Contents and Arrangement

Correspondence, 1928-2019 (mostly 1945-1988)

53 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Primarily includes correspondence dating from the late 1920s until the late 2010s received by René Char and Marie-Claude Char. Correspondents include: Pierre-André Benoit, Éditions Gallimard, and others publishers; Yves Bonnefoy, Pierre Boulez, René Magritte, Joan Miró, Man Ray, Anna Seghers, Tristan Tzara, and other authors, critics, editors, translators, journalists, artists, and musicians; as well as some letters from Char, including those to Georgette Goldstein, his first wife, and to Marie-Claude Char. Related documents, manuscripts, photographs, ephemera, and printed materials accompany some of the correspondence. Some of this includes materials about correspondents that Marie-Claude Char presumably added to the collection. Some letters correspond with René Char's time with the French Resistance during World War II.

Some letters, including those from Louis Aragon, Albert Camus, Paul Celan, and other major French authors to Char are copies; the originals were either donated or sold to other libraries and repositories. Their location is often noted in the description for each correspondent.

Also included is posthumous correspondence of Marie-Claude Char with dealers and correspondents. Some of the letters relate to publications about René Char.

While many of the correspondents have been identified, there is a run of chronological correspondence that may contain letters from those who have been identified elsewhere in the collection.


Similar to the chronological run of correspondence, the letters of identified individuals are primarily in chronological order.

Collection History


AM 2020-38


No materials were removed from the collection during 2018 and 2022 processing beyond routine appraisal practices.

Processing Information

The papers on the French Resistance was processed by Faith Charlton with assistance from Julia English '19 and Matthew Oakland '20 in 2018. Finding aid written by Faith Charlton in 2018. Folder inventory added by Julia English '19 and Matthew Oakland '20 in 2018.

The correspondence was processed by Kelly Bolding, Faith Charlton, and Amy C. Vo in 2022. Finding aid updated by Kelly Bolding, Faith Charlton, and Amy C. Vo in 2022. During 2022 processing, archivists did some minor sorting and interfiling of unsorted letters in the Correspondence series. While materials were removed from binders, most were left in the enclosures (sleeves) in which they were housed at the time they arrived at the library.

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:

Correspondence; René Char Papers, C1599, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (rcpxm): Box 1-53

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