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Guide to the Jay and Si-Lan Chen Leyda Papers TAM.083
||Leyda, Jay, 1910-1988
||Leyda, Si-lan Chen
||Jay and Si-Lan Chen Leyda Papers
||Jay Leyda (1910-1988) was a leading film historian, filmmaker, photographer, archivist,
translator, teacher, and noted Sergei Eisenstein, Emily Dickinson and Herman Melville
scholar. Leyda studied directing with Sergei Eisenstein at the Moscow State Film School,
became a correspondent for Theatre Arts Monthly and New Theatre, and was an art critic for the Moscow News. In 1936, Leyda was the assistant to Iris Barry, curator of the Film Library of the
Museum of Modern Art, but resigned amidst allegations that he was a subversive agent.
Leyda went to Hollywood in 1942 where he was a technical advisor on films on Russian
subjects and began work on Herman Melville documents which led to a number of books
on the subject. In 1973, Leyda became professor of Cinema Studies at NYU. He died
in 1988. His wife, Si Lan Chen Leyda (1909- ), was a modern dancer who pioneered the
use of Chinese dance elements. Si-Lan Chen was born in Trinidad and attended the Bolshoi
Ballet School and Vera Maya's school in Moscow where she met and married Leyda. Throughout
the late 1930s and early 1940s, she toured and worked in Hollywood as a choreographer
and dance instructor, and occasionally appeared in films. The collection includes
their biographical material, correspondence, writings, and material pertaining to
their various pursuits.
||17.5 Linear Feet in 33 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize flat box, and 2 folders
||Materials are principally in English, with some materials in Russian, Chinese, and
various European languages.
||Processing was generously supported by the Estate of Jay Leyda (Elena Pinto Simon,