- Additional Authors
- 4.25 linear feet (7 boxes)
- Location of Other Archival Materials (note)
- See also the Amata Grassi papers in the Richard J. Daley Special Collections Department, University of Illinois at Chicago.
- Biography (note)
- American dancer, Amata Grassi (b. 1894), was active in the worlds of ballet and theatrical dance in the United States from around 1917 through the late 1930s.
- Indexes/Finding Aids (note)
- Collection guide available in repository and on internet.
- Call Number
- (S) *MGZMD 160
Amata B. Grassi papers, 1878-1971.
The Amata B. Grassi papers contain correspondence, clippings, diaries, and photographs that document her personal life and her professional career as a dancer. Both aspects of Grassi's life are covered equally. The majority of the materials, however, cover the period of Grassi's dancing years, from the mid-1910s through the 1930s. Her personal diaries offer some documentation of her participation in the 1917 tour of Latin America by the Anna Pavlova Company and her work in 1932 with Loew's theatres in New York City. The collection also contains a considerable number of professional photographs, of Grassi, the dancer and choreographer Chester Hale, and other performers of the period.
American dancer, Amata Grassi (b. 1894), was active in the worlds of ballet and theatrical dance in the United States from around 1917 through the late 1930s. Originally named Anna Beatrice Koch, she chose her stage name after her mother's maiden name, Caroline Grasse. One of Grassi's earliest documented professional engagements was with the Anna Pavlova Company in 1917. In the following year, while in Buenos Aires, she met her future first husband, Chester Hale (Chamberlin). The two married that same year and the couple soon left the famous dancer's troupe, Hale going on to become a successful choreographer on the vaudeville circuit and in Hollywood. Grassi's dancing career is fairly emblematic of the period. Like the Cecchetti-trained Hale, Grassi had few employment options as a ballet dancer in the United States. During the early 1920s, she was based in Chicago where she performed with Adolf Bolm's Ballet Intime and the Chicago Opera Ballet. More typical of her career during the late 1920s and early 1930s were appearances (often in the guise of a "Spanish" dancer) in the elaborate musical Prologs that alternated with feature film presentations in large movie theaters in major American cities. For example, in 1928 Grassi was a featured dancer in the Paul Whiteman revue, Rio Romance, in which she toured extensively, and in 1929 she worked as a teacher at the Chester Hale School and as ballet mistress for the Loew's Valencia Theatre in Jamaica, New York. During World War II she was company manager of a Major Bowes unit that made a USO tour of Army camps. Grassi divorced Hale in 1931 and some time during the mid-1940s she married Walter Hussen. After she ended her career as a dancer, she raised French poodles and began working at the Sheraton Hotel, where, according to a 1950 newspaper account, she was an assistant in the payroll department. Grassi is believed to have died in the 1970s.
Collection guide available in repository and on internet.
- Location of Other Archival Materials
See also the Amata Grassi papers in the Richard J. Daley Special Collections Department, University of Illinois at Chicago.
- Connect to:
- Added Author
Bolm, Adolf, 1894-1951.
Pavlova, Anna, 1881-1931.
Chicago Opera Ballet.
- Research Call Number
(S) *MGZMD 160