The Mary Wood Hinman Collection consists of teaching materials for folk dancing, piano forte and some violin music books,
programs for plays, photographs, sheet music, newspaper clippings as well as presidential and American history related items
that have been collected by Mary Wood Hinman. The items document Hinman's long career as a folk dance teacher, choreographer,
musician, lyricist and more. Mary Wood Hinman is regarded as an American scholar who helped to lead in the expansion and awareness
of folk dancing in the United States.
Mary Wood Hinman was born on February 14, 1878 in the state of Ohio. She began her career as a teacher to the local neighborhood
children as a teenager as a way to help her family through financial distress. She later traveled to Europe where she had
the opportunity to study gymnastics and folk dancing. Hinman eventually came back to America and settled in Chicago, Illinois
where she developed a teacher-training school that prepared women to teach folk dances in parks, schools and settlement houses.
In 1898, she worked with Jane Addams and her colleagues at Hull House where she taught folk dancing to immigrants, and in
1905 she ventured into business when she opened the Hinman School of Folk Dancing. From around 1906 to 1919, Hinman worked
with philosopher, psychologist and education reformer John Dewey where they developed dancing and gymnastics programs as part
of the kindergarten through high school curriculum for what is now the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. It was at
the University of Chicago where Hinman also took part in choreographing and writing songs for plays and jigs, such as "The
Pseudo-Suffragettes", "The Pursuit of Portia", and "The Wooing of Nan" for the English Language and Literature Department.
She later moved from Illinois to New York where she helped to establish the Folk Festival Council of New York in 1930 and
taught as well as developed courses at a university that is now known as The New School in Manhattan around 1932. Mary Wood
Hinman retired from her teaching career in 1938 and relocated once more to Los Angeles, California where she lived until she
passed away on July 4, 1952.
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Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
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