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Maria H. Dehon Polk collection of Constant Coquelin

Call Number: GEN MSS 453
Scope and Contents

The Maria H. Dehon Polk Collection of Constant Coquelin consists of correspondence, photographs, and a small amount of writings, ephemera, clippings, and other printed material. The collection documents Maria H. Dehon's friendship with Coquelin and reflects her interest in his career.

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, [1905]-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.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

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

The Maria H. Dehon Polk Collection of Constant Coquelin 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

Gift of the estate of Maria H. Dehon Polk, 1941.

[ca. 1884]-1934
1.25 Linear Feet ((3 boxes) + 2 portfolios)
Related Names
Polk, Maria H. Dehon, approximately 1857-1941
Coquelin, Constant, 1841-1909
Coquelin, Constant, 1841-1909 ($t: Tartuffe)
Language of Materials