Scope and arrangement
The Loie Fuller Collection mainly documents the last fifteen years of Miss Fuller's life and consists of personal and professional correspondence, performance contracts, production notes, sheet music, autobiographical writings, other writings by Loie Fuller, material concerning Maryhill Museum, legal documents, memorabilia, and photographs. The earliest piece of correspondence dates from 1902, although the collection does contain photographs from as early as 1862. The collection does not end with Loie's death in 1928 but includes performance contracts and correspondence through 1935 for Les Ballets Fantastiques de Loie Fuller and some personal correspondence of Gabrielle Bloch, Loie's friend and the company's manager after her death.
Loie Fuller kept a handwritten or carbon copy of much of her own outgoing correspondence and managed to acquire copies of selected letters neither written by nor addressed to her. The collection contains, therefore, numerous letters written by Loie, letters written to her, and miscellaneous correspondence of acquaintances and associates. The correspondence breaks down as follows:
Loie Fuller - Gabrielle Bloch Correspondence, 1905-1925 (150 items)
Loie Fuller - Queen Marie Correspondence, 1912-1927 (60 items)
Loie Fuller - Alma de Bretteville Spreckels Correspondence, 1914-1927 (88 items)
Loie Fuller - Duchesse de Vendôme Correspondence, 1916-1921 (63 items)
Gabrielle Bloch - Alma Spreckels Correspondence, 1915-1923 (23 items)
Letters from Loie Fuller, 1907-1927 (169 items)
Letters to Loie Fuller, 1902-1927 (192 items)
General Correspondence, 1910-1934 (letters neither written by nor addressed to Loie Fuller) (238 items)
In each series the correspondence is arranged chronologically by year. In the “Letters from Loie Fuller” series the items are arranged alphabetically by addressee within each year. In the “Letters to Loie Fuller” and “General Correspondence” series the items are arranged alphabetically by author within each year. All correspondents are recorded in the Folder List.
The Loie Fuller - Gabrielle Bloch correspondence mostly pertains to arrangements regarding dance performances, War Relief work, and the selling of art objects. The series contains no really intimate letters between them, although they undoubtedly sent such letters to each other. The Loie Fuller - Queen Marie correspondence relates mostly to War Relief work and certain schemes or projects of Loie's involving Marie. Loie's letters are effusive and adoring, while the Queen's are warm but more reserved in style than Loie's.
The Loie Fuller - Alma Spreckels and the Gab Bloch - Alma Spreckels correspondence series concern the selling of art objects (particularly Rodin sculptures) to Alma, the establishment of the Californian Palace of the Legion of Honor, and projects and scandals related to War Relief work. Loie's letters to Alma are more personal than are Gab's. In 1927, for example, after the death of Mr. Spreckels, Loie was involved with arranging a romance between Alma Spreckels and Alexander Moore.
The Loie Fuller - Duchesse de Vendˇome correspondence deals almost exclusively with War Relief work. In this series letters penned and even signed by Madame de Tiency, lady-in-waiting and the Duchesse's personal secretary, are included and considered as correspondence from the Duchesse de Vendˇome.
The remaining three correspondence series contain letters either written to or by such notables as: Arsène Alexander, Gabriel Astruc, J. Francis Aubertin, Bartholomé, Emma Calvé, Jules Chéret, Jules Claretie, Eve Curie, Madame Curie, Elizabeth, Queen of the Belgiums, Camille and Gabriel Flammarion, Simone Lahovary (Lady-in-waiting to Queen Marie), Pierre Roche, Auguste Rodin, Soubinine, the Countess Van den Steen, and numerous American and European government officials. There is a substantial amount of correspondence to and from Samuel Hill, an American business magnate, with regard not only to War Relief work but to the establishment of the Maryhill Museum in Washington State.
Except for contracts all materials relating to Loie Fuller's theatrical performances and dance works have been grouped together chronologically in the section entitled “Professional Correspondence, Notes, Documents, and Bills, 1900-1935.” Included are letters and bills to and from agents, theater owners, company members, costume suppliers, and musicians. In addition, program drafts and production notes for a few of Loie's dances can be found. Material relating to the film, A Lily of Life, and to Loie's professional representation of the pianist Eve Curie are also filed chronologically in this section.
A series entitled “Performance Contracts for Loie Fuller and les Ballets Fantastiques de Loie Fuller, 1906-1935” follows the Professional Correspondence. The contracts are arranged chronologically by intended performance date. Not all contracts in the collection, however, were honored. Sheet music for three works follows the Performance Contracts.
The next major section in the Folder List is writings by Loie Fuller. Holograph and typescript copies of at least five different autobiographical manuscripts are listed, in addition to a diary written in Lapland in 1918. Three of the autobiographical manuscripts relate specifically to Loie Fuller and Queen Marie—one being a defense of their friendship entitled The World Asks: the Truth about Loie Fuller and the Queen of Roumania. Other writings by Loie Fuller include five articles on the dance, essays concerning World War I, and miscellaneous pieces such as a questionnaire/interview for Prince Carol of Roumania and essays on Eve Curie, Samuel Hill, Auguste Rodin, and Alma Spreckels.
The next four sections in the Folder List consist of miscellaneous materials. First are an essay on and dedication for the Maryhill Museum and lists of the possible contents of and contributors to the museum's rooms. A catalog of Egyptian art works and artifacts collected by Alma Spreckels is also included. Next comes the series entitled “Legal Documents, Certificates, and Related Items, 1903-1927,” which is arranged chronologically and contains items such as Loie's passport and visas, material concerning Paul C. Turner, a classified report from the U.S.S.R. regarding World War I and its aftermath, and various contracts. The third section pertains to autographs and addresses of Loie's acquaintances, while the fourth consists of miscellaneous items.
The Folder List concludes with a series of 333 photographs. Included are photographs of: Loie Fuller by herself, 1887-1923; Loie Fuller in titled dance works, 1895-1916; Loie Fuller and her Muses, 1909-1919; Loie Fuller and her family, 1862-1907; Queen Marie and her family, 1902-1928; Loie Fuller and Auguste Rodin, 1898-1916; Loie Fuller and friends, 1855-1927; and photographs relating to War Relief work in the United States, Belgium, and Roumania, 1915-1920.
- LF Loie Fuller
- GB Gabrielle Bloch
- QM Queen Marie of Roumania
- AS Alma de Bretteville Spreckels
- DdV Duchesse de Vendôme
- n.d. no date
When noting the correspondents, the name of the individual or individuals writing the letter is listed first followed by a slash (/). Following the slash is the name of the individual or individuals to whom the letter is written.
Example: LF/GB indicates a letter by Loie Fuller to Gabrielle Bloch.
The Loie Fuller collection is arranged in twelve series: