A costume worn for the Ballets Russes’s production of Narcisse, currently on display in the exhibition Stories to Tell: Selections from the Harry Ransom Center, presents an intriguing glimpse into behind-the-scenes work at the dance company that electrified pre-World War I audiences in Europe and beyond. [Read more…] about The life of a dance costume, from the inside out
The Harry Ransom Center is proud to announce that our collection of materials relating to the 1866 megamusical The Black Crook has been fully digitized in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the production. The collection is now publicly available through our online Digital Collections gallery. [Read more…] about New digital collection of The Black Crook musical released
The Harry Ransom Center has recently acquired a large collection of papers from the late actress Dame Edith Evans (1888-1976) from the estate of Bryan Forbes, who was Evans’s biographer and directed in her in a number of projects [Read more…] about Arrival of Dame Edith Evans papers
At the recent Texas Conference on Digital Libraries—held last week at The University of Texas at Austin—Ransom Center graduate interns Jordan Mitchell and Emily Roehl and Research Associate Chelsea Weathers delivered a presentation about the Ransom Center’s Fred Fehl dance collection. The poster illustrates the steps of the digitization process, from creating metadata to scanning to image processing.
Between 1940 and 1985, New York-based stage photographer Fred Fehl documented more than 50 dance companies and choreographers, including the American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet. The Ransom Center holds more than 30,000 dance photographs by Fehl, mostly black-and-white, 5 x 7″ prints.
Fehl’s work in stage photography was revolutionary at its time. He was among the first stage photographers to take candid photographs using only available light, and he used high-speed film that captured dancers in mid-flight. Fehl photographed performances from the perspective of an audience member in the first row, bringing a new urgency and sensitivity to American stage photography.
Digitizing any collection requires numerous steps. Using the Fehl collection as an example, one can see and understand the process for digitizing an item and making it and accessible online. The collection is one of many digital collections now available on the Ransom Center’s website.
At this time, photographs of the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater are available on the Ransom Center’s digital collections page. More photographs from the Fred Fehl dance collection will be added as the digitization project progresses.