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 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.
Article about Carola from an unknown magazine. Image first shared on 1/8/22.
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.
Image first shared on 7/22/22.
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.
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.
A few more articles from Carola Trier’s personal collection that she saved. All images first shared on 1/8/2022.
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.
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’s business card. All images first shared on 1/8/2022.
A brochure produced by Carola Trier to promote her work and her studio. All images first shared on 1/8/2022.
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 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.
A letter from Alan Herdman. Image first shared on 1/8/2022.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This article is strange! The writer clearly has no clue about Contrology! (Click image to enlarge.) Image first shared on 2/23/21.
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.
A clip out of a 1960’s Vogue Magazine that mentions Carola Trier. Image first shared on 9/15/21.
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.
Like Joe, Carola taught performers of all kinds, as well as “regular” clients. (Click image to enlarge.)
Image first shared on 2/23/21.