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ABT Donates Archives to Library of Congress


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#1 Dale

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 06:01 AM

Official release:

 

ABT DONATES ARCHIVES TO LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

 

 

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE COLLECTION: 

TOURING THE GLOBE FOR 75 YEARS

TO BE EXHIBITED AT LIBRARY OF CONGRESS,

AUGUST 14, 2104-JANUARY 24, 2015

 

 

     American Ballet Theatre, America’s National Ballet Company®, has announced the donation of its archival holdings, to be known as the American Ballet Theatre Collection, to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.  Announced today by ABT CEO Rachel Moore, the American Ballet Theatre Collection is comprised of more than 50,000 items of visual and written documentation of the Company’s 75-year history. 

            The acquisition of ABT's archives by the Music Division of the Library of Congress will enable the Company's historic documents, photographs, correspondence, recordings and other ephemera to be stabilized and preserved for future viewing and study.  A finding aid of the collection is available to researchers.  Please contact the music division two weeks prior to your visit www.loc.gov/rr/askalib/ask-perform.html        

In celebrating the acquisition, the Library of Congress will open an exhibit, American Ballet Theatre: Touring the Globe for 75 Years, on August 14, 2014 to be on view through January 24, 2015 in the Performing Arts Reading Room at the Library of Congress’ James Madison Building. The exhibition celebrates American Ballet Theatre’s vibrant 75-year history, with objects drawn primarily from the Library of Congress’ American Ballet Theatre Collection, as well as from its extensive dance and music collections.

“The American Ballet Theatre Collection represents the most comprehensive record to date of ABT’s vast trove of historic materials,” said Moore.  “Much of the collection, including early correspondence, original music scores and rare photographs, stands as a priceless testament to ABT’s rich history.  We are grateful to the Library of Congress for helping to preserve this important material for generations to come.” 

            "It has been my honor to work with both ABT and the Library of Congress to help bring the archives of America’s National Ballet Company to the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States,” said Victoria Phillips, ABT Board member and one of three curators of the exhibit.  “ABT's collection will encourage the general public and professional researchers to explore this great institution of American aesthetic history."

            Following its closing in Washington, D.C., the exhibition will travel to the Library of Congress/Ira Gershwin Gallery at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, where it will be on view for six months (March 2015–August 2015).

 

About the Library of Congress

            The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats.  The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov. 



#2 sandik

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 07:05 AM

Not to the NYPL Dance Collection.

Nice to see the exhibit scheduled to come to the west coast next year.

#3 abatt

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 07:16 AM

There is an article in today's NY Times about this, which I assume is/will be in Links.  Rachel Moore states in the article that since ABT is a "national" company, she thought that giving the collection to the Library of Congress was more appropriate than giving it the the NYPL.  Unfortunately, there do not appear to be any plans to exhibit the collection in New York.  The NY Times article has some additional info re items in the collection, as well as a slide show. Worth a read.



#4 ABT Fan

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 09:51 AM

I think not having a NYC exhibit planned is a grave oversight.  



#5 sandik

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 10:44 AM

The Library of Congress has some exceptional dance holdings, but I have to wonder if the ABT archives will get the same usage in DC that they would in NYC, from the scholarly community alone.

#6 California

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 11:33 AM

Congress made that designation of ABT as the "national ballet company," so it seems only fair to return the favor by donating to the Library of Congress. I don't know if the L of C has the set-up for video viewing that NYPL-performing arts does, however. The fact that two weeks notice is required to see anything is not reassuring. I hope that they make copies of any videos for NYPL that it doesn't already own.



#7 Swanilda8

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 02:25 PM

ABT currently has a major archival collection that's housed at NYPL. Does this mean they're moving those documents to the Library of Congress? Or do they have a second collection that's going to the LC? 



#8 abatt

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 11:28 AM

Second collection going to LC.  Nothing already at NYPL is being moved out.



#9 Amy Reusch

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 11:46 AM

I wonder what the comparative dance populations are between NYC & DC... 



#10 Drew

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 12:11 PM

The Library of Congress has a number of major dance/theater archives including that of Oliver Smith--Lucia Chase's longtime collaborator, someone I have read described as a co-founder of ABT, though I don't think that's exactly right. And it hardly needs to be said that it is one of the world's great/important libraries. I would have no problem if ABT had decided to donate to the NYPL, but it seems to me entirely appropriate to have the collection housed in D.C., at what is the 'national' library.

 

Moreover, having this kind of caring about dance in D.C. -- at a library that is indeed NOT exclusively about the performing arts, but about the national (and world) heritage of knowledge -- along with the exhibit etc. can only be a good thing in terms of contributing to the idea that the arts are important to the United States -- that we should have, for example, a National Endowment for the Arts -- and that they should be important to policy makers. (I realize it may only make a marginal difference, but still...I much prefer a Library of Congress that cares about these things and features them publically than one that doesn't.)

 

Any serious ballet researcher may find that their researches take them all over the world even if they are working on ABT or NYCB. That's a given with archival work today. I work at an American university that has such an important collection of Irish literature materials that scholars living in Ireland regularly come over here to work at our archives.

 

(Digitalization and coming trends in how things are housed/made available to public over the internet will in a few decades and despite institutional inertia ultimately make the particular site of collections less important than it is now. I say "internet" but who knows what new technologies will bring.)



#11 California

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 01:31 PM

I agree with Drew on this. And, as I noted earlier, given the Congressional designation in 2006 of ABT as American's National Ballet Company, making this donation to the Library of Congress seems a nice gesture and an appropriate one that recognizes this "national" stature. Donating only to a big city library -- even one as well-regarded as NYPL -- doesn't quite seem right.

I just looked up the sponsors of that resolution: Carolyn Maloney, Chris Shays, Thomas Reynolds, and Louise Slaughter -- three New Yorkers and one from Connecticut. Maloney and Slaughter are still in the House of Representatives, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were satisfied with this decision on the archives. Given that a frequent criticism of NEA is the (untrue) claim that most of the money goes to New York, spreading the wealth of those archives to other places is politically smart.

https://www.govtrack...res751#overview

Here's the Senate resolution, co-sponsored by Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Dole:
https://www.govtrack...9/sres452/text#

#12 ABT Fan

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 04:12 PM

Moreover, having this kind of caring about dance in D.C. -- at a library that is indeed NOT exclusively about the performing arts, but about the national (and world) heritage of knowledge -- along with the exhibit etc. can only be a good thing in terms of contributing to the idea that the arts are important to the United States -- that we should have, for example, a National Endowment for the Arts -- and that they should be important to policy makers. (I realize it may only make a marginal difference, but still...I much prefer a Library of Congress that cares about these things and features them publically than one that doesn't.)

 

That is such an excellent point! 

 

I still wish NYC was part of the "tour" though.



#13 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 04:31 PM

 

 

(Digitalization and coming trends in how things are housed/made available to public over the internet will in a few decades and despite institutional inertia ultimately make the particular site of collections less important than it is now. I say "internet" but who knows what new technologies will bring.)

 

The Library of Congress has made a concerted effort to get some of the gems in its collection digitized and freely available on line. Go here to browse what's available.  And here for the Ballet Russes materials that have been digitized.

 

I don't know if the LC (or any institution) will ever be able to get everything on line -- quality digitization takes time and money and making it all readily available online takes servers and bandwidth. And some materials may simply be too fragile. But it's a nice start.



#14 spinning2night

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 07:04 PM

I'm thrilled by this decision, as there is much in ABT's history that should be preserved and shared, and based on the NYT piece it seems that much of the material going to the Library of Congress is much more historical -- things that would have easily been lost regarding the history and development of the company and those associated it with it. As I'm not a dance scholar I can't really reflect on how the respective collections at NYCPL and in DC will differ in usage and "worth" to the dance community and general public. All in all, I think only positives can come of this. You have trained archivists and librarians helping and leading a project that will preserve much of ABT's history and art -- and it's their top priority too! I hope with this partnership with the Library of Congress much more about America's National Ballet Company will become accessible to the rest of the country.




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