Markova, Alicia (1910-2004)

The Alicia Markova collection includes correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, printed material, memorabilia, and other items.

Correspondence in the collection is extensive, dating from the 1920s through the 2010s. There are several letters from Markova’s husband, Anton Dolin. Other notable correspondents include Rudolph Bing, Mark Bonham-Carter, Julian Braunsweg, Marc Chagall, Diane Daniels, Martin Gillion, Arnold Haskell, Lord and Lady Hastings, Irene Lidova, Edward R. Murrow, Lieutenant Colonel Seal O’Dwyer, Ted Shawn, David Susskind, Margaret Thatcher; Carl Van Vechten, and Princess Antoinette of Monaco, Princess Diana, and Princess Margaret.

Manuscripts in the collection consist of various scripts, poems, scores, articles, lectures, outlines, books, screenplays, and interviews. The items by Markova herself include several speeches, some recipes, the page proofs for an Opera News article, a memoir titled “Dancing through Europe,” and her book Giselle and I. The interview transcripts include two interviews of Markova, one by Edward R. Murrow and one by Norman Dello Joio and Margaraet Matzenauer, both dated 1955. Other manuscripts in the collection include the screenplay The Magic World of Doctor Coppelius, by Ted Kneeland; the teleplay Pavlova’s Test, by Eugenie Leontovich and George S. George; the opera Mourning Becomes Electra, by Marvin David Levy; Alicia Markova: Her Life and Art (1952-1985), and Last Words: A Final Biography, both by Anton Dolin; a short biography of Claudia Cravey; and various items of sheet music, some signed by Markova.

Professional material in the series consists of subject files regarding topics such as Arts Educational schools; dance schools; ballet companies and studios; and other subjects. Other material in this series includes Markova’s questionnaires and resumes; business cards from critics and costume makers; press releases; cast lists; and travel itineraries. 

Photographs in the collection include numerous photos of Markova (primarily black and white prints). There are many portraits, as well as images of performances. There are many portraits and other photos by Carl Van Vechten, dating from 1940 to 1960, as well as several photos by other noted photographers. Photos of performances and rehearsals include Swan Lake, Petroushka, Pas de Quatre, the Nutcracker, Giselle, Les Sylphides, and many others. In addition, there are numerous other images, including portraits of Anna Pavlova (dated 1917-1925); a photograph of Markova with Queen Elizabeth II; an inscribed portrait of Charlie Chaplin (1947); photos of Markova’s family; and eleven photo albums containing portraits and family photos. Notable persons in photographs with Markova, besides the aforementioned, include Hubert Humphrey; Princess Margaret; and Igor Youskevich. This series also contains albums for events such as the opening of the Markova Theatre (1990); the Royal Gala at Sadler Well’s Theatre for Markova’s 80th birthday (1990); Markova’s appearance on Thames Television’s This is Your Life, which includes a signed statement by Princess Diana (1995); and others. The images all date from Markova’s early childhood to 1999.

Printed material in the collection consists of various newspapers, magazines, and clippings containing photographs, interviews, and profiles of Markova, as well as schedules, calendars, posters, press releases, programs, and promotional material for her appearances in dance productions around the world. The series also contains proofs for Markova Remembers; items related to Marie Taglioni and her performances; and items regarding Anna Pavlova. Material in this series date from the 1940s to the 2010s.

Scrapbooks in the collection consist of scrapbooks compiled by Markova and her sisters, and date from 1931 to 1965. Scrapbooks in this series consist of material regarding greeting and Christmas cards, as well as ballets.

Memorabilia in the collection includes honorary degrees; invitations; commemorative medallions; jewelry and other personal accessories; a jewelry box containing a gold pin engraved “Brittanica, 1797,” among other jewelry boxes; pink silk tights worn for the last performance of The Dying Swan; Taglioni paper dolls; Markova’s make-up case, engaved with her initials; rubber stamps inscribed with Markova’s name; scarves belonging to and shoe molds used by Anna Pavlova; 12 calendars and appointment books kept by Markova, dating from 1937 to 1969 (not inclusive); and various other items.

Other items in the collection include various dance-related posters, prints, artwork, and engravings; financial material, including bills, invoices, and receipts (1949-2003); legal material (1886-1985); notebooks (1946-2003); journals and diaries (1938-1989); audio material primarily for music for ballet performances, including Markova’s Ballet Call Numbers, and recorded interviews; and video material of ballets, interviews, and seminars, including Alicia Markova: The People’s Ballerina (2000); Markova le Legende (2001); and A Portrait of Giselle.

Notable Figures
1. Markova, Alicia, Dame, 1910-2004
Associated Subjects
1. Women's Studies Collections -- Music and Dance Subject Guide
2. Theatre and Film Subject Guide
3. Dance Subject Guide
4. Photography Subject Guide
5. Helen Deutsch Research Section