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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 458

Michel Fokine papers


Correspondence, clippings, photographs and costumes documenting the career of the Russian dancer and choreographer Michel Fokine.


  • Creation: 1906-1964

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in Russian, English, and French.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


8 linear feet (20 boxes)

The collection represents various aspects of Michel Fokine’s long career in dance, particularly from his years in America. It contains personal and business correspondence primarily from his American period. It also contains manuscripts of his critical essays in Russian and English, including an unfinished essay on Serge Diaghilev; biographical material, including complete lists of his works in Russian and English; music scores for his ballets; choreographic notes, including synopsis for his last unfinished ballet La Belle Hélèn; some financial records; costumes and shoes, and clippings from numerous American, European and Russian newspapers. The collection also includes photographs of him, his wife, dancer Vera Fokine, née Antonova, and his son, dancer and teacher Vitale Fokine.

Biographical / Historical

Michel Fokine (1880-1942) was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer. He created his best-known ballets during the years of 1909-1914 when he served as choreographer for Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. In 1919 he moved to the United States where he lived and worked until his death.


Organized into the following ten series:

  1. I. Compositions
  2. II. Correspondence
  3. III. Biographical material
  4. IV. Choreographic notes
  5. V. Music scores
  6. VI. Financial documentation
  7. VII. Miscellaneous
  8. VIII. Photographs
  9. IX. Newspaper clippings
  10. X. Costumes and shoes

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

*2003MT-212. Purchased with the Howard Rothschild fund; received: 2003 September 2.

Related Materials

In the late 1950s Vitale Fokine donated a considerable part of Michel Fokine's archive to the Leningrad Theatre Library in the Soviet Union. See letter from Gosudarstvennaia teatral'naia biblioteka imeni A.V. Lunacharskogo to Vitale Fokine. (20) Description of this collection can be found in Sovetskii Balet, 1987, v. 4, pp. 46-50.

Processing Information

Processed by: Irina Klyagin

Fokine, Michel, 1880-1942. Michel Fokine papers: Guide.
Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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