Holt, Claire, 1988-

Claire Holt was born in Riga, Latvia in 1901. Her family moved to Moscow in 1914; in 1920 she married, and shortly thereafter she and her husband emigrated from the Soviet Union. In 1921 they settled in New York, where Holt attended Brooklyn Law School, the Cooper Union Art School, and Columbia University School of Journalism. From 1928-30, Holt was a reporter for the New York World. Her assignments there included dance reviews, which were published under the name Barbara Holveg. Holt made her first trip to Indonesia in 1930 and spent most of the decade there, studying dance, working for the anthropologist Willem Stutterheim, and then assisting the Swedish dance archivist and patron Rolf de Maré with his photo and film documentation of Indonesian dance. As the war loomed. Holt returned to the United States, where she worked in the 1940s and early 50s as a research assistant to Margaret Mead, as a research analyst for the Office of Strategic Services, and as a foreign affairs specialist for the State Department. She resigned from government service in 1953, protesting the security regulations spurred by McCarthyism. The rest of Holt's life was spent teaching at Cornell University, where in 1962 she helped found the Modern Indonesia Project. Her return to Indonesia in the mid-1950s and again in 1969 provided material for her book Art in Indonesia: Continuities and Change. Holt died in Ithaca, New York, in 1970.

From the guide to the Claire Holt papers, circa 1928-1970, (The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.)


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