The Marian van Tuyl Papers contains personal papers, correspondence, and audiovisual materials related to van Tuyl's career
as choreographer and dance instructor, including materials documenting her years teaching at mills College, 1928-1970.
Marian van Tuyl was born in Wascousta, Michigan on October 16, 1907. Van Tuyl received her Bachelor’s in Education from the
University of Michigan in 1928. From 1928 to 1938 she taught dance at the University of Chicago, giving numerous master classes
and directing campus musical productions including Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Handel’s Xerxes, Gluck’s Iphigenia in Taurus,
Weinberger’s Schwanda, and several performances each year in the Rockefeller Chapel of the University. Beginning in 1935
and while at the University of Chicago, she had a private studio in the city and a performing concert group, the Marian van
Tuyl Dance Company, that toured the Midwest and would continue to perform until 1947. Together with her student Eleanor Lauer,
van Tuyl came to Mills College in 1938, where she was founder and director of the Dance Department. Mills and Bennington were
the first institutions of higher education in the United States to offer a degree in Dance, and in 1939 van Tuyl established
a parallel Summer School to that at Bennington. She successfully moved dance from physical education to the School of Fine
Arts in 1942, and forged strong and lasting connections between the departments of dance, music and theater on the Mills campus.
Among her collaborators were Mills composers Darius Milhaud, Henry Cowell, and Lou Harrison, and, from Bennington, stage and
scenic designer and Mills drama professor Arch Lauterer. Van Tuyl had a strong commitment to the promotion of dance in the
Bay Area and across the nation and was tirelessly active in dance associations from the 1960s to 1980s. Open to many dance
traditions and genres, van Tuyl incorporated ballet and folk dance into her own work. By the time she died in 1987 in San
Francisco, she had had distinguished careers as dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, editor and publisher, teacher, dance educator,
and administrator. She was a tireless promoter of modern dance through numerous professional organizations.
Contact the Special Collections Curator, F. W. Olin Library, Mills College for copyright and permission to publish information.