Scope and arrangement
The collection contains musical scores, correspondence, writings, legal and financial papers and office files. The bulk of the collection consists of annotated musical scores, representing the productions choreographed by Agnes De Mille. De Mille’s writing is also represented, with various essays, stories and other writings included in various states of completion. Although much of that material is fragmentary or in poor condition, it provides an invaluable look into De Mille’s life and work. De Mille writes about her family life and relationships, her professional endeavors, and her appraisals of her colleagues and predecessors in the dance world. At the same time, the collection lacks completed drafts of any of De Mille’s numerous books on her life and career or on the art of dance.
The Agnes De Mille scores are arranged in six series:
- 1911 - 1987; Undated112 boxes
The Production Music Scores series consists of scores for productions, many choreographed by De Mille. The scores include parts for different instruments, and they vary from classical to modern, ballet to musical comedy. Some of De Mille’s most famous triumphs are represented here, including Oklahoma!, Brigadoon, Rodeo, and Paint Your Wagon. All scores are undated, except where indicated.
- 1865 - 1982; Undated8 boxes
The General Music Scores series contains published or piano-vocal scores, many in foreign languages, lacking the instrumental parts and orchestrations of the Production Music Scores.
- 1911 - 1988; Undated3 boxes
Both personal and professional correspondence is included in this series. Some of the earliest correspondence is from De Mille’s relatives, writing to her as a child. Later material illustrates De Mille’s business dealings and her friendships, both in and out of the world of the arts.
- 1893 - 1993; Undated5 boxes
Agnes De Mille wrote almost as assiduously as she choreographed, and her written work took many forms. Included in this series are essays, short stories, biographical sketches, scripts, reviews, notes and introductions. Some of the short fiction dates from her college days, while her dance-related writing goes as far as the 1980s. The series contains many autobiographical stories and sketches in unfinished or fragmentary form. Although De Mille may have used them as the basis for some of her published autobiographies, they are not labeled as such. Other authors are represented as well, including her husband, Walter Prude and Warren Leonard, a former dance partner and boyfriend. The series also contains transcripts of interviews with and by Agnes De Mille, most notably a lengthy interview with Dick Cavett, commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on the occasion of her receiving the Kennedy Center Honors.
- 1950 - 19887 boxes
This series contains of bank statements, check records, contracts, expenses, bills, royalty statements and tax materials. The bulk of the series consists of professional material, but some records refer to De Mille and her husband, Walter Prude’s personal finances.
- 1905 - 19887 boxes
The office files consist of clippings, memoranda, newsletters, programs, and fliers. Also of note are phone books and daily appointment books for Agnes De Mille and Walter Prude.