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Finding Aid for Adolph Bolm collection, ca. 1922-1983
Guide to the Adolph Bolm Collection, ca. 1922-1983
40 Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY 10023-7498
- Processed by:
- Amy Taylor Alpers
- Date Completed:
- July 1988
- Encoded by:
- Apex Data Services; revised by Dan Santamaria
- Date Completed:
- September 26, 2003; revised 2004
© 2004 The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations. All rights reserved.
Table of Contents
- Descriptive Summary
- Biographical History
- Scope and Content Note
- Separated Material
- Series Description/Container List
Jerome Robbins Dance DivisionNew York, New York
The collection is open to research.
Restrictions on Use
For permission to publish, contact the Curator, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Library for the Performing Arts.
Adolph Bolm Collection, (S)*MGZMD 50, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Adolph Bolm, born in St. Petersburg, Russia, September 25, 1884, entered the Maryinsky Theatre at age 9. A student of varied interests and talents, he graduated in 1903 with first honors not only in dance but also in music, painting, and literature. From 1904-1909, he partnered the great ballerinas of the Maryinsky, including Anna Pavlova and Tamara Karsavina. Beginning in 1908, he put together a small troupe and toured to Stockholm, Copenhagen, and later Berlin. He also joined Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in its Paris premiere in 1909, creating a stir with his performance of the leading part in Polovtsian Dances. Leaving Russia for good in 1911, he danced for Diaghilev's company until the conclusion of its last American tour in 1917, creating roles such as Dorkon in Daphnis and Chloe, the Moor in Petrouchka, and Prince Ivan in Firebird. He settled in the United States, first working for two seasons as the co-maitre de ballet with Rosina Galli at the Metropolitan Opera. He formed a touring company called Ballet Intime, which in its first season included the Japanese dancer, Michio Ito. The company existed in some form until 1928, its last tour including Agnes de Mille as guest artist. In 1920 he joined the Chicago Opera as choreographer. There he created what many consider the first purely American ballet, Birthday of the Infanta, featuring Ruth Page. In 1923, he opened a school in Chicago, sharing the teaching with two colleagues from the St. Petersburg School. He remained in Chicago until 1930 when he moved to San Francisco to work with the opera there. In his insistence that the San Francisco Opera Association create a school under its auspices and by giving the first all-ballet evenings, Bolm essentially created the San Francisco Ballet. For that troupe he created his Bach Cycle and staged El Amor Brujo, and his last choreography Mephisto. In 1935, he moved to Hollywood, where he worked as a teacher and choreographer in film and concerts. Between 1940 and 1942, he appeared with Ballet Theatre, recreating his roles form Diaghilev's company, including Pierrot in Carnaval and the Blackamoor in Petrouchka. He died in his Hollywood home at age 66, April 16, 1951.
Scope and Content Note
The Adolph Bolm Collection documents the career of Adolph Bolm through papers and research information collected by author, John Dougherty, in preparation for writing several biographical articles and a book on the dancer.
The collection is divided into three series.
- Correspondence and Research Notes
- General Research Notes ad Writings
- General Research Notes
- Personal Documents of Adolph Bolm
- Diaries and/or Typed Transcriptions
- Writings by Adolph Bolm
Series Description/Container List
Series I comprises correspondence with, and/or notes compiled on, eighty individuals including Bolm's dance partners, students, relatives, and acquaintances. Many of these folders contain signed letters to John Dougherty from such people as Bolm's wife, Beatrice, Willam Christensen, Natalia Clare, Anton Dolin, Nana Gollner, Tamara Karsavina, Ted Shawn, and Carl Van Vechten, to name the most prominent.
(see also Folder No. 50)
(The Cornish School)
Series II contains John Dougherty's more general research notes and writings on Bolm. These include typed transcriptions of articles on Bolm by other authors, as well as several drafts of articles by Dougherty.
(2 versions, 46 leaves)
(4 versions, 193 leaves)
Series III comprises personal documents of Adolph Bolm. Included are nine items of correspondence between Bolm and/or Fernando Wagner and Carlos Chávez concerning a proposed tour of Mexico in 1950; four diaries and/or typed transcriptions of diaries, spanning the years 1942-1950; three articles written by Bolm; miscellaneous production notes, mainly for Firebird and Birthday of the Infanta; and a magazine, Art and Archaeology, inscribed by Bolm to Mr. Walter Graham.
(also includes son's wedding invitation)
(hand-signed, 3 leaves)
(ca. 1949, 3 leaves)
- Photographs (ca. 75) to *MGZEB
- Clippings (1 box) to *MGZR