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MS Thr 507

Correspondence concerning Waslaw Nijinsky's medical condition, 1918-1939: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Thr 507
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Title: Correspondence concerning Waslaw Nijinsky's medical condition,
Date(s): 1918-1939.
Quantity: 1 collection (1 box (.4 linear ft.)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in German, French, and English.
Abstract: Letters and telegrams of Romola Nijinsky and other family members to various physicians, and correspondence between physicians concerning Waslaw Nijinsky's medical condition. Also includes correspondence regarding his stay and treatment at the Bellevue Sanatorium in Kreuzlingen (Switzerland).

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2005MT-71. Purchased from Golden Legend Inc. with Timothy S. Mayer Fund, Billy Rose Theatre Fund, Parmenia Migel Ekstrom Memorial Fund and other funds; received 2006 April.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Irina Klyagin

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Images linked to the finding aid describing this collection are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Correspondence Concerning Waslaw Nijinsky's Medical Condition, 1918-1939 (MS Thr 507). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Related Materials

For additional material see: Miscellaneous Manuscripts and Photographs Relating to Nijinsky's Medical Treatment at Bellevue Sanatorium at the New York Public Library. Dance Division.

Biographical / Historical

Waslaw Nijinsky (1890-1950) was the legendary Russian dancer and choreographer of Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. In 1913 he married Hungarian countess Romola de Pulszky (1891-1978). The marriage enraged Diaghilev who was not only Nijinsky's patron, but also his lover. Diaghilev dismissed Nijinsky from the company. They later reconciled, but Nijinsky returned to Ballets Russes only briefly in 1916. At that time he was already showing signs of mental disturbance which later developed into mental illness. In 1919 he suffered a severe mental breakdown and had to be institutionalized. He was placed under care of Dr. Ludwig Binswanger, director of Bellevue Sanatorium in Kreuzlingen (Switzerland) where he remained, with some interruptions, from 1919 to 1938. Romola Nijinsky and Dr. Binswanger arranged for many other famous physicians and psychiatrists to treat Nijinsky, but he was never cured, spending the rest of his life in asylums and psychiatric hospitals. His diagnosis ranged from dementia to schizophrenia.


Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence of Romola Nijinsky and others with various physicians and psychiatrists who beginning in 1918 consulted and treated Waslaw Nijinsky.
Correspondents include:

Container List