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Dorothy Hild papers

Identifier: Dance-MS-Hild

Scope and Content of the Collection

Dorothy Hild's papers contain materials related to her varied directorial and instructional career with Balaban & Katz Theater Corporation, as a director for Barnes-Carruthers, as the Director of Entertainment for the Edgewater Beach Hotel, as a dance instructor at various YMCA and YWCA locations in Chicago, and as a founder of the dance troupe Africana Dancers. As such, the collection includes address books, attendance cards and lists, blueprints, correspondence, costume designs, financial records, memorabilia, photographs, production notes, tour information and itineraries, and a variety of publicity materials such as clippings, fliers, newsletters, schedules, and souvenir albums. Sheet music, chiefly scores arranged specifically for her productions at the Edgewater Beach Hotel and through Barnes-Carruthers, comprise a large part of her manuscript collection. There are also audiovisual materials: 7, 8, 10, 12, and 13 inch records/ phonograph discs, cassette tapes, open-reel tapes, and a U-matic that contain interviews and relate to her productions. Additionally there are some 8mm films that capture footage from her personal travels throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

[archivist's note, 2023: Audiovisual recordings in this collection have been digitized and are available online. Access to the original audiovisual items is restricted.]


  • Creation: 1847-1984
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1929-1980



Materials are mostly in English, with some in Spanish.

Conditions Governing Access

The Dorothy Hild papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Audiovisual recordings in this collection have been digitized and are available online. Access to the original audiovisual items is restricted.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Dorothy Hild papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

Biography of Dorothy Hild

Dorothea Louisa Hild born on July 3, 1909 to Albert and Mary “Lulu” Hild (née Murphy). She had an older sister Alice. Many Chicagoans remember her for her elaborate productions at the Edgewater Beach Hotel’s Marine Dining Room during the 1940s – 1950s.

She changed her name to Dorothy Louise Hild, although when is unknown. Baptized on August 3, 1909 at St. Veronica Church, she attended Immaculata High School, and the Normal College of Education.

Trained by many from the Russian ballet school, as well as Val Vestoff and Merriel Abbott, she started her professional career in a chorus line. Her background in nightclub and industry shows proved well for her future. While she worked as a director for Balaban & Katz Theater Corporation, Walt Disney selected one of her productions for presentation in London, England. Later, under the auspices of Barnes -Carruthers she directed shows, chiefly auto and fair shows, which toured throughout the U.S. and Canada.

She most notably served as the Director of Entertainment at the Edgewater Beach Hotel for 11 years, from the 1940s – 1950s. At the hotel, she directed many memorable productions which featured the Dorothy Hild Dancers, such as “City Allegro,” “Si Si Senor,” and the infamous Christmas shows. Irwin Kostal, a Chicago native known for his later award-winning arrangements for West Side Story, Mary Poppins, and The Sound of Music, also worked for the hotel and wrote many scores for her floorshows. In addition to Kostal, she frequently collaborated with Jack Cavan, Jimmy Dorsey, Freddy Martin, and Bill Snyder.

In 1962, Hild started teaching ballet, jazz, tap, and African dance at the Central YMCA and the Loop Center YMCA. She continued do so later at the YWCA too, and her instruction at both organizations continued into the early 1980s. Also in the 1960s, primarily 1964 – 1965, she taught dance in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico and toured with the Ballet Folklorico de Morelia as an artistic consultant, in Mexico and the United States. In September 1965, she formed the Africana Dancers, a dance troupe that performed authentic tribal dances from a variety of cultures and peoples from Africa, the Caribbean, and related diasporas in full costume. She also choreographed productions at her alma mater Immaculata High School, in the 1970s.

Hild married and divorced twice, first to Ainsley Lambert and second to Alexander Konyot. She died in July 1984.


41.4 Linear Feet (45 boxes, 1 oversize box, 2 oversize folders, and loose materials)

5 Linear Feet (Five record cartons of audiovisual material)


Former Director of Entertainment at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago and founder of the dance troupe Africana Dancers. Papers include correspondence, clippings, financial information, photographs, publicity, sheet music for her productions and dance numbers at the Edgewater Beach Hotel as well as the auto and fair shows Dorothy Hild directed under the auspices of Barnes - Carruthers, and files from her instruction at various YMCA and YWCA locations in Chicago. Additionally, the papers contain audiovisual materials, chiefly related to her productions.


Papers are organized in the following series:

Series 1: Directorial and Personal, 1847-1984
Boxes 1-13
Series 2: Financial, 1943-1980
Box 14
Series 3: Photographs, 1891-1980
Boxes 15-17
Series 4: Publicity,1929-1983
Boxes 18-26
Series 5: Sheet Music, 1930-1959
Boxes 27-41
Series 6: Audiovisual, 1930-1979
Audiovisual boxes (restricted)
Series 7: Oversize, 1920-1980
Box 50, oversize folders

Collection Stack Location

3a 48 7-8, 4a flat file drawers


Gift of Dr. Ruth Gallinot, 1984.

Processed by

Samantha Smith and Kathryn Antonelli, 2017.


Inventory of the Dorothy Hild papers, 1847-1984, bulk 1929-1980
Samantha Smith and Kathryn Antonelli
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2023-01-17: Audiovisual materials have been permanently removed from the collection for preservation. Access to the original audiovisual items is restricted.

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States