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Personal papers of Elizabeth Sherbon

Call Number: PP 123


Elizabeth Sherbon directed the dance department at the University of Kansas from 1961-1975. This collection consists of chronological materials, publications, and notes for a manuscript.


  • Creation: 1908 - 1993


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Elizabeth Sherbon (1908-2000)

Elizabeth Sherbon was born in Colfax, Iowa in 1908 to physicians Drs. John and Florence (Brown) Sherbon. Her mother became the director of physical education for women at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where she and her twin sister Alice attended Quincy School, Oread and Lawrence high schools. Elizabeth Sherbon received her B.S. from KU in physical education in 1930, attended the Denishawn School of Dance in New York City in 1931, and earned a master’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1932.

Sherbon studied with Martha Graham at the Bennington Dance Workshop in Vermont, becoming part of her company from 1937-1940. She was in Jane Erdman’s dance company from 1942-1954, and typed manuscripts for Erdman’s husband, philosopher Joseph Campbell. In 1954 she opened the Sherbon Dance Studio in Wichita, Kansas, where she and her sister organized the American Dance Symposium in 1968.

In 1961 the University of Kansas (KU) recruited Sherbon to develop the dance department. She reached full professor status in 1974 and retired in 1975, when she published On the Count of One , a widely used modern dance instruction text. After retirement Sherbon lived in KU’s Sprague Apartments. In 1985 KU named a theater in the Robinson Center after her.

Elizabeth Sherbon died in 2000 at the Lawrence Presbyterian Manor.

Information pulled from collection materials and Sherbon's obituary in the June 8, 2000 Lawrence Journal-World.


8 Linear Feet (8 boxes + 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

PP 123

Physical Location

PP 475

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transfers, Department of Music and Dance, 2007, 2011.

Related Materials

Consult library staff regarding the availability of related photographs, biographical files, and scrapbooks.

Guide to the Elizabeth Sherbon Collection
Personal papers of Elizabeth Sherbon
Finding aid prepared by ad, 2005. Finding aid encoded by ad, 2005. Finding aid revised by pb, 2008; mwh, 2023; eje, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of Elizabeth Sherbon, University Archives, PP 123, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States