Walter L. Pforzheimer collection of historical manuscripts
Scope and Contents
Research strengths include European government, politics, and wars, 14th-19th centuries, especially France, the French Revolution, and Napoleonic Wars; manuscript collecting; and the formation of Pforzheimer’s book and manuscript collections.
- circa 1370-1960s
- Majority of material found within 1500 - 1830
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
4.26 Linear Feet (11 boxes)
Walter L. Pforzheimer (1914-2003)
Pforzheimer came from a family of book collectors: his father, also named Walter Pforzheimer (1883-1955), collected French armorial bindings and assembled a virtually complete collection of Molière; his uncle Carl H. Pforzheimer (1879-1957) collected Percy Bysshe Shelley and his circle. Pforzheimer inherited and augmented his father's collections, and assembled his own collection of American novelist Frank Richard Stockton. In addition to curating the CIA's Historical Intelligence Collection, Pforzheimer built a personal collection of books and manuscripts documenting the history of military intelligence. Elected to the Yale Library Associates board of trustees in 1936, Pforzheimer was a life-long trustee and donor to the Yale Libraries. He donated his book and manuscript collections of Molière, French armorial bindings, Frank Richard Stockton, and military intelligence to the Beinecke Library in 2001.
Peake, Hayden B. "Walter Pforzheimer -- Lawyer, Intelligence Officer, Bibliophile." In: In the Name of Intelligence: Essays in Honor of Walter Pforzheimer (Washington: NIBC Press, c1994).
"Walter L. Pforzheimer, CIA's First Curator, Dies at 88." Washington Post (2003 February 12).
Materials formerly classed as Uncat Mss 928, Walter Pforzheimer Collection of French Historical Documents, were originally part of the Walter L. Pforzheimer Papers accessioned as Uncat Mss 991 in 2000. These mostly French historical manuscripts, with some German, English, and other languages, were removed from the Papers in 2003 and during preliminary processing of the Papers in 2007-2008. Separation of historical manuscripts from the Pforzheimer Papers was not comprehensive: many additional historical manuscripts remain in the Papers, and some Pforzheimer personal papers were moved to the Collection of French Historical Documents.
In 2007, the Collection of French Historical Documents received a preliminary level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization. Most folder titles were based on information provided by the donor, while some were provisionally assigned by Library staff. Folder titles were not verified against contents. In 2012 March, the collection title was changed to Walter L. Pforzheimer Collection of Historical Manuscripts and other historical manuscripts donated to the Library by Pforzheimer in 1995 and 1959-2003 were added. The collection was reclassed under one call number, materials were organized by acquisition, and boxes were renumbered in a single sequence. Most folder titles assigned during preliminary processing were updated to conform with Library of Congress name authorities. Folder titles were not verified against contents
This finding aid may be updated to account for further revisions in arrangement and description.
- Europe -- Politics and government
- France -- History -- 14th century
- France -- History -- 15th century
- France -- History -- 16th century
- France -- History -- 17th century
- France -- History -- 18th century
- France -- History -- 19th century
- France -- History -- Bourbons, 1589-1789
- France -- History -- Revolution, 1789-1799
- France -- Politics and government
- Louis, King of France, XIV, 1638-1715
- Louis, King of France, XV, 1710-1774
- Louis, King of France, XVI, 1754-1793
- Manuscripts -- Collectors and collecting -- United States
- Marie Antoinette, Queen, consort of Louis XVI, King of France, 1755-1793
- Napoleon, Emperor of the French, I, 1769-1821
- Napoleonic Wars, 1800-1815
- Pforzheimer, Walter L. (Walter Lionel), 1914-2003
- Guide to the Walter L. Pforzheimer Collection of Historical Manuscripts
- by Beinecke staff
- April 2012
- 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
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
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