William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais Papers, 1766-1832
Ellen Poteet, Erin Platte, and Meg Hixon, November 2011
Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais papers
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.
The material is in French
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
1928-1937. M-1, M-230, M-356.
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
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.
Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
- 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).
- 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.
- Letter books.
- Letters (correspondence)
- Powers of attorney.
Additional Descriptive Data
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.
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.