The Hanya Holm Papers range in date from 1809 to 1984 and primarily document Holm's professional life as a dancer, teacher and choreographer of concert dance, musical theater and opera. Included are: correspondence; teaching material (including roll books); choreographic notes, designs and annotated scores for both concert dance and musical theater; material related to Holm's forty-three summers at Colorado College; material related to honors and awards; biographical material; financial information regarding the Hanya Holm Studio; publicity material and programs for Hanya Holm and Dance Company; and drafts for both published and unpublished writings. Abundant correspondence from Holm's former teacher, Mary Wigman, is evidence of a steadfast friendship which spanned continents and decades. Family material dating from 19th century Germany as well as papers from Holm's childhood are also included. Most of the material is in English, with portions of the correspondence, teaching and choreographic notes, Holm's writings, and family documents in German.
These papers demonstrate Holm's unique contributions to the field of both modern dance and musical theater. The breadth of material reflects her extraordinary energy, dedication and longevity. The wealth of commissioned scores is a resource for scholars both of Holm's concert dance work and of twentieth century music for dance. Annotated theatrical scripts, choreographic notes, labanotation scores, production materials and professional notebooks provide insight into Holm's creative process and suggest the rich artistic climate in which she worked.
As Holm's reputation grew, so did the volume of mail from the public with requests for information, interviews, expertise, and time. The numerous replies from Elsa Rainer, Holm's secretary, reveal a standard of courtesy and respect for all correspondents, and document Rainer's faithful allegiance to her employer. These, the Wigman letters and most other correspondence are held in the Correspondence series, with additional correspondence contained in the series labeled Teaching, Choreography, Colorado College, and Personal and Family.