Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais Papers, 1766-1832

Finding aid created by
Ellen Poteet, Erin Platte, and Meg Hixon, November 2011

Summary Information
Title: Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais papers
Creator: Beaumarchais family
Inclusive dates: 1766-1832
Bulk dates: 1766-1811
Extent: 109 items
The Beaumarchais papers primarily consist of the incoming and outgoing correspondence of Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais; his wife, Marie-Thérèse-Emilie Willer-Mawlar; and his daughter, Eugénie Beaumarchais Delarue.
Language: The material is in French
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1928-1937. M-1, M-230, M-356.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Documents

The correspondence series is arranged chronologically and by writer.


Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais was born in Paris on January 24, 1732. His father taught him the trade of watchmaking, though Pierre eventually became a respected playwright. He wrote The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, and other works. During the American Revolution, he supplied the French government with intelligence, supplied the American rebels with clothing and arms, and helped persuade the French government to assist the colonists against Great Britain. In 1792, he was charged with treason for supplying the National Convention with firearms, and upon his release he left Paris, though he returned in 1796. Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais died on May 18, 1799.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Beaumarchais papers primarily consist of 106 incoming and outgoing letters of Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais; his wife, Marie-Thérèse-Emilie Willer-Mawlar; and his daughter, Eugénie Beaumarchais Delarue. The collection also includes a letter book of Pierre Beaumarchais and two documents.

The Correspondence series is comprised of 35 letters by Pierre Beaumarchais, 65 by Marie, and 6 by Eugénie. Pierre addressed the bulk of his letters to Monsieur Airain, an attorney from Tours, France, and informed him of business affairs and travel plans. The series also includes a letter from Pierre Beaumarchais to Monsieur DeFraney, in which he discusses developments in the American Revolution (March 18, 1779). This letter bears a watermark of King Louis XVI's Grand Royal Coat of Arms. Other correspondence also includes personal letters by his family, who discussed their health and social life. The letter book is made up of correspondence between Pierre Beaumarchais and his friend, "Citizen Perregaut," discussing his travels and the life of his family; a contemporary list of documents related to his arrest and subsequent imprisonment (p. 17); and items detailing his interactions with various members of the French government. One letter, for example, regards a financial advance received from the Committee of the Republic (p. 19).

The Documents series contains a power of attorney, granted by Pierre Beaumarchais to Jean Auguste Marie Chevaillé (July 29, 1787), as well as a monetary allowance granted by Beaumarchais pertaining to Monsieur Comte [D'artois] (January 2, 1788).

Subject Terms

    • Chinon (France)
    • France--History--Revolution, 1789-1799.
    • France--Politics and government--1774-1793.
    • Paris (France)--History.
    • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Participation, French.
    • Beaumarchais, Amélie-Eugénie Caron de, 1778-1832?
    • Beaumarchais, Marie-Thérèse-Amélie Caron de, 1751-1816.
    • Beaumarchais, Pierre-Augustin Caron de, 1732-1799.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letter books.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Powers of attorney.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Correspondence [series]
    Letters to Monsieur Airain by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais [subseries]
    Box   1 Folders   1-3
     1766-1777 and  undated
    Letters by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais [subseries]
    Box   1 Folders   4-5
     1771-1792 and  undated
    Letters by Marie-Thérèse-Emilie Willer-Mawlar [subseries]
    Box   1 Folders   6-10
    Letters by Eugénie (Beaumarchais) Delarue [subseries]
    Box   1 Folder   11
     1818-1832 and  undated
    Volume   1  
    Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais letter book,  1791-1799 [subseries]
    Documents [series]
    Box   1 Folder   12
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Pitt family papers include a letter from Pierre Beaumarchais to William Pitt, May 20, 1795.

    The Clements Library holds many published works by Pierre Beaumarchais.

    Several letters from the collection have been published in the following books:


    Loménie, Louis Leonard De. Beaumarchais and His Times. Sketches of French Society in the Eighteenth Century from Unpublished Documents. Volume IV. London: Addey and Co., 1856.

    "Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011.