Scope and arrangement
The vast collection of personal and professional manuscript materials of Ruth Page, American dancer, choreographer, company director, teacher, and writer, is part of an even larger continuing gift of Ruth Page (begun in 1969), to the Dance Collection, Performing Arts Research Center, The New York Public Library at Lincoln Center. In addition to costume and set designs, films, photographs, clippings, scrapbooks, posters, music scores, and programs, there are approximately 42,000 individual manuscript items in the collection, arranged in 2,793 folders and 13 notebooks. This guide to the manuscript materials leads off with a “Chronology” of Ruth Page's life through 1971 followed by a narrative “Summary” of her career until 1970 as reflected in the collection; a “Chronology of Dances” choreographed by Ruth Page; a “Series Description” which explains the organization of the collection; a “Folder List” which catalogues chronologically the folders according to Correspondence (C), Manuscripts (M), Notebooks (N), Publicity Material (P), and Business Records (R); and an index of authors and correspondents. The chronological Summary (with its references keyed by folder number) serves as a guide to material on individual dances, performers, and subjects.
The Ruth Page Collection is by far the largest manuscript collection centered on the life and career of a single dance artist in the Dance Collection. Concerned primarily with ballet but also with other aspects of dance and related arts, the Ruth Page Collection, which spans more than half a century, provides source materials of undeniable importance for research.
Approximately ninety per cent of the manuscript materials in the Ruth Page Collection are correspondence of a personal, professional, or artistic nature. Often, the same letters involve all three aspects of Miss Page's life. Because Ruth Page was almost totally absorbed in performing or in the making of her ballets, her husband Thomas Hart Fisher, a lawyer, handled her business affairs which, for the most part, were artistic affairs as well. Consequently, over 400 folders contain letters written by Mr Fisher during the forty-four years of his marriage to Miss Page. None of Mr Fisher's correspondence related to his legal practice is included.
Approximately 200 folders contain letters written by Ruth Page over a period of fifty years. Since Fisher's letters nearly always spoke for himself and his wife, Miss Page's letters are primarily of a personal nature, written most often to her mother, Marian Heinly Page, and Fisher. There are, however, many letters to friends, dancers, and other artists.
The letters of Ruth Page (and Thomas Fisher) to designers such as Nicholas Remisoff, Isamu Noguchi, Antoni Clavé, André Delfau, Georges Wakhévitch, Bernard Daydé, Rolf Gerard, and Leonor Fini, and composer/musicians such as Jerome Moross, Lehman Engel, Jacques Ibert, Darius Milhaud, Marius Constant, and Isaac Van Grove, are of particular interest. These letters provide a rare insight into the collaborative process involved in creating a ballet.
Also noteworthy is the correspondence with certain dance companies, such as the negotiations for performances of Miss Page's ballets by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and with dancers engaged to perform with Ruth Page's own ballet companies, the Chicago Opera Ballet, later the Ruth Page International Ballet. Included among these dancers are Rudolf Nureyev, Sonia Arova, Henning Kronstam, Kirsten Simone, George Skibine, Marjorie Tallchief, Flemming Flindt, Josette Amiel, Mia Slavenska, and Oleg Briansky.
In addition to the Correspondence 1916-70, there are manuscripts of essays, articles, lectures, and scenarios, and also notes, dance notations, and technical notes for concert dances or ballets. Of primary interest are Ruth Page's scenarios, notes, and written dance notations for many of her significant works, Americana and opera-into-ballets, including Frankie and Johnny, Hear Ye! Hear Ye!, An American Pattern, Guns and Castanets, Billy Sunday, Revenge,and Vilia(later The Merry Widow).Of special historical note are two copies of a seventy-one page manuscript of “A Tour of South America with the Pavlova Company,” written by her mother Marian Heinly Page, who accompanied Ruth on that 1918-19 tour.
The thirteen notebooks in the collection are also of distinct historical interest. Included are schoolbooks, one with an essay on performances of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes written by Ruth in 1916; early notebooks of dance ideas with class and choreographic notes, including notes on classes with Enrico Cecchetti, Harald Kreutzberg, Luigi Albertieri, and Adolph Bolm, and notes for a dance choreographed for Ruth Page by George Balanchine in 1925; notebooks of notation for early ballets by Ruth Page (e.g., Cinderella, Pavane);and three looseleaf notebooks of typed dance notations for opera ballets, solos, and concert dances for Ruth Page and her partner Bentley Stone and for full ballets—a remarkable record of Miss Page's choreographic output through the 1930s.
The publicity materials that follow the notebooks consist chiefly of program notes and pressbooks. Most of the notes in typescript and carbon copies included here are originals of program notes found in other files in the Dance Collection.
Nearly forty years of business records reflect the various legal, financial, and managerial aspects of concert touring and the directing of ballet companies which Ruth Page headed since the late 1930s. Included here are contracts, expense records, insurance, tax, and payroll records, tour itineraries, managers' weekly reports, legal documents, and correspondence. Among the most outstanding items are documents related to obtaining the rights to Franz Lehár's music for The Merry Widow;more than a decade (1955-69) of records of the United States tours of Ruth Page's Chicago Opera Ballet and International Ballet through Columbia Artists Management; and files from 1962-66 regarding Ruth Page's production of The Nutcrackerfor McCormick Place, the Chicago theater complex.
There is no correspondence written prior to 1918 in the Ruth Page Collection, but the early events in the life of Ruth Page are represented by other manuscript items in the collection, and by non-manuscript materials catalogued elsewhere in the Dance Collection.
Records show that Ruth Marian Page was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on March 22 1900, the second child (she had one older brother, Lafayette, and one younger brother, Irvine) of Dr Lafayette and Mrs Marian Heinly Page. Numerous photographs of the Page family in the early years of the century testify to middle class respectability, though not to affluence. Ruth was a lovely but serious child, looking very much like her lovely but serious mother. Ruth's inquisitive, perceptive, and even critical mind is reflected in her notebooks from Bible school, ca. 1915-16 (N2)
References such as “(N2)” and “(16C1”)” are to folders in the Collection (the last two digits of the year appear before the serial letter C designating Correspondence and the folder number)—see “Series Description” below. For easier reading, first names are used herein for major figures discussed.
It was the legendary Anna Pavlova who drew young Ruth Page from being the “star dancer of Indianapolis” into the larger world of international dance. Pavlova invited fifteen-year-old Ruth to study with her company during the summer of 1915 at the Midway Gardens in Chicago. A scrapbook of photographs records this summer, showing Ruth with members of the company, including Muriel Stuart, Hilda Butsova, Enid Brunova, and Helene Saxova, and includes on-stage photos of Pavlova, taken by amateur photographer Ruth Page. Two years later Pavlova would again influence Ruth's career.
Before that second opportunity, Ruth had to finish her last year at Tudor Hall, an enjoyable period for Ruth, since she was not only a bright, intelligent girl, but also a very popular one with her fellow classmates, male and female. Some high points of her high school years are recorded in “My Golden School Days,” a classbook which includes snapshots, dance cards, a report card, programmes, and other memorabilia. The first folder in the collection (16C1) does not contain correspondence, but it includes Ruth Page's diploma from Tudor Hall, dated June 2 1916.
In the time between her graduation and her next association with Pavlova, Ruth went to New York to Miss Williams' and Miss McClellan's French School for Girls. Two photographs of the French School appear in the scrapbook. While in New York, the young girl pursued her dance training with the famous Adolph Bolm, a former star of the Diaghilev Company and Pavlova's ex-partner. Bolm's belief in his student's promise would carry her career forward in the following decade, but before that, he encouraged Ruth's second experience with Pavlova.
In January 1918, Ruth joined the Pavlova Company for a tour of South America that lasted more than a year. The materials contained in the four folders of 1918 correspondence are concerned with that tour, including Ruth's contract with Pavlova (18C4), letters from Dr Page and his son Lafayette, who were in Europe in World War I (18C2), and letters home from Ruth and her mother (who accompanied Ruth on the tour) to Ruth's school and dancing chum, Eleanor Shaler (18C1).
Mrs Page's detailed account of the trip, “A Tour of South America with the Pavlova Company” (M1-2), is a fascinating travelogue, but provides only a few glimpses of the great ballerina and her company in performance. There are, however, glimpses from Ruth herself.
Even in adolescence, Ruth's artistic standards were highly developed; she was as critical of her own work as that of others. Remarks written on a program of July 21 1918 (*MGZR-Res) note that Vlasta Maslova (one of the dancers) is “not bad, but no personality—rather insignificant and vaudevillish, but does wonderfulturns,” that Hilda Butsova “has improved a lot,” and that “I am improving a lot—am getting much stronger—the work is by no means easy.” Ivan Clustine, ballet master of the company, had recently choreographed Thaïs,a ballet that was “wonderful for Mme [Pavlova] & a big success, but rotten for the company.”
In a letter to Eleanor Shaler written December 15 1918 (18C1), Ruth consoled her friend on the recent death of her mother, and in doing so remembered Mrs Shaler “taking you and me to the opera, trying her level best to explain the plot to you and me and get a little something into our heads, while we spent most of our time giggling and worrying her to death at concerts because we would dance to the music with our hands!” A further insight into Ruth's view of herself comes later in the letter when she asks her friend, who also might have pursued a dancing career: “Are you glad you went to college [Vassar], or do you think you would have rather gone on dancing, and `gone to perdition' with me?”
The war in Europe over, Dr Page and Lafayette returned home early in 1919, and Mrs Page and Ruth left the Pavlova company to join them.
The six folders of 1919 correspondence give little detail of Ruth's life that year but they do reflect her association with Adolph Bolm (19C1), which culminated in his engaging the nineteen-year-old girl to star in his ballet production of Oscar Wilde's The Birthday of the Infanta,with music by John Alden Carpenter and designs by Robert Edmond Jones. The contract for her appearances as the Infanta at the Chicago Opera in December 1919 is in folder 19C6.
From only eleven folders in 1916-19, the correspondence in the twenties increases to 221 folders, primarily due to “the men in Ruth's life,” who noticed not only her appeal as a developing artist, but as a fascinating young woman as well. Ruth's letters record her reactions to the attentions of her “beaux,” but remain chiefly concerned with her dancing, which diversified throughout the decade.
Continuing his patronage, Bolm next brought Ruth to London, as première danseuse of his Ballet Intime, appearing at the London Coliseum. Ruth's instant success with the London audiences is reflected in her “fan letters” (20C10), perhaps most poignantly represented by one dated August 12 1920, from one Lillian Kingston, who concludes her praise of Miss Page's performances with “you should not dance so beautifully.”
Only six folders contain correspondence from 1921. But the letters from Ruth Page to her parents (21C1) tell us she was still touring as première danseuse of Bolm's company. From Galveston, Texas on March 25, Ruth wrote to her parents of an idea she had for making up dances of her own. “By the way,” she began, “how do you think it would be to dance some of those poems and nursery rhymes of [James Whitcomb] Riley [a personal friend of her parents]. I think something most interesting could be done, if we could get some good music. `Little Orphan Annie'—`The Raggedy Man,' etc.—are any of our Riley books illustrated? Find out for me, will you?” The seeds of dancing to words and music planted in childhood were taking root now, but would not come to real fruition for nearly two decades.
In 1922, Ruth Page's career took a turn away from ballet and brought her to the Broadway stage. She was engaged by Sam H. Harris and Hassard Short (22C11-12) to appear as the star dancer of the second version of Irving Berlin's hit show “The Music Box Revue.” Earlier that year, she appeared with Bolm in the first dance film with synchronized sound, Danse Macabre,photographed by the great Francis Bruguière (22C6) and directed by Dudley Murphy (22C44). It was also in 1922 that Ruth began receiving “love letters” from some earnest “beaux,” Bill Murray (22C8), Sviatoslav Roerich (22C9), and John Crane (22C7). Crane was a friend from Ruth's childhood summers spent at Woods Hole, Cape Cod, and Roerich was the exotic painter, son of the even more exotic Nicholas Roerich, who designed Michel Fokine's “Polevetsian Dances” from Prince Igorand Vaslav Nijinsky's controversial production of Le Sacre du Printempsfor Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Murray does not seem to have been too seriously “in the running.” Interestingly, there are two letters in the 1922 correspondence from John Crane to his Harvard friend, Thomas Hart Fisher, a young Chicago lawyer (22C13).
The 1923 correspondence folders nearly triple in number over any previous year, mostly due to the full-scale “campaign” for Ruth's hand led by John Crane (23C6-16, 89 letters), Tex Moore, a New York lawyer in the firm of Paul Cravath (23C17), and Sviatoslav Roerich (23C19-31, ca. 150 letters). The volume of letters is accounted for not only by the fervor of her beaux, but by the fact that Ruth was on tour with the road company of “The Music Box Revue” for 1923-24 (23C36), and also by the fact that two of her three most serious suitors were themselves touring Europe. In fact, Svetia (Roerich) and John Crane joined forces at the Hotel de Crillon, Paris, on October 19 1923, and wrote a joint letter to Ruth. In a rather tipsy style that opened with “Our Darling...,” the young men praised the “end of a perfect day,” their “perfect harmony,” and their freedom, and ended with the plea “come over to Paris immediately, we beg you, or otherwise you will miss enjoying freedom with us together.... A basketfull of mingled Kisses to our only one. John and Sviatoslav.”
A little more than two weeks after this letter, Ruth wrote to her mother from the Drake Hotel, Chicago, where she was staying while on tour. At the end of a long “note” discussing the show and plans for a New Year's Eve party for the cast in Indianapolis, Ruth turned to the subject of her ardent beaux. “Don't worry about my getting married,” she assured them, “Tex [Moore] or Bill [Murray] or John [there is curiously no mention of “Svetia”] all say I could go on dancing—Bill is out of the question—I like him as a friend—so it's probably between Tex and John. Tex doesn't know a thing about art or dancing but he's sympathetic—of course I don't think either of them would like me to be in a revue and I must say I don't blame them, and I don't know what else there is to do. I can't decide which one I like best. I like John for some things and Tex for others, so there you are—I like my dancing better than any of them.”
Although other “beaux” pressed their suit throughout 1924, it was a relative newcomer, Thomas Hart Fisher, introduced to Ruth by John Crane, who competed most seriously with her love of dance. The relationship started off quite formally, with a letter of introduction from Crane, and Tom relates his first impressions of their meeting in a letter to him dated January 3 1924 (24C49):
“I called your friend at the Auditorium Hotel and we had tea together at the Russian Tea Room and later we lunched and talked at some length. The night before she left for Milwaukee, December 23, we met at the Bolms', of whom she is a great friend. Adolph Bolm, as you probably have heard from her, is the Russian dancer at the present time ballet master of the Chicago Opera Company. Both he and his wife are devoted to Ruth Page, and I quite share their appreciation of her fine qualities. We talked together at some length there.
“It is a rare thing to find a girl of her background who is willing to do the kind of work she is doing, and rarer still to find a girl who is willing to put her work ahead of what most girls regard as the principal pleasures and objects of life. You know how it happens that occasionally one meets a person for whose aims and ideals one has an instantaneous appreciation; and the fact that we had a common meeting ground through our friendship for you made it possible for us to be very frank and I hope we have become good friends.... In every way a very remarkable girl, John, and I am happy to think that she seems to be so genuinely fond of you.”
Though only a first impression, it was the sentiments expressed in this letter that fused the lives of Ruth Page and Tom Fisher for the next forty-five years.
A year later on February 8 1925, Ruth Marian Page and Thomas Hart Fisher were married in Indianapolis, Indiana. Two weeks later, they were in Paris on their honeymoon, and Ruth, incapable of staying very long or far from dance was, with her new husband, on her way to Monte Carlo, home of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, the world's greatest ballet company. Pierre Monteux, the distinguished conductor, who conducted the historic world premières of Petrouchkaand Le Sacre du Printemps,had met Ruth and Tom in Paris and wrote to her February 23 1925, saying he had sent a letter of introduction to Diaghilev for her (25C20).
In Monte Carlo, on March 11, Ruth wrote a note herself to Diaghilev, reminding him of his agreement to see her dance the following afternoon at 5:30. She concluded with a belief she would often repeat in moments of frustration through the next fifty years: “Je voudrais vous dire comme je suis enchantée de voir encore une fois votre ballet—nous avons si peu aux Etats-Unis qui est intéressant. Très sincèrement, RUTH PAGE” [I would like to tell you how delighted I am to see your ballet once again—we have so little in the United States that is interesting. Very sincerely, RUTH PAGE].”
Two days later she wrote home to Indianapolis telling her mother of her audition for Diaghilev. The impresario arrived an hour late, which disturbed her, since she felt the delay affected her being “warmed up” enough to dance her best. But Enrico Cecchetti, ballet master of the Ballets Russes, with whom she had studied in London in 1920, gave her moral support, and Diaghilev, impressed, accepted her as the first American women in the Ballets Russes. In her detailed description of the company, she mentions Vera Nemchinova, Vincenzo Celli, Chester Hale, Vladimir Dukelsky (later famous in America as Vernon Duke), and “one little English girl—only 14 years old—who makes quite a hit here,” Alicia Markova (25C2).
A month later, Ruth was still in Monte Carlo, but Tom returned alone from his honeymoon to resume his law practice in Chicago. In a letter dated April 16, Ruth told Tom about the company routine, which she found interesting but not inspiring for her career. She asked him to tell her more about Bolm's plans to stage Coq d'Orat the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires (25C4).
A week later, Ruth's relationship with Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes eroded. Her fascination with the work of a young choreographer just out of Russia, George Balanchivadze (soon to be Balanchine), prompted her to ask him to choreograph a dance for her. The dance, “Polka Mélancolique,” was immediately recorded by Ruth in her own verbal notation (N6). Balanchivadze had just been engaged to choreograph for the Ballets Russes by Diaghilev, whose reaction to Ruth's action prompted the break.
“Diaghilev is still furious—,” she wrote to Tom, “he found out about Balanchine's teaching us a dance and he thinks it was awful of me and that I had a terrible nerve to use his room and his pianist, etc., and he is furious with [Michel] Pavlov. I'm afraid Diag. will be my enemy for life, but I really don't care much—I never would have dreamed that it would have made the slightest difference to him.” With the confidence of youth and self-assurance, she concluded her appraisal of the affair with a sense of humor, characteristic of her normal reaction to any difficult situation. “I haven't been paid by Diaghilev and don't expect to be. I don't think I would ever accept it if they offered it to me. Dukelsky thinks my artistic career is ruined and finished—isn't that amusing! Well—they haven't had such a scandal for a long time” (25C4).
The situation resolved itself in the offer from Bolm for Ruth to dance the Queen of Shemàkhan in Coq d'Or,the role Ruth most hungered to dance. Ruth's next letters to her mother and Tom are written en route to Buenos Aires and during her performances at the Teatro Colon where she danced Coq d'Orand the “Ballerina” in Petrouchka,and in a new opera, Lorelei,at a command performance for the Prince of Wales on August 18 (25C2,5).
In November, she was back in Chicago dancing in Bolm's Ballets Intime and the newly founded artistic enterprise, the Chicago Allied Arts.
Only twelve folders contain materials on the events of 1926, the year which saw Ruth's further appearances with the Chicago Allied Arts, dancing in one of the first complete productions of Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire,her first summer as solo dancer and choreographer at the Ravinia Opera nearby, and the premières of her first two “hit dances,” Peter Pan and the Butterfly(February 1 1926) and The Flapper and the Quarterback(December 26), most probably the first “Americana” ballet by a native-born American choreographer. It was also the year which brought the invitation for Ruth Page to appear as the first American solo dancer at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in the first three months of 1927 (26C10).
Between January and March 1927, Ruth wrote to Tom constantly, chronicling her successful, if not totally fulfilling, experience at the Metropolitan (27C1-11). But it was Mrs Page, with Ruth in New York, who gave Tom the full story of Ruth's triumphant debut in The Bartered Brideon February 7 (27C17).
In April, Ruth was once again with Bolm and the Chicago Allied Arts (27C12-14, 24-25) and in the summer at Ravinia. Her career now taking on its own momentum, Ruth embarked on a full-scale tour of her own, documented in the first of “Business Correspondence” folders (27C24-33), publicity materials (P1), and a letter dated July 23 1927, from a young dancer named Agnes De Mille, asking to be included on one of Ruth's concerts under “professional management” (27C19).
The touring and recitals continued into 1928, culminating in Ruth's appearance as Terpsichore in Bolm's choreography of the world première of Stravinsky's Apollon Musagetes,commissioned by the [UNK] Sprague Coolidge Foundation, at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. This ballet was to become world famous when premièred in Paris on June 12 1928, by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes with choreography by George Balanchine, an [UNK] anticipated in a letter to Ruth from her friend, Chicago dancer/poet Mark [UNK] (28C23).
After another summer at Ravinia, where more dances were choreographed for all-ballet programs, Ruth decided to accept an invitation to appear at the coronation ceremonies of Japan's Emperor Hirohito. [UNK] significant was Adolph Bolm's incredulous reaction to Ruth's decision, which, in letters to Tom, he considered tantamount to outright betrayal (28C27). The time for a break with her mentor must have come, because Ruth sailed for Japan on September 6 1928. She danced with American dancer Edwin Strawbridge in varied programs of solo dances and duets at the Imperial Theatre, Tokyo, throughout October. In November, she was dancing in Peking and from there she began a Grand Tour throughout Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, returning to the United States in the spring of 1929. There is no correspondence recording this extraordinary experience, because Dr and Mrs Page and Tom accompanied Ruth for [UNK] or all of the tour. What documentation there is of the events of this period (as [UNK] as those of 1926-28) are found in the scrapbooks, programs, and photographs catalogued elsewhere in the Dance Collection. There is one notebook of poems (N8 inspired by her exotic surroundings. She returned from her fourth summer at [UNK], and at the end of the year premièred the first version of another Americana ballet, Oak Street Beach,to music by Chicago composer Clarence Loomis.
Only six folders contain correspondence for the years 1930-33. From other sources, we know that Ruth went to Russia in March 1930, an event she recorded in an article “Through Propaganda to Art” (M4) and that, in the summer, she choreographed one of her biggest “hits” of the decade Bolero(Iberian Monotone)and, in the fall, Pre-Raphaeliteand Modern Diana.
In February 1931, Ruth danced the “Princess” in one of the earliest productions of Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat.Her [UNK] summer [UNK] Ravinia was highlighted by her ballet Cinderella,which she commissioned from French composer Marcel Delannoy; the record of the copyright is contained in folder 31C1 and Ruth's choreographic notes are in notebook N9.
From February 16-19 1932, Ruth appeared at the Sociedad Pro-Arte Musicale, in Havana, Cuba, at the same time as George Gershwin, to whose music she had made dances as early as 1928. The highly charged relationship of Ruth Page and the brilliant young Japanese-American artist [UNK] Noguchi is manifest in Noguchi's letters to Ruth in closedCorrespondence foldér 32C2. The fruit of their artistic collaboration was Noguchi's “sac” [UNK] for Ruth's avant-garde dance Expanding Universe(M28), which premièred November 2 1932, in the highly unlikely locale of Fargo, North Dakota.
Accompanied at the piano by the champion of American modern dance, composer Louis Horst, Ruth presented a full program of her most representative dances to date at the John Golden Theatre in New York on January 29 1933. A month later, she danced with Austrian expressionist dancer Harald Kreutzberg, whom she had met and studied with in Salzburg the previous summer. That summer, Ruth presented, for the Chicago Century of Progress, an all-black (with herself the exception) ballet, La Guilablesse,composed by the black composer William Grant Still six years earlier (26C8), but premièred at the Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, June 16 1933. In July she danced at the Cincinnati Zoological Park in Bolero,conducted by Isaac Van Grove, with whom she would develop an outstanding musical collaboration twenty years later. Notes on most of the dance classes, dances, and creative thoughts of Ruth Page in 1933 and throughout the decade are in notebook N10.
Ruth's tours in 1934, mostly with Kreutzberg, are reflected in Business Correspondence folders 34C3-7. The major creative event of the year was the première of Ruth's Americana ballet Hear Ye! Hear Ye!(M29,89-90), the first produced ballet with a score by Aaron Copland (Music Division). Costume designs for this ballet by Nicholas Remisoff are catalogued elsewhere in the Dance Collection. Remisoff shared a long artistic collaboration with Ruth Page from the days of the Chicago Allied Arts until the late 1950s and, in addition to his many letters, hundreds of his designs for Ruth's ballets are in the Dance Collection.
Fifteen of the twenty correspondence folders for 1935 are Business Correspondence with Louis H. Bourdon (R1), Theodore Fisher, and M. C. Turner, among others (35C6-20). They concern the extensive touring Ruth engaged in that year, including appearances throughout the West with Harald Kreutzberg in the spring and in the Northeast with Bentley Stone, her partner from the Chicago City Opera Company in the summer (M95 and P6-7). Love Song(M91-92), a full-company work choreographed by Ruth to Schubert waltzes, was premièred at the Chicago Opera on November 23, at the end of a fall tour (M93-94).
Amidst more touring with Kreutzberg and Stone (R2) and with her “Ruth Page Ballets” throughout the year (36C6-26), Ruth returned to the Cincinnati Zoological Gardens to première in her ballet to Gershwin's An American in Paris(M96), in which she danced with tap dance virtuoso Paul Draper. In the fall, she returned to the Chicago City Opera to choreograph ballets in operas including Aïda, Lakme,and The Bartered Bride(N11).
In numerous letters to Tom, Ruth reported the events of her solo dance tour of Scandinavia and visit to London in the spring of 1937 (37C2-6). Her impressions were formally organized and presented as an article, “A Dancer Glimpses Europe” (M7), which eventually appeared in the New York Times.After more touring in the United States (P8-9), Ruth returned for the winter season of the Chicago Civic Opera where on December 18 1937 she presented her most ambitious Americana ballet to date, American Pattern,represented in the collection by choreographic notes (N13), scenario (M30-31), and costume and prop lists (M96), and by programs, photographs, and designs catalogued elsewhere.
Only eight folders of correspondence represent 1938, the year in which Ruth Page and Bentley Stone, as co-directors of the Dance Section of the Chicago Federal Theatre Project of the Work Projects Administration (WPA), presented perhaps their most famous Americana ballet, Frankie and Johnny(M98-99), on June 19 1938 at the Great Northern Theatre.
Encouraged by the great success of Frankie and Johnny,Ruth and Bentley planned a socially “relevant,” updated version of Carmen,with music by Jerome Moross, composer of American Patternand Frankie and Johnny(38C6).
Guns and Castanets, “Carmen” transported to Civil War Spain (M33-34), premièred on March 1 1939, on a program with “Scrapbook,” a selective retrospective of Ruth's (and some of Bentley's) dances created during that decade. That fall, Ruth and Bentley presented a program of seven new works, solos, and duets at the Civic Theatre, Chicago on November 14 1939.
From 103 folders representing the 1930s, the correspondence of the 1940s grew to fill 709 folders, mostly because of the intensified business negotiations of Tom Fisher to have Ruth's ballets, new and old, performed by the famous Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo headed by Serge Denham, and Ruth's correspondence with actual and potential artistic collaborators.
None of the ten folders of 1940 correspondence records the South American tour of the Page-Stone Ballet (the first American ballet company to make one) in April, but Ruth's article “Reflections on Dancing in South America” (M9) was published in the New York Times.Ruth also began presenting talks related to her artistic beliefs, such as “Music and Dance” and “Words with Dance” (M8, 10) at meetings of various arts clubs and organizations.
On March 30 1941, Ruth created an “off-beat” treatment of the music of Chopin, Chopin in Our Time,which included words to accompany the music and dance, a concept Ruth would explore throughout the decade. For Chopinshe originally considered John La Touche (41C-15) for writing the words, but the collaboration never materialized. Also in March, Lincoln Kirstein, having heard of Ruth and Bentley's success in South America the previous year, wanted Frankie and Johnnyfor the South American tour of his American Ballet Caravan (41C13), but negotiations never succeeded. Another ballet project begun that year by Ruth was a ballet based on the life and sermons of the American evangelist Billy Sunday. She approached Kurt Weill, composer of Three Penny Opera, Mahagonny,and Lady in the Darkto write the music, and he found the idea appealing (41C19-20).
Europe was already torn by war, and Ruth corresponded with and received censored news from her friends there, including Kreutzberg and Marie Rambert (41C21).
In the fall of 1941, Ruth and Bentley Stone were engaged to appear at the posh Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center in New York (41C59-60). This otherwise pleasant diversion in Ruth's career was interrupted by her most serious marital crisis (41C2-6, 8-11) and the entry of the United States into World War II following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Ruth performed almost entirely on her own from 1942-44, since Bentley was drafted early in 1942 (42C20-23, 43C31-34, 44C31-33). During this time Ruth presented various programs of “Dances with Words and Music” to poetry by e. e. cummings, Dorothy Parker, Ogden Nash, Archibald MacLeish, Carl Sandburg, Li Po, Edna St Vincent Millay, Hilaire Belloc, Langston Hughes, and others, most with original music by Lehman Engel (42C8; 44C20-21). Her extensive tours with this unusual program throughout the United States are documented by numerous letters to Mrs Page (42C1-12; 43C1-12; 44C1-10) and Tom (42C3; 43C13-18; 44C11-12). The most “official” presentation of “Dances with Words and Music” was April 13 1943, at the studio of Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman in New York.
The volume of correspondence in these three years shows the very prominent involvement of Tom as Ruth's business manager, an increase from six folders of his business correspondence in 1942 to seventeen in 1944. Most important of these letters are those beginning negotiations with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo to present Frankie and Johnny(44C39-40).
A contract was signed (R12) and Frankie and Johnnywas presented by the Ballet Russe for the first time in New York (amidst scandal and acclaim) on February 28 1945 (45C51-54). Ruth and Bentley (on a brief leave) danced the opening night in the title roles, which were danced thereafter by Frederic Franklin and Ruthanna Boris.
With Frankiein the repertoire of the Ballet Russe, Ruth turned her attention to creating her ballet Billy Sundayand to a new idea based on The Bellsby Edgar Allan Poe. Kurt Weill seems to have been too involved in his Broadway projects, so Ruth turned to composers John Cage (45C6-7), Virgil Thomson (45C47), Nicholas Nabokov (45C29-30), and Remi Gassman (45C15-16), finally settling on the last to compose the score. The possibility of Alexander Calder designing the ballet fizzled (C45C8-9) and Paul du Pont, who had designed Frankie and Johnny,was contracted (45C12).
For The BellsRuth engaged the great French composer Darius Milhaud (45C25-26), and, for the first time in over a decade, Isamu Noguchi (45C18-19) would design for Ruth, this time with the assistance of Yuji Ito (45C18-19).
The Bellswas produced by the Ballet Russe in 1946 (in August at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Lee, Mass. and September 6 at the City Center, New York) and the short-lived company Ballet for America (46C42-43) premièred Ruth's swiftly created Les Petits Riens(M41). But Billy Sundayreceived only a work-in-progress performance by Ruth's own Chicago-based group in December. Meanwhile, complicated negotiations continued between Tom and the Ballet Russe (46C44-49).
Billy Sundayfailed to materialize in 1947, but the Page-Stone Ballet went on its first tour in November, appearing in North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Texas, and Chicago (R14-15).
On March 2 1948 Billy Sunday(M11) was finally premièred by the Ballet Russe in New York, and Tom immediately commenced negotiations with the Ballet Russe (48C58-64) to revive Love Song,Ruth's 1935 Schubert ballet, with a new musical arrangement by Lucien Cailliet (48C16). Ideas for new ballets were teeming in Ruth's mind. Soirée de Bostonhad a scenario inspired by the Boston patroness of the arts Mrs Jack Gardner (M43), with words by British aesthete Sir Harold Acton (48C12-13) and music by Antal Dorati (48C20-21). Belle Starr,based on the life of the notorious lady of the American West (M42), was another and Ruth corresponded with Jacques Ibert about composing yet another (48C30-31). In August 1948 Ruth and Bentley appeared in their Harlequinade(M47), a “ballet play” with words by Robert Halsband (48C28-29).
In November and December, the Page-Stone Chicago Grand Opera Ballet toured the deep South (R16-21; P11a), which Ruth described in letters to Tom (48C4-5).
Love Song,Ruth's last ballet for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, was premièred on March 1 1949. The relationship between Tom and Ruth and Denham had become increasingly strained, and all of Ruth's ballets were withdrawn from the repertoire before the end of the year (49C58-59). Work on Soirée de Bostoncontinued with Acton (49C6-7) and Dorati (49C17), but the work would never be produced. The Ibert ballet, now called The Triumph of Chastity(49C21-22), would not be produced for nearly six more years.
The only new ballet of the year, Beauty and the Beast(M47), to music of Tchiakovsky with designs by Remisoff (49C21-22), was presented in its entirety during the October-November tour of the South (R22).
Over 800 folders represent the activities of Ruth Page and Thomas H. Fisher throughout the fifties, the decade in which they secured substantial financial security as a result of Tom's winning a long court case which he had fought almost since the time he and Ruth were married. The details of this case are not represented in the Ruth Page Collection, and it is only referred to tangentially in the correspondence. Therefore, the difficulties which arose some sixteen years later are almost incomprehensible hensible when referred to in Ruth's and Tom's letters in the late sixties. Throughout the fifties, however, Ruth and Tom engaged in ambitious artistic projects, culminating in the founding of Ruth Page's Chicago Opera Ballet and the beginning of an entirely new repertoire of Ruth Page ballets.
All the events of 1950 are overshadowed by the controversial season of Ruth's and Bentley's company Les Ballets Americains (R25-26, P12) which went to Paris with members of the José Limón Company (Limón, Pauline Lawrence, Betty Jones, Lucas Hoving, and Pauline Koner). The first American ballet company to perform in Europe after World War II, Les Ballets Americains, managed by the French agency Le Bureau de Concerts de Paris (50C79), appeared at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in May (50C95). In her article “Paris Dance Audiences” (M15), Ruth describes the outrage and scandal that greeted their repertoire, which included Frankie and Johnny, The Bells, Billy Sunday, Americans in Paris, The Moor's Pavane,and La Malinche.Paris seemed to be divided into two camps and prominent among the pro-Page and Stone camp was Le Corbusier, who considered Frankie and Johnny “Homeric” and “Rabelaisian” (50C).
Ruth Page survived the “scandal of 1950” and returned to Paris the following year to choreograph the first of her innovative operas-into-ballets for Les Ballets des Champs-Elysées. Revenge,based on Verdi's Il Trovatore(M50-52), had designs by the Catalan painter Antoni Clavé (51C20-21), who had created a sensation with his designs for Roland Petit's ballet Carmen.Although he would only design one other ballet for Ruth, Clavé formed an enduring friendship with her and Tom.
The Triumph of Chastity(M45-46) was still in progress, and Ruth approached Raoul Dufy to design the ballet (51C28-29) while Ibert continued to work on the score (51C36-37).
For the first time, Ruth and Tom decided to indulge themselves, and not only bought a small villa in St Tropez, on the Côte d'Azur, but toured the Greek Islands with the celebrated British ballerina Margot Fonteyn, whom Ruth and Tom had met the previous year, starting yet another enduring friendship (51C33-34). Also on the trip was Frederick Ashton, England's distinguished choreographer (51C12).
In 1952 began four years of legal entanglements concerning the subject of Ruth's next opera-into-ballet, The Merry Widow(R31-59; 52C89-90). Triumph of Chastitywas still in progress. Clavé's letters reveal he was designing Ruth's idea for a new ballet based on Rossini's The Barber of Seville(52C8). Another new opera-into-ballet planned was Salome(52C91-92), for which Isaac Van Grove intended to obtain the rights to Richard Strauss's score. Yet another set of negotiations was initiated by Lincoln Kirstein to engage Ruth to stage the highly successful Revengefor his young company, the New York City Ballet (52C25-27). A pas de deux version of the Salomeand the new Beethoven Sonata(M54), of the previous year, were the only new ballets performed that year.
Early in 1953, Ruth was in London to choreograph her first version of The Merry Widow,called Vilia(M55-56), for the London Festival Ballet. Ruth's letters to Tom describe her experiences at this time (53C1-7). At the same time, the complex negotiations for rights to this ballet continued (53C77-90).
Meanwhile, the Salomeballet, now alternately called Retributionand Daughter of Herodias(M57) was still in progress, as was Barber of Seville,to be called Susanna and the Barber.
The full-company version of Salomeor Daughter of Herodiaswas finally premièred on January 31 1954, at the St Alphonsus Theatre, Chicago but the final production of Triumph,with designs by Leonor Fini (54C96), did not première until December 12. Also on that program at the St Alphonsus Theatre was Ruth's version of de Falla's El Amor Brujo(M58) with designs by Georges Wakhévitch (54C27-29), who had also designed Vilia.
Among Tom Fisher's many negotiations were plans for productions of Duenna(54C63-68), Kiss Me, Kate(54C69-75), and Lady in the Dark(54C76-85), none of which materialized. What did materialize that year, however, was far more significant. Carol Fox and Lawrence F. Kelly approached Ruth to become resident ballet mistress/choreographer of the new Lyric Theatre, later the Chicago Lyric Opera (54C44-46). In addition, Hassard Short, veteran producer of legendary Broadway shows for three decades, who had engaged Ruth as star dancer of the Music Box Revue, suggested taking Ruth's Merry Widowon a double bill to Broadway (54C20-27, 86-95).
The climax of Ruth Page's highly successful first year with the Lyric Theatre was the double-bill presentation of The Merry Widow(starring Alicia Markova with new costumes and scenery by Rolf Gerard [R54]), and Revengeat the Lyric Theatre on November 16 1955, followed by a week's engagement at the Broadway Theatre beginning December 26 (M102-07; R55).
Impressed by the success of the Broadway Theatre engagement, Columbia Artists Management approached Ruth and Tom to organize a company to tour the United States, starting in the fall of 1956 and extending into 1957 (56C16-17). This would be the first of twelve tours of Ruth Page's Chicago Opera Ballet, which, earlier in the fall season, would dance in opera ballets at the Lyric Theatre (Opera).
Though incomplete, the Business Records representing all of these tours are valuable in providing itineraries, salary lists, wage and tax statements, company managers' reports, insurance records, and other materials.
The 1956-57 tour starred Bentley Stone, Marjorie Tallchief, and George Skibine (for the first half) and Sonia Arova and Job Sanders (for the second) in The Merry Widowand Revenge.Before the '57 tour concluded, Columbia Artists asked for a 1958 tour. Tom corresponded with ballerina Mia Slavenska (57C20-22) and Oleg Briansky (57C3-4) for that tour (R71-73), which, in addition to Widowand Revenge,would include Triumph of Chastity, Amor Brujo,and Susanna and the Barberin the repertoire.
Plans for 1959, the third tour, had to be made in 1958, and Ruth and Tom re-engaged George Skibine and Marjorie Tallchief (58C16-19). Ruth planned to choreograph especially for Tallchief another opera-into-ballet, Camille,for which Isaac Van Grove would arrange Verdi's music from La Traviata.During 1959, Melissa Hayden, ballerina of the New York City Ballet, John Kriza, leading dancer of American Ballet Theatre, and Veronika Mlakar, a Yugoslav ballerina, were contracted for the 1960 tour. Carmen,with designs by Remisoff (59C10), would be the new opera-into-ballet.
For the 1961 tour (R91-92), Ruth translated yet another opera (operetta), Die Fledermaus,into ballet. For this ballet and for Concertino pour Trois,an abstract ballet (a departure for her) to a commissioned score by Marius Constant (60C8-10), Ruth engaged French designer André Delfau (60C11), a new collaborator, who would thereafter remain her principal designer. Sonia Arova (60C1-2), Melissa Hayden (61C7), and Maria Tallchief were the ballerinas engaged for the '61 tour.
The 1962 tour (R94-97), would include a new production of Carmenwith designs by French designer Bernard Daydé (61C52-58). But in 1961 Ruth created The Kansas Story(61C1-3,59) and first approached Edward G. Lee to create a full-length Nutcrackerfor Chicago's McCormick Place (61C60-61). Perhaps most important to the dance world were the results of Sonia Arova's letters to Ruth and Tom referring to the recent defection of the spectacular Russian dancer, Rudolf Nureyev (61C5-6).
On March 10 1962 Rudolf Nureyev made his American stage debut dancing the Don Quixotepas de deux with Sonia Arova in a performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with Ruth Page's Chicago Opera Ballet. Immediately after that triumphant appearance, Ruth and Tom, with Arova's useful information (62C5-8), began negotiations for Nureyev to appear at the Chicago Lyric Opera that fall in Fokine's “Polovetsian Dances” from Prince Igorand in Ruth's own Merry Widow.They were happily successful (62C66-70).
Sadly, however, plans for the Nutcrackerproduction had to be postponed indefinitely due to Edward G. Lee's suddenly developing throat cancer. Everything, including Rolf Gerard's designs, would lie dormant until 1965 (62C92-95; R102-38).
Ruth's collaboration with André Delfau (62C16-17) and Isaac Van Grove (62C32) resulted in two new ballets for the 1963 tour (R97-101), Pygmalionand Mephistophela.Appearing as guest stars that season would be Danish dancers Henning Kronstam and Kirsten Simone, both of whom Ruth and Tom had been in contact with for several years (62C24-25,28; 63C14-18).
Kronstam and Simone returned for the 1964 tour (R129-134; P14), which featured only one new ballet, Combinations,an off-beat abstract ballet with an original score by Van Grove (64C27a-28) and designs by Delfau (ndC4).
After a two-year hiatus, Ruth created one more opera-into-ballet, The Chocolate Soldier(also called Bullets and Bonbons,or All's Fair in Love and War)for the 1965 tour (R137-41), which starred Karl Musil from the Vienna Opera Ballet (64C19-20), and Bulgarian-born ballerina, Irina Borowska (64C5-8).
Edward G. Lee, who had accepted the idea for Ruth Page's Nutcrackerat McCormick Place, recovered from his bout with cancer and plans resumed as if they had never ceased (65C58-63). The almost frenzied efforts to get the dormant production on for Christmas 1965 are recorded in 65C97-126, 30 folders of correspondence with, among others, dancers (Anton Dolin, Kronstam, and Simone), designer (Rolf Gerard), and costumers (Karinska, Grace Miceli, Eaves, Lawrence Vlady). Almost miraculously, The Nutcracker,choreographed by Ruth Page, premièred on schedule at McCormick Place's Arie Crown Theatre on December 26 1965.
In addition to the flood of activity in preparation for Nutcracker,the Lyric Opera announced that Carl Orff's Carmina Buranawould be staged that fall, with choreography by Ruth (65C55-56), and Columbia Artists asked for new ballets for the 1966 tour, and a new “grander” name for the Chicago Opera Ballet (65C44-47). Tom managed to obtain the rights to perform Flemming Flindt's The Lesson(65C5-6, 10-11; R145), but Ruth's letter to Kurt Jooss requesting his anti-war masterpiece The Green Tablecame to nothing (65C17).
The 1966 tour (R142-50) was the last under the title of Ruth Page's Chicago Opera Ballet, and featured Josette Amiel as guest artist, in addition to Patricia Klekovic, Kenneth Johnson, Orrin Kayan, Dolores Lipinski, and Larry Long, dancers who almost all had been with Ruth from the beginning of the Columbia Artists tours. (Unfortunately, there are very few letters from these artists probably because most of their performing lives had been spent so close to Ruth.)
The first Nutcrackerseason at the Arie Crown had been a sell-out, and thereafter became an annual Christmas event sponsored by the Chicago Tribune.In 1966, Erik Bruhn, Anton Dolin, Josette Amiel, Henning Kronstam, Kristen Simone, and John Gilpin were among the featured artists (66C44-46).
Shortly before the end of 1966, events took a turn for the worse, and continued that way until the end of the sixties. Tom's successful law case of former years suddenly developed adverse repercussions, and in order to clear the situation, Tom had to leave Illinois until it had been resolved. Almost simultaneously, Tom's health began to deteriorate mysteriously. On the outside, Columbia Artists began to feel financial pressures which jeoparadized future tours of Ruth's company, now called Ruth Page's International Ballet.
There are only twenty-eight correspondence folders for 1967, but the business of the 1967 tour is fully documented by detailed company manager's weekly reports (R151-169). Kronstam, Simone, John Gilpin and Josette Amiel were the featured stars, and Ruth's revised version of Carmina Buranawas the new ballet. Later, in September of that year, Ruth embarked on a series of lecture demonstrations with several of her most reliable dancers. Calling the unit “Ruth Page's Concert Dance Group,” they toured the schools of Chicago (R170-71, 67C18).
But the sad and discouraged tone of the correspondence between Ruth (67C1-5) and Tom (67C6-14) prevails.
The ultra-modern McCormick Place, a supposedly fire-proof complex, burned to the ground in 1967. The Nutcrackerthat year was performed at the Lyric Opera.
The disorder concomitant with Tom's removal from the activities of Ruth and her company is reflected in the sketchy correspondence of 1968 (only fifteen folders) and 1969 (only ten folders). As Tom's health grew worse, he tried to cancel the 1969 tour, for fear it would be a financial disaster without his management (68C12-13). Ruth went to Portugal in May to observe the work of the Gulbenkian Foundation, that possibly might have had funds to bolster her company. Her letters to Tom reflect not only the uncertainty of that possibility, but her distress with the turn their lives had taken (68C1-2).
The 1969 tour, the last, was not cancelled (R178-86). The highlight of the tour was Ruth's new Romeo and Julietto the Tchaikovsky overture, one of her most successful ballets. But it was clear that Tom would never recover from his illness. Certain settlements of the court case had been reached, but there were still problems to be resolved (no records relating to these matters exist in the Collection). What hints there are suggest that, at Tom's urging, Ruth began to reorganize certain facets of her life, in preparation for being alone. Among his instructions was the plan to donate to The New York Public Library large portions of the archival materials documenting their life together (thousands of items including letters, photographs, scrapbooks, designs, programs, clippings, films, music scores and posters—69C7), a gift which continues as of this writing in 1980.
In November 1969, Thomas H. Fisher died at Whitehall Hospital, Chicago. Letters of condolence to Ruth from friends, including Chicago critic Claudia Cassidy and her husband, William Crawford, and from dance critic Walter Terry, are in the correspondence (69C6).
There is no record in the Collection of Ruth Page's reaction to the loss of her husband of forty-five years. In the two folders of 1970 correspondence, there are references to new productions, including Alice in Wonderland(70C1) and new “tours” including the itinerary of a series of lectures entitled “Ruth Page's Invitation to the Dance” 1971 (R187).
Yet another decade of materials, 1970-79, now awaits organizing and cataloguing in the Dance Collection to keep the record of this extraordinary career up to date.
The Ruth Page collection is arranged in five series:
The correspondence series is arranged chronologically. Each year of correspondence is grouped in subgroups: Personal correspondence; Business correspondence; and Production correspondence, when applicable after 1947.
The personal correspondence is classified into three subseries: Major correspondents; Minor correspondents; Miscellaneous correspondents.
Major correspondents are Ruth Page, Marian Heinly Page, and Thomas H. Fisher. Before 1925, the letters of Ruth Page (RP) to Marian H. Page (MHP), are listed first, followed by letters of MHP/RP. After 1925, RP/MHP is followed by letters of RP/Thomas Hart Fisher (THF), then MHP/RP, and THF/RP. After the death of Marian H. Page in 1945, only RP/THF and THF/RP comprise the Major correspondents classification.
Minor correspondents are those who, within any given year, wrote two or more letters of relative importance to RP and/or THF and/or MHP, or to another minor correspondent. Among the most frequently represented correspondents in this group are Harald Kreutzenberg (HK), Friedrich Wilckens (FW), Nicholas Remisoff (NR), Bentley Stone (BS), Isaac Van Grove, Margot Fonteyn, Antoni Clavé, and André Delfau. The arrangement is always alphabetical.
If a minor correspondent is also a recipient of letters from RP and/or THF, those letters are contained in a folder following the letters from that correspondent (e.g., Margot Fonteyn/ followed by /MF). Single letters from RP and/or THF toa correspondent are usually within the folder of letters fromthat correspondent.
Miscellaneous correspondents are those who, within any given year, wrote one (perhaps two) letters which are more meaningful when included within the context of the miscellaneous correspondence group. The arrangement is chronological under two subgroup headings: letters toRP and/or THF followed by letters fromRP and/or THF (Misc/ followed by /Misc).
Business correspondence follows the Personal correspondence. Previous to 1954, it is arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent, letters toRP, THF, or a representative in the early years, followed by letters fromRP, THF or their representative. After 1954, the arrangement, following the order in which the files were received, is reversed: THF/ is followed by /THF.
Miscellaneous business correspondence (Misc bus) is arranged chronologically. THF/Misc bus is followed by Misc bus/THF.
Production correspondence follows the Business correspondence and is arranged alphabetically by title of the ballet production it concerns, e.g., The Merry Widowfollowed by The Nutcracker.Under each of these headings, correspondence arranged alphabetically by correspondent is in turn arranged chronologically. Miscellaneous correspondence follows the order of miscellaneous personal correspondence (i.e., Misc/THF; THF/Misc) and is subdivided chronologically.
N.B.: Occasional discrepancies in the arrangement described are accounted for by a decision to maintain the original order of the correspondence as kept by THF.
Folder numbers appear after the series letter C; the last two digits of the year are used before the C. In this list, the writer of the letter is given first, the recipient after the slash. For joint letters the names or abbreviations of the two or more correspondents are separated by an ampersand; a semicolon is used if there are letters to or from each of those named. The following abbreviations are used:
- RP Ruth Page
- MHP [UNK] Heinly Page
- THF [UNK] Hart Fisher
- LP [UNK] Page
- LP, Jr. [UNK] Page, Jr
- AB [UNK] Bolm
- BB [UNK] Bolm
- VB [UNK] Bolm
- CAM Columbia Artists Management
- JC John Crane
- RG Ruth Gordon
- HK Harald Kreutzberg
- NR Nicholas Remisoff
- SR Sviatoslav Roerich
- BS Bentley Stone
- MT Mark Turbyfill
- FW Friedrich Wilckens
Initials are also used for names of correspondents repeated from the previous entry and for unions (AFTRA, [UNK]).
Essays are grouped by author: MHP, RP, then alphabetically by author. Under each author, the essays are arranged chronologically. Works—Scenarios, etc., are also grouped by author: RP, then alphabetically by author. Under each author, scenario (ballet) titles are listed chronologically. Works—Technical notes, follows the same arrangement as Works—Scenarios, etc.
- 13 notebooks
In this list, all notebooks are by Ruth Page with the exception of N1, which was presumably kept by Marian H. Page. The notebooks are arranged chronologically.
Publicity material, consisting primarily of random holograph and typescript items, are in three subseries: Press materials; Program notes; Biographies. The first two are arranged chronologically, the third alphabetically by subject of the biographical notes.
In this list, business records and related materials are grouped chronologically and remain in the original order kept by Thomas H. Fisher, usually under broad headings related either to a particular dance company or ballet production. See abbreviation list at the head of “Correspondence 1916-70.”Arrangement: The Business records are arranged chronologically and subdivided under sub-headings (title of company or ballet production, and then by type of legal or financial document, correspondence, or other record) as arranged by THF, with some alterations.