Dreyfus affair collection Edit

Summary

Identifier
MS 0422

Dates

  • 1895-1900 (Creation)
  • 1906 (Creation)
  • 1994 (Creation)

Extents

  • 2.02 Cubic Feet (Whole)
    1 letter size document box, 1 flat box (20.5 x 14.5 x 1.5 inches), 1 custom box (24 x 22 x 3 inches)

Names

Subjects

Notes

  • Abstract

    The Dreyfus affair collection contains published and illustrated material that documents the 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.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information.

    Collection is open for use.

  • Scope and Contents

    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.

  • Biographical Note

    Alfred Dreyfus was a French army officer who was accused of selling military secrets to the Germans. He was arrested on October 15, 1894, convicted on December 15, and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil's Island. The legal proceedings were based on insufficient evidence, but public opinion, and the French press, largely anti-Semitic at the time, regarded the verdict as an example of the supposed disloyalty of French Jews.

    The Dreyfus affair split France in two between conservative and progressive forces. On January 13, 1898, the novelist Émile Zola wrote an open letter published on the front page of Aurore under the headline "J'Accuse," in which he accused the army of covering up its mistaken conviction of Dreyfus. Nationalists pressed to have Zola arrested; he was found guilty of libel and sentenced to a year's imprisonment and fined 3,000 francs. Zola fled to London and returned when Dreyfus's conviction was overturned.

    More trials followed, but it was not until 1899--and the fall of the government--that Alfred Dreyfus was finally declared completely innocent of all charges. He rejoined the French Army in 1906, and was recalled to active service during World War I as a lieutenant colonel. He died on July 12, 1935, in Paris.

    Source: "Dreyfus, Alfred" Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica Online. http://search.eb.com/eb/article?eu=31714 [Accessed May 13, 2003].

  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The collection was purchased for the University from Jean M. Goulemot, Paris, France in November 2002. The Accession Number is 02-03.14.

  • Processing Information

    Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in May 2003.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

  • Preferred Citation

    [Name of folder or item], [Date], [Box number], [Folder number], [Collection title], [Collection number], Special Collections, The Johns Hopkins University.

  • Language of Materials

    In French.

Collection Details