Skip to main content

Ruth Page papers

Identifier: Dance-MS-Page

Scope and Content of the Collection

Personal and professional documents and other materials documenting the life and work of Ruth Page.

The Correspondence series includes letters, telegrams, and postcards from famous dancers, friends, family, and associates. The Production series details the technical aspects of creating and performing various dance works. The Music series includes marked scores for Page's dance productions, as well as her personal piano music (some of which belonged to her mother). The Works series details the variety of essays, articles, books, and journals written by Page. The Personal series includes Page's address books, her keepsakes, the art she collected, and some family-related material. The Business Records series includes financial information, estate information, information about affiliated companies, and tour records. Publicity includes press clippings, fliers, and Page's programs. Photographs are both personal shots of Page and her family and friends, and professional shots of dance productions. Sound recordings include rehearsals, performances, practice music, and audio of Page lectures. Films and videos are a small collection of performances; the majority of the films are in the collections of the Chicago Film Archives. The scrapbooks are mostly clippings about Page and her dance productions.

A large collection of Ruth Page materials, donated by Page herself, can be found at the New York Public Library - Jerome Robbins Dance Division.


  • Creation: 1892-1997



Materials are primarily in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Ruth Page papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Ruth Page papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Ruth Page

American dancer, choreographer, and ballet director.

Ruth Page was born March 22, 1899, the daughter of a physician in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her dance studies began with local teachers in Indianapolis. Like many a young girl, she was inspired by seeing Anna Pavlova perform, and actually did perform with the legendary dancer's troupe during a tour to South America in 1918. Her training continued in Chicago with Adolph Bolm who created The Birthday of the Infanta for her, dancing the role with Bolm's Ballet Intime at the London Coliseum in 1920. Her varied performing career included being premiere danseuse with Chicago Allied Arts from 1924-1927, Irving Berlin's Music Box Revue, a brief time with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, touring the Orient and Moscow in the late 1920's, solo tours throughout the United States, touring with Harald Kreutzberg 1932-1933, and premiere danseuse with the Chicago Grand Opera Company from 1934-1937. Chicago was her base, having married the successful lawyer Thomas Hart Fisher, who also managed her dance career affairs. With her partner Bentley Stone, she formed Page-Stone Ballet Company in Chicago in 1938. Page was one of the first to tackle American themes in her dances including the ballad of Frankie and Johnny (choreographed with Stone), Poe's poem The Bells, and the story of a revivalist preacher Billy Sunday. She worked with the Chicago Lyric Opera and toured a Chicago Opera Ballet company, introducing many great dancers to the American public, including Rudolf Nureyev's New York City debut in March, 1962. With the resources of a successful husband, she commissioned scores from Aaron Copland, Darius Milahud and others, designs from Isamu Noguchi and André Delfau, whom she married in 1983, after the death of Thomas Fisher (who died in 1969). She wrote two books, Page by Page, and Class. The recipient of the Dance Magazine Award (1990), the Illinois Gubernatorial Award (1985) and several honorary degrees, she died in Chicago April 7, 1991.


95.2 Linear Feet (194 boxes)


Personal papers of dancer and choreographer Ruth Page. Materials include correspondence, choreographic and technical notes, address books, programs, press clippings and scrapbooks, journals writings, photographs, business records, audio recordings, and musical scores. Featured dance works include The Bells, Carmen, Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Frankie and Johnny, and Billy Sunday.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Correspondence, 1920-1990
Boxes 1-11
Series 2: Productions, 1906-1990
Boxes 12-35
Series 3: Music, 1892-1978
Boxes 36-60
Series 4: Works, 1918-1986
Boxes 61-69
Series 5: Personal, 1911-1991
Boxes 70-84
Series 6: Business Records, 1934-1991
Boxes 85-104
Series 7: Publicity, 1916-1997
Boxes 105-118
Series 8: Photographs, 1899-1990
Boxes 119-153
Series 9: Sound Recordings, 1946-1978
Boxes 154-168
Series 10: Films and Video, 1946-1988
Boxes 169-180
Series 11: Scrapbooks, 1900-1989
Boxes 181-195

Collection Stack Location

3a 51 8-14


Gift, Ruth Page Foundation, 1981-2014.

Processed by

Amanda Wick, Hadley Davis, Kathi Isham, Kelly Kress, Alison Hinderliter, Ikumi Crocoll, Samantha Smith, Samantha Leshin, and Lisa Hartman, 2011-2018.

Inventory of the Ruth Page papers, 1892-1997
Alison Hinderliter, Kathi Isham, Hadley Davis, Kelly Kress
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States