Katherine Flowers Papers
Deering Library Level 1, Room 110
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
Phone: (847) 491-3354
Extent: 3 Linear Feet
Katherine Jefferson Flowers was a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She studied voice, dramatics, and pageantry at Kansas State Teacher’s College (later Emporia State University. After graduating, she taught physical education at Sumner High School in Cairo, Illinois, and danced professionally at the Cairo Opera House. In 1924 she moved to Chicago and spent twenty-five years as a physical education teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. At Northwestern University, as a student of anthropologist Melville Herskovits, Flowers’ interest in African and Afro-American dance was piqued, and she began a lifelong quest to document the evolution of African-American dance in the United States. Flowers opened her own dance school in Chicago, the Flowers School of Dance, in 1944. Out of this venture emerged a professional dance troupe, The Katherine Flowers Dancers, which toured the United States and Israel during the early 1950s.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Katherine Flowers reflect a life dedicated to the art of dance, particularly African-American dance. They document Flowers' long career as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. The papers lend insight into the popularization of African-American dance in the twentieth century, a process in which Flowers and her contemporary, Katherine Dunham, played a significant role. The papers include biographical materials, personal correspondence, records related to Flowers’s dance companies, materials related to other dancers and artists, photographs, and scrapbooks.