Caryl Brahms Collection

Scope and Content

B&W photographs of dance companies and dancers of the early to mid twentieth century. Includes photographs of Ballet Theatre (later American Ballet Theatre), Ballets Russes (Diaghilev), Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Monte Carlo Ballet Russe, Original Ballet Russe, Ballet des Champs Elysees, London Festival Ballet, Philadelphia Ballet Company, the Royal Ballet, International Ballet Company, Markova-Dolin Company and others.

Administrative / Biographical History

Caryl Brahms is a pseudonym for Doris Caroline Abrahams. Caryl Brahms, writer and critic, died at her London home on December 4 1983. She was 81 years old. She was best known for her collaboration with Ned Sherrin on shows, often musicals, for the stage, radio and television (That Was The Week That Was), but in the early days she was a noted ballet critic (for the Evening Standard and the Daily Telegraph) and she contributed to Dance and Dancers frequently during its first few months of publication.

Early Life

Born in Surrey as Doris Caroline Abrahams, she was educated privately and at the Royal Academy of Music. She published her first book Footnotes to the Ballet in 1936. It was 'assembled' by her with contributions from Arnold Haskell, Constant Lambert, Alexander Benois, Lydia Sokolova and Anthony Asquith - it proved so popular that it had 12 printings in as many years.

Later career

The following year she collaborated with S. J. Simon, an expert on bridge. Their comic novels included No Bed For Bacon and Don't Mr Disraeli and a series based on ballet: A Bullet in the Ballet, Six Curtains for Mr Stroganova and Titiania had a Mother.

She was an inveterate first nighter, although straight theatre and musicals occupied more evenings towards the end of her life than did the ballet.

Materials in the Laban Archive:

1 box of photographs from the 1930s and 40s, mostly of Ballets Russes.

Other sources of information:

Internet: use a search engine i.e. Google and enter the keywords Caryl Brahms

Library Catalogue: Enter the terms Brahms, Carol to produce a list of the books written by her

Ephemera File: Brahms, Caryl


Clarke, M. and Bayston, M. (1983, January). Obituary: Caryl Brahms. Dancing Times, 289.

Obituary: Caryl Brahms. (1983 February). Dance and Dancers, 41.

By Charlotte McCarthy

Access Information


No restrictions on access apply.


Authority names have been inserted down to item level for Ballet Theatre and Ballet(s) Russe(s) but down to file level only for the rest of the collection.

Other Finding Aids

This collection has been catalogued on to the Laban Archive catalogue.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Jane Fowler, Archivist, Laban. Collection catalogued by Tinka Tosseva and Genny Steccone.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying and photography is allowed for private research only and due acknowledgement of the author must be made. A 'Copyright Declaration' form must be filled out before any photocopying of archival material can take place. Photographs can only be copied where Laban owns the copyright, a copy is to be included in a final year dissertation or is for personal research. Copying of audiovisual material is not permitted without the permission of the copyright holders. Please consult the Archivist if you would like to copy any material.