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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 534

Sylvester & Harris correspondence concerning publication of Romola Nijinsky's Nijinsky


Correspondence of American law firm Sylvester & Harris with Romola Nijinsky and others, concerning the American edition of her biography of her husband, Waslaw Nijinsky, and other legal matters.


  • 1923-1983
  • Majority of material found within 1931-1951

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


1 linear feet (2 boxes)
Includes correspondence of attorneys Charles L. Sylvester and Sydney Harris with Romola Nijinsky about the American publication of her biography of her husband, Nijinsky, and other legal matters. Also includes correspondence with publishers, literary agents, lawyers, and government officials about negotiations of Romola Nijinsky's contracts, raising funds for the Nijinskys to pay outstanding bills, and obtaining authorization for Waslaw Nijinsky to come to America for medical treatment. Also includes contracts, and affidavits, Waslaw Nijinsky's last known plan for a ballet, and a signed copy of Romola Nijinsky's book.

Biographical / Historical

Romola Nijinsky de Pulszky was the wife of legendary Russian dancer Waslaw Nijinsky. In 1919 Nijinsky suffered a mental breakdown which ended his career and left him mentally disabled for life. In order to provide for her family and to pay for her husband's medical treatment, Romola Nijinsky wrote her husband's biography, which was published both in Europe and America. In 1940 she obtained permission from the US authorities to bring her husband to the United States to continue insulin shock treatments, but was not able to raise money for the trip. When World War II ended, she resumed her efforts to renew Nijinsky's visa to America and to find financial support for his treatment, but her efforts were cut short when Nijinsky passed away in the spring of 1950.

Charles L. Sylvester and Sydney Harris were American lawyers who knew Romola Nijinsky through mutual friends. Romola Nijinsky became their unpaid client, they acted on her behalf in the United States, negotiating her contracts with publishers and literary agents, petitioning with the US immigrations authorities for visas, and taking care of other legal matters.


Arranged alphabetically by correspondent and chronologically within. Contracts and affidavits not accompanied with correspondence, and a book are at the end of the finding aid.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

2007MT-97. Gift of Warshaw Burstein Cohen Schesinger & Kuh, 555 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10017; received: 2007 May 27.

Processing Information

Processed by: Irina Klyagin
Link to catalog
Sylvester & Harris (Firm). Sylvester & Harris correspondence concerning publication of Romola Nijinsky's Nijinsky, 1923-1983: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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