Collection inventory

Special Collections home page

Adolf Bolm Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: -

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.]

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.

Arrangement of the Collection

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


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.

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.


Ballet dancers.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

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

Table of Contents

Audiovisual material

Biographical material



Printed material