The Morrison-Shearer Foundation produces its own events and also collaborates with other organizations in the arts and humanities including Chicago Film Archives (CFA), Chicago Dancemakers Forum, the Ragdale Foundation, Link’s Hall, the Newberry Library, and the Chicago Dance History Project. MSF also funds Grants and Special Fellowships.

Find out the latest news on our Facebook page, via our annual newsletter, "Sharing the Legacy", and here, on our website. 

Celebrating the Construction of the Studio House of Dance and Music

MARCH 16, 2021

The Groundbreaking event at Ragdale for the construction of the Studio of Music and Dance/Sybil Shearer Studio at Ragdale was a long awaited and exciting day! The Chairman of the Ragdale Board who led the event, and our Board of Trustee members who attended, are: Barbra Shumann, Treasurer Brian Schaeffer, former chair Carol Doty, Treasurer Mary Sue Wheeler, Chairman Alida Szabo, Vice Chair Shayne Bullen and Toby Nicholson.
Learn more about the Sybil Shearer Studio at Ragdale
Videographer:  Bob Hercules, Media Process Group

Ragdale Board Chair Barbra Schumann speaks during a gathering to celebrate the construction of the new Ragdale Building for Dance and Music, which will be home to the Sybil Shearer Studio, in Lake Forest. (Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer)

$1.5 million grant supports construction of studio named for, inspired by famed Northbrook dancer

Daily Herald, 3/31/21 https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20210331/15-million-grant-supports-construction-of-studio-named-for-inspired-by-famed-northbrook-dancer

Construction paused recently to celebrate work on the new Studio House of Dance and Music, home to what will be the new Sybil Shearer Studio on the Ragdale campus in Lake Forest. In December, Northbrook's Morrison-Shearer Foundation provided a $1.5 million grant to the Ragdale Foundation to support construction of a dance studio and composer's studio within the former estate of Howard Van Doren Shaw on the Ragdale campus. The future Sybil Shearer Studio is named for the modern midcentury dancer. Starting as a performer in New York, Sybil Shearer (1912-2005) then taught at Roosevelt University and started her own dance school. In 1951, with photographer and artistic collaborator Helen Balfour Morrison, Shearer built a studio-residence in Northbrook and founded the Sybil Shearer Company.

"It is fitting that the Northbrook-based Morrison-Shearer Foundation and Lake Forest-based Ragdale Foundation came together today, during Women's History Month, to celebrate the construction of the home to the new Sybil Shearer Studio. With this addition to the Ragdale campus, we honor modern dance pioneer Sybil Shearer and her longtime collaborator, photographer and filmmaker Helen Balfour Morrison," said Morrison-Shearer Foundation Board Chair Alida Szabo.

"Our $1.5 million grant for this new construction is a seminal moment in our history, helping to perpetuate the legacies of Sybil and Helen while cementing our relationship with Ragdale," Szabo said.

Read more

$1.5 million grant supports construction of studio named for, inspired by famed Northbrook dancer

Construction paused recently to celebrate work on the new Studio House of Dance and Music, home to what will be the new Sybil Shearer Studio on the Ragdale campus in Lake Forest. In December, Northbrook's Morrison-Shearer Foundation provided a $1.5 million grant to the Ragdale Foundation to support construction of a dance studio and composer's studio within the former estate of Howard Van Doren Shaw on the Ragdale campus. The future Sybil Shearer Studio is named for the modern midcentury dancer. Starting as a performer in New York, Sybil Shearer (1912-2005) then taught at Roosevelt University and started her own dance school. In 1951, with photographer and artistic collaborator Helen Balfour Morrison, Shearer built a studio-residence in Northbrook and founded the Sybil Shearer Company.

"It is fitting that the Northbrook-based Morrison-Shearer Foundation and Lake Forest-based Ragdale Foundation came together today, during Women's History Month, to celebrate the construction of the home to the new Sybil Shearer Studio. With this addition to the Ragdale campus, we honor modern dance pioneer Sybil Shearer and her longtime collaborator, photographer and filmmaker Helen Balfour Morrison," said Morrison-Shearer Foundation Board Chair Alida Szabo.

"Our $1.5 million grant for this new construction is a seminal moment in our history, helping to perpetuate the legacies of Sybil and Helen while cementing our relationship with Ragdale," Szabo said.

Joining the celebration was a group including Lake Forest Mayor George Pandaleon and Morrison-Shearer Foundation Board Treasurer Brian Schaefer, Vice Chair Shayne Bullen, Immediate Past Board Chair Carol Doty, Trustee Toby Nicholson and Secretary MarySue Wheeler.

The Morrison-Shearer (http://morrisonshearer.org/) grant, along with $400,000 from the Ragdale Foundation -- a nonprofit organization benefiting an artists' community -- will support construction of two, one-story attached buildings totaling 2,500 square feet. According to the Morrison-Shearer website, the project is intended to open this fall.

The Sybil Shearer Studio will feature a 30-foot-deep, 50-foot-wide clearspan space with a sprung dance floor and provisions for adjustable lighting and audiovisual equipment.

Both studios will offer private sleeping spaces and be fully accessible. Large windows will provide Ragdale resident artists the feeling of being immersed in nature, as Shearer was in her Northbrook studio.

The building is being designed by Woodhouse Tinucci Architects; general contractor is Jake Goldberg of Goldberg General Contracting; landscaping design is by Rosborough Partners, Inc.

"Here, on our campus, alongside the prairie land, the themes of collaboration and nature will continue to unfold as we pay homage to Sybil and the Morrison-Shearer Foundation's core values as an authentic and devoted organization," said Ragdale Foundation Board President Barbra Schumann.

"Morrison-Shearer, thank you for allowing the creativity to flow through the power of dance. Exuberant creativity is what will continue to save us in good times and in bad," she said.

Ragdale residents are selected by a jury process from a large pool of applicants. Typically, the residency program enables nearly 200 dancers, writers, playwrights, musicians, poets, visual artists and architectural designers the time and space to focus on their projects. While residents pay a fee, about 95% of the actual costs of a residency are subsidized by Ragdale fundraising.

The studios are expected to be completed this fall when a grand opening of the Sybil Shearer Dance Studio at Ragdale will bring the premiere of a new documentary by award-winning filmmaker Bob Hercules about the work of Shearer, Helen Morrison, and the dance studios. Other opening events are anticipated.

Alida Szabo, MSF Board Chair and Shayne Bullen, MSF Vice Chair

MSF Names Alida Szabo New Board Chair Replacing Carol Doty

SHAYNE BULLEN Named New Vice Chair

For a PDF of the Press Release, click here. 

The Morrison-Shearer Foundation (MSF) has named ALIDA SZABO as its new Board Chair, succeeding CAROL DOTY who, after retiring from the Morton Arboretum, joined the MSF Board in 2002 and has served as its Chair since 2006.

“Carol is leaving some big shoes to fill, but having served on the Foundation Board prior to and throughout her tenure I come to this position with a thorough knowledge of where the Foundation has been and appreciation of its vision for the future,” says Szabo.

During Doty’s tenure, a significant portion of the Morrison and Shearer archives, including photos, costumes, programs and artifacts were placed in the NEWBERRY LIBRARY; and the Morrison films were placed in the CHICAGO FILM ARCHIVES. In addition, the Foundation published Shearer’s three-volume autobiography, “Without Wings the Way Is Steep,” and produced numerous public programs.

A tribute to Shearer and Morrison, the Foundation recently established a new partnership with the RAGDALE FOUNDATION through a gift of $1.5 million to support new construction including the Sybil Shearer Studio on Ragdale’s Lake Forest campus. The new construction is scheduled to open in 2021.

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MSF Names Alida Szabo New Board Chair Replacing Carol Doty

SHAYNE BULLEN Named New Vice Chair

For a PDF of the Press Release, click here.

The Morrison-Shearer Foundation (MSF) has named ALIDA SZABO as its new Board Chair, succeeding CAROL DOTY who, after retiring from the Morton Arboretum, joined the MSF Board in 2002 and has served as its Chair since 2006.

“Carol is leaving some big shoes to fill, but having served on the Foundation Board prior to and throughout her tenure I come to this position with a thorough knowledge of where the Foundation has been and appreciation of its vision for the future,” says Szabo.

During Doty’s tenure, a significant portion of the Morrison and Shearer archives, including photos, costumes, programs and artifacts were placed in the NEWBERRY LIBRARY; and the Morrison films were placed in the CHICAGO FILM ARCHIVES. In addition, the Foundation published Shearer’s three-volume autobiography, “Without Wings the Way Is Steep,” and produced numerous public programs.

A tribute to Shearer and Morrison, the Foundation recently established a new partnership with the RAGDALE FOUNDATION through a gift of $1.5 million to support new construction including the Sybil Shearer Studio on Ragdale’s Lake Forest campus. The new construction is scheduled to open in 2021.

As Director of Audience Development, Alida Szabo led Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s marketing, advertising, and media relations, from 1998 through her retirement in 2018. Her 20-year tenure at the Tony Award-winning theater included the opening of a 500-seat courtyard-style facility on Navy Pier in 1999, and the 2017 launch of the neighboring theater, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, one of the most flexible theater venues in the world with audience capacities ranging from 150 -850. Prior to joining Chicago Shakespeare, Szabo was a consultant in program development, marketing, and media services for such clients as Walt Disney’s Theatrical Division and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. She also served as a panelist and advisor for National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, Chicago Cultural Center Foundation, and the Chicago Dance Coalition. She spent seven seasons at The Goodman Theatre, served two Chicago mayors and was associated with several of Chicago’s prominent off-loop theater groups, including MoMing Dance and Arts Center and St. Nicholas Theater Company. Szabo holds a Master Degree in Urban Affairs from Roosevelt University.

SHAYNE BULLEN has also been named Vice Chair of the Morrison-Shearer Foundation Board. As Vice Chair she joins the Executive Committee which includes Board Secretary Mary Sue Wheeler and Treasurer Brian Schaeffer. Bullen, a former dancer with the Sybil Shearer Company, is a former educator and high school administrator and current small business owner. In her role as an educator, she developed the Dance Education Curriculum at Schaumburg High School, was the Orchesis [Dance] Director at Prospect High School and the District 214 Dance Show Director for one season. As an administrator from 2003 – 2017, she served as high school Activities Director. Bullen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Roosevelt University.

The Board of Trustees Executive Committee is rounded out by the continuing service of Mary Sue Wheeler as Secretary and Brian Schaeffer as Treasurer.

Newsletter “Sharing the Legacy”

The Morrison-Shearer Foundation Newsletter, "Sharing the Legacy", highlights the events and programs of the past year. Click here to download the latest issue of "Sharing the Legacy: News from the Morrison-Shearer Foundation 2020".

For current and past issues, click here.

Join our mailing list  to receive our annual newsletter.

Covered entrances to the Dance Studio on the right and the Composers’ Studio on the left.

The Sybil Shearer Studio at Ragdale

DECEMBER, 2020

After several years of working closely with the Ragdale Foundation, the Sybil Shearer Studio at Ragdale is underway in Lake Forest. The MSF gift of 1.5 million dollars is significant at a time when arts funding is floundering, and makes it possible for the development of both the dance studio and an adjacent composer's studio. Woodhouse-Tinucci Architects and Goldberg General Contracting are hard at work, and we expect the Studio to open in the Fall of 2021. As part of the Ragdale artists’ community, it will provide an inspiring space for new creativity in dance and movement – a living legacy of Sybil Shearer and Helen Balfour Morrison. For more information, click here.

A documentary film committee, chaired by Liz Kidera, has commissioned Bob Hercules and Media Process Group (MPG) to create a short film about the work of Sybil, Helen, and the dance studios. It will premier as part of the opening of the new Sybil Shearer Dance Studio at Ragdale, Fall of 2021.

Sybil Shearer Autobiography, Volume III

NOVEMBER, 2020

The publication of Volume III of Sybil Shearer’s autobiography, Without Wings the Way Is Steep: The Reality Beyond Realism, is another major project that was finished this year. This volume is about Sybil’s later years alone in Northbrook (1985-2004) as critic, writer, and Anthroposophist. In it, her two worlds — dance and Anthroposophy — are melded through reflections, reviews, and three extraordinary correspondences: with Ballet Review editor Francis Mason, Waldorf educator and astronomer Norman Davidson, and biodynamic farmer and eurythmist Marjorie Spock. Also important is her connection with John Neumeier, former student and longtime director of the Hamburg Ballet. With this volume, Sybil’s autobiography is complete, revealing her genius as thinker, modern dance pioneer, spiritual seeker, writer, friend, and warm human being. One reader’s comment was, “What a third act!”

Sybil with Carol at Carol’s retirement from the Morton Arboretum in 1998.

Leaving Her Own Legacy, Carol Doty Retires

DECEMBER, 2020

After serving MSF as a Trustee since 2002 and Chair since 2006, it is poignant to be making my last report to you before my retirement at the end of this year. I met Sybil in 1993, not through dance, but through our mutual interest in Jens Jensen and The Clearing, his Wisconsin school where Sybil took her dancers in the 1940s and where I had volunteered since 1972. When we met there, I had no idea that it would lead to a quarter century of such rich opportunities and friendships. It has truly been a joy and a privilege.

Let me leave you with these thoughts, so crucial at this moment in history:  “Arts are infrastructure, as surely as roads, schools and hospitals are. They make life meaningful. They enrich our existence. They deserve our support.”

Dr. Wendy Castenell and Dr. Amy M. Mooney

Newberry Library Fellowships

APRIL, 2020

Two Newberry Library Fellowships were funded by MSF for a study in 2021. The Newberry has presented the project as “The Edifying and Elusive Gestures of Great Americans,” an examination of Helen Balfour Morrison’s “Great Americans” portraits. Goals for this research include being featured in two publications, such as the peer-reviewed Archives of American Art Journal, to re-introduce Morrison’s contributions to a broader public, and to consider the potential to develop a larger exhibition project.

Two recipients have been announced. Dr. Wendy Castenell is Assistant Professor of African American Art in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Alabama. Her additional goals include exploring evidence about the reception of Morrison’s works, and beginning to place her and her photographs within the larger context of contemporary female photographers engaged in documenting regional populations. She will also consider the way the early photographic series straddled the line between traditional portraiture and the particular concerns of Modernism.

Read more

Newberry Library Fellowships

APRIL, 2020

Two Newberry Library Fellowships were funded by MSF for a study in 2021. The Newberry has presented the project as “The Edifying and Elusive Gestures of Great Americans,” an examination of Helen Balfour Morrison’s “Great Americans” portraits. Goals for this research include being featured in two publications, such as the peer-reviewed Archives of American Art Journal, to re-introduce Morrison’s contributions to a broader public, and to consider the potential to develop a larger exhibition project.

Two recipients have been announced. Dr. Wendy Castenell is Assistant Professor of African American Art in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Alabama. Her additional goals include exploring evidence about the reception of Morrison’s works, and beginning to place her and her photographs within the larger context of contemporary female photographers engaged in documenting regional populations. She will also consider the way the early photographic series straddled
the line between traditional portraiture and the particular concerns of Modernism.

Dr. Amy M. Mooney  is an Associate Professor at Columbia College Chicago. She intends also to explore ways that exhibitions of the “Great Americans” portraits may have been used to promote a broader understanding of American identity, a central theme in her forthcoming book, Portraits of Noteworthy Character: Negotiating a Collective American Identity.

Her publications include a monograph, Archibald J. Motley, Jr., as well as contributions to anthologies and catalogs including Beyond Face: New Perspectives in Portraiture (2018). She is a recipient of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Terra Foundation for American Art. In collaboration with Dr. Deborah Willis, she recently launched a digital humanities project, “Say It with Pictures” Then and Now that recovers and examines Chicago’s African American photographers from the 1890s into the 1930s. While serving as the 2019-2020 Terra Foundation Visiting Professor of American Art at Oxford University, she delivered Regarding the Portrait, a four-part lecture series that draws from her forthcoming book, Portraits of Noteworthy Character: Negotiating a Collective American Identity, which investigates the social function of portraiture.

MSF Launches a New Website

NOVEMBER, 2020

Another longtime project is the new MSF website, launched in November, 2020, thanks to our graphic designer, Amy Jeppsen Stern, along with Carol Doty, Sue Boléa, and Corinne Pierog. Besides calling attention to current Foundation activities, the site is intentionally deep in content about Sybil, Helen, and their legacies. Until now, research information about them has been hard to find, something that has begun to change now that Sybil’s three-volume autobiography is complete and all archives are in the Newberry Library and Chicago Film Archives.

The best thing about the new website is that it is online and immediately accessible, offering both introductory and in-depth information with lots of photographs, links to other sites, and, eventually, film clips. We hope you’ll let us know what you think of it. Explore, share, and enjoy!   

Corinne Pierog, Amy Jeppsen Stern and Carol Doty having a little fun while working on the MSF website via Zoom.

Our People

DECEMBER, 2020

More than once in its evolution, the Morrison-Shearer Foundation has been fortunate to have just the right person appear with the very talents we need at that moment. In November, 2011, we were nearing the end of our five-year Strategic Plan and needed to find a new Foundation Manager. We engaged Executive Service Corps to help us, and among their interviewees, we deemed one a perfect match. With her own company, Sustainable Leadership Solutions, and a superb history of work with non-profits, we knew we wanted her. But would she commute all the way from St.Charles to Northbrook? Not a problem. Distance would not deter CORINNE PIEROG from a job she expected to love!

And love it, she has. As Executive Director, she’s been central to everything we do. She was all-in from the beginning —professionalizing internal processes, learning deeply about Sybil and Helen, familiarizing herself with the archives, managing our facilities, working with volunteers, providing Trustees with the tools and information we need, and more. And her outgoing and caring personality has created warm relationships for MSF within the dance and art communities.

Read more

More than once in its evolution, the Morrison-Shearer Foundation has been fortunate to have just the right person appear with the very talents we need at that moment. In November, 2011, we were nearing the end of our five-year Strategic Plan and needed to find a new Foundation Manager. We engaged Executive Service Corps to help us, and among their interviewees, we deemed one a perfect match. With her own company, Sustainable Leadership Solutions, and a superb history of work with non-profits, we knew we wanted her. But would she commute all the way from St.Charles to Northbrook? Not a problem. Distance would not deter CORINNE PIEROG from a job she expected to love!

And love it, she has. As Executive Director, she’s been central to everything we do. She was all-in from the beginning —professionalizing internal processes, learning deeply about Sybil and Helen, familiarizing herself with the archives, managing our facilities, working with volunteers, providing Trustees with the tools and information we need, and more. And her outgoing and caring personality has created warm relationships for MSF within the dance and art communities.

As you can imagine, it is with mixed feelings that we announce Corinne’s recent election as Kane County Board Chair — a big job worthy of her talents. We sincerely congratulate her, but we sure hate to see her go!

Another example of our good fortune is AMY JEPPSEN STERN. In 2012 we were looking for a graphic designer when Trustee Alida Szabo suggested Amy, whom she had worked with at Chicago Shakespeare. We were surprised to learn that Amy lived just a stone’s throw from the Foundation and was available on call. We soon “adopted” her as our resident designer — a person fun to work with and who seems to intuit our wishes for whatever design we need.

In 2013 we began producing “Sharing the Legacy,” our annual pictorial newsletter, and Amy gradually amassed a large picture file to work from. Annual Holiday cards seem to come around fast, as do flyers for various events. Amy’s most unusual creation may be the pair of large display banners that attract attention at special events. By far the most complex design challenge has been the new MSF webpage, soon to be launched. In it Amy has done a great job of organizing a huge amount of information written by staff into an attractive and welcoming site — a work in progress to be continuously refined and updated.

As the Foundation moves forward into new and exciting directions, you’ll continue to see Amy’s work, as she’s become an essential and esteemed member of the MSF team.

Carrie Chapman Catt

From the MSF Archives — Portraits from Helen Balfour Morrison's ”Great Americans” Collection

FEBRUARY, 2020

In preparing to send our gift of Helen Balfour Morrison’s portraits of GREAT AMERICANS to the Newberry Library, we found negatives from which we’d never seen prints. Among them was this photograph of Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947), who played an essential role in gaining the right of women to vote. Just now, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of passing the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, it’s serendipitous to discover this photograph!

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucretia Mott started the movement for women’s vote in Seneca Falls NY in 1848, an effort that ebbed and flowed over the years until 1890, when several separate organizations finally merged as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). With Stanton and Anthony advancing in age, Catt, with her long history in suffrage efforts, was asked to step in as President in 1900. She left in 1904 to care for her dying husband and to start still more suffrage and peace organizations before returning to the presidency of NAWSA in 1915. There her extraordinary gifts as orator, organizer, and dynamic leader were central in the drive to final victory. This photograph of Catt was taken at the Palmer House in Chicago ca. 1933.

Morrison also photographed Jane Addams (1860-1935), of Hull House, and a dozen more notable women working at this time in social reform, juvenile justice, higher education, and supporting philanthropies.

Liesl Olson, Jessica Friedman, and Carol Doty.

Newberry Library visits The Foundation in Northbrook

NOVEMBER 13, 2019

On November 13 MSF was pleased to welcome two new visitors, Liesl Olson, Director of Chicago Studies at the Newberry, and Jessica Friedman, PhD student at Northwestern University. Both are planning to publish work that includes Sybil Shearer-- Friedman as part of her dissertation, and Olson as part of a book about Chicago dance – and were interested in gaining an overview of Sybil’s life and work. Olson is the author of Chicago Renaissance: Literature and Art in the Midwest Metropolis (Yale Press, 2017) and Modernist and the Ordinary (Oxford University Press 2009). Exciting prospects!

Carol Doty and Scott Mehaffey.

Helen Balfour Morrison’s Mies van der Rohe portrait gifted to Farnsworth House

JULY 10, 2019

On July 10, a digitally remastered print of Helen Balfour Morrison’s iconic portrait of Mies van der Rohe was gifted to the famed Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois. Presented by MSF Trustee Chair Carol Doty to Scott Mehaffey, Executive Director of the Farnsworth House, it will be displayed in the Farnsworth Visitor Center. The house, built in 1949-1951 in the international style, is one of the world’s most widely recognized and studied structures of the 20th century, visited annually by thousands of architecture students and professionals for whom the house is an international pilgrimage site. Architect Philip Johnson commissioned this portrait for his monograph of the Museum of Modern Art’s 1947 exhibition of Mies’ work. Oddly, Morrison was not credited for the photo until 2016, when it was discovered on a visit to MoMA by MSF.

MSF Trustees and staff at the exhibition.

“The Legacy of Chicago Dance” exhibition opens

APRIL 2019 , THE NEWBERRY LIBRARY OF CHICAGO

“The Legacy of Chicago Dance” opened in April in the Newberry Library’s newly renovated first floor exhibition area, displaying the wide range of the Library’s dance holdings. While it focuses on Chicago and Midwest dance history, the collection’s reach is international. Sybil was well represented by photographs and a stunning costume from the Shearer Collection, gifted to the Newberry by MSF.

Ella Rosewood, Melissa Thodos, Jan Bartoszek, and Hedy Weiss.

Preservation, Tradition and Innovation from Sybil Shearer through the Present

JUNE 13, 2019, THE NEWBERRY LIBRARY OF CHICAGO

MSF and the Newberry co-sponsored the well-attended “Preservation, Tradition, and Innovation from Sybil Shearer through the Present” on June 13. Moderated by Hedy Weiss, noted performing arts critic for Chicago and national media, the program featured three panelists with film highlights.

Panelists were Jan Bartoszek, founder and artistic director of Hedwig Dances; Melissa Thodos, of Thodos Dance Chicago, and Ella Rosewood, who lives and works in New York City. All have recreated Shearer dances — Hedwig in 2012 at the Winnetka Community House, and Thodos in 2013 at the University of Chicago and 2014 at the Auditorium Theatre.

Rosewood’s “Seminal Solos” project includes re-creations of dances of historic dancers, her latest being “Eighth Dance,” premiered by Sybil at Carnegie Hall in 1949, and performed by Ella at the 92nd Street Y in New York in 2018. Interestingly, some of Sybil’s early New York concerts up to 1946 were held in that same Y.

Nancy Watrous, Chicago Film Archives.

The Morrison-Shearer Archives

SPRING 2019

This year all of our major archives were placed in institutions where they will be cared for and be accessible for study. The Helen Balfour Morrison Collection and the Sybil Shearer Collection were gifted to the NEWBERRY LIBRARY and were featured in The Newberry Magazine, Spring/Summer 2019 issue. The Morrison Collection contains hundreds of portraits of “Great Americans,” Chicagoans, and African-Americans in rural Kentucky hamlets, as well as Helen’s papers.

The Shearer Collection includes concert programs, correspondence, memorabilia, costumes, and hundreds of photos of Sybil, both formal and informal, taken by Morrison over their forty-year artistic collaboration. Newberry staff are pleased to have both collections, preserving the interconnectedness of the careers and lives of these two modernist women.

The Morrison-Shearer Film Collection has been placed with CHICAGO FILM ARCHIVES, where for more than ten years MSF films and sound recordings have been carefully restored and preserved. Nancy Watrous of CFA has been a superb partner, seeking grants and opportunities for showing our films.

Read more

The Morrison Shearer Archives

SPRING 2019

This year all of our major archives were placed in institutions where they will be cared for and be accessible for study. The Helen Balfour Morrison Collection and the Sybil Shearer Collection were gifted to the NEWBERRY LIBRARY and were featured in The Newberry Magazine, Spring/Summer 2019 issue. The Morrison Collection contains hundreds of portraits of “Great Americans,” Chicagoans, and African-Americans in rural Kentucky hamlets, as well as Helen’s papers.

The Shearer Collection includes concert programs, correspondence, memorabilia, costumes, and hundreds of photos of Sybil, both formal and informal, taken by Morrison over their forty-year artistic collaboration. Newberry staff are pleased to have both collections, preserving the interconnectedness of the careers and lives of these two modernist women.

The Morrison-Shearer Film Collection has been placed with CHICAGO FILM ARCHIVES, where for more than ten years MSF films and sound recordings have been carefully restored and preserved. Nancy Watrous of CFA has been a superb partner, seeking grants and opportunities for showing our films.

With her work done, our ARCHIVIST, TRACY GOLDBERG (right), retired at the end of September. How fortunate MSF was when she answered its ad on VolunteerMatch.org eight years ago! She came with related experience and soon became MSF’s archivist. She and her husband have moved to Boulder, Colorado.