The Dreyfus affair collection contains published and illustrated material that documents the famous trial of Alfred Dreyfus, accused of treason in 1894 during the French Third Republic (1871-1940). The collection is entirely in French. Materials date from 1895-1900, 1906, and 1994, and include published writings, original drawings, posters and other illustrations that capture the events and reactions of leading figures.
"L’Affaire" quickly engaged noted French writers, journalists, painters and illustrators. Of interest are original published articles of the period including the writings of Jean Jaures, co-political director of La Petite République and Jules Guérin, director of the newspaper called L’Antijuif. Also included is a published collection, Deux cents Dessins, of the painter and illustrator Hermann-Paul (Hermann Paul René Georges, 1864-1940).
The collection includes a set of lithographs titled the Musee des Horreurs (freak show), which depict prominent supporters of Dreyfus, statesmen, journalists and Jewish leaders as animals. The series was published in 1899 at the opening of the Exposition Universelle of 1900. Among those depicted in caricature are Louis Lepene, Émile Zola, Alfred Dreyfus, Georges Picquart, Georges Clemenceau, Henri Brisson, Fernand Labori and Ludovis Travieux.
Also included are twelve original copies of Le Petit Journal, supplément illustré (1897-1899) with front and back page drawings in color depicting events related to the Dreyfus trial. Le Petit Journal was anti-Dreyfus in its reporting. Zola’s criticism of the paper was published in a letter to France, December 14, 1897: "But when Le Petit Journal, with a circulation of over one million, which speaks to the ordinary people and reaches everywhere, disseminates error and leads public opinion astray, then matters are exceptionally grave." Fernand Labori, attorney for Zola and other Dreyfus supporters won a libel suit against the editor, Ernest Judet, and Le Petit Journal, August 3, 1898.
Final items in the collection are twenty-nine original pencil drawings mostly by the French illustrator, Louis Malteste (pseudonym used by Jacques d’Icy). Included are portraits of Alfred Dreyfus, Émile Zola, Henri Rochefort, Ferdinand Forzinetti, and Fernand Labori.