The Carolyn George Photographs consist of approximately 100,000 images: black and white and color prints, contact sheets, negatives, and slides of both dance and non-dance subjects photographed by Carolyn George from the 1950s to 2005. The collection also contains some family photographs and childhood photographs of George and spans from circa 1800-2005 (bulk dates 1970-1998).
Biographical/historical: Dancer and photographer Carolyn George (1927-2009) was born in Texas. Known as Carrie, she studied at the School of American Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet school, and appeared with the San Francisco Ballet. George joined New York City Ballet in 1952, rising to soloist in 1954. She originated roles in the ballets Fanfare (1953), The Five Gifts (1953) and Souvenirs (1955), also appearing in the repertoire. George also danced in musicals, including the Broadway productions of On Your Toes (1954) and Shinbone Alley (1957).
In 1956, George married New York City Ballet star Jacques d'Amboise. After their first child, George, was diagnosed with cancer in 1958, she gave up her dancing career, devoting herself to his care. The couple's other children are Christopher, and twins Catherine and Charlotte.
George began photographing professionally for New York City Ballet around 1980 and studied photography with Ernst Haas. Her photographs have appeared in both dance and non-dance publications, including the books Leap Year, A Year in the Life of a Dancer by Christopher d'Amboise (Doubleday, 1982), Teaching the Magic of Dance by Jacques d'Amboise, Hope Cooke and Carolyn George (Simon and Schuster, 1983) and I Feel Like Dancing: A Year with Jacques d'Amboise and the National Dance Insititute by Steven Barboza (Crown Publishers, 1992).
With her husband, George began the National Dance Institute in 1976, bringing dance to children all over the world. She was the organization's photographer and was also co-director and still photographer for the National Dance Institute film, Fifth Position (1983).
George died of primary lateral sclerosis at her home in New York City.
Content: The collection consists of approximately 100,000 images: black and white and color prints, contact sheets, negatives, and slides of both dance and non-dance subjects photographed by Carolyn George from the 1950s to 2007. Because the collection also contains some family photographs and childhood photographs of George, it spans from circa 1800s-2005 (bulk dates 1970-1998). Also included are some professional photographs of George as a professional dancer.
George's work includes photographs of New York City Ballet rehearsals, performances, benefits, tours, and dancers, mostly from the late 1960s to the 1980s, Paul Taylor Dance Company (1980-1981), National Dance Institute (NDI) (circa 1976-2004), as well as family, friends, travel, and other subjects.
There are numerous photographs of New York City Ballet luminaries such as George Balanchine, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jacques d'Amboise, Suzanne Farrell, Peter Martins, Jerome Robbins, and others. The 1981 Tschaikovsky Festival, and the ballets Robert Schumann's Davidsbündlertänze and Union Jack are well-documented. Of note is a short, handwritten sheet by George on her thoughts on George Balanchine after his death in 1983.
In 1976, Jacques d'Amboise and George founded the National Dance Institute to expose children to the arts. Photographs include performances, rehearsals, classes, and travels around the world on behalf of the organization. (Travel photographs are the most numerous.)
There are also photographs of artists such as David Amram, George Balanchine, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Judy Collins, Christopher d'Amboise, Charlotte d'Amboise, Colleen Dewhurst, Janet Eilber, Peter Gennaro, Morton Gould, Red Grooms, Richard Kiley, Kevin Kline, Cloris Leachman, Patricia McBride, Kay Mazzo, Mary Tyler Moore, Shaun O'Brien, Chita Rivera, Virgil Thomson, and Karin von Aroldingen, who contributed their talents to NDI. Many of George's travel photographs may possibly have been connected to dance activities, but were not labeled as such.
With Jacques d'Amboise and Hope Cooke, George was a co-author of the book Teaching the Magic of Dance (Simon and Schuster, 1983) and her photographs appeared in Leap Year, A Year in the Life of a Dancer by Christopher d'Amboise (Doubleday, 1982), and I Feel Like Dancing: A Year with Jacques d'Amboise and the National Dance Insititute by Steven Barboza (Crown Publishers, 1992), and other publications.
Non-Dance photographs consist of family, friends, travels, and other events and places. Family photographs are found throughout the collection. There are also abstract photographic studies, such as those of cups. The collection also contains blowups of photographs George presumably considered worthy. Also included are photographs of an Off-Broadway play, Red Eye, with Linda Hunt (1978); Charlotte d'Amboise and Cate d'Amboise were also in the cast.
A few photographs by other photographers may also be found in the collection: Radford Bascombe, Fred Jenkins, Maggie Steber Jullien, Rita Katz, Steven McGuire, John Messina, Romaine, and Martha Swope. Of particular interest are Martha Swope photographs of the D'Amboise family in costumes for The Nutcracker (1973).
Extent: 63 boxes (25 lin. ft.) : col. and black and white ; 29 x 31 cm or smaller