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Mary Martha Lappe Papers

Identifier: 2019-023

This collection contains approximately 5 linear feet, dating from approximately 1940-2012, of correspondence, news clippings, photographs, awards and other archival records related the life and career of dancer and dance instructor Mary Martha Lappe. It documents her early career in academic dance programs at James Madison University, LSU, and UH, and as founder and director of the dance program at High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA). The collection contains documentation of the HSPVA’s capital campaign and plans for the new building that is now the Kinder HSPVA. It includes writings by and about Lappe (including speeches) and documents her early life, family, and marriage.


  • approximately 1940-2012


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5 linear feet

Biographical Information

Mary Martha Lappe was serving as chairwoman of the University of Houston dance studio when she was asked to help launch the High School for The Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) in 1971. The original plan for the Meyerland resident was to take a one-year leave of absence from the UH. Instead, her association with HSPVA extended to more than 40 years. Lappe was chairwoman of the HSPVA Dance Department for 25 years. In 1997, she became executive director of HSPVA FRIENDS, a nonprofit organization that raised $8 million in private support for the school and its students, including $1.6 million in scholarships. She retired in May 2012 and has worked 52 years in public education. Excerpted from a Houston Chronicle article “Retired educator: Arts, Academics Mix” by Paul M. Kopenkoskey (

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections Repository

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
MD Anderson Library
4333 University Drive
Houston TX 77204-2000 USA