Serge Diaghilev’s Last Passion—The Book

in Experiment
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Abstract

This article is based on fresh archival and manuscript material found in the Library of Congress and the Harvard College Library. The author discusses the last two years in Diaghilev’s life and the beginnings of his obsessive collecting of Russian (and Rossica) rare books and manuscripts. More specifically the article treats the dealers and other sources of Diaghilev’s acquisitions, the nature of what he acquired, and the fate of his collections after his untimely passing in August, 1929.

Serge Diaghilev’s Last Passion—The Book

in Experiment

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    Vera Sudeikina (Stravinsky), photographer: Boris Kochno, Sergei Diaghilev, Serge Lifar, and Igor Stravinsky taking tea at the Savoy, London, 1928. Courtesy the Société des Bains de Mer, Monte-Carlo.
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    Diaghilev’s funeral gondola plying its way to San Michele, Venetian lagoon, August, 1929. Reproduced from Serge Lifar: Diagilev i s Diagilevym (Paris: Dom knigi, 1939), between pp. 480 and 481.
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    Opening leaf, Sergei Diaghilev: Notebook. Serge Diaghilev/Serge Lifar Collection, Library of Congress, Music Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
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    Sergei Diaghilev: Notebook, showing (upper left) prices paid for eight rare books, in francs. Serge Diaghilev/Serge Lifar Collection, Library of Congress, Music Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
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    Sergei Diaghilev: Notebook, showing lists of dealers in rare books. Serge Diaghilev/Serge Lifar Collection, Library of Congress, Music Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
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    Letter of Diaghilev to Mark Ingber, July 21, 1929, Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Call No.: bMS Thr 428 (165). By permission of the Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.
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    Letter of Diaghilev to Julius Weitsman, August 29, 1928, Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Call No.: bMS Thr 428 (92). By permission of the Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.
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    Letter of Diaghilev to Julius Weitsman, September 19, 1928, Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Call No.: 428 (105). By permission of the Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.
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    Letter of Diaghilev to Julius Weitsman, December 15, 1928, Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Call No.: bMS Thr 428 (134). By permission of the Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.
  • View in gallery
    Letter of Diaghilev to Julius Weitsman, May 5, 1929, Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Call No. bMS Thr 428 (152). By permission of the Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

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