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Exhibits (8 total)

Hanya Holm: When Modern Dance Came to Colorado

Hanya Holm is popularly known for her innovative choreography in Broadway musicals like My Fair Lady and Kiss Me, Kate. She is also revered as one of the "big four" founders of modern dance, alongside Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, and Charles Weidman.

Holm first came to Colorado in 1933 when she taught at the Perry Mansfield Dance Camp in Steamboat Springs. Beginning in 1941, she returned every summer for 43 years, making the state a destination for anyone who wanted to learn about modern dance.

Holm’s influence on dance in Colorado was extensive; she taught Freidann Parker and Lillian Covillo (co-founders of Colorado Ballet), Alfred Brooks and Maxine Munt (co-founders of the Changing Scene Theatre), Vera Sears (teacher and later director of the Children’s Dance Theatre at the University of Denver).

The exhibit features images of Holm throughout her career as a dancer, choreographer, and educator, as well as never-before-exhibited images of Holm in personal settings. The images in the exhibit are primarily from the collections of Maxine Munt (a student of Holm) and Marshall Brooks (husband of one of Holm’s company members and close family friend).


The Loewenstein Family: A Story of Survival

In 1933, the year of Hitler's rise to power, approximately 160,000 Jews lived in Berlin, Germany, which was less than 4% of its population. By 1939, an estimated 80,000 Berlin Jews had managed to emigrate. Between 1941 and 1944 more than 60,000 were deported to Eastern European ghettoes and death camps. Only about 7,000 were known to have survived by 1945.

The historic documents in the Lowenstein Family Papers and Art collection tell the story of one Jewish family's miraculous survival amidst the horrors of the Holocaust. Two exceedingly rare documents from 1942 served as eviction notices. They order the recipients to report at a certain date and time to a government building in Berlin. In reality the notice was a summons of deportation to death camps. If obeyed, the recipient was killed. If not obeyed, the recipient most certainly did not retain the letter. That notice led to the deaths of an estimated 60,000 Jews.

The Loewensteins (Lowenstein after immigration) - Max, Maria, Karin, and Henry - lived in Berlin and, beginning in 1933, experienced the ever tightening Nazi noose. Like many other Jewish families they tried desperately to find ways to leave Germany. The beginnings of the Holocaust burst forth on Kristallnacht in 1938. Synagogues were burned and thousands of Jews were taken to concentration camps. Many were never seen again.

Thirteen-year-old Henry was lucky to be one of 10,000 children to be saved by the Kindertransport in 1939. Kindertransports were organized by British aid organizations to bring predominantly German, Austrian, and Czechoslovakian Jewish children to the United Kingdom. Henry was able to reunite with his family in 1947.

Henry's mother Maria, born into a Lutheran family, used her Aryan status to protect her loved ones. Her courage saved the family from deportation and certain death on numerous occasions. She brought the documents in this collection to America in 1946.

Henry Lowenstein donated them to the Ira M. and Peryle Hayutin Beck Memorial Archives. The collection is located in the Anderson Academic Commons, Special Collections and Archives. 

More information is available at:

Lowenstein Family Papers and Art Finding aid

View the Entire Collection


#RESIST - Student Activism @ DU

Student activism on American college campuses, including the University of Denver (DU), rose significantly with the onset of the women’s movement, civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and related social movements. In the past decade, both on the DU campus and beyond, social media has played a major role in activist movements, providing activists with a platform to highlight injustice, build community, and rally people to their cause. Where relevant, hashtags for protest actions are included in image captions.

This exhibit features images from the University of Denver Archives, as well as images provided by student activists on the DU campus for recent protest actions. The exhibit is necessarily limited to protest actions documented in the Archives or by student activists and available to the exhibit curators.

The exhibit curators are grateful to the students and student groups whose work - in so many respects - contributed to this exhibit. We see you. We appreciate you. Thank you.

Pioneering Jewish Women of Colorado

Jewish women have made numerous contributions to the development of Colorado from its territorial days to the present, in large part due to the more fluid social structure of the American West.

According to Dr. Jeanne Abrams, a noted scholar in the field of American Jewish History, “Jews were able to integrate more fully into local communities than they had in the East. Jewish women in the West took advantage of the unsettled nature of the region to ‘open new doors’ for themselves in the public sphere in ways often not yet possible elsewhere in the country. Women were crucial to the survival of early communities, and made distinct contributions not only in shaping Jewish communal life but outside the Jewish community as well. Western Jewish women’s level of involvement at the vanguard of social welfare and progressive reform, commerce, politics, and higher education and the professions is striking given their relatively small numbers.” Introduction to Dr. Abram's book Jewish Women Pioneering the Frontier Trail: A History in the American West (New York: New York University Press, 2006).

This exhibit showcases some of the Jewish women who raised families, founded communal organizations, sustained their Jewish heritage, and ultimately helped shape Colorado.  It features women who came to Colorado when it was still a territory, such as Frances Wisebart Jacobs, nicknamed “Denver’s Mother of Charities” and Ray David, “Little Mother to the Poor.” It also tells the story of Eastern European Jewish women who lived on Denver’s West side, such as Channah Milstein and Fannie Lorber, who came in the 1880s and initiated important philanthropic organizations. A number of collections in the Ira M. and Peryle Hayutin Beck Memorial Archives were used in the creation of the exhibit.

Descriptive text for this exhibit was based on Dr. Jeanne Abrams' book Jewish Women Pioneering the Frontier Trail: A History in the American West (New York: New York University Press, 2006). Please read the book to learn more about Jewish women in Colorado and the West.


The First 50 Years: Exploring DU History

This exhibit reflects the birth and early evolution of the University of Denver in its first fifty years of existence, from 1864 to 1914.  

HYLAEA: A Video, Print & Rare Book Installation

HYLAEA was an interactive site-specific installation created by artist Tim Weaver for the library at the University of Denver. Weaver, an associate professor and director of the Emergent Digital Practices program in the School of Art and Art History, combined images, objects, sounds, and videos to reanimate extinct species to awaken memories of lost life forms. This exhibition was on display at University Libraries (formerly Penrose Library) from October 14, 2010 through February 14, 2011.

The exhibit’s intent is to bring together separate artifacts of lost ecological memory. These artifacts are the deep colors and textures of extinct birds, sonic translations of the DNA and proteins of missing species, and books containing the published records of North America’s breathtaking wildlife. These sounds and images of lost habitats create an immersive sensory experience for the audience. Mining the University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives and the extinct species cabinets at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Weaver's exploration of artifacts and lost ecological memory brings records of human-induced extinctions to life.

Art of the Abecedarium

An artist’s book is an artistic expression that uses the form or function of “book” as inspiration. The artistic initiative reflected in the illustration, materials, process, and design makes it an art object. Incorporating a wide variety of artistic and literary disciplines, the artists and their books challenge the idea, content, and structure of the traditional book.

This exhibit of abecedaria (“alphabet books”) explores creative interpretations of letters and language. The diverse selection illustrates the meaningful complexity of simply learning your ABCs. 

The artworks in this exhibit come from the Fine Press & Artists' Books Collection of the University Libraries at the University of Denver. For more information, visit the Special Collections & Archives website or contact us at 303.871.3428 or



Chasing The Cure

Because of its high altitude and sunny, temperate climate, by the 1880s Colorado had earned an international reputation as "The World's Sanatorium." The state's small Jewish community was the first to come forward to aid consumptives who arrived in droves to "chase the cure" for tuberculosis, or "The White Plague," as it was also known, the leading cause of death in late-nineteenth and early -twentieth century America.

Dr. Jeanne Abrams provided the text for this Exhibit, which is based on her monograph Blazing the Tuberculosis Trail.