Records of the National Ballet, 1962-1974

Records of the National Ballet, 1962-1974

Finding Aid

Collection No. 34 (50 Linear ft.)
D.C. Community Archives

*Note: Box 61 is currently undergoing digitization and is temporarily unavailable for research*


Jean Riddell donated the records to the Library in 1976.


The National Ballet was founded in 1962 by Jean Riddell as the resident ballet company of the Nation’s capital. It gave its first performance on Jan. 3, 1963 at Lisner Auditorium. During its 12 years, the company presented 1,000 performances in Washington, D.C. and in 275 cites, including the U.S., Canada and Mexico. 

In the District, the Company performed first at the Lisner Auditorium and then the Kennedy Center. In 1974, the Company disbanded due to financial problems.  

Frederick Franklin was the artistic director of the company from its beginning. Ben Stevenson joined Mr. Franklin as artistic director in 1971. His first staged ballet was "The Sleeping Beauty," in observance of the inaugural season of the Kennedy Center. 

The company had a strong classical repertory, including "Cinderella," "Giselle," "Coppelia," "La Sylphide." Performed contemporary works included "Harliquinade," "Bartok Concerto," and "Three Preludes." Dancers who appeared regularly with the company included Christine Knobloch, Michelle Lees, Kirk Peterson, Fredric Strobel, and Dennis Poole. Famous guest artists included Margot Fonteyn, Violette Verdy and Edward Villella.

Scope and Content Note

The records consist of trustee minutes, programs, advertisements, press releases, clippings, biographical files, promotional materials, and scrapbooks regarding the promotion and administration of the Ballet. The collection also contains musical scores, hanging plots, stage directions, board studies, set designs, videotapes, audiotapes, microforms, and photographs which document its artistic work.   The records are arranged into 12 series.

Series Descriptions

Series I: Trustee Minutes, 1964-1974 (.50 linear ft.)

Contains minutes of the Board of Trustees of the National Ballet.

Series II: Ballets Performed, 1962-1974  (7 linear ft.)

Contains primarily photographs from performances of the National Ballet as well as a few programs. The folders are arranged alphabetically by title of the performance. The series also contains a chronology of the National Ballet Repertory from 1962-1967 prepared by Debra Devoe, which appears at the end of the series.

Series III: Biographical Files, 1972-1974 (4 linear ft.)

Folders in the series contain files on certain dancers who performed with the National Ballet. The folders are arranged alphabetically first by name of the performer. Biographies and critics quotes for use by the press for certain performers as well as advance sheets appear at the end of the series.

Series IV: Programs and Promotional Material, 1963-1972 (2 linear ft.)

This series contains primarily programs, flyers, and other promotional materials for productions of the National Ballet. The materials are arranged chronologically by date of the performance.  

Series V: Traveling Performances, 1973-1974 (3.75 linear ft.)

This series includes correspondence, contracts, internal memoranda, stage information questionnaires, rehearsal and performance schedules, technical information sheets, reviews, and clippings regarding traveling performances of the Ballet. Performances took place in every region of the U.S., including such states as North Carolina, California, Alabama, New York, Texas, and Kansas. Handwritten log books maintained on the road to record schedules, staging requirements, and other notes on the performances appear first with the remainder of the materials arranged alphabetically by title of the performance.

Series VI: Publicity, 1963-1975  (1 linear ft.)

This series contains press releases, editions of Ballerina: the National Ballet News, subscription flyers, and clippings regarding performances. A book containing clippings of advertisements for National Ballet performances is also contained in the series.

Series VII: Stage Direction, ca. 1962-1974   (1.75 linear ft.)

Handwritten stage directions for each play as well as some musical scores are contained in this series. Folders are arranged alphabetically by title of the ballet.  

Series VIII: Audiovisual Materials, ca. 1964-1974 (5.75 linear ft.)

This series contains audiotapes, a videotape, microfilm of musical scores, and photographs. The materials are further arranged into subseries by format.
  • Subseries 1: Audio and Video Recordings, ca. 1964-1974  (4 linear ft.) Contains 93 reel-to-reel audiotapes of ballets performed by the National Ballet. The series also contains a video film of a February 1973 performance on WTTG television by the company and tapes of interviews with members of the company, including Frederick Franklin and Ralph Black.  The tapes are loosely arranged alphabetically by title with interviews and duplicates in other formats at the end.
  • Subseries 2: Microfilm, ca. 1971 (.50 linear ft.) Contains microfilm of selected scores from ballets performed by the company. The microfilm containers are loosely arranged by title of the ballet.  
  • Subseries 3: Photographs, ca. 1970s  (1.25 linear ft.) Contains snapshots, proofsheets, a photo album commemorating the first four years of the company, and other photographs from rehearsals, performances, and the academic school of the National Ballet.

Series IX: Administration, 1966-1974 (.50 linear ft.)

This series contains a small amount of records regarding the finances, history, and general administration of the company. Items include a history of the National Ballet, sample form letters, press book, Kennedy Center information, brochures worksheet, New York publicity, and printed material of the Ballet.  

Series X: Stage Design, ca. 1962-1974 (4 linear ft.)

This series contains hanging plots, board studies, and set designs for selected performances of the National Ballet. The materials are loosely arranged alphabetically by title of the ballet.    

Series XI:  Musical Scores, ca. 1962-1974 (13 linear ft.)

This series contains marked scores of music for ballets performed by the National Ballet. The scores are arranged alphabetically by title of the ballet.

Series XII: Scrapbooks, 1940, 1962-1974 (1.50 linear ft.)

Includes scrapbooks of clippings, programs, invitations, press releases, and other memorabilia compiled to document the company’s activities from 1962 through 1974. The series also contains two scrapbooks of clippings of magazine and newspaper articles from the 1940s about composers and conductors of the period such as Toscanini, Shostakovich, and Rachmaninoff.

Box Inventory

Series I: Trustee Minutes

Box 1

  • Minutes, 1964-1974

Series II: Ballets Performed

Box 2

  • "Bachianas"
  • "Bartok Concerto"
  • Black Swan
  • "The Catalyst"
  • "Cinderella"

Box 3

  • "Cinderella"

Box 4

  • "Cinderella"
  • "Combat"
  • "Con Amore," 1968-69

Box 5

  • "Concerto Baroceo"
  • "Coppelia," 1969
  • "Le Corsaire"

Box 6

  • "Don Quixote"
  • "Early Voyagers"
  • "Eaters of Darkness"
  • "Four Temperaments"

Box 7

  • "Giselle"

Box 8

  • "Graduation Ball"
  • "Harlequinade"
  • "Homage"

Box 9

  • "Jeu de Cartes"
  • "Jungle"

Box 10

  • "Midsummer Night's Dream"
  • "Night"
  • "Nutcracker"

Box 11

  • "Nutcracker"
  • "Out of Darkness"
  • "Paquita"

Box 12

  • "Paquita"
  • "Pas de Quatre"
  • "Peter and the Wolf"

Box 13

  • "Prodigal Son"
  • "Rhythm 3"
  • "Seranade"

Box 14

  • "Serenade"
  • "Sleeping Beauty" 

Box 15

  • "Sleeping Beauty"
  • "La Sonnambula"
  • "Swan Lake"

Box 16

  • "Swan Lake"

Box 17

  • "Les Sylphides"

Box 18

  • "Les Sylphides"
  • "Three Preludes"
  • "Tribute"
  • "Through the Edge"

Box 19

  • Variations for "Four"
  • "Water Study"
  • "Witch Boy"
  • Chronology of National Ballet repertory by Debra Devoe, 1962-1967

Series III: Biographical Files

Box 20

  • Leslie Adres  - Marilyn Burr

Box 21

  • Marilyn Burr  - Joanne Danto

Box 22

  • Ottavio Derosa (conductor)  - Peter Farmer

Box 23

  • Dame Margot Fonteyn

Box 24

  • Frederic Franklin (co-artistic director) - Edward Haynes

Box 25

  • Paul Higginbotham  - Desmond Kelly

Box 26

  • Christina Knoblach (principal dancer), 1972-73 - Kevin McKenzie

Box 27

  • Roni Mahler  - Dennis Pool

Box 28

  • Andrea Price – Frederic Strobel

Box 29

  • Robert Troll – Elizabeth Wade

Box 30

  • Biographies and critics quotes for use by the press (2 folders)
  • Advance Sheets

Series IV: Programs and Promotional Material

Box 31

  • 1963 through 1968

Box 32

  • November 1968 through March 1969

Box 33

  • April 1969 through March 1970

Box 34

  • October 1971 through January 1972

Box 35

  • April 1972 through undated

Series V: Traveling Performances

Box 36

  • 1973-1974

Box 37

  • Akron, Ohio to Brooklyn College

Box 38

  • Carbondale, IL to Fredericksburg, VA

Box 39

  • Greensboro, NC to Lawrence, KS

Box 40

  • Lawton, OK to Mobile, AL

Box 41

  • Muncie, IN to Ocala, FL

Box 42

  • Olean, N.Y. to Salisbury, MD

Box 43

  • San Antonio, TX to Toledo, OH

Box 44

  • Torrence, CA to Yakima, WA

Series VI: Publicity

Box 45

  • Advertising Books, 1963-1973
    • 1973-1975

Box 46

  • Ballerina: National Ballet News
  • Subscription flyers
  • Press releases
  • Clippings

Series VII: Stage Direction

Box 47

  • "Bachianas" to "Concerto in D Minor"

Box 48

  • "Creation" to "Legend of Pearl"

Box 49

  • "Night" to "Swan Lake"

Box 50

  • "Tango-Chikane" to "Warm Up"

Series VIII: Audiovisual Materials

Subseries 1: Audio and Video Recordings

Box 51

  • "Bachianas"
  • "Barocco"
  • Bartok Piano Concerto No.3
  • "Cinderella"
  • "Con Amore"
  • "Coppelia"
  • "Conversations"

Box 52

  • "Catalyst" 
  • "Concerto Barocco"
  • "Courante" 
  • "Creation of the World"
  • "Dance Brillante"
  • "Don Quixote" 
  • "Eaters"
  • "Legend of the Pearl"

Box 53

  • "Giselle"
  • "Jeu de Cartes"
  • "Night"
  • "Nutcracker," ca. 1967

Box 54

  • "Homage"
  • "La Peri and Fanfare"
  • "Jungle"
  • "Prodigal Son"
  • "Raymonda"
  • "Seeds"

Box 55

  • "La Sonnambula"
  • "Serenade"
  • "Sleeping Beauty"
  • "Streetcar"
  • "Swan Lake"

Box 56

  • "La Sonnambula"
  • "Les Sylphides"
  • "Tango Chicane"
  • "Tempraments"

Box 57

  • "Tribute"
  • "Variations for Four",
  • "Warm Up",
  • "Witch Boy",
  • "Britton's Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra"
  • Tapes of interviews and unidentified tapes

Box 58

  • "Paquita"
  • "Pas de Deux 'Gayne'"
  • "Pas de Quatre"
  • Interview

Box 61

  • WTTG video film tape, February 1973
  • 16mm film of "Night"

Subseries 2: Microforms

Box 62

  • "Bartok" (2 containers)
  • "Black Swan"
  • "Cinderella" (6 containers)
  • "Combat"
  • "Copelia Con Amore Pas de Deux"
  • "Gayeneh"

Box 63

  • "Othello"
  • "Paquita" and "Raymonda" (4 containers)
  • "Paquita" and "Seeds" (4 boxes)
  • "La Sylphide"
  • "Witch Boy" (2 boxes)
  • Unidentified

Subseries 3: Photographs

Box 64

  • 4 Ballerinas (Barr, Fulton, Lipinski, and Le Comte with Frederick Franklin)
  • Photo album,
  • Snapshots and proofsheets
  • Kennedy Center
  • Photographs, snapshots, and proofsheets

Box 65

  • Photographs, snapshots, and proof sheets

Box 66

  • Photographs, snapshots, and proof sheets

Series IX: Administration

Box 67

  • Brochures
  • Floor plans
  • History of the Company
  • Kennedy Center Info
  • Petty Cash Forms

Box 68

  • Press Book
  • Requests for Information
  • Sample Form Letters
  • SM Q-sheets
  • Stencils
  • Three Preludes
  • Travel Orders

Box 69

  • Printed Materials
  • New York Publicity
  • Publicity brochures
  • Light Plot Q Sheets

Series X: Stage Design

  • Light plot used at State College, PA

Box 70

  • Hanging Plots and board studies for: "Nutcracker," "Graduation Ball," "Concerto Baccaccio," "Coppelia," "Gisele," "Homage," "Les Sylphide," "Prodigal Son," "Swan Lake," "Tango," and "Witch Boy"

Box 71

  • Line plots, set design, etc. for "Streetcar," "Cinderella," "Les Sylphides"

Box 72

  • Line plots, set design, etc. for "Bartok Concerto," "Blossom," "Jacob’s Pillow," "Jungle," "La Sonnambula," "Les Sylphides", "Meadow Brook", and "Water Study"

Series XI: Musical scores

Boxes 73-75

  • "Legend of the Pearl"

Box 76-77

  • "Le Maure De Venise"

Box 78

  • "Le Maure De Venise (Othello)"

Box 79

  • "Raymonda"

Box 80

  • "Romeo and Juliet"

Box 81

  • "A Streetcar Named Desire"

Box 82-83

  • "Touch and Go" (Dance Variation for Piano)

Boxes 84-85

  • "Witchboy"

Boxes 86-89

  • Miscellaneous

Series XII: Scrapbooks

Boxes 90-91

  • 1940s (4)
  • Unboxed scrapbooks
  • 1962 thru1963
  • 1963 thru 1964
  • 1964 thru 1965
  • 1966 thru 1967
  • 1967 thru 1968
  • 1969 thru 1970
  • 1979 thru 1971
  • 1972
  • 1973 thru 1974


Originally prepared by Leroy Graham, October 1991
Revised by Faye Haskins, October 1998

DC Public Library, Special Collections
D.C. Community Archives

Back to Special Collections Homepage