Scope and arrangement
The Helene Champlain papers consist of personal and professional correspondence from celebrities during the years between 1932 and 1969. Much of this correspondence is cordial but impersonal, revealing primarily Miss Champlain's usefulness to her clients in obtaining books, articles and clippings, in arranging book-signings, in writing supportive letters to publishers, etc. However, some of the correspondence - e.g. from Maurice Chevalier, Arthur MacArthur, Margaret Sandburg [Carl Sandburg's daughter], and Emlyn Williams - displays a warmer, more personal relationship with Miss Champlain and provides glimpses into the public and private lives, as well as literary opinions, of the correspondents.
By far the largest, and perhaps most valuable, collection of letters comes from the actor and director Rollo Peters. Over the course of 32 years from 1932 to 1964, his correspondence reveals a deepening affection and respect for Helene Champlain (along with many references to her private life and career). More importantly, this correspondence reveals the lineaments of an important acting career from youthful renown to later obscurity: the plays he appeared in, the acting troupe he performed with overseas during World War II, the community theaters he administered, and finally the ordeal he suffered trying to get his memoirs published. The letters also contain many capsule critiques of contemporary dramas, novels, authors, playwrights and actors.
The Helene Champlain papers are arranged alphabetically by correspondent, then chronologically within each correspondent's folder.