Many of the photos shared on this page are research photos taken by Elaine Ewing at the Library for the Performing Arts. Other photos are through research elsewhere and her personal collection of original articles.

Carola Trier

Image first shared on 2/18/21.

Carola Trier

Carola Trier first became acquainted with the pilates method due to an injury which occurred in 1950. Throughout the 1950s, she was trained as a student of Joseph and Clara Pilates. She opened her own studio in 1960. Over the years her assistants included Romana Kryzanowska and Kathy Grant.

Her studio apparatus differed greatly from the apparatus at Joe’s studio, although the reformers had his patent plaque on them. One similarity between the two studios was the adjustable Ped-o-Pul, shown in the photo here. Joe also had this same version of the Ped-o-Pul. Here we can see the bike seat attached to the Ped-o-Pul, that William Herman also had on his adjustable Ped-o-Pul. While Joe did have this version, there are currently no known photos of the bike seat attached to Joe’s Ped-o-Pul.

Additionally, Carola Trier taught on and used the Junior Reformer, shown in the studio photo here. This was the “home reformer” invented by Joe.

In 1982, Trier wrote a book for children entitled. “Exercise, What it is, What it Does”. Although the book wasn’t specifically about the pilates method, a pilates enthusiast can easily detect the references to pilates throughout the book, which is mostly about creative ways to interest kids in movement. Carola Trier died in New York City on October 28, 2000 at the age of 89.

Carola Trier studio with junior reformer

Image first shared on 2/18/21.

Articles

Article about Carola from an unknown magazine. Image first shared on 1/8/22.

Carola Trier article unknown magazine

An article with exercises from Carola for teenage girls, written in a style that might speak to them. Image first shared on 1/8/22.

Carola Trier article Ingenue teen magazine

An article in Carola’s collection, seemingly saved with an incorrect magazine title or date since this article does not appear to actually have been published in that issue of McCall’s Magazine. Image first shared on 1/8/22.

Carola Trier article McCall magazine

A rare article depicting Carola Trier and her rehabilitation work. Notably, pictured here are the now famous “Anatomy posters” that Joe Pilates also hung on his walls and that have been reproduced by Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archive™. Sean actually reproduced these specific posters that Carola let him copy. Image first shared on 1/8/22.

Carola Trier article ex-dancer

A few more articles from Carola Trier’s personal collection that she saved. All images first shared on 1/8/2022.

Carola Trier article Gift of Pampering
Carola Trier article Beauty Check
Carola Trier article Improvement Poise
Carola Trier article Place to Place

Exercise Descriptions

Here we have a few of the first exercises from “Return to Life,” with instructions written and edited by Carola Trier. These are perhaps for a book that she never finished or published. After her notes, we can see a couple pages as they would appear in the book, complete with illustrations. Sadly I do not believe the project was ever completed.

Click image to see gallery and enlarged images. Images first shared on 1/6/2022.

Studio Marketing

Carola produced these small brochures to promote her studio. This is one of several different versions over the years. Images first shared on 1/8/22.

Carola Trier marketing small brochure cover
Carola Trier marketing small brochure

Carola Trier’s business card. All images first shared on 1/8/2022.

Carola Trier business card
Carola Trier business card

A brochure produced by Carola Trier to promote her work and her studio. All images first shared on 1/8/2022.

Carola Trier marketing brochure
Carola Trier marketing brochure

An early ad for Carola’s studio. All images first shared on 1/8/2022.

Carola Trier marketing early ad

It appears that Ira Neimark, president of Bergdorf Goodman, advocated for Carola to open a small studio within the department store, possibly similar to Joe’s small studio in Henri Bendel’s. However it looks as though it was just a little too late, since they had already signed a deal with another teacher, Carol Cush, to have an exercise studio within the store.

Carol Cush was an exercise teacher of the times (the 1970’s) who taught a blend of yoga and dance. The studio within Bergdorf Goodman did not have any equipment, instead it was an open room.  All images first shared on 1/8/2022.

Carola Trier marketing brochure
Carol Cush exercise program

Personal Notes

Carola Trier kept journals of notes on various topics such as anatomy and English language practice. This particular passage stood out to me. It reads: 

Youth is a blunder
Manhood a struggle
Old age a regret

The passage is from 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in his political novel, Coningsby. Image first shared on 1/8/2022.

Carola Trier personal note

A letter from Alan Herdman. Image first shared on 1/8/2022.

Carola Trier personal note Alan Herdman

A cute note to Carola from a student. Image first shared on 1/8/2022.

Carola Trier personal student note

An example of the type of letter Carola wrote for her young students to be exempt from physical education at school due to their dance injuries that she was rehabilitating them for in her studio. Image first shared on 1/8/2022.

Carola Trier personal note student excuse
Carola Trier personal note Mrs Harry Kitselman
Carola Trier personal note Mrs Harry Kitselman
Carola Trier personal note Mrs Harry Kitselman

Letters from Clara and Joe

This letter Clara wrote to Carola was sent along with this photo of Clara, Carola, and a friend. In the letter, Clara writes about how disappointed she was to see that Joe mistakenly didn’t use color film while taking the photo. Clara also mentions Carola’s matwork photos, although it’s not clear which series she is referring to. Images first shared on 1/8/22.

Carola Trier marketing small brochure
Carola Trier marketing small brochure cover

This selection of letters and holiday notes from Clara Pilates to Carola Trier offer a peek back in time to both their personal and professional relationship over the years. It is clear that they stayed in close communication, spent time together, and took photos together based on the words Clara writes.

Notably, one of these letters refers to an injury Clara sustained to her foot, and it reads as though it possibly happened while teaching in the studio! She writes, “My foot is still in plaster. And this had to happen to me while I was -teaching control-” 

Amazing! I wonder what could have happened… another reason to wear shoes while teaching in the studio!

All images first shared on 1/8/2022.

Carola Trier business card
Carola Trier business card
Carola Trier business card
Carola Trier business card
Carola Trier business card
Carola Trier business card
Carola Trier business card
Carola Trier business card
Carola Trier business card
Carola Trier business card
Carola Trier business card
Carola Trier business card
Carola Trier business card
Carola Trier business card
Carola Trier business card

Closing Studio Letters

Some correspondence between Alan Herdman and Carola Trier as she was in the process of trying to sell her studio. Apparently she asked Alan Herdman if he would like to buy it but it didn’t work out for him at the time. In addition to his letter to Carola, here is a sample of one of a number of notes she wrote to herself, documenting the process of trying to sell her studio. She ultimately ended up just closing and selling off/giving away her apparatus. Images first shared on 1/8/2022.

Carola Trier personal note Mrs Harry Kitselman
Carola Trier personal note Mrs Harry Kitselman
Carola Trier personal note Mrs Harry Kitselman

A series of notes that Carola wrote during a period of time when she was debating on what to do with her studio. Images first shared on 1/8/2022.

Carola Trier personal note Mrs Harry Kitselman
Carola Trier personal note Mrs Harry Kitselman
Carola Trier personal note Mrs Harry Kitselman

Research Photos

I often conduct off-site research at various facilities where archives are kept, such as at The Library for the Performing Arts in NYC. 

On my instagram page, @originalpilatesphotos, I have shared an extensive amount of my research on Carola Trier and her studio to help educate the pilates community. Here are some examples of what I’ve shared on instagram- check out the rest over on social media!

I do not own the copyright on these photos or claim to. These are my research photos only and not to be used for any purpose other than educating the community.

Images first shared on 10/25/21.

research photo carola trier pilates history archive
research photo carola trier pilates history archive
research photo carola trier pilates history archive
research photo carola trier pilates history archive
research photo carola trier pilates history archive

This collection of photos was archived by Carola Trier as a demonstration of Joe’s mat work and reformer work. 

Photos used with permission and courtesy of the Leo Baeck Institute. Images first shared on 9/15/21.

The Mat Work

Carola Trier demonstrates the matwork on her Benchmat, which was brought back to the pilates community in 2019, thanks to Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archive™ where the original Bench Mat is preserved. Currently, Pilates Lineage makes a replica of the Bench Mat, which debuted at Pilates at The Pillow™ 2019.

Carola carefully demonstrated Joe’s matwork in the order that he designed. A few variations are present, most noteworthy is the Swan Dive variation on the edge of the Bench Mat. Throughout the series, other instances occur where she uses the features of the Bench Mat to enhance the exercise, again, as Joe intended.

Click image to see gallery and enlarged images.

The Reformer

Here, Carola demonstrates Joe’s archived order of exercises on the reformer. This is evidence that Joe did teach the specific order that he documented, since she was his student. Her execution is similar to Joe’s, with a few differences.

Carola’s reformer differed from Joe’s, although it had Joe’s original plaque on it. Perhaps one day history will reveal if Joe did build her reformers (or oversee the building of them).

Click image to see gallery and enlarged images.

Pilates Enthusiast

This article contains fascinating stick drawings of a workout designed by Carola Trier that could be done on a simple household chair. A pilates enthusiast can easily detect the pilates exercises within these drawings. (Click images to enlarge.) Image first shared on 2/18/21.

Carola Trier article "This Exercise Strategy is Chair-Borne"

A quick blurb about a demonstration Carola taught in her studio on body conditioning for dancers. Image first shared on 6/26/21.

Carola Trier Pilates Universal Gymnasium history article

This article is strange! The writer clearly has no clue about Contrology! (Click image to enlarge.) Image first shared on 2/23/21.

Skeptic in the Desert: Slouch Don't Walk in the Powder Room Archive Article

An interesting mention of an assistant to Carola Trier. It would be fascinating to find out what memories she had of the times with Carola. Image first shared on 2/23/21.

Jensen-Kasakove Engagement Announcement Archive Article

A clip out of a 1960’s Vogue Magazine that mentions Carola Trier. Image first shared on 9/15/21.

pilates archive article carola trier join class advertisement

Exercise for Kids

In 1982, Trier wrote a book for children entitled. “Exercise, What it is, What it Does.” Although the book wasn’t specifically about the pilates method, a pilates enthusiast can easily detect the references to pilates throughout the book, which is mostly about creative ways to interest kids in movement. Carola Trier died in New York City on October 28, 2000 at the age of 89.

Image first shared on 2/23/21.

Carola Trier

Teaching Performers

Like Joe, Carola taught performers of all kinds, as well as “regular” clients. (Click image to enlarge.)
Image first shared on 2/23/21.

Irish Luck Helps Helen Archive Article
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