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Finding Aid of the Gladys Ryland papers

Finding aid prepared by Philip Meyer and Rebecca Hirsch, 2011 August

Summary Information

USC Libraries Special Collections
Ryland, Gladys
Gladys Ryland papers
Collection no.
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1930-1945
Date [inclusive]
4.13 Linear feet, 8 boxes
Materials pertaining to group dances collected by the social worker Gladys Ryland in the 1930s and 1940s.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder# or item name], Gladys Ryland papers, Collection no. 0186, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

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Biographical Note

Gladys Ryland was born on June 30, 1900 in Pine Bluff, North Carolina to Henry and Effie Ryland and grew up in the coal towns of Western Pennsylvania. Interested in the connection between physical activity and morale, she began studying physical education in Battle Creek, Michigan. She moved to New York in 1921, where she earned her certificate in physical education in 1923 and moved to Chicago, where she taught classes in sports and dance to women at the YWCA in the Loop. After stints at YWCAs in Manchester, New Hampshire, and Buffalo, New York, she returned to New York City in 1927, where she earned a B.S. in education from New York University.

Ryland returned to Chicago in 1931 to work as the Health Education Director at the West Side YWCA. She continued, as she would for most of her life, to teach classes in sports and dance. In 1937, she joined the faculty of Western Reserve University's School of Applied Social Sciences and then moved to the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, eventually becoming an assistant professor and earning a master's degree in education in the Graduate School of Education. In Pittsburgh, Ryland began to work seriously on developing a theory of group work. In 1949, she and Gertrude Wilson published their seminal work, the textbook Social Work Group Practice. In 1950, she moved to Tulane University, where she continued to teach and conduct group work in the community.

In 1965, Ryland retired to the mountains of Northern California with her lifelong friend, Ms. Wilson. She passed away on April 3, 1980.

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Scope and Content

This collection contains the papers of Gladys Ryland. These papers include sheet music, periodicals, manuscripts of Ms. Ryland's academic writing, books, booklets, scrapbook pages, and photographs. There is also a small set of index cards with sheet music and choreographic descriptions and illustrations for various dances and dance productions. Though Ryland had earned degrees in education and was a social worker by trade, most of the collection relates directly to dance, which she used extensively in her practice of group social work.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

USC Libraries Special Collections
2011 August
Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, California, 90089-0189

Conditions Governing Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

The collection contains published materials; researchers are reminded of the copyright restrictions imposed by publishers on reusing their articles and parts of books. It is the responsibility of researchers to acquire permission from publishers when reusing such materials. The copyright to unpublished materials belongs to the heirs of the writers. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.


Donated by Gladys Ryland.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

A list of the published items removed from this collection is attached to its accession record. These items can now be found in USC's online public access catalog, Homer.

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Manuscripts
  • Periodicals
  • Photographs
  • Sheet music

Personal Name(s)

  • Ryland, Gladys -- Archives


  • Dance--Archival resources
  • Music and dance--Archival resources
  • Social group work--United States--20th century--Archival resources
  • Social group work--United States--Archival resources
  • Social work education--United States--Archival resources
  • Women social workers--United States--Archival resources

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

 Bach Sheet Music 

1 1

 Bennington College Bulletin 1936 

1 2

 Bennington School of the Arts 

1 3-4


1 5

 Collected Writings of Gladys Ryland 

1 6-7

 Dance - Ballet 

1 8

 Dance - Dance Group History 

2 1-2

 Dance - Dido and Aneas 

2 3

 Dance - Duncan, Isadora 

2 4

 Dance - Dunham, Katherine 

2 5

 Dance - Graham, Martha 

2 6

 Dance - Holm, Hayna 

2 7

 Dance - Humphrey - Wiedman 

2 8

 Dance - Israel 

2 9

 Dance - Joos 

2 10

 Dance - Jose Limón 

2 11

 Dance - Kreutzberg, Harold 

2 12

 Dance - Mansfield, Perry 

2 13

 Dance - Modern Dance and Music 

2 14

 Dance - Music 

2 15

 Dance - Office Workers Dance Group 

2 16

 Dance - Outline of Dances 

2 17

 Dance - Pictures & Ideas 

3 1

 Dance - Programs 

3 2

 Dance - St. Denis, Ruth 

3 3

 Dance - Shan Kar 

3 4

 Dance - Shawn, Ted 

3 5

 Dance - Trudi Schoop 

3 6

 Dance - Wigman, Mary 

3 7

 Dance - Younger Dancers Group 

3 8

 Dance in History 

3 9

 Dances With Songs I 

3 10-11

 Dancing - Indian (American) 

3 12

 English Fold Dance Music [Manuscript] 

3 13

 Folk Dance Festival 1937 

3 14

 Folk Dances 

3 15

 Folk Songs and Dances 

3 16

 Gladys Ryland - Photographs Childhood & Youth 

4 1

 Gladys Ryland - Writings 1930-70 Bibliography 1930-1970 

4 2

 Group & Couple Dances 

4 3-4

 Group Dances - Circle, Longways 

4 5

 Group Dances - Square Dances 

4 6

 Let's Lead 

5 7

 Manuscript Music Boko - Kilpatrick 2 

4 8

 Music & Dance 

4 8-9

 NASW Oral History Project Transcript 1978 August 

5 1

 Prospectus of Taylor Thesis with Biographical Material 

5 2

 Pre-Classic Dance Forums 

5 3

 Retirement Correspondence 1965 

5 4

 Ryland - Biographical Materials 

5 5

 Ryland - Biographical Materials Photographs 

5 6

 Ryland - Chapters of Biography, Correspondence, Misc. Papers 

5 7


5 8-10


6 1

 Songs and Dances - Trades and Occupations 

6 2

 Ryland Scrapbook Photo Pages 


 Index Cards 


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