The Mary Desti Collection focuses on the dancer Isadora Duncan. Materials include
incoming correspondence from or relating to Duncan, photographs, ephemera, clippings,
programs, artifacts and a scrapbook of newspaper clippings. Mary Desti was Duncan's close
friend and biographer.
Mary Desti (1871-1931) left Chicago for Paris in 1901 with her year-old son Preston
Sturges. In Paris, she met and befriended dancer and choreographer Isadora Duncan. Desti
undertook various enterprises in Europe, including a cosmetic business. She frequently
accompanied Duncan in her travels, and occasionally Duncan lived with her. Duncan was
staying with Desti in Nice at the time of her sudden death in an automobile accident on
September 14, 1927.
Number of containers: 2 boxes, 1 flat box
Linear feet: 1.25
Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by
the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish,
please contact the Head of Special Collections and University Archives.
Collection is open for research. Researchers must use microfilm or photocopies of fragile
restricted items in boxes 3 and 4.