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Adolf Bolm Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Bolm, Adolph, 1884-1951.
Title: Adolf Bolm Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1884-1951
Quantity: 5 linear ft.
Abstract: Correspondence, some in French and Russian, telegrams, scrapbooks, photograph albums, costume sketches, and other materials relating to the San Francisco Ballet, Sergei Diaghilev's Ballet Russe, and others. Correspondents include Agnes De Mille, Romola Nijinsky, Ruth Page, Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, and others.
Language: English, Russian, French
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Adolf (also spelled Adolph) Bolm was born in 1884 in St. Petersburg, Russia. At the age of 16 he was accepted by Russia's famed Maryinsky Theatre where he attended school with Anna Pavlova and organized her first tour outside of Russia, dancing as her partner. He danced with the Ballet Russes for several years, working with Diaghilev and Nijinsky. He met his wife Beatrice (Beate) while on tour in Belgium and in 1916 the couple moved to the United States. A son, Olaf A. Bolm, was born on July 4, 1920. By 1926 he had opened a school in Chicago, and went on to work with the St. Louis Municipal Opera, the San Francisco Opera Ballet, the Chicago Lyrical Ballet, and Ballet Theatre in New York, among others. Over the course of his career Bolm was a dancer, choreographer, director, ballet tour organizer and teacher. He also mentored a number of well-known figures in the dance world including Ann Barzel, Syd (Cyd) Charisse, Janet Collins, Constance Finch, Marcia Gibson, Lester Horton, David Lober, Ruth Page, Rosalind Shaffer-deMille, and Ruth Syndon-Jenkins. He was one of five choreographers involved in the founding season for Ballet Theatre in New York. Bolm died in 1951.
[Some information drawn from the Library of Congress Information Bulletin "Wandering Dancer," by Cyrus Parker-Jeanette, February 2005.]

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Adolf Bolm Papers includes correspondence, photographs, printed material, memorabilia, and writings. Several sound recordings have been transferred to the Belfer Audio Archives (see Related Material below).

Correspondents include George Balanchine, Nadia Boulanger, Colette, Carlos Chavez, Agnes deMille, Sol Hurok, Romola Nijinsky, Max Reinhardt, Leopold Stokowski and Igor Stravinsky. Photographs include pictures of the Adolf Bolm Ballet, Chicago Civic Opera, Diaghilev Ballet and others, as well as some shots of stage sets. Printed material encompasses dance programs, plays, press releases, radio interviews, and reviews. Writings are by Bolm and include some of his own notes. Miscellaneous memorabilia includes books, a piano roll, and scrapbooks. Audiovisual materials inlcudes 16mm films and phonograph records.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Alphabetical. Within correspondence, material in individual folders is arranged chronologically.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Bolm, Adolph, 1884-1951.
De Mille, Agnes.
Nijinsky, Romola de Pulszky.
Page, Ruth, 1899-1991.
Stokowski, Leopold, 1882-1977.
Stravinsky, Igor, 1882-1971.

Corporate Bodies

Ballets russes.
San Francisco Ballet.


Ballet companies.
Ballet dancers.
Ballets -- Photographs.

Genres and Forms

Motion pictures (visual works)
Phonograph records.
Silent films.
Sound recordings.


Ballet dancers.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Adolf Bolm Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: -
Date: -
Revision history: 11 Oct 2005 - EAD file created (MRR); 1 May 2009 - Spelling of name corrected (MRC); 12 Jan 2012 - box number revised (MBD); 15 Apr 2014 - film rehoused and inventory updated (MBD); 06 Jul 2017 - audio recordings added and inventory updated (PJM); 28 Nov 2022 - film descriptions updated (MRC, IRP)

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Audiovisual material
Reel Bach Prelude film (dance performance) (16mm film; running time 4:18) (ID#: bolm_01)
Behind the Scenes at the Russian Ballet; sides P-2 and P-7 (Aluminum disc) (ID#: bolm_11)
Phonograph records
Adolph Bolm Interviewed By Irving Deakin “What is Russian Ballet”; sides 1 and 3; WQXR 04/15/1937 (Aluminum disc) (ID#: bolm_04)
Adolph Bolm Interviewed By Irving Deakin “What is Russian Ballet”; sides 2 and 4; WQXR 04/15/1937 (Aluminum disc) (ID#: bolm_03)
Bach Cycle No. 1 Part 1 and 2 WQXR Dubbing 04/08/1937 (Aluminum disc) (ID#: bolm_10)
Bach Cycle No. 1 Part 3 and 4 WQXR Dubbing 04/08/1937 (Aluminum disc) (ID#: bolm_09)
Bach Cycle No. 1 Part 5 and 6 WQXR Dubbing 04/08/1937 (Aluminum disc) (ID#: bolm_08)
Bach Cycle No. 1 Part 7 WQXR Dubbing 04/08/1937 (Aluminum disc) (ID#: bolm_07)
Bach Cycle No. 1 Part 9 WQXR Dubbing 04/08/1937 (Aluminum disc) (ID#: bolm_06)
Behind the Scenes at the Russian Ballet sides P-1 and P-6 (Aluminum disc) (ID#: bolm_05)
Behind the Scenes at the Russian Ballet sides P-3 and P-8 (Aluminum disc) (ID#: bolm_12)
Behind the Scenes at the Russian Ballet sides P-4 and P-9 (Aluminum disc) (ID#: bolm_13)
Behind the Scenes at the Russian Ballet sides P-5 and P-10 (Aluminum disc) (ID#: bolm_14)
Reel Danse Macabre (16mm film; running time 16:17) (ID#: bolm_02)
Performances (Shellac disc) (ID#: bolm_16)
[unlabeled shellac disc] - TR-1383 (Shellac disc) (ID#: bolm_15)
[unlabeled shellac disc] - 5 1/2 (Shellac disc) (ID#: bolm_17)
Biographical material
Box 1 Armitage, Merle
Box 1 Balanchine, George
Box 1 Beaumont, Cyril W.
Box 1 Berman, Eugene
Box 1 Bolm family
Box 1 Bolm, Adolf - telegrams
Box 1 Boulanger, Nadia
Box 1 Calder, Alexander 24 Nov 1939
Box 1 Cate, Curtis
Box 1 Chase, Lucia
Box 1 Chavez, Carlos
Box 1 Colette
Box 1 Deakin, Irving
Box 1 DeMille, Agnes
Box 1 Denham, Sergei Ivanovich
Box 1 Escudero, Vicente
Box 1 '47, the Magazine of the Year (Clifton Fadiman)
Box 1 Hurok, Sol
Box 1 Library of Congress
Box 1 Livingston, D.D.
Box 1 National Association of Dance and Affiliated Artists, Inc.
Box 1 Nijinsky, Romola
Box 1 Page, Ruth and Tom Fisher
Box 1 Reinhardt, Max
Box 1 San Francisco Museum of Art
Box 1 Stokowski, Leopold
Box 1 Stravinsky, Igor
Box 1 Sweden, Consulate
Box 1 Walter, Bruno
Box 1 "Lottie"
Box 1 Letter of Condolence 1951
Box 1 Postcards and greetings cards 1951
Box 1 Telegrams
Box 1 Unidentified miscellanea
Box 1 Correspondence, outgoing
Box 1 Correspondence, business
Legal / business
Box 1 Contracts 1932-1949, undated
Box 1 Miscellaneous 1933-1950, undated
Box 2 Address books
Box 6 Books (11 items)
Box 2 Engagement calendar 1954
Box 2 Newspaper mats, card case, bank book
Box 2 Painting
Box 6 Scheherezade Ballet (cast) 1935
Oversize 1 1 : Miscellaneous
Oversize 1 2 : Theater reviews, programs
Oversize 1 3 : Clippings
Oversize 1 4 : Music
Oversize 1 5 : Oversize photographs
Box 6 "White Peacock" (piano roll) 1935 - played by Charles Griffes for A.B., 10 Jun 1920 (notes: OK on Steinway Concert Grand, OK on Weber with concert grand adjustment)
Adolf Bolm Ballet
Box 2 "Ballet McCarnigul"
Box 2 "Russian peasant dance"
Box 2 "Scheherezade"
Box 2 "Spring dance"
Box 2 "Spring dance"
Box 2 "Streuss valse"
Box 2 "Bal de Marionettes"
Ballet Intime
Box 2 Group portraits 1911
Box 2 "Apollon musagetes"
Box 2 "Assyrian Dance"
Box 2 "Caucasian mountain dance"
Box 2 "Greek dance"
Box 2 "Harlequinade"
Box 2 "Javanese dance"
Box 2 "Legend"
Box 2 "Mazurka"
Box 2 "Mexican episode"
Box 2 "Nymph and Fawn"
Box 2 "Roman dance"
Box 2 "Spanish rhythm"
Box 2 Suggestions diabolique"
Box 2 "Tragedy of the cello"
Box 2 "Visions fugitives"
Box 2 Bolm, Adolf (portraits)
Box 2 Bolm dancers at the Hollywood Bowl
Box 2 Bolm dancers at the Hollywood Bowl - "Reverie"
Chicago Civic Opera
Box 3 Julia Barashkura
Box 3 "Lakme" (Bolmas Siva)
Chicago Grand Opera Company
Box 3 "Birthday of the Infanta"
Cornish School, Seattle 1921
Diaghilev Ballet
Box 3 "Carnival"
Box 3 "Firebird"
Box 3 "Le Pavillon d'Armide"
Box 3 "Petrouchka"
Box 3 "Les Sylphides"
Box 3 "Tamar"
Box 3 "Hunchback of Notre Dame"
Box 3 Inscribed photographs (to A.B.)
Box 3 Karsavina, Thamar
Box 3 "Mechanical ballet"
Metropolitan Grand Opera Co.
Box 3 "Coq d'Or"
Box 3 "Coq d'Or" (glassplate)
Misc - family
Box 3 Misc - negatives
Box 3 Misc - individuals, unidentified
Box 3 Misc - group portraits, unidentified
Box 3 Misc - glassplate, costume
Box 3 Modern Composer's Group - "Krazy Kat"
Box 3 "Mozart"
Box 3 Page, Ruth
Box 3 "Parnassian Chicagoans" A.D. 2000
Box 3 "Petrouchka, Mandragore"
Box 3 "Prince Igor"
Box 3 "Russian dance"
Box 3 "Samson"
San Francisco Opera Co.
Box 3 "Coq d'Or"
Box 4 Stage sets
Box 4 Ziegfeld, "Falling Leaves"
Printed material
Box 4 Adolf Bolm School of Dance
Box 4 Art exhibitions
Box 4 About A.B. (3 folders)
Box 4 By A.B. (2 folders)
Box 4 Book (Japanese)
Box 4 Choreography
Box 4 Dance programs (2 folders)
Box 5 Misc dance
Box 5 Misc dance people
Box 5 Hollywood Civil Ballet Company
Box 5 Itineraries
Box 5 Music (3 folders)
Box 5 Musical events
Box 5 Plays
Box 5 Press releases
Box 5 Radio interviews
Box 5 By Bolm
Box 5 By Bolm, notes
Box 5 Author unidentified

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