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Edna Lucile Baum Papers

Identifier: Dance-MS-Baum

Scope and Content of the Collection

Material relating to the life and career of Chicago dance teacher and writer Edna Lucile Baum. Includes incoming correspondence (with a short note from Lucia Chase and a letter from artist Troy Kinney), photographs, programs that date back to 1908, a collection of printed dance notations of various other dance teachers, plus miscellaneous printed items, Also, a copy of her 1950 book Ballet Notebook, and negative proofs of her 1934 publication Book of Bar Work. There is material collected for what was to be a dancer’s recipe book and many poems, notes, sketches and stories. The photographs include several of Edna Lucile Baum, studio portraits of Ruth Ann Koesun, a group of pictures of the Little Ballet Group, pictures of Yeichi Nimura and his “dancing” cats, a portrait of Cyril W. Beaumont, and a few miscellaneous others. The collection also contains a large album of photographs of the Baum family, friends and students, which has been photocopied for use, and an oversize box holding eight certificates and diplomas. Miscellaneous family documents include annotated pages and church ribbons from the Baum family Bible.


  • Creation: 1890-1981



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Edna Lucile Baum Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Edna Lucile Baum 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 Edna Lucile Baum

Chicago dance teacher and author.

Edna Lucile Baum was born in Georgetown, Illinois in 1894. She was raised on the South Side of Chicago, and became a renowned children’s dance teacher. She started her dance studies with Mabel R. Wentworth in 1911, and later performed with Adolph Bolm, eventually becoming his assistant. She originally taught children’s dance classes for the Chicago Park District and in the early 1930s she opened her own studio.

In the late 1930s, for her more advanced students, Baum founded the Pink Slipper Club, originally called the Little Ballet Group, for which she created original ballets. She also taught dance teachers at conventions where she would sell her dance notes and descriptions. This led to opening the Ballet Book Shop in downtown Chicago – the first of its kind -- after she retired from teaching. She also sold her original ballet notes through her book and catalog business, and maintained a close relationship with British bookseller Cyril W. Beaumont.

Besides being a dance teacher and businesswoman, Baum was also a writer. She published the Dictionary of Dance Terms (1932), the Book of Bar Work (1934), and her Ballet Notebook (1950). She wrote and collected short poems and stories and was planning to write a dancer’s cookbook, for which she had started collecting recipes.

Edna Lucile Baum died in 1982 in Chicago at the age of 88.


6.3 Linear Feet (3 boxes and 2 oversize boxes)


Material relating to Chicago dance teacher and author Edna Lucile Baum, which includes incoming correspondence, writings, photographs, programs, dance notations and other miscellaneous printed items, scrapbooks and notebooks.


Arranged by type of material.

Collection Stack Location

3a 48 1


Gift, Ruth Ann Koesun, Olga Pegelow and Howard Woefel, 2004.

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2008.

Inventory of the Edna Lucile Baum Papers, 1890-1981
Virginia Hay Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 08/16/2011: Revisions, additions, and updates were made.

Repository Details

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

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States