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Iturri, Gabriel, 1860-1905
Gabriel Iturri, Letters to His Mother
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1
Spanish; Castilian


Gabriel Iturri (1860-1905), an Argentine from the Tucumán province, was secretary and companion to the French aristocrat, poet, and dandy Robert de Montesquiou (1855-1921) during the latter part of the 19th century. A colorful figure in Paris of the Belle Époque, Iturri inspired a poem by Paul Verlaine, and was a character study for Marcel Proust. These letters, written to his mother over a quarter-century, document his exceptional life abroad and his place in the history of literature.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 25 letters written by Gabriel Iturri: 24 sent to his mother Genoveva Zurita Iturri and 1 to his sister-in-law, Mercedes Aguirre Uriarte de Iturri. It includes 1 bound volume of the Argentine periodical Caras y Caretas (May 1910), which has an interview with Robert de Montesquiou on the subject of Iturri. In addition, each letter was transcribed by a descendant of Gabriel Iturri and a computer print-out of the transcription is included with the corresponding letter.

Collection Creator Biography:

Iturri, Gabriel, 1860-1905

Gabriel Iturri, also known as Gabriel de Iturri or Gabriel de Yturri, was born in Yerba Buena, a small hamlet in Tucumán Province, Argentina, on March 12, 1860. The second son of Genoveva Zurita and Pedro Iturri, the young Iturri was remembered by the Frenchman Paul Groussac, his schoolteacher at the Colegio Nacional de Tucumán, for his talents on stage. The young Iturri performed the lead role of Marcela in a school production of Marcela o cuál de las tres, displaying the vibrant charisma that would later earn him a place in Parisian society.

With the establishment of a new railroad connecting Tucumán and Buenos Aires in 1876, Iturri left home and ventured to Buenos Aires, with the intent of continuing his studies. Five years later, Iturri journeyed to Europe, residing for two years in Lisbon, before arriving in Paris in 1883. As secretary and companion to Robert de Montesquiou, whom he met at an exposition of Delacroix at the École des Beaux Arts in 1885, the pair enjoyed what Montesquiou characterized as "twenty years of incomparable friendship, of permanent and blazing zeal, of fearless and long-sighted devotion, of inalterable and constant faithfulness, that only expired with [Iturri's] death." During these years, Gabriel Iturri added a nobiliary particle to his name, becoming Gabriel de Iturri. This choice may have been prompted by Robert de Montesquiou; in any case, it explains the multiple forms and spellings of his name.

Iturri returned to Tucumán only once after leaving home, in 1890, to see his much beloved mother. Gabriel Iturri died in 1905 from complications related to diabetes.


Montesquiou-Fézensac, Robert de, Le chancelier de fleurs: douze stations d'amitié, Chateaudun: La Maison du Livre par La Société Typographique, 1908.

Páez de la Torre, Carlos, El argentino de oro: una vida de Gabriel Iturri, Buenos Aires: Bajo La Luna, 2011.

Collection History


Purchased from Maria T. Iturri Carbonell in February 2012 (AM2012-70).


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jill Baron in April 2012. Finding aid written by Jill Baron in April 2012.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Gabriel Iturri, Letters to His Mother; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
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Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1