Maria H. Dehon Polk collection of Constant Coquelin
Scope and Contents
The collection is housed in three boxes and two portfolios and is organized into four series: Letters to Maria H. Dehon Polk, Writings by Constant Coquelin, Printed Material, and Photographs. The portfolios contain Oversize and Restricted Fragile materials.
Series I, Letters to Maria H. Dehon Polk , consists of three subseries, each arranged chronologically: Letters From Constant Coquelin, Transcriptions of Letters From Constant Coquelin, and Letters From Other Correspondents. Letters and transcriptions of letters from Coquelin, in French, 1894-1908 and undated, concern his friendship with Dehon, their travels, and Coquelin's performances and tours. Letters discuss his legal difficulties with the Comédie-Française, his work with the Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin and other theaters, the founding of the Maison de retraite des vieux comédiens, and friends and colleagues including Ernest Coquelin, Jean Coquelin, Sarah Bernhardt, Geraldine Farrar, Edmond Rostand, Pierre-Marie-René Waldeck-Rousseau, and artist Jean-Charles Cazin. Some letters are written on printed or photographic postcards showing portraits of Coquelin or views of the Maison de retraite des vieux comédiens. Transcriptions are written in an unidentified hand and include most of the original letters present in the collection, as well as many additional letters not otherwise present. A few transcriptions were annotated in holograph by Dehon during the 1920s-30s regarding their content. Also present are a few envelopes annotated by Dehon, 1913-1920 and undated, concerning her intentions for disposition of the letters. The third subseries consists of a few letters from A. Chabert, in French, 1910-1934, and Mrs. John Innes Kane, undated. Letters from Chabert concern his interest in memorializing Coquelin and the establishment of a Musée Cazin-Coquelin in Pas-de-Calais.
Series II, Writings by Constant Coquelin , consists of an undated holograph of Coquelin's Tartuffe (published by Paul Ollendorff, Paris, 1884), and a holograph notebook titled "Joseph D'Arimathie, 3eme acte," undated.
Series III, Printed Material , is arranged alphabetically. Material relating to the Maison de retraite des vieux comédiens includes a program for a benefit performance, 1908, and a few promotional items, 1929 and undated. Also present are a program for a benefit for the Society of the Relief of the Destitute Blind, New York, 1901, and newspaper clippings, most concerning Coquelin's death, -1909 and undated.
Series IV, Photographs , is organized into two subseries: Portraits of Constant Coquelin and Other Photographs. Portraits are cabinet photographs and prints, most undated, several with signatures or inscriptions to Dehon. Included are portraits taken in costume as Cyrano de Bergerac and other theater roles. Other photographs are undated and include a group taken late in Coquelin's life on board a ship with several unidentified people. Also present are postcards showing views of Pont-aux-Dames and a set of photographs of paintings of Coquelin, with a few paintings of Coquelin cadet and Jean Coquelin, in costume in various theater roles. The set is inscribed to Dehon and each photograph is captioned in holograph by Coquelin.
- [ca. 1884]-1934
- Polk, Maria H. Dehon, approximately 1857-1941 (Collector)
Conditions Governing Access
Restricted Fragile in portfolio 2 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
Immediate Source of Acquisition
1.25 Linear Feet ((3 boxes) + 2 portfolios)
Language of Materials
A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog
CONSTANT COQUELIN (1841-1909) AND MARIA H. DEHON POLK (ca. 1857-1941)
Maria H. Dehon was born and lived in New York City, where she was known for her friendships with singers of the Metropolitan Opera. She was associated with Constant Coquelin during her travels in Europe in the 1890s and during his subsequent tours of the United States. They maintained a friendship and correspondence until his death. Dehon married William Mecklenburg Polk, a physician, in 1914. William Mecklenburg Polk died in 1918.
- Actors -- France
- Actors -- France
- Bernhardt, Sarah, 1844-1923
- Cabinet photographs
- Cazin, Jean-Charles, 1841-1901
- Chabert, A.
- Coquelin, Constant, 1841-1909
- Coquelin, Ernest
- Coquelin, Jean, 1865-1944
- Farrar, Geraldine, 1882-1967
- French drama
- Maison de retraite des vieux comédiens
- Molière, 1622-1673 -- Criticism and interpretation
- Musée Cazin-Coquelin
- Photographic prints
- Polk, Maria H. Dehon, approximately 1857-1941
- Rostand, Edmond, 1868-1918
- Theater -- France
- Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin (Paris, France)
- Waldeck-Rousseau, Pierre-Marie-René, 1846-1904
- Guide to the Maria H. Dehon Polk Collection of Constant Coquelin
- Under Revision
- by Karen M. Spicher
- January 2000
- 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
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
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.