MS 7336

Papers of Geoffrey Ingram

Scope and Content Note



2.72 metres (15 boxes + 1 folio box)

Available for reference

The papers were purchased from Geoffrey Ingram by the National Library in several instalments between 1987 and 1993. Two further additions were donated by Ingram in 1997 and 1998.

The collection was assembled by Geoffrey Ingram. It comprises correspondence, photographs, programs, music scores, personal documents and memorabilia relating to the Borovansky Ballet Company and Edouard and Xenia Borovansky.

It also includes the papers of Lisbeth Montgomery (1936-49), Ballet Rambert cuttings (1946-48), records of the Australian Ballet and Ingram's own papers.

Biographical Note

A former actor and dancer, Geoffrey Ingram was born in Melbourne on 21 February 1924. He was one of the people most instrumental in promoting the establishment of a national ballet in Australia. On the formation in 1960 of the Australian Ballet Foundation, he was appointed as Administrative Assistant. During a subsequent year overseas, he visited all major ballet establishments, including those in Milan, London, Leningrad and Moscow, and studied administration and promotion methods. In 1963 he became founding Administrator of the Australian Ballet and organised its promotion and educational programme.

In 1964 Geoffrey Ingram conducted negotiations in London with Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn which resulted in their guest appearances with the Australian Ballet in the first international tour of a major Australian theatrical company. This successful tour in 1965 took the Australian Ballet to the Baalbeck Festival in the south of France, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In the late sixties Geoffrey Ingram made excursions into film production and also owned a restaurant.

In 1969 he undertook the first challenge to the legality of an arms agreement when, in the High Court of Australia, he challenged the S.A.L.T. II treaty between the Soviet Union and United States. Since then he has been engaged in comparative studies on the arts of war and peace.

Series Description

Box 1

Folder 1 Folio of documents of Xenia Smirnoff including extract of birth certificate ( Imperial Russian, 1918); passport of her father Nicolai Smirnoff and his will; certified copy of an Entry of Marriage (Westminster, 1933) to Edouard Skrecek Borovansky witnessed by Victor Dandre and Anna Pruzina; death certificates (3) of Alexandra Smirnoff (Prague, 1944 - German/Czech) together with photo outside Caxton Hall with Borovansky and other personal photos of herself and brother Bob Smirnoff, eccentric dancer; press cuttings from Listener In on the opening of the Borovansky studio (May 1939) and poster from Germany featuring Bob Walking (Bob Smirnoff) circa 1946, with advert and photos of Smirnoff; certificates of identity of Alexandra Smirnoff (Australia and British fragment), formerly Bolshoi soloist.

Folder 2 Documents and correspondence of Edouard Borovansky including three birth certificates (Czech, Prague 1923/4); certificate of registration (Bow St., 1927); List Domovsky and cert. de l’assignation des valeurs (Czech, 1936-8); certificate of identity (Australia, 1944); passport (Australia, 1950) and international health and electoral claim; press cuttings of Borovansky in “charge of supers” (Sunday Sun, 1939); letter to Sacha describing reason for staying in Australia (1943); first correspondence with letters from Sir Harry Chauvel, Daryl Lindsay, David Martin, Sir William Slim, Kathleen Daintree; Memorandum of Agreement with Colonel de Basil (London, 1937); Melbourne Ballet Club letters on Actors Equity; registration of Borovansky’s Ballet Academy (1940) Equity card.

Folder 3 Letters, including: Laurel Martyn to Borovanskys and to Frederick Ashton with replies from Boro and de Valois; general correspondence with Laurie Rentoul, Tamara Tchinarova, Leon Kelleway, Kathleen Gorham, Peggy Van Praagh, Elaine Fifield, Natalie Krassovska, Frederick Ashton, Arnold Haskell, Paul Grinwis and fifteen letters from Frank Tait with replies; application from Marilyn Jones for a position, 1957 and from Garth Welch to be made a soloist, 1956.

Folder 4 Contracts between Edouard and Xenia Borovansky and J.C.W. Theatre Ltd. from the first option on 20 July 1944 to final heads of agreement, dated 27 March 195 ; letters of negotiation and dispute with legal opinion from D.I. Menzies, Q.C. and others.

Folder 5 Fifteen letters from Tania and David Lichine with replies from Borovansky, 1956-8

Folder 6 Letters (1956-8) informing Borovansky of negotiations for Margot Fonteyn, Michael Somes, Rowena Jackson and Bryan Ashbridge to make guest appearances in Sydney and Melbourne; letters between Borovansky and James Laurie, Margot Fonteyn, Arthur and Frank Tait with proposed schedules; letters relatiing to engagement of, and dispute with, Robert Pomie.

Box 2

Folders 7-17 Detailed records of first performances of Borovansky Company at Melbourne, 1942, including box office receipts etc. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1940-45.

Box 3

Folders 18-26 Selection of files from Borovansky Ballet Academy with miscellaneous correspondence; J.C. Williamson travelling file with last correspondence of Borovansky.

Box 4

Folders 27-35 Correspondence with Frank Tait, 1951-56. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1956-58.

Box 5

Folder 36 Papers relating to Borovansky’s visit to Paris in 1956. They include a travel diary, pocket book, three address books, a 1951 diary (one entry only) and a copy of Sidur in Hebrew.

Folders 37-39 ‘Soviets today’ music scores, newspaper clippings and other printed material, 1939-80.

Box 6

Folders 40-41 Receipts and accounts, two ledgers, 1947-73.

Box 7

Folders 42-46 Photos of Borovansky Company and artists in rehearsal and performance. Album of photos of Borovansky Academy and album of photos and postcards collected on voyage to Australia. Negatives also included.

Box 8

Folders 47-50 Correspondence of Xenia Borovansky, 1956-57.

Folder 51 Australian Academy of Dancing.

Folder 52 Australian Ballet, 1960s-70s.

Folders 53-54 Letters to Lisbeth Montgomerie, photographs and souvenir programmes, 1940-78.

Addition 19 July1989

Box 9

Personal albums of Lisbeth Montgomerie, one-time secretary to the Borovanskys, with photographs of Xenia and Edouard at Hastings, Victoria.

Folio of programmes and press cuttings of Ballet Rambert in Australia with material from the Lisbeth Montgomerie collection including signed photos from John Gilpin, Joyce Graeme etc; and scrapbook. 1936-49.

Addition November 1993

Box 10

Folder 55 Personal files, 1935-82. The personal items include Ingram's pupil record book, passports, travel documents, cuttings, contracts for 'Oklahoma' (1948) and with the Australian National Theatre Movement (1954), programs of shows, photographs of dancers, telegrams, and a letter from Marilyn Jones (1979).

Folder 56 A second personal folder has several letters from Sir Geoffrey Keynes, written between 1962 and 1980 on family and ballet matters. Keynes, a surgeon and bibliographer, inspired the ballet Job. His study of Blake's Vision of the book of Job gave him the idea for Job, reportedly 'a great English ballet of this century'. A review of Geoffrey Keynes' autobiography, in the Times Literary Supplement of 6 November 1981, is included.

Folder 57 Geoffrey Ingram articles (n.d.). Manuscript drafts and annotated typescripts of articles written by Ingram. Topics includedance, ballet, the Australian Ballet and its first performance, and 'art, authorship and authority'.

Folder 58 Correspondence, 1951-61. A large number of letters are concerned with the formation of a national ballet. In 1961 the Borovansky Company went into recess, to be reformed as part of the newly created Australian Ballet Foundation. The Foundation was formed, initially under the sponsorship of the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust and J. C. Williamson Theatres Ltd., to undertake the establishment of a permanent national ballet. The Australian Ballet was formed in 1962, beginning its first season at Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, on November 2, 1962. Correspondents include Edouard Borovansky, Peggy van Praagh, Hugh Hunt, Professor Joseph Burke, Dr H. C. Coombs, Laurel Martyn, John McCallum, Sir Frank Tait, and Bill Judges.

Folder 59 Correspondence, 1956-63. Included in this folder are letters, press statements on the establishment of the Australian Ballet Foundation (1960), and typed notes on a suggested method for proceeding with the establishment of the Australian Ballet Trust. There is a letter from Ingram to the Director of the Bolshoi Theatre on the creation of the first permanent national ballet company for Australia and a letter from Neil Hutchinson to Ingram telling of his discussions with Dr Coombs on the organizational lines for proceeding with plans for the Ballet. Correspondents include Lord Huntingfield, Bill Judges, John McCallum, Neil Hutchinson, the executive director of the Ballet Trust, H. C. Coombs, Peggy van Praagh, and Geoffrey Ingram.

Folder 60 Correspondence, 1962-63. There are letters from Ingram to several broadcasting stations and others concerning the first season of the Australian Ballet, commencing 20 February 1963. The Ballet was formed by the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust and the J C Williamson Theatres, and there are notes on the AETT and the Australian Ballet. There are also letters to Peggy van Praagh, Louis van Eyssen, general manager of the Australian Ballet, John McCallum, and Stefan Haag, Executive Director of the Theatre Trust.

Box 11

Folder 61 Correspondence, statistics, memoranda, cuttings, minutes, 1964-68. An analysis of takings and performances is in statistical form, and there is a form of agreement for dancers (1964). The correspondence is mainly between Ingram and William Cronshaw, business manager of the Australian Ballet. There are also letters to Peggy van Praagh, Robert Helpmann, Stefan Haag and Dr H. Coombs, and a letter from Pattie Menzies thanking Ingram for tickets to The Display. Much of the correspondence deals with an overseas tour by the Ballet (1955/56), and the financial conditions for participating in a European tour with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. Dates, ballets to be performed, costumes and costs are discussed.

Folder 62 Correspondence, 1965-66. There are many letters to and from Robert Helpmann, including one from Bruce Scott, the administrator of the Ballet, in which he sets out the financial terms of Helpmann's appointment as co-artistic director of the Ballet with Peggy van Praagh. Letters concerned with the European tour include one from Bill Cronshaw about transporting scenery overseas. There is a letter to Lord Snowdon from Ingram (1965) about his possible collaboration in the production of a new work for the Australian Ballet, and also one to Sir Ian Potter on the same subject.

Folder 63 Special items relating to the Australian Ballet and the Borovanskys, 1963-91. Items include the birth certificate of Xenia Borovansky (Smirvov); a letter from James T. Laurie, Director of Concerts Management (London), outlining agreements for the Australian Ballet's overseas tour with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev; a letter from Ingram to Nureyev expressing his gratitude and congratulations for his wonderful career, together with a program for Nureyev's farewell to Australia as a dancer; draft of a letter from Frank Tait and H. C. Coombs to Robert Helpmann concerning his appointment as joint artistic director of the Australian Ballet; draft of an article on the Borovansky Ballet Company (1961); a proposition for the formation of a permanent professional ballet company; formation of a ballet school connected with the Australian Ballet; and criticism of the Elizabethan Theatre Trust by Senator Turnbull and Senator Ormond. Included in the special items, but located in Folio 1, is a copy of the will of Vlodia Smirnov, Xenia Borovansky's father, who served the Czar with the rank of General. He left Russia in 1920, penniless. The original will is thought to be in the Russian Department at Melbourne University.

Folder 64 Correspondence, Arts, 1941-55. Copies of correspondence dealing with post-war reconstruction and the Arts, including the formation of a Cultural Council. Correspondents include H. C. Coombs, Roland Wilson, Dorothy Helmrich, Ben Chifley, Arthur Fadden, Lloyd Ross and Murray Tyrell. There are several letters on the representations made to Robert Menzies by Isaac Stern for financial assistance for Ernest Llewellyn who had been awarded the William Kapell Memorial Scholarship for travel overseas (1955). Included in this folder is a Meanjin Archive list.

Folder 65 Papers prepared for the House of Representatives Expenditure

Committee Arts Inquiry, 10 April 1986.

Box 12

Folder 66 'Arts Enquiry', 1959. The papers cover the years 1949-1993.

A letter was sent in 1959 to influential people actively engaged in or professionally associated with the creative and interpretative arts. It recommended that a request be made to the Federal Government for a commission of enquiry into the state of the arts and letters in Australia. This letter was signed by Eric Westbrook, Robin Boyd, Hector Crawford and Andrew Fabinyi. There is a summary of excerpts from responses, including those from Mary Gilmore, Patrick White, Frank Dalby Davison and Katharine S. Prichard; cuttings, minutes of a meeting held in August 1959 with signatures of those present, submissions, and copies of letters-to-the- editor; letters from Hector Crawford, Robin Boyd, and Clem Christesen, a 1993 letter by Christesen on Boyd's involvement in the Arts Enquiry Committee, and a letter by Ingram summarising the episode. There is also a copy of the Canadian Massey Report, 1949, on the findings of the Royal Commission on Arts, Letters and Sciences.

Folders Australian Ballet, 1959-66.

Folder 67-73 The series of folders includes files on the original ballet committee, correspondence, minutes and fiscal reports, 1964-66. The correspondents include Peggy van Praagh and Will Thompson. The minutes of the Australian Ballet Theatre Group, formed after a meeting on 27 October 1959 to consider an approach to the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust on the formation of a permanent Australian ballet company, are handwritten.

There is also a file of promotional material for the Australian Ballet, 1962.

Box 13

Folders SALT Challenge, 1970. (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) 74-80 These are the complete legal documents for Ingram's challenge. Because of his concern for the role of law in the maintenance of international peace and security, Ingram explored the semantics of the SALT Treaty and challenged its legality in the High Court of Australia in 1980. This is recorded in J. G. Starke's Introduction to international law as the first such action in any jurisdiction. The documents, which date from 1979-82 include correspondence, memoranda, cuttings and court transcripts, advice from Starke, and the 'Statement of grievance on the part of a private person against the signatories and parties to the Agreements...'.

Box 14

Folder 81 Ballet programs, 1914-61. There are programs for various ballet companies performing at Covent Garden (1939-55), Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (1938-39), Grand Ballet de Monte Carlo (1949-50), International Ballet of the Marquis de Cuevas (1961), Sir Joseph Beecham's Grand Season of Russian Opera and Ballet (1914), Original Ballet Russe (1946-47), and the Ballets de Paris (1950).

Folder 82 Borovansky Ballet programs, 1940-47. A complete set of Borovansky Ballet programs, 27 in all, beginning with a typewritten one.

Box 15

Folder 83 Photographs. Dancers include Anna Pavlova (Butterfly), Edouard Borovansky, Robert Helpmann, Kathy Gorham, Karl Welander, Erik Bruhn (Don Quixote), Marilyn Jones, Garth Welch, Laurel Martyn and Geoffrey Ingram (Swan Lake and Sentimental Bloke), Leonide Massine, Martin Rubinstein, Edna Busse, Tatiana Stepanova, Olga Morosova, Nina Verchinina and Barbara Chambers. There are photographs of Colonel W. de Basil and Peggy van Praagh, William Dargie sketching the Borovansky corps, the Australian Ballet's first international performance in Baalbeck, Lebanon, the Borovansky company leaving Essendon, 1951, and the Australian Ballet's first company photograph, 1962.

Folder 84 Posters. Posters for Australian Ballet performances at Covent Garden, Birmingham and Nice, 1964-68.

Folder 85 Newspaper clippings on the Australian Ballet in Australia and the U.K., 1962-66. Typescript of a proposed film for BP Australia 'Making a Ballet"

Pictorial outline of 'Grand Pas De Deux'.

Folio 1 Portrait and sketches. Self-portrait, 'Conflict', oil on canvas board.

Pencil sketch for nude self-portrait.

Sketches from 'Oklahoma' and 'L'Apres midi d'un faune'.

The will of Vlodia Smirnov, described in folder 63, is located in this folio.

Addition 18 February 1997

Box 15

Folder 86 Papers relating to the contribution of Rudolph Nureyev to the development of the Australian Ballet.

Addition 6 January 1998

Box 15

Folder 87 Photograph of Pavlova given to Nina Christesen’s father. Christmas card to Ingram from Nina Christesen, dated 14 Dec. 1997.

June 1996
Updated March 1999