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Ruth Page Collection

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Collection Identifier: C.2011-05
Preservation Sponsor: National Endowment for the Arts ;Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation;Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board
Extent of collection
406 reels of 16mm totaling 221,551 feet; 10 reels of 35mm totaling 3,875 feet; 16 1" videotapes totaling 8,900 feet; 66 1/2 " reel-to-reel videotapes totaling 101,690 feet; 10 1/4 " audio tapes totaling 4,370 feet; 1 2" videotape totaling 300 feet; 53 3/4" tape cassettes; 213 Betacam SP tape cassettes; and 160 VHS tape cassettes.
Inclusive Dates
1922 - 1999
Bulk Dates
1950 - 1988
This collection documents the dance legacy and artistic circle of choreographer, Ruth Page, named by the Dance Heritage Coalition as one of America’s 100 Irreplaceable Dance Treasures. As the largest collection of moving image materials related to Ruth Page, this is a worthy complement to the vast manuscript collection that resides at the Jerome Robins Dance Division of the New York Public Library and the Newberry Library in Chicago. The collection contains rehearsals and performances that date back to 1922 including footage of Rudolph Nureyev soon after his defection from the Soviet Union, Balinese dances filmed during Page’s 1928 Asian Tour, and performances of The Merry Widow on the Ed Sullivan Show. It also contains the original and master tapes of numerous interviews with dance critics such as Clive Barnes and John Martin, dancers such as Larry Long, Delores Lipinski, Anne Kisselgoff and Maria Tallchief, and a comprehensive series of interviews and oral histories with Page herself that date from 1957 through 1987. Among the dozens of Ruth Page ballets contained in this collection is an original 35mm nitrate print of Bolero danced in 1928 at Ravinia in Highland Park, IL. This collection is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation
The Ruth Page Collection is organized into five series:

SERIES I: Motion Picture Film of Performances, Rehearsals & Home Movies (S.2011-05-0001)
SERIES II: Open Reel Video of Performances & Rehearsals (S.2011-05-0002)
SERIES III: Betacam Video of Interviews (S.2011-05-0003)
SERIES IV: Misc Audio Formats (S.2011-05-0004)
SERIES V: Unprocessed Video Duplicates (S.2011-05-0005) 

SERIES I includes 16mm and 35mm prints and elements within the collection. These prints and elements include footage of performances, rehearsals, television specials as well as home movies shot in Indonesia in the late 1920's and unrelated advertising spots. Also included in this series are distribution prints, workprints and elements of the 1978 documentary "Ruth Page: An American Original" and 35mm preservation elements and prints of Bolero [1930, Highland Park, Ravinia] and Carmen [1930, Highland Park, Ravinia], which were preserved thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. The 16mm prints were digitized in-house at Chicago Film Archives, while the 35mm prints were digitized at Colorlab.

SERIES II includes 2", 1" and 1/2" open reel video formats. These videos include footage of performances, rehearsals and television specials. The majority of the 1" videos are previous film transfers of select motion picture titles found in Series I, while the majority of the 1/2" videos contain unique footage of performances and rehearsals. The 2" video was digitized by DC Video while all 1" and 1/2" were digitized by Bay Area Video Coalition. 

SERIES III includes Betacam and Betacam SP video interviews conducted by Thea Flaum, creator and producer of the Ruth Page Video Archive. Interviewees include Ruth Page, Freddie Franklin, Larry Long, Patricia Klekovich, Kenneth Johnson, Delores Long and Clive Barnes, among others. These videos were digitized by Bay Area Video Coalition. 

SERIES IV includes 1/4" reel to reel audio formats digitized and restored by Experimental Sound Studio.

SERIES V includes VHS and U-Matic duplicates of the Betacam interviews found in Series III. The majority of these duplicates have time-code burned into the image. None of the videos in Series V have been processed, digitized or published to the Ruth Page Finding Aid. 

PROCESSING UPDATE (July 24, 2014): All unique film, video and audio (in good condition) within Series I, II and IV are currently published and streaming on the Ruth Page Finding Aid under "Collection Items". None of these materials have been fully cataloged yet and are currently in the process of being cataloged by a dance specialist thanks to a grant from the NEA and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. Series III items will be fully published by August/September 2014, with the cataloging of this series also forthcoming. More on CFA's decision to accelerate the publishing of the Ruth Page Collection items here
Page, Ruth (was created by)
Dancer, choreographer, company director, and pioneering Chicago dance figure for over half a century, Ruth Page (1899-1991), was born in Indianapolis. She studied fancy dancing with Anna Stanton and ballet with Elizabetta Menzeli, made her professional debut on Broadway, then toured South America with Anna Pavlova. During the 1920s Page worked closely with Adolph Bolm, starring in his productions for Chicago Allied Arts and choreographing her first successful dances for its repertory. Settling in Chicago, she became premiere danseuse of the Ravinia Opera. In the 1930s, in partnership with Bentley Stone, she created Frankie and Johnny (1938) and several other Americana ballets, most to commissioned scores by American composers; she also worked with Katherine Dunham and Harald Kreutzberg, exploring a broad range of expression. In the following decades she created a number of works inspired by operas, founded the Chicago Opera Ballet, and formed the Ruth Page Foundation for Dance, a school she co-directed with Larry Long. Sophisticated, open-minded, and energetic, she gave opportunities and exposure to countless American and international dance artists. (From the Dance Heritage Coalition -
Custodial History
These films and videos were compiled by Ruth Page and have been stored with the Ruth Page Foundation in Chicago since her death. Venetia Stifler and the Ruth Page Foundation gifted the materials to CFA in 2011.
Language of Materials
Access Restrictions
This collection is open to on-site access. Appointments must be made with Chicago Film Archives. Due to the fragile nature of the films, only video copies will be provided for on-site viewing
Related Materials
Related materials reside at The Ruth Page Foundation, Dance Heritage Coalition, Jerome Robins Dance Division at the New York Public Library, The Newberry Library in Chicago, and Library of Congress