Born in San Francisco, Raymond Duncan (1874–1966) was the brother of the dancer Isadora Duncan and the actor-director Augustin Duncan. As early as 1891 he was working on a theory of movement called ‘kinematics’, which he later developed with his sister. When the family left America in 1898, he spent time in England, Germany, Greece, and France; in his villa in Greece, now the Isadora and Raymond Duncan Dance Research Centre, he and his Greek wife dressed regularly in ancient Greek attire. In 1911, after touring classical Greek plays in America, he set up the Akademia Duncan in Paris. Its extremely wide curriculum took in music, dance, philosophy, oratory, gymnastics, wood engraving, and tapestry. From there Duncan also printed books on his own press in a typeface designed by him and with woodcuts he executed – some of these productions featured in a documentary by Orson Welles in 1955. Most were executed in numbered limited editions, but it is unlikely that the numbers stated were ever printed, and they are now very rare.
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A small archive of printed and manuscript material relating to, and printed by, the dancer and poet Raymond Duncan.
The present archive includes:
DUNCAN, Raymond. La Beauté eternelle. Paris, Duncan, 22 March 1919. A mimeographed copy, with editorial corrections by Duncan (deletions, transpositions) and passages concealed with slips of paper (some with manuscript poetical notes in pencil).
DE NEREYS, Roger. Psyche, ta lampe. Paris, Duncan, 1920. No 8 of 350 copies, with the engraved frontispiece augmented by hand with colours. The limitation leaf speaks of a deluxe issue on fine paper with the frontispiece printed in colours, but we have been unable to trace any other copy of either issue. Not in OCLC.
DUNCAN, Raymond. Je chante et je dis. Poemes. [Paris, Duncan, 1941?] 45 of 500 copies, inscribed in Nov 1941 to a pupil. Includes ‘My verb clamorous’ with poems in English. One poem is hand-edited with a line cut and a portion removed from the foot. Two copies only in OCLC: BnF and St Genevieve.
Ephemera: Théatre Femina programme for Dédale (1926?), with two woodcut illustrations by Duncan and a photographic plate of Duncan tipped in; Akademia Raymond Duncan, curriculum programmes for 1941 and 1942; Centenary performance programme 1974; Exangelos et New-Paris-York. No. 260 November 1972 – a very rare privately printed periodical; inscribed portrait photograph of Duncan, dated Feb 1944.
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