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Krassner School of Theatre Arts records

Identifier: Dance-MS-Krassner

Scope and Content of the Collection

Papers relating to the Krassner dance and theater arts schools, including announcements, clippings, cue cards, instruction sheets, copies of scripts, programs, a few letters, and assorted miscellaneous memorabilia. Nearly half the collection consists of photographs, mostly of student productions and many undated, which show the development and flourishing of the schools both in Illinois and California. Included are informal shots of the Krassners themselves and many of their students, as well as studio photographs of various performers and shows. Also, a copy of a work by Paul J. Hartman entitled “The Krassners and a History of the Krassner Schools,” complete with photocopies of many of the photographs to serve as illustrations, a videocassette, and several artifacts.


  • Creation: 1906-1997



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Krassner School of Theatre Arts records are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum (Priority II).

Audiovisual recordings in this collection have not been digitized and are unavailable for use at this time.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Krassner School of Theatre Arts records 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 at

History of the Krassner School of Theatre Arts

Chicago dance and dramatic arts school.

The Krassner School of Theatre Arts, founded on Chicago’s West Side, was family-owned and operated for over fifty years. The Krassner family emigrated from Russia to Chicago early in the twentieth century where the five youngest daughters – the “teaching Krassners” Annette, twins Lila and Rayna, Daisy and Blossom – were born.

Annette was encouraged by her mother to begin teaching piano shortly after high school, and her programs for early musical recitals trace the rapid expansion of the family school during the Depression. By 1932, Annette’s younger sisters were full-time teachers of music and dramatic arts, and in 1948 two sisters opened a Krassner school in Hollywood.

The Krassner Schools offered all forms of dance and body movement, modeling, dramatic techniques, elocution, use of dialects, piano, guitar, and singing. Regular programs were staged, both in the Chicago area and in Hollywood, and some of the best pupils, including vocalist Gloria Hart, went on to appear in musical comedy, night clubs, radio, television and movies.

Blossom Krassner Hartman, who became the remaining Krassner teacher, ran her Krassner School in Skokie, Illinois, until 1978. She died in 1993. Daisy Krassner Balcher died in 2010.


2.1 Linear Feet (5 boxes and 1 oversize folder)


Documents, photographs and artifacts reflecting the history of the dance and theater schools founded and run by the Chicago Krassner sisters, both in Illinois and California, from 1924 to 1978. Includes letters, announcements, clippings, cue cards, instruction sheets and scripts, programs, miscellaneous memorabilia and a large collection of photographs. Also, a history of the Krassner schools by the son of Blossom Krassner, Paul J. Hartman, and artifacts consisting of a videocassette, two maracas and a tambourine.


Arranged by type of material.

Collection Stack Location

3a 48 9


Gift, Daisy Krassner Balcher and William W. Hartman, 1993; Paul J. Hartman, 1997, 2008, 2010.

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2007.

Inventory of the Krassner School of Theatre Arts records, 1906-1997
Virginia Hay Smith
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