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Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin papers

Identifier: 09515

Scope and Contents

These papers document Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin's interest in dance, dance notation, and dance history. They also demonstrate her professional relationships throughout the dance community, professional dance organizations, and with antiquarian book dealers. Much of this collection documents Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin's book collecting activities, including antiquarian book dealer catalogs, book lists, correspondence, invoices, notes, and exhibit labels. These materials document not only the antiquarian book trade, but also the provenance of materials in the Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin Dance Collection at Penn State. Materials documenting Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin's interest in dance studies and the professional dance studies community include correspondence, marketing materials, news articles, newsletters, performance programs, and copies of the conference proceedings for the Society of Dance History Scholars.

This collection also includes a small number of subject files relating to Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin's involvement with the Grolier Club, the oldest existing bibliophe club in North America, and with Penn State University as both an alumnus and donor. The files relating to the Grolier Club include correspondence, exhibit laters, meeting information, and copies of the exhibition catalogs Dancing by the Book and Four Hundred Years of Dance Notation. This collection also includes Mrs. Malkin's subject files on her relationship to Penn State University as both a donor and alumna.


  • Creation: 1933-2005
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1985-2005

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies of original materials may be made available for research purposes at the discretion of the Eberly Family Special Collections Library. Photocopies or reproductions of original materials may be subject to fees as outlined by the Pennsylvania State University Libraries reproduction policies.

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Patrons seeking advice on the availability of unpublished materials for publication should consult relevant copyright law and laws of libel.

Custodial History

This material was created and compiled by Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin. This collection was transferred to Pennsylvania State University by her estate following her death in 2005 and 2018.

Processing Information

Lexy deGraffenreid minimally processed this collection using the Hybrid Arrangement and Description Workflow in spring 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She separated materials containing Personal Identifiable Information (PII) so that the collection could be openned for research (it had been closed to researchers due to the presence of PII). She also identified and separated non-archival information. She foldered loose materials and rehoused material in degrading or untitled folders. Due to the lack of original folder titles, she chiefly supplied titles for folders. Due to the lack of original order, she imposed a broadly topical physical and intellectual arrangement. This collection was processed at a higher-level due to the highly specialized nature of the collection and was inventoried at a box level based on these overarching groupings of materials.


7 Linear Feet (Housed in 7 Paige boxes)


Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin was an Altoona native, Penn State alumna, Penn State donor, and collection of antiquarian books relating to dance, dance history, and dance notation. This collection documents her book collecting, antiquarian book dealer catalogs, interest in dance and dance notation history, and relationship with the Grolier Club and Penn State University. This collection includes antiquarian book dealer catalogs, correspondence, clippings, marketing materials, exhibition programs, and other materials.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Penn State University Libraries catalog via the link above. Archival collections may be housed in offsite storage. For materials stored offsite, please allow 2-3 business days for retrieval.

Biographical / Historical

Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin (1913-2005) was born in Altoona Pennsylvania. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1937 and briefly married Donald Woodward Lee, a Penn State instructor. She married Sol M. Malkin, editor and later owner of Antiquarian Bookman, a weekly news magazie and source for information about antiquarian bookdealing and library conventions. Mary Ann Malkin worked as an administrative assistant, copy editor, and book reviewer for the magazine.

After Sol Malkin sold the magazine in 1972, the couple jointly received the Clarence Day Award of the American Library Association. Sol Markin passed away in March 1986. Mary Ann Malkin established the Malkin lecture (later the Sol M. and Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin Lecture in Bibliography) at Columbia University in 1985, later transfering with the Rare Book School to the University of Virginia.

Mary An Malkin supported the Rare Book School and funded the New Scholars Program of the Bibliographical Society of America from 1999-2004. She also supported several dance groups and societies, including the American Dance Guild.

Mary Ann and Sol Malkin began collecting antiquarian books chiefly related to dance history and dance notation after they sold the magazine in 1972. Selections from their dance collection were exhibited at the Grolier Club, the oldest bibliophile organization in the United States, in 1986 and at Harvard University's Houghton Library in 1987, and at the Grolier Club in 2002. In 2003, she published Dancing by the Book: A Catalogue of Books, 1531-1804, in the Collection of Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin. She donated her book collection to Penn State in 2003. In order to support continued book collecting in dance history and research, she also established the Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin Program Endowment for Rare Books and Manuscripts at Penn State.

Related Materials

Books donated by Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin are available in the catalog under the collection "Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin Dance Collection, 1531-1804."

Separated Materials

During processing, Lexy degraffenreid removed and securely destroyed approximately 0.5 linear foot of material containing Personal Identifiable Information (PII) such as checks, banking information, and health information. Lexy deGraffenreid also separated and discarded approximately 2.5 linear feet of duplicate materials and material deemed non-archival such as manterials relating to the cardgame bridge, travel receipts, widely published maps, household manuals, generic solicitations, and widely published books unconnected to dance studies, dance notation, or antiquities.

Guide to the Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin papers
Compiled by Lexy deGraffenreid
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Eberly Family Special Collections Library Repository

104 Paterno Library
Penn State University
University Park 16802 USA