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Williamson Family Papers

Identifier: D037


This collections contains the records of the Williamson Family and the dance school Maxine inherited from Lillian Cushing. This collection contains photos, music scores, memorabilia, programs, correspondence, writings, and more. Contents relate to the Williamson family as well as Lillian Cushing and Martha Faure Carson.


  • 1910-1990

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright not evaluated: The copyright and related rights status of this Item has not been evaluated. Please refer to the organization that has made the Item available for more information. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. See:

Biographical / Historical

Waldo Williamson was born in Longmont, CO on October 1, 1094. He graduated from Rocky Ford High School in 1923 and went on to attend multiple music schools including Denver Conservatory of Music 1925-1929, Lamont School of Music 1929-1930 (BM), University of Denver 1929-1932 (BA), and Eastman School of Music 1932-1933 (MA). He worked at the Denver Conservatory which later became the Lamont School of Music from 1927-1932, 1936-1938, and 1945-1969. Between 1942-1943 he worked in NYC as a copyist for Radio and Stage Shows.

Maxine Williamson, nee Maxine Lower, was a dancer who started her career in New York City. She appeared as a guest artist with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1934 with the stage name Alita Duncan. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, she joined the Lillian Cushing School of Dancing as an instructor in Denver. She went on to take over the studio from Lillian Cushing, changing the name to the Maxine Williamson School of Dancing. In Denver, she choreographed for her school, Central City Opera, and Denver Post productions. She passed away in 1998 at the age of 89.

Karen was a Denver native who trained with Lillian Cushing and started as a soloist with the Denver Civic Ballet. She moved to New York City and became a professional dancer with companies including American Ballet Theatre.

Martha Faure Carson was born in 1900. She was associated with the Lillian Cushing School of the Dance for much of her life as an instructor in ballet and ballroom and later as Lillian’s administrative assistant. She served as director of dance performances in Denver and Central City. In 1972 when she passed away, the Martha Faure Carson Library was created in her honor. The library continues today as The Dance Archive.

Lillian Cushing McFarlane, born in 1900, began teaching dance at age 14. In 1922, she founded her own School of the Dance in Denver. She was well known for the rigorous ballet teachings with many successful students. In 1932, Lillian Cushing was chosen as choreographer for Central City Opera. She served as choreographer until 1968. She also choreographed pieces for the Denver Post Opera and the Denver Opera Association. In 1942 her own work “The Ballet of Miracles” with music by Waldo Williamson, was performed by the Denver Symphony. Lillian married Frederick McFarlane, son of the owner of the Central City Opera House, in 1950. She passed away in 1975.


8.75 Linear Feet (8 containers)

Scope and Contents

The Williamson Family Papers Collection consists of 7 boxes and 1 container. Boxes 1 and 2 contain items from Waldo Williamson (1904-1996), professor emeritus at the Lamont School of Music. Waldo Williamson’s materials include the script (by DU Journalism Professor Russell Porter), piano score and orchestra parts for the Porter-Williamson folk opera, "Silverheels" (ca. May, 1954), as well as a various drafts and typescripts for Williamson's book: "The Structure of Homophonic Music" (1962-1969, 1987). Box 6 also contains some items relating to Waldo Williamson including a single 33 1/3 rpm recording and musical score for "Passacaille for Solo Woodwinds and Band" by Willilam T. Gower (possibly a student of Waldo Williamson) and other fragments of music generated by Waldo Williamson and his students (ca.1950's-1970's). The remaining boxes (3-7) contain an assortment of intermixed dance and family related photographs, programs, music, newspaper clippings, correspondence, video tapes, clothing accessories etc. (1910-1998) related to the performing and teaching careers of Karen Lowell Williamson (1941-2007), her mother: Maxine Lower Williamson (1908-1998), Denver ballet teacher: Lillian Cushing McFarlane (1901-1975) and her associate: Martha Faure Carson (1900-1972). Finally, container 8 includes a poster for the Maxine Williamson School of Dance.


This collection is arranged by owner of content and then chronologically.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428