Scope and arrangement
The David Lichine and Tatiana Riabouchinska papers document their lives as professional dancers and teachers. The papers consist of correspondence, contracts, art, photographs, choreographic notes, calling cards, programs, ballet materials, and identification papers. There are also scrapbooks, documenting Riabouchinska and Lichine as separate artists and their work together.
The David Lichine and Tatiana Riabouchinska papers are arranged in three series:
Series I contains materials relating to the personal and professional life of dancer, choreographer, and teacher David Lichine. These include ballet materials, choreographic notes, correspondence, contracts, identity papers, programs, and photographs. The ballet materials hold photographs, notes, press releases, and plot breakdowns. Choreographic notes consist of two notebooks with ideas and sketches, one in Russian. Lichine's correspondence is business related, with many telegrams of congratulations, letters referring to reviews, and contract negotiations. Lichine's many identification documents reflect his status as a refugee, and allowed for his passage between countries while he was an immigrant in France and before being granted his United States Citizenship. There are photographs of Lichine in costume and rehearsing dancers for his many ballets. Screenplays written (but never produced) by Lichine during his time in Hollywood are here. Arrangement is alphabetical by subject.
Series II contains materials relating to the career of noted ballerina and teacher Tatiana Riabouchinska. The bulk of the papers reflects her early ballet career. Items include fan art, calling cards, Christmas cards, correspondence, identification cards, photographs, documents relating to Mikhail Riabouchinsky's management of her career, and a home-made book about the creation of Graduation Ball.
Of note in this series are the calling cards, which were sent backstage by fans and admirers often accompanied by flowers. Riabouchinska counted royalty, heads of state, and other prominent figures among her fans. The correspondence is both personal and professional, with the bulk of the letters being requests for autographs, programs, or photographs. There is some personal correspondence with Lichine, other family members, and friends such as Lucia Chase, Richard Buckle, John Martin, Cyril Beaumont, Norman Demuth, Sonia Gaskell, and Margaret Caron.
Photographs consist of pictures of Riabouchinska in costume as well as professional shots of other dancers, both signed and unsigned. There is correspondence and contract negotiations to and from Mikhail Riabouchinsky, who was monitoring Riabouchinska's early career. Some of the correspondence concerns her 1935 bout with scarlet fever.
There is also a notebook entitled The Story of Graduation Ball in which Riabouchinska describes the costumes, the staging, and other details about the creation of one of Lichine's most famous ballets. She uses black and white photographs and colored pens to record how the costumes were made and what colors were used in the original staging.
The scrapbooks hold clippings and photographs and pertain to Lichine's career, Riabouchinska's career, or both. There is also a scrapbook of clippings on choreographer and dancer Leonide Massine. The scrapbooks on Riabouchinska are part of a 12 book series put together by Mikhail Riabouchinsky. They are extensive and cover every aspect of her career between 1927 and 1943. Clippings from newspapers all over the world, photographs, and notes have been kept. Several of Lichine's scrapbooks have family photographs and clippings. The scrapbooks that document Lichine and Riabouchinska's work together have both professional and personal photographs as well as clippings and magazine articles. Notable among these is the scrapbook Riabouchinska kept about 1943's The Waltz King, which Lichine choreographed and in which Raibouchinska starred.