Jack Cole Scrapbook Collection

Scope and Content

This collection consists of scrapbooks, photographs, correspondence, theatrical ephemera and cuttings collected by and relating to the life and career of dancer and choreographer Jack Cole.

Administrative / Biographical History

Jack Cole began his career as a Denishawn dancer with Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, and continued with Ted Shawn's All-Male Dancers. In 1932 he and another ex-Denishawn dancer, Alice Dudley, began dancing in clubs, including the Rainbow Room, Ciro's, and the Flamingo. He also appeared on stage in venues such as Radio City Music Hall.

He developed a highly personal and eclectic style, based on the techniques learned in his early training, but grafting on elements from Indian, Oriental, Carribean, Latin American, Spanish, and African-American dance. He was known for his unpredictability and originality, for example setting authentic Hindu dance movements to a contemporary jazz score.

From 1937 until 1968 he also worked on Broadway and in Hollywood as both dancer and choreographer. His choreography for Villa Lobos' Magdelena won him the Donaldson Award, and he had success on Broadway with Kismet, Something for the Boys, Jamaica, Man of La Mancha, and Alive and Kicking among others. Films included Kismet, Three for the Show and Gentlemen Marry Brunettes. It is, however, for his choreography for Marilyn Monroe that he will be popularly remembered; he worked with her on Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Bus Stop, Some Like It Hot, and Let's Make Love.

Jack Cole died in 1974.


This collection has been arranged into the following series:

  • THM/106/1 - Scrapbooks
  • THM/106/2 - Photographs
  • THM/106/3 - Programmes and theatrical ephemera
  • THM/106/4 - Correspondence
  • THM/106/5 - Jack Cole dance cuttings
  • THM/106/6 - General dance cuttings

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

This collection was purchased by the V&A in 1979.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with the collection management policy.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Theatre and Performance Department. Material relating to Jack Cole may be found in the biographical files as well as the library collections.

Please ask for details.