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Register of the Papers of



15 ft.

MSS 48


David H. Sutton

October 1985


Elba Farabegoli Gurzau

Since 1931 when Elba F. Gurzau became a founding member of the Folk Festival Council of New York, she has been recognized as an energetic and talented advocate of preserving folk traditions.  Both in New York and later in Philadelphia, she has organized numerous groups for the revival and performance of folk dances and is known by Italian folk groups nationwide as the founder and moving force behind the Italian Folk Arts Federation of America.  During her career, she worked for the YWCA and Nationalities Service Center to help recent immigrants bridge the gap between their native culture and that of America.  International folk dance and the teaching of English were her main tools.  For Elba Gurzau, folk dancing and the research of Italian dance traditions are the threads which weave her personal interests and career into an integrated whole.

Born on April 17, 1909 in New York City, Elba Augusta Agata Colomba Farabegoli was the only child of educated Italian immigrants Francesco (Frank) Farabegoli and Virginia Bimbi Farabegoli.  Her father worked in a restaurant and eventually operated a successful restaurant of his own at 59 West 24th Street.  In 1921 , what was to be a short visit to Italy was extended, for Gurzau and her mother, into a nine-year stay.  At the age of twelve, she enrolled in a preparatory school in Florence, Italy, where she studied Italian and other subjects.  She took private lessons in her father's hometown of Cesena and passed the examinations for a high school level diploma.  She then went on to study at the teacher's college, Istituto Magistrale, in Forli, Italy, graduating in 1928.

Upon returning to New York in 1929, Gurzau attended New York University, receiving a B.S. degree in Education in 1932 (N. Y. U. gave her credit for her college work in Italy.)  During her time at N.Y.U.,  she took a class taught by leading Italian-American educator Leonard Covello.  Covello's class, "Methods of Teaching Italian," included the broader concepts of community centered schools, the use of Italian history and cultural materials, and intercultural education designed to teach an appreciation of other ethnic groups.  Gurzau also student taught at DeWitt Clinton High School, where Covello worked full time as head of the Italian department.  She was influenced greatly by Covello's educational concepts and dedication to the Italian-American community.  At his suggestion, she joined the Italian Teacher's Association and attended the first formative meeting of the Folk Festival Council of New York in 1931.  The latter affiliation was pivotal in her life.

As the Folk Festival Council grew over the next decade, Gurzau served as festival and party chairperson and as a member of the planning committee.  In 1931, at the urging of Covello and others, she organized an Italian folk group called the Italian Choral Society, later renamed Coro D'Italia.  Its aim, according to the founders, was to foster and spread knowledge of Italian folk songs and dances.  Gurzau did the routine organizational and administrative work, as well as researched dances, performed, and collaborated on programs.  In 1934, she started a second group under her own direction, the Esperia Dancers.  Both groups were affiliated with the Folk Festival Council.  Gurzau's interest in folk dancing, particularly Italian dances, was sparked by these experiences.

Due in large part to her positive experiences in Italy and the influence of Leonard Covello, Gurzau took pride in being of Italian descent.  Very early in life, she was able to reconcile and even celebrate her ethnic origins.  The atmosphere of the folk dance parties and festivals held by the council was one of toleration and celebration of all nationalities, and it was in this environment that Gurzau learned an acceptance of herself and others.

Her experience and education also equipped her to be a bridge between the old and new country for many Italian immigrants.  In the early 1930s, Gurzau accepted a part-time position with the Bronx YWCA to establish a new program for Italian women.  The project led to the founding of five "Italian Mothers' Clubs" designed to expose the immigrant women to American life outside the household.  The clubs generally met once a week for field trips or to hear speakers on topics such as health, family relationships, child guidance, American society and Italian achievements.  As the number of clubs grew, Gurzau demonstrated not only her ability to work with immigrant groups, but to put together a series of part-time positions during the economically troubled Depression years.

Folk dancing, however, was not left behind.  She continued her activities with the Folk Festival Council and the Choral Society and sometimes led international folk dances at various locations in the city.  To aid in her work, she also took courses in social work at N.Y.U.  Both her activities with Italian folk culture and Italian Mothers' Clubs complemented and supported the efforts of Covello and others in the Italian community to better understand and improve the immigrant's situation.

In the summer of 1942, Gurzau was recommended to staff at the Philadelphia International Institute (once affiliated with YWCA), as a candidate for the position of activities director.  They were looking for someone with experience in international folk dancing, and immediately offered her the job.  After several weeks of indecision, she decided to take the position which required moving away from her family and New York friends.  The decision marked a long and mutually beneficial relationship between Gurzau and the International Institute, (renamed Nationalities Service Center [NSC] in 1963), one which helped NSC meet its goals and provided her with support for the development of numerous folk dance events and folk groups over the next thirty-five years.

After Gurzau arrived, folk dance activities became a rapidly growing part of the NSC program.  Initially, she held weekly folk dance classes led by friend and dance instructor, Eddy Nadel.  These were very popular, and when Nadel was unable to attend, Gurzau taught the dances herself.  Eventually, monthly folk dance parties were added to the schedule.  Each month a different nationality group was featured, with music and dance illustrated and taught by members of the local community.  As much as possible, Gurzau emphasized authenticity in the dances which were performed.  These events, too, were well attended, culminating each December with the popular Christmas Folk Dance Party.

Immediately following World War II, Gurzau also became actively involved with the Philadelphia Committee for Italian Relief.  She chaired the committee for the first three years of its existence, during which time a great deal of food, clothing and medicine was sent to the war torn country.  As a volunteer, she wrote letters to donors, organized fund raising events, and handled the administrative work of the committee.  She became well known among the local Italian-American leadership in Philadelphia.

In 1948, she married Titus Gurzau, a Philadelphia restaurant owner whom she had met some years earlier in New York.  The following year she resigned her position at NSC and made plans to attend the International Congress and Festival of Folk Dance in Venice.  Gurzau was accompanied by Eddy Nadel, then director of the Harvard Folk Dance Society, Priscilla Urner, a recreation specialist, and her husband.  During the trip, the group gathered local folk dances from Italian groups both at the festival and in the countryside around Venice.  This research gave her the inspiration and much of the basis for her book on Folk Dances, Costumes and Customs of Italy, published in 1964 with a revised edition in 1981.

The birth of Gurzau's son, Adrian, in 1953 did not stop her involvement in outside activities.  She continued to participate in folk dance events throughout the city.  Working on an hourly basis, she planned the monthly dance parties at NSC, as well as stimulating the formation of two new groups in 1954, the Folk Dance Demonstration Group and the Folk Dance Leaders' Council.  The former was begun to meet the many requests for a performing group, the latter to encourage cooperation and sharing among dance leaders.

In addition to this part-time and volunteer work at NSC, Gurzau taught dance to numerous Golden Age groups including the Germantown Leisure Hour Group, Lansdale Golden Age Club, and the Friendship Group of Trinity Lutheran Church, Germantown.  She organized dance activities at area retreats and, in 1958, helped organize the Italian dance and choral group, I Vivaci, at the request of the Sons of Italy.

Throughout the 1960s, Gurzau pursued her interests in Italian and international folk dance via the many activities at NSC and those of the folk dance leaders' and demonstration groups.  In 1967, she went back to NSC in a full-time capacity as coordinator of English classes for foreign students.

The 1970s were a period of new creative work and study.  In 1972, she founded a new and successful Italian dance group, I Ballerini, with whom she continues to dance and direct some thirty to forty performances a year.  In 1975, she completed her M.A. in Education at Temple University, specializing in teaching English to speakers of other languages.  In 1977, under her leadership, NSC initiated an Italian Folk Arts Project.  The one-year project explored and documented the folk traditions of Philadelphia's Italian community.  The end of the project was marked by a conference on Italian folk arts to which numerous folk groups were invited.  One result was the founding of the Italian Folk Art Federation of America (IFAFA), for which Gurzau served as first president and guiding force.  As of 1985 the federation had twenty-four member groups, including groups from. the eastern and Midwestern United States and Canada.

In 1981, Elba Gurzau retired from NSC, the folk dance parties, teaching English, and hours of volunteer work.  But her continued involvement in I Ballerini, IFAFA, and most recently (1985) an Italian folk singing group, assures her creative and organizational handiwork in Italian-American programs across the country.

Francesco Farabegoli

Elba Gurzau's father, Francesco (Frank) Farabegoli, was a native of Cesena in northern Italy.  He was raised by his sister after his mother's premature death, and planned at an early age to enter the priesthood.  At the age of 18, however, he had a change of heart and immigrated to New York around 1902.  A few years later, he met and married Virginia Bimbi, also a northern Italian from Castelnuovo in Tuscany.

Farabegoli purchased a restaurant, the Lion D' Or, circa 1925.  Located at 59 West 24th Street, it was a thriving business until the beginning of the Depression.  The restaurant closed in the early 1930s as a result of economic reverses.

Shortly before his wife's death in 1947, Farabegoli moved to Philadelphia to be nearer his daughter.  He soon purchased a restaurant-luncheonette at 1409 Roosevelt Boulevard, which he operated for about six years before he retired.  In 1958 he married Antonietta Tocket, and the couple lived the remainder of their lives in Vittorio Veneto, Italy.


The Elba Gurzau Papers were donated to the Balch Institute by Elba Gurzau in a series of accessions between June 1984 and September 1985.


The Elba F. Gurzau Papers, 1920-1985, contain 15 linear feet of documents including diaries, correspondence, writings, pamphlets, brochures, and photographs, and records relating to numerous Italian-American, folk dance, and service organizations. 

Only a small portion of the records had any preexisting order useful to researchers.  Therefore, an arrangement comprised of twelve series based on their provenance was devised.  For the researcher's convenience, each series is listed separately and described in this register.

In order to provide an overview, the series can be described as falling into the three general categories of personal papers, organizational records and resource files.

Personal papers, 1920-1985, cover most periods of Gurzau's personal life from the age of twelve to sixty, but have their strongest focus on her early adult and middle years.  Diaries and letters written by Gurzau and her father, Frank Farabegoli, provide insight into the circumstances and perspective of a second-generation Italian woman and her relationship with family and friends.  Also reflected are the kinds of educational experiences, career opportunities and decisions which helped shape her later life.

Organizational records, 1931-1985, relate to the many organizations and groups which Gurzau was involved in, and in several cases, founded and led.  Each had a life of its own, although they were often inter-related with each other and with her career.  As a whole, they are the records of informal, volunteer organizations, where minutes to meetings are not always written down, and record keeping is often inconsistent.  Nonetheless, these series make up well over one-third of the papers and contain much valuable information and evidence.

For example, Gurzau's records on Italian Mother's Clubs provide information about the perceived social needs of immigrant women in the 1930s and their response to such programs.  Records of the Folk Dance Leader's Council and Folk Dance Demonstration Group show the role of dance leaders and International Institutes in popularizing folk dancing in the 1950s and 60s.  Records of the I Ballerini dance group document not only the activities of one dance group, but also show where folk dancing was done and who was interested, either as spectators or participants.  The relatively complete records of the Italian Folk Arts Federation of America reflect the growing awareness and concern for folk traditions and ethnic identification in America.  Thus, while supplying specific information, the papers also provide opportunity to explore broader themes and topics relating to ethnic studies.

Resource files represent a wide variety of materials collected by Elba Gurzau which relate to international folk customs, Italian folk customs, or travel.  They range from magazine articles to dance syllabuses, and include the manuscripts and notes for her book on Italian folk dances and costumes.  The latter is one of the most notable products of Gurzau's lifetime interest in the folk dance traditions of Italy.  As a whole, however, resource files contain print material, brochures, programs, and pamphlets of minor informational value.

The Gurzau papers also include a well-rounded photographic collection which visually documents her youth, marriage, children, and career related events.  Informal snapshots reflect recreational activities, travel and lifestyle in general over a period of about forty years.  Other photographs show the activities and dance costumes of organizations represented in the papers, including the Folk Festival Council of New York, Italian Mother's Clubs, Philadelphia Committee for Italian Relief, I Vivaci, I Ballerini and Italian Folk Arts Federation of America.

The Balch Institute Library wishes to thank Ms. Gurzau for her advice and assistance in preparing her papers for research use.


Manuscript materials related to the Elba F. Gurzau Papers include the Leonard Covello Papers, 1907-1974, at the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies; and records of the Nationalities Service Center (of Philadelphia), 1923-1980, Urban Archives Center, Temple University.  For information on International Institutes see: Nicholas V. Montalto, The International Institute Movement: A Guide to Records of Immigrant Service Agencies in the United States, (St. Paul: Immigration History Research Center, 1978).


The Elba F. Gurzau Papers are organized in 12 series which reflect both the major activities of her career and the provenance of records for the many organizations she participated in, founded and led.  The series are: Personal Papers, Folk Festival Council of New York and Related Activities, Social and Group Work, Philadelphia Committee for Italian Relief, I Vivaci Choral and Dance Group, Folk Dance Leader's Council, Folk Dance Demonstration Group, I Ballerini Dance Group, Italian Folk Arts Federation of America, Nationalities Service Center, Resource Files, and Photographs.  Arrangement within each series varies according to record type and is noted below.

SERIES I:  PERSONAL PAPERS 1920-1985, 3 linear feet, 9 boxes.

This diverse series documents much of Elba Gurzau's personal life, including family, education, marriage, religious and professional affiliations.  It is divided into six sections including: 1.  The Elba Gurzau diaries, 1929 to 1948, which contain often candid, reflective entries about early career decisions, religious faith, circumstances during the Depression, dating and marriage.  Entries for the 1930s are sometimes in Italian.  2.  Diaries of her father, Frank Farabegoli, 1954-1968, are in the Italian language and cover the later part of his life after he returned to Italy.  3.  Extensive correspondence between father and daughter, 1954-1968, showing their close relationship and giving insight into the highlights of their day to day lives.  His letters are in Italian, her's usually in English.  4.  General correspondence files, containing letters from  friends and relatives.  5.  Diplomas, essays, term papers and syllabuses from the schools Gurzau attended in Italy, New York and Philadelphia.  Of particular interest are the syllabuses and other class materials from Leonard Covello's class "Methods of Teaching Italian," which Gurzau attended at New York University in the early 1930s.  6.  Miscellaneous personal papers, including a variety of files on groups to whom she taught folk dance, religious and professional affiliations, biographical sketches and awards.

Both diaries and letters are arranged chronologically, except for the general correspondence file, which is alphabetized to provide direct access to selected individual writers.  The correspondence of a particular organization represented in the collection is filed with the records of that organization.  As a finding aid, the box list for the general correspondence file contains many cross-references to writers throughout the entire collection.  Thus, a researcher interested in a particular correspondent may find the locations of letters in the box list, while a researcher interested in the correspondence of an organization will find that correspondence among the organizational records.

SERIES II:  FOLK FESTIVAL COUNCIL OF NEW YORK AND RELATED ACTIVITIES 1931-1941, 7.5 inches, 2 boxes.  Arrangement: correspondence is arranged chronologically; other files are grouped according to subject and relative importance.

The Folk Festival Council of New York was founded on June 11,1931 by representatives of various ethnic groups, educational organizations and social agencies in New York City.  At the suggestion of Dr. Leonard Covello, Elba Gurzau attended the first meeting and soon became active in the affairs of the council.  It's stated purpose was to give the people of New York an opportunity to enjoy the contributions of foreign-born groups to the folk arts, and to help keep folk arts alive as a part of community life.

The series contains the records and papers Elba Gurzau maintained on the Folk Festival Council and her involvement in it.  These include papers on the organization of the group, proposed constitution, scattered minutes and treasurer's reports, correspondence and activity files.  The records help document the early evolution of the council and particularly the activities of the Folk Dance Party Committee, which Gurzau chaired for several consecutive years.

Related activities include materials on the Italian performing groups Coro D'Italia and Esperia Dancers, which Gurzau helped establish as member groups of the council; scrapbooks and dance class sheets on folk dance activities; folk dance instruction; and the Foreign Language Information Service where the council met.

The series also includes two brief essays on the founding of the council, one by Mariano A. Montero, 1933, and another by Elba Gurzau, 1967.  Correspondents include: Thomas Cotton, Leonard Covello, Horst von der Goltz, Michael and Mary Ann Herman, Mary A.Wood Hinman, Read Lewis, Patricia Parmelee.

SERIES III:  SOCIAL AND GROUP WORK 1935-1961, 7.5 inches, 2 boxes.  Arrangement: roughly chronological.

This record group brings together the broad range of social and group work that Elba Gurzau was involved in over almost three decades.  Its primary content is focused on her work with Italian women in New York City in the 1930s, but it also extends to her part-time work among senior citizen groups in the Philadelphia area during the 1940s and 1950s.

These files contain a number of useful reports, letters, articles and news clippings on the several Italian Mother's Clubs that Gurzau organized during her employment at the Bronx YWCA.  They supply information on the philosophy of the work, the perceived social needs of Italian immigrant women, and the activities of the clubs.  Over fifty percent of the material consists of program materials and membership lists.  Correspondents include Mrs. V. G. Simkhovitch, Lillian Cicio. Letters from Mary Zito, a club member who maintained a long correspondence with Elba Gurzau, are found in the general correspondence file.

SERIES IV:  PHILADELPHIA COMMITTEE FOR ITALIAN RELIEF 1944-1952, 10 inches, 2 boxes.  Arrangement: chronological.

The Philadelphia Committee for Italian Relief began in 1944 and was reorganized under the name American Medical Relief for Italy of Pennsylvania in 1948.  It was affiliated with American Relief for Italy, Inc., New York, New York, an organization made up primarily of Italian-Americans who raised funds to help Italy recover after World War II.

Elba Gurzau was co-chairperson of the Philadelphia committee from 1944 to 1948, and chaired the committee for the annual garden party fund raising event in 1951.  The series contains scattered correspondence between the Philadelphia committee and the headquarters in New York about administrative and financial matters, as well as many thank-you letters to donors; a set of minutes to meetings from the early years of the committee (1945-1946), reflecting the structure and work of the committee; correspondence of the sub-committee dealing with assistance to orphans; and the sub-committee in charge of fund raising events (i.e. garden parties, 1950-1952).

Correspondents include Elba Gurzau, E. H. Acanfora, Eugene V. Alessandroni, Margherita DeVecchi, Anna Lelli, Juvenal Marchisio, Charles Muzzicato, Fortune Pope, Vincent A. Savarese.

SERIES V:  I VIVACI CHORAL AND DANCE GROUP 1958-1962, 2.5 inches, 1 box.  Arrangement: chronological.

The series contains Elba Gurzau's files on an Italian dance and singing group which she and music director Carlo Suppa organized in 1958 at the request of District I Order Sons of Italy.  It consists of four folders, including scattered correspondence, a few program brochures, news clippings, and a notebook reflecting membership, dances performed, and rehearsal attendance.

    Correspondents include Ernest Biagi, Elba Gurzau.

SERIES VI:  FOLK DANCE LEADER'S COUNCIL 1954-1969, 5 inches, 1 box.  Arrangement: Correspondence and minutes arranged chronologically; activities files in original order; subject files in order of relative importance.

The Folk Dance Leader's Council was founded in 1954 by Elba Gurzau, under the auspices of the International Institute, to promote cooperation and coordinate activities among folk dance leaders in Philadelphia.  It was a successful organization which met regularly to share dances, leadership techniques and spread information about folk dances.  The council played a significant role in bringing folk dancing into the public eye throughout the 1950s and 1960s, enhancing its popularity in many areas of the city.

The series contains relatively complete files of minutes and activities of the organization, as well as some correspondence, instructional materials, folk dance directories published by the council, and information on the Folk Dance Center of Philadelphia, which was started by some council members in the early 1970s.  Correspondents include Eddy Nadel, Viltis Beliajus, Aurelia Renshaw, Herman Rottenberg, Elba Gurzau.

SERIES VII:  FOLK DANCE DEMONSTRATION GROUP, 1953-1957, 2.5 inches, 1 box.  Arrangement: chronological.

The Demonstration Group was started in 1954 by Elba Gurzau in cooperation with the International Institute.  It was an informal group of dancers who answered requests for small exhibitions of international folk dances.  It drew heavily on the ranks of the Folk Dance Leader's Council, and other dancers Gurzau knew, who could put together brief routines on short notice.  Like the Folk Dance Leader's Council, it functioned to publicize folk dancing and the various programs available for nationality groups at the International Institute.

The records, for a brief four-year period, include minutes, financial records, membership files, correspondence, and activity files.  Although somewhat scattered, together they document well the functions, concerns and many activities of the organization.  Correspondents include Elizabeth Campbell, Elfrieda Friese, Helen D. Mousley, Eddy Nadel.

SERIES VIII:  I BALLERINI DANCE GROUP 1972-1985, 10 inches, 2 boxes.  Arrangement: chronological, except that performance records within each year are in original order.

I Ballerini was started by Sylvia Brecht and Elba Gurzau in 1972 to dance at the Philadelphia Folk Fair.  Its mailing address is in care of the Nationalities Service Center (formerly International Institute), and it holds meetings there without cost, but is otherwise independent.  Gurzau continues to lead the group, which generally books performances within a days travel of Philadelphia.  I Ballerini is a popular and relatively stable group, as the thick files of performance records indicate.

Over one half of the series is made up of performance records, running from 1974-1985. Additional files include financial records 1972-1983; a few minutes to early organizational meetings 1973-1979; correspondence scattered between 1972-1984; and news releases and clippings.  The relatively small number of written records compared to the age of the group reflects an emphasis on action, (i.e., performing) rather than administrative tasks.  The records that have been created are focused primarily on the logistics and financial arrangements necessary for booking and doing performances.  Correspondence files include letters by Elba Gurzau and Sylvia Brecht, but the majority are thank you notes for performances.

SERIES IX:  ITALIAN FOLK ARTS FEDERATION OF AMERICA (IFAFA) 1976-1985, 1.5 linear feet, 4 boxes.  Arrangement: chronological.

The Italian Folk Arts Federation of America has its origins in a one-year, pilot project sponsored by the Nationalities Service Center in 1977-78.  Directed by Elba Gurzau, the project sought to explore ways of preserving Italian folk arts in the local community.  In 1978, the project culminated with a conference to which numerous Italian folk groups were invited.  Several of the groups formed a federation, (eventually named Italian Folk Arts Federation of America) to share and collaborate on Italian folk traditions.  The Federation holds an annual conference and publishes a biannual newsletter, entitled "Tradizioni."  The newsletter is also part of the Balch Institute Library holdings.

IFAFA files are among the most complete in the collection, beginning with the Folk Art Project in 1976 and running through the annual conference of 1985.  The founding and growth of the organization is well documented among the notebooks, correspondence and minutes.  Files on annual conferences (the primary activity of the organization) and on membership contain information about affiliation, conference workshops, discussions and lectures.  Correspondents include, Elba Gurzau, Rita Tonitto, Anthony LePera, Delores L. Howland, Michael Blum, Joanne Weller.

A final section contains ephemeral files on numerous Italian folk and cultural groups in the United States and Italy.  Some are members of IFAFA, others are not.

SERIES X:  NATIONALITIES SERVICE CENTER (NSC) 1945-1982, 1.5 linear feet, 6 boxes.  Arrangement: chronological.  Nationalities Service Center of Philadelphia is a non-profit, service organization that evolved from YWCA outreach work in the early 1920s.  Its focus is providing information, education, referral and other services to ethnic and nationality groups in Philadelphia.  Archival records of NSC from 1923-1980 are held at the Urban Archives Center, Temple University.

The materials in this series are comprised of a narrow range of personal files retained by Elba Gurzau.  They include records of the monthly Folk Dance Parties she organized, the Philadelphia Folk Fairs that she was involved in, and a few general and miscellaneous files.  These activities differ administratively from those of I Ballerini or IFAFA, in that they were part of the ongoing program and annual budget at NSC.  For this reason, they are placed here in a separate series.

The files on folk dance parties (1945-1981) are divided by year and contain wide and varying types of materials.  The most typical are financial reports, program descriptions and announcements, evaluations of the parties, notes and guest registers.  Most years are represented; however, not all parties or record types are present within each folder.  Also included are extensive attendance and address files, (3x5 card files), on folk dance party participants between 1966-1978.

Started in the 1950s, the Philadelphia Folk Fair grew into a major undertaking for NSC in the 1960s.  Elba Gurzau was often involved in some facet of the fair.  Her personal files, however, contain primarily brochures and programs, a few scattered minutes, reports, agendas, and one notebook (1960).  The records of both the folk dance parties and folk fairs held at the Urban Archives Center are more extensive than those found here, while these tend to reflect Gurzau's personal involvement in the activities.

The section on miscellaneous records and print material contains brochures, and pamphlets on NSC; English language classes; conferences; Sunday teas; scattered copies of the NSC newsletter, "Internationality News," and Gurzau's contact files, all reflecting additional aspects of her work at NSC.

SERIES XI:  RESOURCE FILES 1949-1979, 5 linear feet, 9 boxes.  Arrangement: roughly chronological unless otherwise noted.

This series contains a broad range of both print and non-print materials collected by Elba Gurzau because of its bearing on international folk customs, Italian folk customs and travel.  The series is divided into eight sections as follows: 1.  Dance, music and costumes of selected countries.  Consists of a file on each of thirty-nine countries arranged alphabetically.  The contents are not uniform, but usually include sheets of dance music and songs, postcards showing costumes, and newspaper or magazine articles about the nationality group and/or its traditions.  Files range in size from one leaf to fifty leaves, (39 folders).

2.  Notes and materials from 1949 trip to Italy.  Contains two notebooks compiled by Gurzau on dances, speakers, and contacts at the International Folk Music Festival and Congress in Venice; her personal report on the festival; an address file; a report on the congress published by the International Folk Music Council, 1949; and an informational brochure on the council, (3 folders).

3.  Folk Dances, Costumes and Customs of Italy, first edition, 1964.  Contains correspondence, addresses, research notes, and several drafts covering the period 1949 to 1964, during which time Gurzau worked on the book intermittently.  Also included are files on book sales, sheet music, corrections and suggestions, publicity, two notebooks, and copies of the three 45 RPM records cut as part of the project.  Correspondents include Elizabeth Burchenal, Priscilla Urner, Eddy Nadel, Mary Wood Hinman, Salvatore J. Castiglione, Frank Kaltman, Moses Asch, various publishers, (25 folders).

4.  Folk Dances, Costumes and Customs of Italy, second edition, 1981.  This section contains files on additions made to the second edition of the book.  They include several new dances and an introduction describing the Italian Folk Arts Federation of America.  The files are in original order and have original file headings.  Also included are several letters between Gurzau and Rose Grieco concerning a "new" dance included in the second edition, (14 folders).

5.  Collected Dance Class Syllabuses, ca. 1950s-1960s.  An assembled group of syllabuses used in dance workshops and classes.  They give names and directions for doing some sixty international folk dances, (3 folders).

6.  Miscellaneous Print Materials.  This section contains an array of pamphlets, catalogs, newsletters, magazines, postcards, programs and brochures relating to folk dances and music of various countries.  Many are products of performances, events, or workshops where folk dancing was taught and popularized since the 1940's.  An example of brochures include Pinewoods Camp 1951, National Folk Festival, 1965, New York Winter Folk Festival, 1978, (10 folders).

7.  Miscellaneous Pamphlets and Publications. Includes bulletins and agendas of the International Folk Music Council, 1950s; publications on Romanian folk art; and Finnish folk costumes, 1952; several pamphlets and small books on aspects of Fascism, ca. 1938.  A few are in Italian, (5 folders).

8.  Oversize materials.  Contains primarily ephemera, broadsides, posters, menus, pictorial views of folk dancing and costumes, (about 70 items).

The box list of the Register of the Papers of Elba F. Gurzau is thirty-five pages long.