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Sage Cowles papers

Identifier: PA121

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains materials related Cowles' work with the Bill T. Jones, Molly Davies, and the Wisconsin Dance Troupe. The collection includes video recordings, posters, clippings, articles, and interviews.


  • 1945-2005

Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open and available for use by researchers in the Andersen Library Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright is retained by the copyright holders.

Historical Note

Born Jane Sage Fuller in 1925, Sage Cowles was a dancer, arts advocate, and philanthropist who lived and worked in the Twin Cities. She studied dance at the School of American Ballet in New York, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Art History in 1947. While attending the University of Wisconsin, she formed the touring Wisconsin Dance Group with Mary Hinkson, Matt Turney, and Miriam Cole. After graduatnig, Cowles pursued a career as a dancer, appearing in the Broadway musical "Bless You All" and on the television series "Lucky Strike Hit Parade." In 1952 she married John Cowles Jr, owner of the Star Tribune newspaper and fellow arts philanthropist. The couple moved to Minneapolis and began a legacy of advocacy and fundraising for Twin Cities arts organizations. During this time, Sage Cowles continued to dance occasionally with the Nancy Hauser dance troupe, and became active in dance therapy in the 1970s. She is also known for collaborating with dancers such as Merce Cunningham and Bill T. Jones, with visual artists such as Suzanne Lacey, and with Saint Paul filmaker Molly Davies.


2 boxes


Collection contains audio and video recordings, production notes, programs, flyers, writings by Sage Cowles, and articles about Sage Cowles.

Physical Location


Additional Finding Aid

An unpublished finding aid with detailed lists of contents is available in the archives.


The collection was donated to the Performing Arts Archives by Sage Cowles in June 2013.

Related Material

Related collections at the University of Minnesota Libraries include: Minnesota Dance Pioneers Oral History Project (PA117).

Interviews with Sage Cowles can be viewed University of Minnesota Libraries digital UMedia Archive collection:

Processing Information

The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Christine Avery and Kathryn Hujda, 2014, with generous support from Creative Heritage Initiative donors.

Sage Cowles papers
Kathryn Hujda
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Performing Arts Archives Collecting Area