Guide to the Papers of Peggy van Praagh


MS 7223

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2004

Collection Summary

Van Praagh, Peggy, Dame, 1910-1990
Papers of Peggy van Praagh
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 7223
7.2 metres (22 boxes + 8 medium folio boxes + 1 small phase box)
Language of Materials
Special Collections (Manuscripts)


Scope and Contents

The papers provide a record of van Praagh's long and distinguished career as a dancer, teacher, producer and director of ballet. They include personal and business correspondence, diaries, newscuttings, photographs, first night messages, theatre programs, greeting cards, post cards, journal articles, reports and other memorabilia.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Peggy van Praagh, National Library of Australia, MS 7223, [series and file number]'.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were donated to the National Library in four instalments in 1986, 1995, 1999 and 2001. The original instalment was donated by Peggy van Praagh. The additional instalments were forwarded by the executors of her estate.

Existence and Location of Copies

The scores and choreographic notes from Series 13 have been digitised and are available online through this finding aid.

A large collection of photographs relating to van Praagh is held by the Pictures Branch at PIC/3132. A number of these images are available online. There are also three interviews with van Praagh in the Oral History Collection at ORAL TRC 840, ORAL TRC 1789 and ORAL DeB 681.


The three instalments have been amalgamated and arranged into fourteen series. Lists which were prepared for the first two instalments have been incorporated into this guide. Where possible the original arrangement of the papers and file titles have been preserved by the Library.

Biographical Note

Margaret (Peggy) van Praagh was born in London in 1910. Her father, Harold John van Praagh, a doctor of Dutch-Jewish descent had established a successful practice in the Hampstead district.

In 1916, while on summer holidays in Paignton, Devon, van Praagh appeared in a children's talent competition. She won first prize and was invited back to appear in the evening performance along with professional actors. In August of 1917, she appeared at the Torquay Pavilion and received her first press notice.

From the age of seven she attended King Alfred School, Hampstead, where she was to complete her formal education and develop her creative talents. She combined her lessons in dancing with private lessons in piano and elocution. On finishing school van Praagh decided to commit herself to a life of dance.

She continued training and in 1930 opened her first dance school. Around this time she began studying with Margaret Craske who introduced her to the Cecchetti Method of dance. She began studying and taking exams and became a qualified teacher of the Cecchetti Method.

In 1933, she was invited by Marie Rambert to join her company, the Ballet Club, (later Ballet Rambert) which at that time was giving Sunday night performances at the small Mercury Theatre in London. The dancers were not paid for these performances and so van Praagh supported herself by teaching ballet to children. She remained with the Ballet Rambert until 1938, and was then a principal with the London Ballet in 1938-1940. In wartime London, ballet had to struggle to survive. London's famous lunch-hour series 'Ballet for a Bob' by the London Ballet was her brainchild.

In 1941 van Praagh joined the Sadler's Wells Ballet. Her most notable roles with the company included Swanilda in Coppelia and the Blue Girl in Les Patineurs. She was also assigned to take company classes as well as private lessons to the principals who at that time included Margot Fonteyn, Robert Helpmann and Moira Shearer.

In 1946 the Sadler's Wells Trust formed a second company known as the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet. Van Praagh became the company's Ballet Mistress and Producer. In 1951 she was appointed Assistant Director to Ninette de Valois and remained in this capacity until December 1956. During this period the company toured Great Britain, Europe, Rhodesia and South Africa in addition to giving its regular London seasons.

On leaving the company, at the end of 1956, she became a freelance teacher, lecturer and producer of British ballet overseas. She produced Ninette de Valois' The rake's progress in Munich for the Bavarian State Opera Company, Frederick Ashton's Les rendevous for the National Ballet of Canada, The sleeping beauty for the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen and Tudor's Gala performance for the Royal Swedish Ballet in Stockholm.

In 1958 she became Dance Director for the Edinburgh Festival Ballet, which appeared at the Festival in August of that year. In a three week season, twelve new ballets by twelve new companies were produced.

In 1959 she visited the United States of America and taught at Ted Shawn's Jacob Pillow as well as examining and giving master classes in many states.

In December 1959, van Praagh was invited to direct the Borovansky Ballet in Australia and became its Artistic Director in its last two years. She did this with great success, staging Rendevous and the three-act Coppelia. After the final performance, she addressed the audience, and encouraged them to prevail upon the Australian Government to raise money for an Australian Ballet. Harold Holt, then Federal Treasurer, approached van Praagh after the show and pledged his personal support. The Australian Ballet was launched in 1962.

Van Praagh was Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet in 1962-1974 and again in 1978. During this time she led the company on several exceptionally successful overseas tours, expanded the company's repertoire with a series of commissioned works from notable Australians and overseas choreographers, and invited guest artists of the stature of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev to perform with the company.

On leaving the Australian Ballet she maintained an active role in ballet in Australia. She was a founding member of the Australian Association for Dance in Education and one of its chief architects, and she was a member of the Theatre Board of the Australia Council. Dame Peggy van Praagh died in Melbourne in 1990.

Honours and Awards
1965The Queen Elizabeth Award - Royal Academy of Dancing, London
1966Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to ballet
1970Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to ballet
1970Encyclopaedia Britannica (Australia) Award for the Arts
1974Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) University of New England
1975Distinguished Artist Award from the Australia Council
1981Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) Melbourne University

Biographical Reference(s)

Sexton, Christopher. Peggy van Praagh, a life of dance. South Melbourne : Macmillan, 1985.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Correspondence, 1934-1986

This series consists of personal and business correspondence including letters, birthday cards, Christmas cards, messages of congratulations, postcards and telegrams. There is a series of letters written to van Praagh's mother in 1945, while on tour in Europe with the Sadler's Wells Ballet, performing for the Allied Forces. Other correspondents include close friends such as Jay (John) Sweet, other dancers, dance organisations, government bodies and members of the public with an interest in ballet.

The correspondence has been arranged chronologically. Due to the amalgamation of the three instalments of papers there is a small degree of overlap with the dates as the original arrangement of files and their date range has been maintained.

Correspondence, 1941-1964 (File 1)

Correspondence, 1970-1976 (File 2_3)

Correspondence, 1977-1986 (File 4_5)

Correspondence, 1983-1986 (File 6)

Christmas cards, 1975-1985 (File 7)

Christmas cards, 1979-1984 (File 8)

Birthday cards, 1980-1982 (File 9)

Miscellaneous greeting cards and post cards, 1934-1975 (File 10)

Series 2. Diaries, 1923-1985

This series consists of 63 personal diaries kept from 1923-1985. Diaries for the years 1964-1966 are missing. Some of the early diaries are quite small and contain records of daily activities and events. However, the content does change over the years and the later diaries become more business oriented and record mainly appointments, functions and performances.

Diaries, 1923-1929 (File 1)

Diaries, 1930-1939 (File 2)

Diaries, 1940-1949 (File 3)

Diaries, 1950-1959 (File 4)

Diaries, 1960-1963 (File 5)

Diaries, 1967-1969 (File 6)

Diaries, 1970-1972 (File 7)

Diaries, 1973-1975 (File 8)

Diaries, 1976-1977 (File 9)

Diaries, 1978-1980 (File 10)

Diaries, 1981-1982 (File 11)

Diaries, 1983-1985 (File 12)

Series 3. Personal documents and memorabilia, 1917-1983

This series consists of papers relating to van Praagh's personal life and achievements. They include cards, certificates, passports, programs, school books and school magazines, sketches and other memorabilia. Certificates from the 1920s and 1930s for elocution, piano and dancing document her wide range of talents and activities. There are also various small cards advertising dancing lessons with van Praagh's dancing school. Other items of interest include a family tree and sketches of van Praagh as a young woman.

Memorabilia, 1917-1940 (File 1)

School books and copies of the school magazine, The Alfedian (December 1923 and April 1927), 1917-1927 (File 2)

Van Praagh attended King Alfred School between 1917-1927.

Memorabilia, 1941-1967 (File 3)

British passports, 1958-1983, miscellaneous cards and photographs, a copy of the van Praagh family tree, 1851-1914 and a copy of van Praagh's birth certificate (File 4)

Papers relating to Harold van Praagh's will, 1961-1962, outstanding accounts for a London residence, 1975-1976 and a statement of investments, 1975 (File 5)

Autograph album presented to van Praagh as a souvenir of a reception in her honour, given by the Cecchetti Society and the Royal Academy of Dancing, June 1981 (File 6)

Sketches of van Praagh by E. Lacey, 1928 (File 7)

Sketch of van Praagh by E. Lacey, 1930 (File 8)

Sketch of van Praagh by Raymond Piper, 1955 (File 9)

Poster for the London Ballet performing at the Prince of Wales Theatre Cardiff, 1940? (File 10)

Sketch of two dancers with inscription : van Praagh - Soiree Musical and Gerd Larsen - Judgment of Paris (File 11)

Poster for the Australian Ballet season, 1974-1975 (File 12)

Series 4. First night messages and cards, 1929-1945

This series consists of first night messages, cards, congratulatory letters and telegrams for performances by van Praagh. Many of the smaller cards have been attached to bouquets of flowers. Van Praagh has annotated many of the items to reflect the performance, date or significance of the event.

Four folders.

Series 5. Photographs, 1912-1980

This series consists of studio portraits, other professional photographs and photographs taken by van Praagh or her friends. Many of the early photographs are of family, friends and holidays. There are numerous photographs of van Praagh at different stages in her life. They range from a performance of her in The swan at the age of 10, to individual studio portraits and photographs taken at special commemorative events with friends. Many of the photographs contain captions, especially those in the albums. Others have been identified by van Praagh, with annotations on the back of the photograph or on the envelope.

Photograph of her mother, Ethel van Praagh and her father, Dr Harold van Praagh in his army uniform [n.d.]. (File 1)

Dr van Praagh accepted a position as an anaesthetist with the Royal Army Medical Corps in the First World War.

Photographs, 1917-1959, of family and friends, dance rehearsals and performances and van Praagh in ballet dress, 1917-1959 (File 2)

Photographs, including van Praagh at age 7 and on her 72nd birthday in Perth, 1917-1975 (File 3)

Photographs, including the Australian Ballet and four images of van Praagh dancing in The swan at age 10, 1920-1964 (File 4)

Photographs, including images taken at van Praagh's 70th birthday at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne, 1922-1980 (File 5)

Photographs of performances at the Mercury Theatre by the Ballet Club, 1930s (File 6)

Photographs of other dancers, 1937-1956 (File 7)

Studio portraits of van Praagh, some of which were taken at her London home, 11A Belsize Square, Hampstead in 1942 (File 8)

Photographs, mainly of van Praagh, 1952-1964 (File 9)

Photographs of movie London Town directed by Agnes de Mille, 1942 (File 10)

Van Praagh was assistant to de Mille as well as principal dancer.

Photographs taken on various holidays, 1948-1960 (File 11)

Photograph album, and loose pages from two other albums containing photographs, 1905-1932 (File 12)

Photograph album, 1926-1933 (File 13)

Photograph album, 1928-1931 (File 14)

Photograph album, 1928-1933 (File 15)

Photograph album and loose pages from another album, 1921-1936 (File 16)

Photograph album, 1933-1936 (File 17)

Photograph album of a Mediterranean cruise on the S. S. Orford, August 1934 (File 18)

Box of 35mm slides of Pineapple Poll [n.d.] (File 19)

Series 6. Newscuttings, 1916-1986

This series consists of newscuttings and some journal articles which document van Praagh's long career as a dancer, teacher and producer of ballet. The earliest cuttings cover her childhood period and her first performances at the seaside while on family holidays. While the majority of cuttings relate to van Praagh, they also include items of interest on all aspects of ballet and dance. Most of the cuttings have been provided by a newscuttings agency.

Newscuttings, 1950-1957 (File 1)

Newscuttings, 1958 (File 2)

Newscuttings, 1959 (File 3)

Newscuttings, 1960-1969 (File 4)

Newscuttings, 1962-1976 (File 5)

Newscuttings, 1967 (File 6)

Newscuttings, 1970-1979 (File 7)

Newscuttings, 1975-1976 (File 8)

Newscuttings, 1976-1979 (File 9)

Newscuttings, 1978 (File 10)

Newscuttings, 1981-1982 (File 11)

Newscuttings, 1983-1986 (File 12)

Newscuttings album, 1916-1937 (File 13)

Newscuttings album, 1937-1957 (File 14)

Newscuttings albums (2), 1960-1962 (File 15)

Newscuttings album, 1964 (File 17)

Newscuttings album, 1965-1966 (File 18)

Series 7. Theatre programs, 1928-1942

This series consists of programs for performances by van Praagh and for other shows which she has attended. Many of the programs have been annotated by van Praagh and include notes on dates of performances, who she went with and if it was a first night performance.

The programs have been arranged by venue and in chronological order where possible except for the Ballet Club which has been listed by organisation.

Four folders.

Subseries 7_1. Arts Theatre Club, 1940-1941

London Ballet, 9 - 13 January 1940 (Item 1)
Arts Theatre Club and Ballet Club amalgamation, January 1940 (Item 2)
London Ballet, 6 March 1940 (Item 3)
London Ballet, 12 - 13 March 1940 (Item 4)
London Ballet, 23 - 25 May 1940 (Item 5)
Ballet Rambert and the London Ballet, 20 December 1940 (Item 6)
Ballet Rambert and the London Ballet, 7 May 1941 (Item 7)

Subseries 7_2. Arts Theatre of Cambridge, 1937-1941

The Misanthrope and Harlequin in the Street, 8 February 1937 (Item 8)
Program, November - December 1940 (Item 9)
Ballet Rambert and the London Ballet, 2 - 7 June 1941 (Item 10)

Subseries 7_3. Ballet Club, 1933-1934

Ballet Club, 18, 23 and 30 May 1933 (Item 11)
Ballet Club, 10 and 17 December 1933 (Item 12)
Ballet Club, 4, 11 and 18 February 1934 (Item 13)
Ballet Club, 18 and 25 March 1934 (Item 14)

Subseries 7_4. Cambridge Theatre, 1931-1936

Camargo Society, 6 July 1931 (Item 15)
British Ballet, 4 May 1936 (Item 16)

Subseries 7_5. Duke of York's Theatre, 1935

Season of Ballet : magazine program, 28 January - 16 February 1935 (Item 17)
Season of Ballet : daily program, 28 Janurary - 16 February 1935 (Item 18)

Subseries 7_6. His Majesty's Theatre, 1928-1937

Russian Ballet, 25 June 1928 (Item 19)
Happy Hypocrite, 1936 (Item 20)
Nijinsky's matinee for the benefit of Vaslav Nijinsky, 28 May 1937 (Item 21)

Subseries 7_7. London Coliseum, 3 September - 24 November 1929

Week commencing Monday 3 September 1929 (Item 22)
Week commencing Monday 16 September 1929 (Item 23)
Week commencing Monday 23 September 1929 (Item 24)
Week commencing Monday 24 November 1929 (Item 25)

Subseries 7_8. Mercury Theatre, 1937-1938

Mercury Theatre, 2 and 9 May 1937 (Item 26)
Mercury Theatre, 24 and 31 October and 7 November 1937 (Item 27)
Mercury Theatre, 16, 23 and 30 January and 6 February 1938 (Item 28)
Mercury Theatre, 16 and 23 June 1938 (Item 29)
Mercury Theatre, 10 July 1938 (Item 30)
Mercury Theatre, 17 July 1938 (Item 31)

Subseries 7_9. New Theatre, St Martin's Lane, 1941-1945

Programs (24) for performances by Sadler's Wells Ballet, 1941-1945 (Item 32)

Subseries 7_10. New Theatre, Oxford, 1942

Week commencing 9 February 1942 : Tuesday evening, Sadler's Wells Ballet (Item 33)
Week commencing 20 April 1942 : Monday evening, Sadler's Wells Ballet (Item 34)
Week commencing 20 April 1942 : Friday evening, Sadler's Wells Ballet (Item 35)

Subseries 7_11. Princess Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, 1944

Season commencing 27 September 1944 : Sadler's Wells Ballet (Item 36)
Season commencing 2 December 1944 : Sadler's Wells Ballet (2) (Item 37)

Subseries 7_12. Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 1920-1939

Anna Pavlova, 8 September-4 October c1920 (Item 38)
Annual Ball of United Hospitals Sailing Club, 4 December 1934 (Item 39)
Grand Opera Season, 29 April - 17 June 1935 (Item 40)
Carmen, 1 May 1935 (Item 41)
Schwanda, 5 June 1935 (Item 42)
Carmen, 10 June 1935 (Item 43)
Souvenir season of international opera (2), 1939 (Item 44)

Subseries 7_13. Toynbee Hall, 1939

London Ballet, 26 April 1939 (Item 45)
London Ballet, 11 July 1939 (Item 46)

Subseries 7_14. Miscellaneous programs, 1926-1942

Adelphi Theatre : 4 - 5 December 1932 : Camargo Ballet Society (Item 47)
Ambassadors Theatre : 23 February - 6 March 1937 : The misanthrope and Harlequin in the street (Item 48)
Brighton West Pier : 23 May 1932 : Russian Ballet (Item 49)
Duchess Theatre : 8 February - 6 March 1937 : Ballet Rambert (Item 50)
Faculty of Arts Theatre, Princes Arcade, Piccadilly : 22 November 1931 : Special Dance recital (Item 51)
Fortune Theatre, London : 29 January 1937 : Dance recital (Item 52)
Little Theatre, Leicester : 31 May 1934 : Recital of Dance (Item 53)
London Palladium : 30 November 1935 : 2nd 'All Star' Dancing Matinee (Item 54)
London Pavilion : 24 December 1931 : three films from outstanding classics : Dance pretty lady, Under the greenwood tree and Alice in wonderland (Item 55)
Lyceum : 10 December 1926 : Russian Ballet (Item 56)
Lymington, Parish Hall : 17 October 194? : 'Training and life of a ballet dancer' : talk by van Praagh and Nadia Nerina (Item 57)
New Theatre, Cambridge : 30 May 1932 (Item 58)
Opera House, Manchester : 23 February 1942 : Sadler's Wells Ballet (Item 59)
Pavilion, Bath : 3 - 9 June 1940 : London Ballet (Item 60)
Player's Theatre : November 1939 : Ridgeway's Late Joys (Item 61)
Playhouse, Oxford : 14 - 19 June 1937 : Dance Theatre in a series of ballets and dances (Item 62)
Prince of Wales Theatre, Cardiff : Ballet Rambert and the London Ballet 28 July - 3 August 1941 (Item 63)
Prince's Theatre, Bradford : 8 - 14 September 1941 : Ballet Rambert (Item 64)
Pump Room, Bath : December 1934 - January 1935 : Christmas concerts (Item 65)
Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool : week commencing 14 September 1942 : Sadler's Wells Ballet (Item 66)
St Pancras Town Hall : 25 March 1938 : Challenge Variety Concert (Item 67)
Savoy Theatre : 6 June - 2 July 1932 : Camargo Ballet (Item 68)
Theatre Royal, Norwich : June 1941 : Ballet Rambert and the London Ballet (Item 69)
Theatre Royal, York : 24 December 194? - 2 January 194? : Sadler's Wells Ballet (Item 70)
Westminster Theatre : 1937-1938 season (Item 71)

Series 8. Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet, 1945-1954

In 1941 van Praagh joined the Sadler's Wells Ballet as a dancer and teacher. The company continued performances throughout the war years and in 1945 made two tours of Europe performing for Allied Troops. In 1946 the Sadler's Wells Trust formed a second company known as the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet. Van Praagh became the company's Ballet Mistress and Producer. In 1951 she was appointed Assistant Director to Ninette de Valois and remained in this capacity until December, 1956. During this period the company toured Great Britain, Europe, Rhodesia and South Africa in addition to giving its regular London seasons.

This series consists of newscuttings, programs and memorabilia relating to tours undertaken by the company in Africa, Europe and the United States of America. There are also some information brochures on the company and memoirs by van Praagh. See also Series 7 for additional theatre programs.

Programs, newscuttings, cards and other memorabilia relating to a tour of Belgium and France, 1945 (File 1)

Letters, newscuttings and telegrams relating to a fire in the Theatre Royal, Hanley, where the Ballet was appearing, June 1949 (File 2)

Miscellaneous programs, and a copy of The Sadler's Wells Ballet 1931-56 : a record of 25 years, 1950-1990 (File 3)

Newscuttings, programs and other memorabilia relating to a tour to the United States of America and Canada, 1951-1952 (File 4_5)

Programs, newscuttings, cards and other memorabilia relating to a tour of Europe (Belgium, Germany and Holland) and the Cecil Rhodes Centenary Celebrations in Rhodesia, 1953 (File 6)

Photographs, newscuttings, programs and other memorabilia relating to a tour of South Africa. There are also photographs and a booklet on Danny Kaye who was touring South Africa at the same time, 1954 (File 7_8)

Memoirs of the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet by van Praagh [n.d.] (File 9)

A signed volume of Gala Performance : a record of the Sadler's Wells Ballet over twenty-five years (File 10)

Added 22 August 2001.

Series 9. Australian Ballet, 1961-1985

The Australian Ballet was established in 1962 by the Australian Ballet Foundation. The Foundation was created in 1961 by the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust and J. C. Williamson Theatres Ltd following the disbandment of the Borovansky Ballet which had toured extensively in Australia and New Zealand since 1943. Peggy van Praagh was invited to be the founding Artistic Director of the Ballet. The new company gave its first performance on 2 November 1962.

The series consists of correspondence, notes, programs and reports relating to the administration and activities of the Australian Ballet.

Australian Ballet Foundation : notes and correspondence relating to its establishment, minutes of meetings and press releases, 1961-1962 (File 1_2)

The main correspondents are van Praagh, J. C. Williamson and Elizabethan Theatre Trust.

Australian Ballet Foundation : notes and correspondence, between van Praagh, J. C. Williamson and Elizabethan Theatre Trust relating to the establishment of the Australian Ballet Foundation, 1961-1962 (File 3)

Van Praagh was still in London at this time.

Australian Ballet : programs of performances and information booklets, 1962-1985 (File 4_6)

Australian Ballet School : notes relating to its formation and minutes of early meetings, 1962-1970 (File 7)

There is also a copy of a memorandum of association (1970) and articles of association (1970) for the School and a small number of newscuttings relating to the formation of the School.

Australian Ballet School : programs for performances, a School prospectus and a report on the School by van Praagh, 1964-1979 (File 8)

Residential School on Ballet, University of New England, 5-10 February 1967; notes and lecture material for the course which was supported by van Praagh and members of the Australian Ballet, 1967-1976 (File 9)

Further courses were held in 1973, 1974 and 1976. The file contains notes and programs for these courses.

Itinerary and programs relating to an International Tour by the Australian Ballet, 1967 (File 10)

Reports to the Australian Ballet Foundation, by van Praagh on the Australian Ballet, 1968-1982 (File 11)

Itinerary for a tour of South-East Asia, and programs and flyers for tours in Australia, 1968-1969 (File 12)

Report and programs for a tour to country areas, Darwin and Port Moresby, 1969 (File 13)

Correspondence, between van Praagh and the Australian Ballet relating to her employment with the Ballet, 1970-1982 (File 14)

Itinerary of a tour to the United States of America by the Australian Ballet, 1970-1971 (File 15)

List of tour dates, 1971-1974, and a biographical note on van Praagh for the period 1967-1970 (File 16)

Correspondence and other papers, relating to a 1973 European Tour by the Australian Ballet, 1972-1973 (File 17)

Proposed itineraries, programs, a budget and discussion notes for the tour of Russia. There is also a brief outline of the history of ballet in Australia prepared by van Praagh and congratulatory messages from the Russian authorities sent after the tour of Russia.

Newscuttings of the Australian Ballet's London Season, 1973 (File 18)

Correspondence, with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation relating to dance issues, 1974-1976 (File 19)

Correspondence, and newscuttings relating to the retirement of van Praagh from the Australian Ballet, 1974-1975 (File 20)

Lecture notes for a course for 2nd and 3rd year students at the Australian Ballet School, 1977 (File 21)

'Dance horizons' : a tribute to Dame Peggy van Praagh, Princes Theatre, Melbourne, 21-23 July 1977 (File 22)

A program, newscuttings, telegrams and notes for a speech given by van Praagh.

Notes, cast list, newscuttings and program for a 1979 performance of Coppelia in Melbourne, 1979-1985 (File 23)

Including newscuttings for performances in Sydney and Melbourne in 1985.

Series 10. Awards, 1966-1981

This series consists of congratulatory messages, letters, newscuttings and telegrams received by van Praagh in response to the awards she has received for her services to ballet.

Order of the British Empire : congratulatory messages, newscuttings and telegrams, 1966 (File 1_2)

Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire : congratulatory messages, newscuttings and telegrams, 1970 (File 3_5)

Britannica Australia Award : congratulatory messages and telegrams, 1970 (File 6)

Press releases, newscuttings, photographs, letters and telegrams relating to the conferring of the degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) to van Praagh from the University of New England, 6 April 1974 (File 7)

Citation for Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) from Melbourne University, 1981 (File 8)

Copies of various awards including the citation for the Britannica Australia Award, 1970 (File 9)

Series 11. Writings, 1957-1985

Van Praagh's first book How I became a ballet dancer was published in 1954. In collaboration with Peter Brinson, she wrote The choreographic art, which was published in 1963. Her third work, Ballet in Australia was published as part of the series The Arts in Australia in 1966. Van Praagh also wrote many journal articles and papers.

This series consists of various draft chapters for a revised edition of The choreographic art and correspondence relating to its publication. There are also galley proofs and a copy of her later publication, Ballet in Australia, copies of articles by van Praagh, biographical notes and book reviews.

Correspondence with Longmans, memorandum of agreement, galley proofs with corrections and a copy of Ballet in Australia, 1964-1966 (File 1)

Biographical notes prepared by van Praagh for Who's Who and Debrett's handbook of Australia and New Zealand, and an outline of her career, 1974 (File 2)

Draft transcripts with corrections for a revised edition of The choreographic art, Chapters 1-9 (File 3)

Draft transcripts with corrections for a revised edition of The choreographic art, Chapters 10-14, and other papers, 1957-1985 (File 4)

Including an agreement, 1957, between van Praagh, Peter Brinson and Alfred A. Knopf Inc for the writing of the first edition which was published in 1963, and correspondence between Peter Brinson and van Praagh relating to the writing of the revised edition, 1975-1985.

Draft transcripts with corrections for a revised edition of The choreographic art, Chapters 16-20 (File 5)

Draft notes, a synopsis, and memorandum of agreement, 1981, for a biography of van Praagh by Annette Massey (File 6)

Massey withdrew from the project later in 1981 but gave all her notes to van Praagh.

Correspondence with solicitors, 1983, and an agreement between van Praagh and Christopher Sexton for the writing of a biography on van Praagh, 1983 (File 7)

The biography Peggy van Praagh : a life of dance was published by Macmillan in 1983. The file contains newscuttings and reviews of the book.

Various articles by van Praagh on subjects including the Australian Ballet, Ballet Club and Graeme Murphy (File 8)

Series 12. Other papers, 1948-1984

This series consists of notes, transcripts, newscuttings, letters, photographs and programs relating to van Praagh's activities as a freelance teacher, lecturer and producer prior to coming to Australia and also after resigning from the Australian Ballet. She continued freelance work and served as a member of many advisory boards and committees relating to the arts and ballet. There are also a number of folders containing information on the Cecchetti Society. The files have been arranged in chronological order.

Information pamphlets on the Cecchetti Society and method of ballet including constitution, rules, standing orders and syllabus, 1948-1959 (File 1)

Press cuttings, photographs and programs for performances by the Royal Danish Ballet and the Norsk Ballet produced by van Praagh, 1958-1959 (File 2)

Press information, programs and photographs relating to the Edinburgh International Ballet and its performances at the Edinburgh Festival, 1958 (File 3)

Van Praagh was Dance Director of the Ballet.

Jacob's Pillow, USA, 1959 : messages of appreciation from students attending a summer school conducted by van Praagh and programs for the dance festival, 1959 (File 4)

Congratulatory messages, letters, newscuttings and programs for performances by the Royal Ballet School, including Coppelia and Swan Lake, 1959-1960 (File 5)

Australian UNESCO Seminar on Support for the Performing Arts, Australian National University, Canberra : background papers, 25-31 May 1969 (File 6)

Second International Ballet Competition, Moscow : programs and notes, 7-19 June 1973 (File 7)

Van Praagh was invited to be a judge at the competition. Australia was represented by Marilyn Rowe and Kelvin Coe who both received high acclaim for their performances and won Silver Medals.

Reports to the Victorian Ministry for the Arts, 1975-1976, newscuttings on the Australian Ballet and the arts, 1976-1979 and a copy of Victorian Arts Report 1979-80, 1975-1980 (File 8_9)

Photocopies of transcripts with corrections of an interview with van Praagh for the Oral History Project, Dance Collection, New York Public Library (File 10_11)

The interview was recorded in Melbourne by Margaret Dale on 9 October, 1978.

Newscuttings, press releases and programs relating to the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Royal Ballet, 1981 (File 12)

Correspondence with the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, 1981-1983 (File 13)

Van Praagh was co-ordinator of dance studies at this time. There are also information brochures on the college and its courses.

Notes and correspondence relating to four radio interviews with van Praagh on Sunday afternoon on ABC-FM, May 1982 (File 14)

The series discussed the relationship between choreography and music.

Course outlines, lecture notes and reports for dance courses at the Victorian College of the Arts, School of Dance, 1982-1984 (File 15)

Miscellaneous ballet school brochures and programs, including the New York City Ballet and the Royal Ballet, 1983 (File 16)

Material relating to the Cecchetti Society : syllabus for classical ballet, correspondence with van Praagh relating to her teaching classes at a summer school in London, 1983, information and brochures giving details of the summer school, letters of appreciation from students attending the course and souvenir programs celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Cecchetti Society in Australia in 1984, 1983-1984 (File 17_18)

Cecchetti Society of Australia, 19th Annual Congress, Adelaide, 4-5 May, 1984 : program and notes (File 19)

Van Praagh, patron of the Society gave the opening and closing address.

Notes on choreographer, Antony Tudor [n.d.] (File 20)

Series 13. Musical scores and choreographic notes, 1910-1983

This series consists mainly of published musical scores for works produced by van Praagh and those in which she has performed. Some of them contain annotations by van Praagh. There are also a number of notebooks containing handwritten choreographic notes by van Praagh, together with loose notes and related papers.

The scores and choreographic notes from this series have been digitised and are available online through this finding aid.

Ma mere l'Oye, Paris : Durand and Co, 1910 (Item 1)

Mouvements perpetuels, London : J and W Chester, 1919 (Item 2)

Carnival for pianoforte, Melbourne : Allan and Co, 1924 (Item 3)

'The judgement of Paris : ballet' : music score with choreographic notes, 1939 (Item 4)

'Class steps' : handwritten choreographic notes for dance classes, c.1944 (Item 5)

'Class steps' : handwritten choreographic notes for dance classes, c.1944 (Item 6)

'Elegies' : handwritten choreographic notes for dance classes, c.1944 (Item 7)

Handwritten choreographic notes for dance classes, c.1944 (Item 8)

La belle au bois dormant, New York : Tschaikovsky Foundation, 1950 (Item 9)

Façade, London : Oxford University Press, 1951 (Item 10)

Rake's progress : handwritten choreographic notes, 1956 (Item 11)

Rake's progress, [n.d.] (Item 12)

Gala performance : handwritten choreographic notes and related papers, 1957 (Item 13)

Music for the ballet class, New York : Witmark and Sons, 1953 (Item 14)

Giselle, ou Les Wilis, New York : Ballet Music, 1959 (Item 15)

'Giselle peasant' : music score with choreographic notes, 1959 (Item 16)

'Peasant pas de deux' : choreographic notes, 1976 (Item 17)

'Girls variation - peasant pas de deux - Giselle' : music score with choreographic notes, [n.d.] (Item 18)

Rendezvous, 1962 (Item 19)

'Sleeping beauty' : typescript of scenario for the Australian Ballet, 1972 (Item 20)

'Sleeping beauty' : handwritten choreographic notes, [n.d.] (Item 21)

'Sleeping beauty' : handwritten choreographic notes, [n.d.] (Item 22)

'Coppelia' : music score with choreographic notes, 1979 (Item 23)

'Coppelia (2)' : music score with choreographic notes, [n.d] (Item 24)

'Swan Lake, Coppelia and Giselle' : handwritten choreographic notes, [n.d.] (Item 25)

Accompanying ballet classes, Melbourne : Victorian College of the Arts, 1982 (Item 26)

Music for the exercises for training in classical ballet according to the method of Maestro Cav. Enrico Cecchetti, London : Cecchetti Society, 1983 (Item 27)

Cecchetti class music, [n.d.] (Item 28)

Pineapple poll : piano score, [n.d.] (Item 29)

'Lady and the fool' : handwritten choreographic notes, [n.d.] (Item 30)

'Raymonda 4th solo interpretation' : handwritten choreographic notes, [n.d.] (Item 31)

Le cygnet, Melbourne : Allan and Co, [n.d.] (Item 32)

Series 14. Printed material, 1948-1986

This series consists of miscellaneous journals, pamphlets and programs relating to ballet and dance.

One box.

Container List

Series File Box
1 1-6 1
1 7-11 2
2 1-5 3 (folio)
2 6-9 4 (folio)
2 10-12 5 (folio)
3 1-6 6
3 7-12 Drawer 39 (map folio)
4 1-4 7
5 1-3 7
5 4 8 (folio)
5 5-10 9
5 Photographs 10
5 12-14 11 (folio)
5 15-19 12 (folio)
6 1-6 13
6 7-12 14
6 13-15 15 (folio)
6 16-18 16 (folio)
7 1-4 17
8 1-3 17
8 4-10 18
9 1-5 19
9 6-12 20
9 13-19 21
9 20-23 22
10 1-2 22
10 3-9 23
11 1-7 24
11 8 25
12 1-6 25
12 7-13 26
12 14-20 27
13 1-14 28
13 15-25 29
13 26-32 30
14 Printed material 31