Agnes E. Meyer collection of Paul Claudel
Scope and Contents
The Agnes E. Meyer Collection of Paul Claudel consists of correspondence, writings by Claudel, and a small amount of printed material, clippings, and photographs. The collection documents Claudel's friendship with Meyer, their discussions about religion and Claudel's ardent Catholicism, and Meyer's interest in his philosophy and writing.
The collection is housed in two boxes, two oversize boxes, and one portfolio and is organized into three series: Letters to Agnes E. Meyer, Writings by Paul Claudel, and Other Papers. The portfolio contains Restricted Fragile materials.
Series I, Letters to Agnes E. Meyer , consists of two subseries, each arranged chronologically: Letters From Paul Claudel and Letters From Other Correspondents. Letters from Claudel concern his friendship with Meyer, his religious thought, and his writing and travels. Most letters were written in 1929-1933, with a concentration during 1929-1930, when Claudel wrote frequent letters urging Meyer's conversion to Catholicism and addressing her questions about religion. Many of these letters discuss Catholic doctrine and Claudel's beliefs at length, including five letters, 1929 Dec-1930 Apr, which were published by Claudel as "Cinq lettres à Madame A. E. M." in his Positions et propositions (1934). Claudel also discusses production of his Christophe Colomb, The Satin Slipper, Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher, and other dramatic works, collaboration with Darius Milhaud and Arthur Honegger, and other literary matters. Some letters include holograph poems written by Claudel for Meyer, of which many were written in honor of the feast day of Saint Agnes. Other enclosures include a typescript of a speech given by Claudel at the opening of the Rodin Museum, Philadelphia, 1929, and part of a proof of The Satin Slipper, with holograph corrections, 1931. Letters also discuss Claudel's views of the United States, his experiences in France during the Second World War, and family news, particularly regarding Meyer's and Claudel's children. A few letters are accompanied by notes written by Meyer regarding their contents or by typed transcripts. Also present is a copy of a single letter from Meyer to Claudel, carbon typescript, 1939.
Letters From Other Correspondents includes a few letters from Claudel's daughter Reine Claudel and from his illegitimate daughter Louise Vetch, discussing her relationship with Claudel and her mother Rose Vetch, a single letter from Darius Milhaud concerning the production of Christophe Colomb, and a single letter from Paul Petit. Also present is a letter from L. Droüart de Lézey, a missionary to leprosy patients in Japan, enclosing a printed pamphlet about the Léproserie de Koyama, to which Claudel and Meyer gave support.
Series II, Writings by Paul Claudel , includes a holograph of the second version of his play La ville, [1897-1900], bound in a volume and accompanied by holograph notes written for Meyer about the play. The volume also contains several holograph poems. Also present in this series are additional holograph poems written for Meyer and a few published and manuscript writings on religious subjects. Other poems and religious writings are present in Claudel's letters.
Series III, Other Papers , consists of a printed pamphlet containing a speech made by Claudel at Georgetown University, with holograph corrections; two photographs of Claudel; clippings relating to him; a copy of an essay written by G. K. Chesterton, typescript; and a printed pamphlet containing a lecture given by Chesterton at College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Portfolio, folder 43 :Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.
Conditions Governing Use
The Agnes E. Meyer Collection of Paul Claudel 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
Gifts of Agnes E. Meyer and her children, ca. 1960-1972.
3.42 Linear Feet ((4 boxes) + 1 portfolio)
Language of Materials
Chiefly ALS written by Claudel to Meyer and writings by Claudel, including a holograph of the second version of his play La ville, poems, and religious writings. Also present are two photographs of Claudel, a small amount of letters to Meyer from other correspondents, printed material, and clippings. Letters from Claudel concern his friendship with Meyer, their discussions about religion and Claudel's ardent Catholicism, and his writing and travels. Many letters discuss Catholic doctrine and Claudel's beliefs at length, urging Meyer's conversion to Catholicism and addressing her questions about religion, including five letters later published in his Positions et propositions (1934). Letters also discuss production of his dramatic works, collaboration with Darius Milhaud and Arthur Honegger, his views on the United States, his experiences in France during the Second World War, and family news. Other correspondence includes single letters from Milhaud and from Paul Petit, a few letters from Claudel's daughter Reine Claudel and his illegitimate daughter Louise Vetch, and a letter and printed pamphlet from L. Droüart de Lézey, concerning the Léproserie de Kōyama, Japan. Also present are holograph notes regarding La ville and holograph poems written for Meyer; additional poems are enclosed with Claudel's letters.
AGNES ELIZABETH ERNST MEYER (1887-1970) AND PAUL CLAUDEL (1868-1955)
Agnes Elizabeth Ernst, journalist, author, and lecturer, was born in New York City. In 1910 she married Eugene Meyer, a financier who purchased The Washington Post in 1933. The Meyers lived in Mount Kisco, New York, and Washington, D.C., where Agnes Meyer was active in government service and social reform.
Meyer met the French writer and diplomat Paul Claudel in Washington, D.C., early in his term as ambassador to the United States, 1927-1933. They began a friendship and correspondence which continued after Claudel's return to Europe in 1933 and lasted until his death in 1955. Meyer discussed her relationship with Claudel in her autobiography Out of These Roots (Boston: Little, Brown, 1953).
- Authors, French -- 20th Century -- Correspondence
- Catholic Church (Apologetic works)
- Claudel, Paul, 1868-1955 -- Religion
- Claudel, Paul, 1868-1955
- Claudel, Paul, 1868-1955 (Positions et propositions)
- Claudel, Paul, 1868-1955 (Ville)
- Claudel, Reine
- Honegger, Arthur, 1892-1955
- Léproserie de Kōhama
- Lézey, L. Droüart de
- Meyer, Agnes E., 1887-1970
- Milhaud, Darius, 1892-1974
- Missions to leprosy patients -- Japan
- Petit, Paul, 1914-1981
- Photographic prints
- Vetch, Louise
- Guide to the Agnes E. Meyer Collection of Paul Claudel
- Under Revision
- by Karen M. Spicher
- February 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
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