Claire Holt was born in Riga, Latvia in 1901. She served as a reporter for the The
New York World, publishing dance reviews. She traveled to Indonesia in 1930, where
she studied dance, working with the anthropologist Willem Stutterheim and then
assisting the Swedish dance archivist and patron Rolf de Mare with his photo and
film documentation of Indonesian dance. She returned to the U.S. and served as a
research assistant to Margaret Mead, as a research analyst for the Office of
Strategic Services, and as a foreign affairs specialist for the State Department.
She then came to Cornell University, where in 1962, she helped found the Modern