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Maria Tallchief: Topics in Chronicling America

Native American ballerina, Maria Tallchief, revolutionized ballet and was America's first major prima ballerina. This guide provides access to materials related to "Maria Tallchief" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"Maria Tallchief (top) and sister Marjorie." February 4, 1951. Evening Star (Washington, DC), Image 92. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Maria Tallchief (1925-2013) was the daughter of a Native American father and a Scottish mother. Born on an Osage reservation in Oklahoma, both she and her sister, Marjorie, were ballerinas; however, only Maria would become America's first major prima ballerina.

Tallchief performed and toured throughout the United States and became leading ballerina of the New York City Ballet. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


1942 Maria Tallchief begins dancing with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo
February 4, 1951 Maria Tallchief is featured on the front cover of This Week Magazine, the magazine section of The Sunday Star. The accompanying article "Princess Firebird" details Tallchief's background.
December 1951 New York City Ballet Company debuts a "strip tease" comic ballet called "A La Francaix" featuring Maria Tallchief, Andre Eglevsky, and Janet Reed.
August 1953 Maria Tallchief is interviewed by the Evening Star about her work as a ballerina, her early days as a student at Beverly Hills High School, and her time as a dancer with the Los Angeles Light Opera.
June 1959 Maria Tallchief and Andre Eglevsky perform Swan Lake at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre, also known as the Rock Creek Park bowl, in Washington, D.C.