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Camille Doucet correspondence

 Collection
Call Number: GEN MSS 1554

Content Description

Collection of circa 11,000 letters addressed to Camille Doucet (1812-1895), director of the Superintendance générale des théâtres de France and member of the Académie française, from upwards of 1150 correspondents. It offers rich documentation of the French arts and letters in the second half of the 19th century and, in particular, of Doucet’s influence over French theater in his capacity as head of the administration of theaters in the imperial government of Napoleon III between 1853 and 1870, and later through the Academie française. Many letters discuss new theater productions, recommendations for performers, the work of censors, and various favors. Other letters concern the business and membership of the Académie française, as well as artistic patronage, cultural life, and social events. Correspondents include members of the Académie française, members of the Bonaparte family, writers, actors, theater directors, composers, painters, aristocrats, politicians, military leaders, scientists, and patrons of the arts.

There is voluminous correspondence, bound in albums, from Princesse Mathilde Bonaparte, Comédie-Française director Jules Claretie, François Coppée, Alexandre Dumas père and fils, Ludovic Halévy, Arsène and Henry Houssaye, Ernest Legouvé, and Victorien Sardou. Other individuals represented in the collection include George Sand, Émile Zola, Charles Gounod, Jules Massenet, and Henri d'Orléans, duc d'Aumale. Enclosed in a small number of letters are clippings and other printed material, manuscript poems, and manuscript music scores, including by Massenet.

Also included are a small number of outgoing letters by Camille Doucet, letters addressed to Doucet’s widow Emma Adelon, and letters to his daughter Antoinette Doucet and her husband, politician René Joseph Brice (1839-1921).

Dates

  • 1832 - 1920
  • Majority of material found within 1850 - 1895

Creator

Language of Materials

In French.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Camille Doucet Correspondence is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

From the collection of Camille Doucet, kept by his descendants. Purchased from Christie's on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2018.

Arrangement

Organized into two series: I. Correspondence Albums, 1852-1906. II. Correspondence Files, 1832-1920.

Extent

20.93 Linear Feet ((51 boxes) + 1 broadside)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

https://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.doucet

Overview

Collection of circa 11,000 letters addressed to Camille Doucet (1812-1895), director of the Superintendance générale des théâtres de France and member of the Académie française, from upwards of 1150 correspondents. It offers rich documentation of the French arts and letters in the second half of the 19th century and, in particular, of Doucet’s influence over French theater in his capacity as head of the administration of theaters in the imperial government of Napoleon III between 1853 and 1870, and later through the Academie française. Many letters discuss new theater productions, recommendations for performers, the work of censors, and various favors. Other letters concern the business and membership of the Académie française, as well as artistic patronage, cultural life, and social events. Correspondents include members of the Académie française, members of the Bonaparte family, writers, actors, theater directors, composers, painters, aristocrats, politicians, military leaders, scientists, and patrons of the arts.

Biographical / Historical

Camille Doucet (1812-1895) was a French dramatist, government official, and member of the Académie française. From 1853 to 1870, during the Second Empire of Napoleon III, Doucet served as the director of the Superintendance générale des théâtres, an administrative unit that oversaw the inspection of theater facilities, the nomination of theater directors, the management of music conservatories, the censorship of new works, and the allocation of state financial sponsorhip. An important policy enacted by Doucet in this role in 1867 was the expansion of theatrical privileges to café-concert establishments. Doucet was named Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur in 1857, and was elected to the Académie française in 1865. In addition to serving on the Commission du dictionnaire, Doucet became the Académie’s permanent secretary in 1876.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization. Names of correspondents and dates of creation were transcribed from an inventory supplied with the collection, and have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Names, including titles of nobility and nicknames, have been minimally edited for consistency, but may not always match authorized forms of the name. Correspondence files were oreviously numbered and listed in loose alphabetical order, and have been re-arranged. A copy of the original inventory, which also includes a chronology of Doucet's career, is available in Box 41 for reference.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from a survey of the contents.

A letter from G. de Wailly dated 1835 May 25 is listed in the original inventory, but could not be found during processing.

Source

Creator

Title
Guide to the Camille Doucet Correspondence
Author
Ève Bourbeau-Allard
Date
June 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

Contact:
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977

Location

121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.