Katherine Dunham (1909-2006) was a dancer, choreographer, educator, and cultural ambassador. Dunham had a very successful and influential dance career and directed her own dance company for many years. Dunham studied ballet while an undergraduate at the University of Chicago and purused academic work in anthropology, doing fieldwork in the Caribbean focused on local dance forms. Although she submitted a masters thesis based on that work, she soon left academic study to pursue a career in dance. Her early years were the basis for A Touch of Innocence: Memoirs of Childhood, published in 1959. A continuation based on her experiences in Haiti, Island Possessed, was published in 1969.