Skip to main content

Edmond Pauker papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 118

Scope and Contents

The Edmond Pauker Papers document Pauker's professional career in the United States as a theater agent. The collection spans the years 1898-1960 with the bulk of the material dated 1923-58. The papers consist of manuscripts, contracts and other legal documents, correspondence, royalty statements and other financial records, and printed material related to the agency or to specific literary works.

Series I, Writings , consists primarily of works by clients of Pauker, chiefly by Ferenc Molnár, with some additional pieces about Ferenc Molnár. The material has been divided into two subseries, Works by Ferenc Molnár and Works of Others.

The Molnár works have been divided into five sections: Dialogues and Sketches, Novels, Plays, Stories, and Other Works. Most of the works are typescripts, although there is one manuscript in Molnár's hand and numerous holograph translations by Michael Bálint of dialogues and stories. There are also a number of printed versions of plays, stories, dialogues, and sketches. Works are in English unless otherwise identified. Related material, such as contracts, correspondence, statements, and play reviews can be found under Molnár's name in the Client Files subseries of Series II, Business Files.

The Novels section includes English translations and synopses of several novels by Molnár. There are translations of Autumn Journey, The Derelict Boat, and Eva by Emil Lengyel as well as synopses of each; synopses and a translation by György Halász of Angel Making Music; the Hungarian text of My Life is Wind along with a translation by Elinor Rice; and a typescript of a review in German of Andor. Molnár's celebrated work, The Paul Street Boys, is represented by two copies of a synopsis.

The collection includes versions of many of Molnár's plays, often in multiple revised drafts. Several of Molnár's most well known plays including The Devil, The Guardsman, and The Swan are represented by printed versions only, and there are no scripts at all for Molnár's classic, Liliom. There is a great deal of material, however, in Pauker's Client Files, about Liliom and about the musical version, Carousel, by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Similar types of material will be found in that section for The Guardsman and The Swan, as well. Many of the other plays are extant in their translated or adapted form. There are several revisions of Sam Jaffe's translation of Blue Danube, Molnár's play that had been presented in Hungary as Delilah. There are several versions of P. G. Wodehouse's adaptations of Game of Hearts and Arthur, as well as a mimeograph typescript of Wodehouse's adaptation of The Play's the Thing. Mima, David Belasco's adaptation of Molnár's The Red Mill, is represented by a printed copy of the play.

The section, Other Works, includes an article, "The Peculiar Relationship of the Artist and Money: Humorous Chapters from my Biography," accompanied by a 1928 letter of rejection of the piece from Hearst Newspapers. There is also another autobiographical sketch, in Hungarian, entitled "Igen rövid fejezetek egy szinmüíró intim naplójából." Also included here is a collection of synopses of Molnár's works labelled "Cosmopolitan Theater." (In a 1954 letter, John Pauker writes to Lili Darvas, Molnár's widow, that the "synopsis project is progressing". There are numerous synopses among the manuscripts and it is not clear to which this letter refers.) A release dated December 4, 1931, indicates that Molnár had been under contract with Paramount since December 1927, and there are a number of film treatments in this subseries including one by Géza Herczeg of Molnár's The Wolf. An adaptation of Molnár's Girl from Trieste, presumably for radio, is included as well. Two unfinished comedies included here are Smile of a Woman or Bill Duval and Stella or Yvonne. A synopsis of an unidentified work, "Mademoiselle Jourfix," and Hungarian and English texts of a synopsis titled "Material for a Soldier-story," can also be found here.

The Writings of Others subseries (Box 14) contains a small number of manuscripts by Pauker's other clients as well as biographical essays on Molnár by Hugó Csergö, George Halász, and Sándor Nádas. Clients' writings include the prologue and outline for a play, Sixth Avenue, by Maurie C. Bryan; a story entitled "A Story for Children," and a television play, "The Lady from Normandy," by Herbert T. Cobey; the first chapter and outline of a novel, Hurricane Judith, by Thomas Debrosse; and a synopsis of a television script, "Varsity U.S.A. at the University of Virginia" by Irving Elman. Additional manuscripts of works by other Pauker clients can be found in the Edmond Pauker Manuscripts collection at Columbia University.

Series II, Business Files consists of two subseries, Client Files and General Files. The Client Files section (Boxes 15-42) brings together contracts and related materials for Pauker's clients' plays and other literary works. Material most commonly found in Client Files includes contracts, correspondence, royalty statements, and reviews and publicity. The General Files consist of business contracts with other agencies, general business correspondence, financial materials, and other business papers related to the running of the agency. In both subseries, the material, with the exception of the contracts, dates almost entirely from 1951 to 1958. Most of the contracts date from 1924-1958, with some earlier contracts for agreements arranged by Pauker's European colleagues included in the Client Files. The Edmond Pauker Papers at the New York Public Library contains the correspondence, statements, and other files for earlier years.

The Client Files are arranged alphabetically by author's name. Material of a general nature (agency contracts, contracts for screenwriting, some correspondence, and material relating to multiple works) is placed first, followed by files pertaining to specific works arranged alphabetically by title of work.

Types of contracts found in the files include production contracts, contracts for translation or adaptation, and for foreign, film, television, and radio rights. Because of the complexity of the contract files, which frequently include agreements for several adaptations by others of a single dramatic work, plays are listed under the original dramatist's name, regardless of whether that person is Pauker's client. The name of the adaptor or of the author of the original work on which the play is based is given in a note. For example, contracts with W. Somerset Maugham for the dramatization of his story, "Villa on the Hill," are listed under the dramatist, Edward Chodorov. Likewise, in the contract files for Edward Chodorov's play Kind Lady will be found copies of contracts with Hugh Walpole, the author of the story, "The Silver Mask," on which the play was based.

The correspondence included in Client Files documents Pauker's involvement over time on behalf of his client's play or other work. In addition to correspondence with the client, the files contain correspondence with others about the client or about the client's work. Letters in the folders are arranged chronologically and noted correspondents, including actors, directors, producers, and writers, are listed in an accompanying note. An author's work is frequently mentioned in letters in the client's general correspondence files and the researcher interested in a particular play or other work should, therefore, consult the general files as well as the materials arranged under a specific title.

The second subseries of Series II, General Files (Boxes 43-50), is divided into four sections: Contracts, Correspondence, Financial Papers, and Other Business Papers. This material documents the general business of the Pauker agency. As with the first subseries, with the exception of the Contracts, most of the materials in this subseries date from the 1950s.

The Contracts are Pauker's general agreements with other agents and business colleagues and provide evidence of his business relationships of the 1920s and '30s. Pauker's contract logbook contains an alphabetical list of titles of clients' works and one-page summaries of the terms of many of the earlier contracts. A folder of blank contracts from Pauker's and others' agencies is also included.

The Correspondence files consist of general business correspondence with other agencies, film studios, theater organizations, publishers, prospective clients, and the like. Much of the correspondence concerns unsolicited submissions and requests for representation that were refused by Pauker. One folder, labeled by Pauker "Refugee Writers," contains letters from Hungarian refugees seeking Pauker's representation. The writers' names are given in a note.

Financial Papers includes several folders of receipts for business expenses incurred in 1952-56, along with Pauker's business check registers from 1953-57. Pauker's cash book, ledger, and journal provide additional information about the agency's finances in the 1950s. Several folders of statements from Samuel French, Inc. document royalty payments for a number of Pauker's clients. Other financial material includes a stock certificate, a returned check, a loan note, and bond coupons.

The Other Business Papers section includes several folders with documents concerning a short-lived incorporation of Edmond Pauker, Inc. that lasted from June 1940 to December 1942. Other legal documents include an unidentified 1939 deposition by Pauker concerning the sale of motion picture rights and several powers of attorney. Also included in this section are Pauker's files of clippings of New York Times theater, film, and television reviews, two folders of theater programs, and memoranda about television and publishing contacts.

Personal Papers (box 51) is a small group of material consisting of receipts for Pauker's personal expenses from 1952-57, information concerning two inventions, and an autograph album. Pauker acted as the attorney for the holder of the rights to an invention of a tri-dimensional cinema screen and several contracts and related correspondence are included here. Pauker's involvement in the patent granted to Emmerich Partos for a lock for suitcases, also represented here, is not known. The autograph book was maintained by Yolan Pauker and contains inscriptions to Pauker and his wife from many of the clients that are represented elsewhere in the collection.

Oversize material is housed in Box 52. Additional oversize material, part of the Restricted Fragile Papers , can be found in Box 53.


  • 1898-1960


Language of Materials

Cheifly in English. Some materials in Hungarian and German.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Restricted Fragile Papers in boxes 53-54 may only be consulted with permission of the appropriate curator. Preservation photocopies for reference use have been substituted in the main files.

Conditions Governing Use

The Edmond Pauker Papers are 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

The papers were deposited at The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library by Pauker's son, John Pauker, in 1969 and subsequently donated in 1993 by John's widow, Maude Pauker. Another item included with the collection, the Paukers' autograph album, was donated by John Pauker in 1970.


24.75 Linear Feet (54 boxes)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Edmond Pauker Papers consist of manuscripts, chiefly by Pauker's client, Ferenc Molnár; business files including correspondence, contracts, financial papers, and reviews and publicity materials for plays and other works by Pauker's clients; and a small amount of personal papers. The Molnár manuscripts, mainly typescripts, include dialogues and sketches, novels, plays, stories, and other works. The business files contain contracts for works by Pauker's clients that date mainly from 1924-1958. The bulk of the other business records, including correspondence, dates from 1951 to 1958. Correspondents include authors, playwrights, movie studios, theater organizations, and agents. Personal papers consist for the most part of bills and receipts that document Pauker's personal financial transactions in the 1950s.

EDMOND PAUKER (1887 or 8-1962)

Edmond Pauker, literary agent and play broker, was born in Budapest, Hungary. He became associated with the theater after an early career as a professor of law and economics. Pauker emigrated to the United States in 1922 and established an agency in New York City. He and his wife, Yolan, had two children, Eve and John, both of whom worked for their father for periods of time.

During the 1920s and '30s, much of Pauker's business came from his relationships with European colleagues. Early in his career, Pauker was the U.S. representative for a number of agencies in Germany, Hungary, and Austria. His business arrangements with Felix Bloch Erben, Dr. Alexander Marton, G. Marton Verlag, the Society of Authors and Playwrights of Hungary, and the International Copyright Bureau, Ltd, enabled him to arrange for the production and sale of rights to numerous plays by European authors, including Ferenc Molnár, Miklos Laszlo, and Melchior Lengyel. His American clients included Vicki Baum, Edward Chodorov, Joseph Fields, and Russell Janney, and he was also instrumental in arranging for the sale of European rights for works of a number of other American writers including S. N. Behrman, Theodore Dreiser, and Robert Sherwood.

Ferenc Molnár (1878-1952), the Hungarian playwright, short story writer, and novelist, whose works are especially fully represented in this collection, was one of Pauker's most successful clients. Initially, Pauker represented Molnár in the United States through his relationship with Molnár's Hungarian agent, Alexander Marton. Marton died in 1938 and in 1940 Molnár emigrated to the United States, where he continued as Pauker's client. Upon Molnár's death in 1952, Pauker was appointed literary executor of the estate.

Pauker gave up his practice in 1959, after falling ill. His clients were transferred to another New York agent, Elisabeth Marton, the daughter of the late Alexander Marton, Pauker's former colleague. Pauker died on May 6, 1962 at the age of 74.

Guide to the Edmond Pauker Papers
Under Revision
by Elizabeth A. Bolton
August 1994
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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


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.