Scope and arrangement
The Irina Baronova papers contain correspondence, programs, photographs, scrapbooks, writings and other materials from the ballerina's extensive and varied career.
Baronova's correspondence reflects the many lifelong relationships she cultivated during her years traveling with the ballet and is sorted into personal, professional, and student and fan letters. The bulk of the correspondence is personal and includes letters from Laurence Olivier, Lucia Chase, Jerome Robbins, and many others. The personal correspondence is arranged by name. Her professional correspondence is primarily from the latter half of her career and contains letters inviting Baronova to speak or hold a master class, attend a ceremony or event, or to accept an award. Correspondence with her publisher regarding her book was kept separately with her writings, and can be found there. Student and fan correspondence holds thank you letters and notes from many of Baronova's students, as well as a few fan letters written later in her career. There is an increase in fan mail post-2005 regarding her book.
Baronova's press clippings are loose and bound. Her clippings include reviews and human interest stories regarding the dancer, including beauty tips, many pieces about how "all-American" and down to earth she is, and a 1940 incident where she punched (and knocked out) a 180 pound man.
The collection of programs, both ballet and theater, is just a sample of Baronova's hundreds of performances across the globe. Ballet programs are arranged by year and include examples of programs from the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Ballet Theatre, and Leonide Massine's Ballet Russe Highlights. The theater programs are arranged by title.
Baronova's collection of photographs contains professional press release shots and personal photographs. The photographs taken before 1950 depict Baronova as a working dancer. Of interest are the many non-professional photographs taken (presumably by Baronova's mother) of her performances. While the action shots are often blurry, they offer a raw glimpse of the actual ballets in performance that the posed press photographs do not. There are also pictures of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo troupe on their various tours, aboard ships, lounging on the beach, and exploring new cities. The photographs are arranged by year and most have identifying information. As Baronova repeated roles year to year in her repertoire, to see all the pictures of an individual ballet one should consult all folders during her working years. Some ballets, such as Aurora's Wedding, have new shots for each year she performed the role.
Photographs from 1950 to 2005 are all personal and document Baronova's travels as a teacher and lecturer, as well as her attendance at various awards ceremonies and galas. There are few family photographs.
Baronova's scrapbooks contain small books created when she was dancing at Covent Garden from 1938-1939. They are all non-professional shots of the ballets as well as dancers backstage warming up. There are also two scrapbooks she made during the movie Florian, as well as a scrapbook of her 1986 lecture tour in Australia.
The writings hold Baronova's correspondence, work and drafts relating to her 2005 book Irina: Ballet, Life and Love as well as writings by friends and co-workers, including unpublished memoirs by ballet conductor William McDermott and her ex-husband, German Sevastianov.
Alphabetical by subject