Guide to the Elsie Earle Collection
RG 9.10.6

Summary Information

Sarah Lawrence College Archives
Creator - Photographer
Bryan, Julien Hequembourg
Creator - Creator
Lawson, Elsie Earle
Elsie Earle Collection
RG 9.10.6
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1937-1938
Date [inclusive]
undated, 1937-1948
1.5 linear feet 2 half boxes, 1 oversized folder

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Sarah Lawrence College Archives 2013

Sarah Lawrence College Archives
1 Mead Way
Bronxville, NY, 10708

Terms of Access

The Collection is open to researchers without restriction. If reproducing images photographed by Julien Bryan, the user must obtain permission from Bryan's heirs.

Acquisition note

The Collection was donated to the Sarah Lawrence College Archives in September 2012 by Rebecca Lawson, Elsie Earle Lawson's daughter, as accession #2012-038.

Existence and Location of Copies note

Copies were made of the dance recital programs and placed in the Dance Program Records.

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Biographical note

Elsie Chatterton Earle was born on March 6, 1916 in Winnetka, Illinois. She attended the North Shore County Day School in Winnetka, graduating in 1934. Earle began her college years in 1934 at Sarah Lawrence College and was the first student at Sarah Lawrence to receive a B.A. with a concentration in Dance in 1938. While at Sarah Lawrence, Earle was active on campus in a variety of ways including the Dance Club, the Dance Activity, the Athletic Association, House President of Andrews House, Student Council, and Student Commencement Committee.

Earle's don (or advisor) all four years was Marian Knighton, director of athletics and dance. She took courses in Child Psychology, Photography, American History, Physical Science, Chemistry, Music, Dramatics, Literature and Society, among others.

After graduating from Sarah Lawrence in 1938, Earle studied dance under Martha Graham at Bennington College. She then taught modern dance at Wells College before marrying Dr. Robert B. Lawson in June 1939 and moving to North Carolina and Miami, Florida. She also taught modern dance at the University of North Carolina and Salem College. In addition, Earle had an eclectic collection of jobs throughout her life working as an interior designer, volunteer, and arts coordinator, among other activities.

Earle had two children, Richard and Edward, and was predeceased by her husband. Elsie Earle Lawson passed away on November 18, 2005 in North Carolina.

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Scope and Contents note

The Elsie Earle Collection consists of photographs and documents relating to Earle's dancing career beginning at Sarah Lawrence. The bulk of the Collection is from the years 1937 and 1938 during which time Earle was at Sarah Lawrence College.

Included with the documents are Earle's Literature Conference Paper from 1938 for Professor Adele Brebner, the book, "Fundamentals of a Dance Education" presumably used while attending Sarah Lawrence College and studying dance, notes taken by Earle on a reading, an article written by Jean Erdman on dance in the Vassar College Bulletin, dance recital programs at Sarah Lawrence, materials on Ruth St. Denis collected by Earle, and a few pages of a scrapbook on professional concerts which includes newspaper clippings about famous dancers such as Martha Graham.

The photographs all appear to be from Earle's time at Sarah Lawrence College, specifically 1937 and 1938. All photographs are of dancers including Earle, Jean Erdman, Claire Strauss and others. Some of the photographs were taken by photographer Julien Bryan.

Lastly, included in the oversized folder are issues of The Campus, the Sarah Lawrence College student newspaper, from 1937. All issues include articles mentioning Earle.

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Arrangement note

The Collection is arranged into documents, photographs and oversized materials.

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Related Materials

See also

Elsie Earle's Alumna File and photographs of the Dance Club.

Separated Materials note

Photographs are housed in a separate box within the Photograph Collection. The Campus issues are housed in an oversized folder in the Oversized box.

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Newspapers
  • Photographs

Personal Name(s)

  • Erdman, Jean
  • Miller, Claire Strauss, 1914-2000
  • St. Denis, Ruth, 1880-1968


  • Dancers
  • Sarah Lawrence College

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Collection Inventory

Inventory titles and locations
Title Half-box

"Fundamentals of A Dance Education" by Ted Shawn 1937 


Literature Conference Paper 1938 


Notes on John Martin's "How Not to Look at Dancing" undated 


Professional Concerts Scrapbook (Portion) circa 1937 


Recital Programs undated, 1937-1938 


Ruth St. Denis undated, 1941 


"What is Modern Dance?" by Jean Erdman 1948 


Photographs - Elsie Earle circa 1937 


Photographs - Group Photographs circa 1937 


Photographs - Jean Erdman circa 1937 

Title Oversize

The Campus 1937