Lucia Chase papers

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Collection Data

The Lucia Chase papers span the years ca. 1899 to 1982 and are divided into two main series: personal correspondence, diaries, financial records, and miscellany; and business correspondence, company and financial records, and miscellany.
Chase, Lucia, 1897-1986 (Creator)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1899 - 1982 (Approximate)
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: (S) *MGZMD 51
Manuscripts -- Collections
American Ballet Theatre
Ballet Theatre (New York, N.Y.)
Biographical/historical: Lucia Hosmer Chase Ewing was born March 24, 1897 in Waterbury, Connecticut to Irving Hall Chase, President of Waterbury Clock Company, and Elizabeth Hosmer Kellogg Chase. Lucia was the middle child of five sisters: Marjorie, Eleanor (Mrs. Charles P. Taft), Elizabeth I. (Mrs. John Griffith Davies), and Dorothy (Mrs. Edward Carmody). Lucia was educated at St. Margaret's School and Bryn Mawr College. She then moved to New York City to study theatre at the Theatre Guild School, and ballet with Mikhail Mordkin. On December 28, 1926 she married Thomas Ewing, Jr., heir to the Alexander Smith & Sons Carpet Company fortune. They had two sons: Thomas III, and Alexander Cochran. Thomas, Jr. died of pneumonia in 1933; Thomas III died in a boating accident near Block Island, Rhode Island in 1963. After her husband's death Lucia resumed her studies with Mordkin, making her dancing debut with his company in 1937. She rose to the rank of principal dancer and remained as such when the company became the Ballet Theatre in 1940. Along with Oliver Smith, Lucia Chase was named co-director of Ballet Theatre (renamed American Ballet Theatre in 1957) in 1945, a position she held until 1980. She continued to perform well into the 1970s and was also one of the company's major financial supporters from its beginning as the Mordkin Ballet until her death on January 9, 1986.
Content: The papers document Lucia Chase's personal life as well as her professional work with the Mordkin Ballet, Ballet Theatre, and American Ballet Theatre. The personal papers contain correspondence with family members including her parents, sisters, and sons, eleven diaries, and financial records pertaining to her investments. The business correspondence comprises the largest series and contains letters from Irina Baronova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Agnes de Mille, Anton Dolin, Cynthia Gregory, Doris Humphrey, Michael Kidd, Lincoln Kirstein, Hugh Laing, Peter Lawrence, José Limón, Charles Payne, Oliver Smith, Antony Tudor, and E. Virginia Williams among others. Additional items relate to various aspects of the operation of American Ballet Theatre including promotion, production, and financial records. The papers also contain two ledger/address books from the Mordkin Ballet School and a 1936 program autographed by Mikhail Mordkin
Acquisition: Gift of Estate of Lucia Chase.
Physical Description
Extent: 7 document boxes (285 folders)
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b12179818
MSS Unit ID: 19696
Archives collections id: archives_collections_19696
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): edc98e50-8f23-0139-b1d5-0242ac110002
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