boxes and 4 folios) 8 images
Repository: The Graduate Theological Union. Library.
Berkeley, CA 94709
Abstract: Margaret Palmer, 1908-2004, was born in Oakland, Calif. She was a pioneer in the field of sacred dance in America. A daughter of a Congregational minister, the family moved to Honolulu in 1917, where she learned creative dance in school. She continued to study dance, and earned her B.A. at Oberlin College in 1930, later attending Chicago Theological Seminary, 1931-32. Her first husband, Chester B. Fisk, was a minister. Margaret began to incorporate sacred dance in the church worship services. She continued to expand her dancing, organizing rhythmic choirs and teaching in workshops, festivals, and classes in many denominational and college settings. She interpreted and choreographed dances for worship services well into her 90's. She was one of the founders of the Sacred Dance Guild.
Physical location: 5/G/3; 5/H/6
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English
Selected digitized images from this collection.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Graduate Theological Union. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Graduate Theological Union as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

Margaret Palmer Taylor collection of Sacred Dance, GTU 96-7-01. Graduate Theological Union Archives, Berkeley, CA.

Acquisition Information

The material in Box 1 was organized and given by Margaret P. Taylor. The second part of the collection came to the Archives in 2006 from the office of Douglas Adams at the Pacific School of Religion. This material is contained in Box 2 and four folios.

Biography / Administrative History

Margaret Palmer (1908-2004) was a pioneer in the field of sacred dance in America. Born in Oakland, California, she was a daughter of a Congregational minister. The family moved to Honolulu in 1917, where she learned creative dance in school. She continued to study dance, and earned her B.A. at Oberlin College in 1930, later attending Chicago Theological Seminary, 1931-32.
Her first husband, Chester B. Fisk, was a minister, and Margaret began to incorporate sacred dance in the church worship services. She continued to expand her dancing, organizing rhythmic choirs and teaching in workshops, festivals, and classes in many denominational and college settings. She interpreted and choreographed dances for worship services well into her 90's.
She is the author of several books and articles, performed sacred dance on early television, and was a founding member of the Sacred Dance Guild. She lived and traveled extensively throughout the United States. She assumed the names of all four husbands. In 1957 she married Walter A. Taylor; in 1969, Elwyn B. Chaney; and in 1980, Clarmont Paul Doane. This resulted in several combinations of married names in her writings and performances.
Her choreography was designed so that members of the congregation could participate and express a relgious and communal spirit. She writes, "Sacred dance is really a sacred trust. We can use energy in our dances to share meaningful awareness of our Creator's power among us, strengthening us, and bringing us resiliency as we grow in mutual caring and daring."

Scope and Content of Collection

The material in box 1, donated by Taylor, consisted of a series of scrapbooks. Everything was arranged in chronological order. She provided a detailed chronology of her life to 2001 (Box 1, File Folder 1). See also an extensive biographical interview in Box 1, File Folder 21. The second part of the collection came to the Archives in 2006 from the office of Douglas Adams at the Pacific School of Religion. This material is contained in Box 2 and three folios. The material had no order and is here arranged by the Processor.

Arrangement

The arrangement is as follows: Series 1, Biographical; Series 2, Writings and performances; Series 3, Dance Groups; Series 4, Photographs; Series 5, Subjects.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

Subjects

Dance--Religious aspects--Christianity.
Religious dance, Modern.
Women in church work--United States.
Sacred Dance Guild.

Other Finding Aids

GTU 2008-1-0, Doug Adams Collection.

Collection Contents

box 1:1 - 1:23

Series 1. Biographical 1930-2004

Physical Description: 23 folders
box-folder  1:1

Margaret Fisk Taylor Cheney Doane Conglomerate 1908-2001

Scope and Content Note

A detailed chronology of Taylor's life, 2001. Includes earlier drafts, CD, and print copy.
box-folder  1:2 - 1:21

Materials from five scrapbooks. 1930 - 1997

Scope and Content Note

These scrapbooks were created by Taylor and arranged in chronological order. They include articles, correspondence, programs, performances, flyers, music, photographs, and presentations.
box-folder  1:22 - 1:23

Memorial Service for Margaret Taylor 2004

Scope and Content Note

Includes DVD of the service and obituaries.
box 2:1 - 2:23

Series 2. Writings and performances 1926-2004

Physical Description: 23 folders
box-folder  2:1 - 2:12

Articles, correspondence, programs, performances, flyers, music, presentations. 1926-2004

Scope and Content Note

Included are collected articles on subjects such as general dance, dance as therapy, dance with children, and articles by Taylor. Includes some material on the Sacred Dance Guild.
box-folder  2: 12a

Look Up and Live, first edition. Includes dust cover. Inscribed by Taylor, 5/1969 1953

box-folder  2: 13

Time for Wonder, children's curriculum 1959

box-folder  2: 14

Time for Discovery, children's curriculum 1964

box-folder  2: 15

Time for Discovery, children's curriculum 1964

box-folder  2: 16

Report of the Special Committee on the Council's Role in the Field of Religion and the Arts, National Council of Churches 1965

box-folder  2: 17

Creative Dramatic Movement with Ten, Eleven, and Twelve year Olds 1967

box-folder  2: 18

Creative Movement: Steps Toward Understanding, includes film strip 1969

box-folder  2: 19

Dramatic Dance with Children in Education and Worship 1977

box-folder  2: 20

Considerations for Starting and Stretching a Sacred Dance Choir 1978

box-folder  2: 21

Hymns in Action, editor Douglas Adams 1985

box-folder  2: 22

Children Dancing Today's Challenges: Dances for Religious Growth in Supportive Groups, editor Douglas Adams 1995

box-folder  2: 23

The History of Symbolic Movement in Worship, editor Douglas Adams 1999

box 2:24 - 2:29

Series 3. Groups 1924-1983

Physical Description: 5 folders

Scope and Content Note

Includes articles, programs, correspondence, and flyers on performances and workshops with groups that are Church, College, and Professional.
box 2:30 - 2:34

Series 4. Photographs 1945-1969

Physical Description: 4 folders

Scope and Content Note

Includes formal studio portraits of Taylor, Taylor dancing, photos of a sculptured bust of Taylor, and rhythmic dance choir performances.
box 2:35 - 2:46

Series 5. Subjects 1941-2003

Physical Description: 13 folders, 4 folios
box-folder 2 : 35

Gift of books from Taylor to the Pacific School of Religion Library 1969-70

box-folder 2 : 36

Taylor receiving Doctor of Humane Letters, Whitworth College, Spokane, WA 1998

box-folder 2 : 37

The Margaret Taylor Endowment Fund for Dance in Worship and Education Brochure, Pacific School of Religion ca. 1970s

box-folder 2 : 38

Note cards for talks, workshops, presentation, hand-written 1983, 1986

box-folder 2 : 39

Note cards hand-written for talk "Fifty Years of Sacred Dance" 1982 October 23

box-folder 2 : 40

Archibald MacLeish letter to Taylor. MacLeish sent Taylor the final unpublished lines of his verse play "J.B." when shown in Washington D.C., prior to the New York opening 1958 December 13

box-folder 2 : 41

"Meditations of a Minister's Wife on her Tenth Wedding Anniversary", talk by Taylor 1941

box-folder 2 : 42

Music and directions for dances ca. 2000-03

box-folder 2 : 43

Memorial Service for Taylor (See also: Box 1 File Folders 22-23.) 2004 November 27

box-folder 2 : 44

Sacred Dance on Television 1949-62

box-folder 2 : 45

"Margaret Taylor Doane: Reflections: "The First Ten Years 1958-1968: The Sacred Dance Guild" VHS Videotape. 1998

box-folder 2 : 46

United Church of Christ Fellowship in the Arts, Affirmation, Articles of Organization and Background materials 1976-77

box-folder SC 20 : 1

"True Freedom" Choreographed by Taylor. Music and script. Music composed by W. C. Yakovac. 1945, 1950, 1955

box-folder SC 20 : 2-5

"Naomi and Ruth" Choreographed and scripted by Taylor. Performance programs, script, and orchestral and choral music scores (using "Ruth" by Cesar Franck). ca. 1950

folio 1

Film reel, "Naomi and Ruth". Includes Film Strip and film strip script. undated

folio 2

Taylor Scrapbook ca. 1950s.

folio 3

Original music scores for "True Freedom" composed by W.C. Yakovac 1945