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Library classifications are artificial systems that use numbers, letters, and symbols to map knowledge as the basis for organizing the contents of libraries. Inevitably influenced by social forces and cultural values, the Dewey Decimal, Cutter Expansive, and Library of Congress classification systems offer a unique perspective to study the status and identity of dance between 1876 and 1930. From the standpoint of library taxonomies, dance evolves during this period from an indoor amusement with moral implications to a recognized art form and discipline.


Paper presented by Dominique Bourassa at the Society of Dance History Scholars Special Topics Conference: Dance as Experience: Progressive Era Origins and Legacies Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 28 March 2015.

An Apple Keynote Presentation with illustrative examples accompanied this lecture. For a copy, contact the author at

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