Maya Deren Collection of Haitian Vodou Recordings
Scope and Content
The collection consists of 16 reels of sound recording tape. The contents include music from vodou ceremonials and rituals, such as baptisms, ceremonies of possession, drums, and specific celebrations to Agassou, Damballah, Erzulie, Ghede, Ibo, Petro.
- Creation: 1947-1954
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1953-1954
- Deren, Maya. (Person)
Language of Materials
The George A. Smathers Libraries are unable to provide access to the physical recordings; however, digital reproductions are available via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC).
Maya Deren (1917-1961) was born Eleanora Derenkowskaia in Kiev, Ukraine. She belonged to a Jewish family who moved to Syracuse, New York in order to escape anti-Semitism. Shortly after, her father shortened the family name to Deren. After making her first film Meshes of the Afternoon with Alexander Hammid, Deren changed her first name to Maya, meaning "illusion."
Deren's source of inspiration for ritual dance came from editing Katherine Dunham's master's thesis on Haitian dances in 1939. She first visited Haiti in September 1947, after she divorced her second husband Alexandr Hackenschmied. In 1954, she went on three additional trips to Haiti in order to document and record the rituals of Haitian Vodou.
During her time in Haiti, Deren filmed 18,000 feet of Vodou rituals; she recorded and photographed many hours of Vodou ritual, and also participated in ceremonies.
Recordings of Vodou ceremonies made by Maya Deren during her trips to Haiti.
University of Florida Smathers Library Building
- A Guide to the Maya Deren Collection of Haitian Vodou Recordings
- Finding aid created by Wondy Joseph
- October 2015
- Description rules
- Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is written in English.
Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository
George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America