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Guide to the Mary Desti Collection on Isadora Duncan, 1901-1930
MS-P005  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Mary Desti Collection on Isadora Duncan,
    Date (inclusive): 1901-1930
    Collection number: MS-P005
    Collector: Desti, Mary
    Extent: Number of containers: 2 boxes, 1 flat box

    Linear feet: 1.25
    Repository: University of California, Irvine. Library. Special Collections and Archives.
    Irvine, California 92623-9557
    Abstract: The Mary Desti Collection focuses on the dancer Isadora Duncan. Materials include incoming correspondence from or relating to Duncan, photographs, ephemera, clippings, programs, artifacts and a scrapbook of newspaper clippings. Mary Desti was Duncan's close friend and biographer.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access

    Collection is open for research. Researchers must use microfilm or photocopies of fragile restricted items in boxes 3 and 4.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and University Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    Mary Desti Collection on Isadora Duncan. MS-P 5. Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine, The UCI Libraries.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Albert Dukow via Professor James Penrod in 1971 or 1972.

    Processing History

    Preliminary processing by Special Collections staff; completed by Laura Clark Brown in 1997.

    Biography

    Mary Desti (1871-1931) left Chicago for Paris in 1901 with her year-old son Preston Sturges. In Paris, she met and befriended dancer and choreographer Isadora Duncan. Desti undertook various enterprises in Europe, including a cosmetic business. She frequently accompanied Duncan in her travels, and occasionally Duncan lived with her. Duncan was staying with Desti in Nice at the time of her sudden death in an automobile accident on September 14, 1927.
    Following Duncan's death, Desti, a casual writer of both fiction and non-fiction, wrote a Duncan biography, The Untold Story: The Life of Isadora Duncan (New York: Liveright, 1929). Isadora Duncan's autobiography My Life (New York: Liveright, 1927) recorded events through 1921, prior to the period when she opened a dance school in Moscow. Desti intended to tell the rest of the story.

    Scope and Content

    The Mary Desti Collection focuses on the dancer Isadora Duncan. Materials include in-coming correspondence from or relating to Duncan, photographs, ephemera, clippings, programs, artifacts and a scrapbook of newspaper clippings. Mary Desti was Duncan's close friend and biographer. Although the majority of correspondence was received by Desti, the collection does not comprise her personal papers.
    Materials are organized in three series: correspondence, printed items, and other materials. The internal arrangement within series is based on format, such as clippings and programs, and chronology. Dates are provided in the container list, when known.

    Indexing Terms

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

    Subjects

    Duncan, Isadora, 1877-1927--Archival resources.
    Dance--Archival resources.
    Modern dance--Archival resources.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Dance programs.
    Photographic prints.
    Artifacts.

    Occupations

    Choreographers.
    Dancers.

    Index Terms Related to this Collection

    Dukow, Albert, former owner.
    Online Archive of California.