Papers relating to Sarah Bernhardt

Scope and Content

This collection contains theatre pamphlets and other papers relating to Bernhardt's life and career. It contains the following papers dating during and after her lifetime:

Papers dating within Bernhardt's lifetime:

Home Chat: a weekly magazine for the home, vol. III, no. 30, 12 October 1895, containing 'The gentle art of making love: a talk with Madam Sarah Bernhardt'; programme for the 18th season of French plays, Royal Lyceum Theatre, London [1889]; Cleopatra [Bernhardt edition], New York, 1890; signed programme, Matinee au benefice de l'Escadron de l'Union des Societies de Preparation Militaire de France, Theatre Sarah-Bernhardt, 1915; Bibliotheque de Madam Sarah Bernhardt, Paris 1923 (in two volumes) [catalogue of the library of Bernhardt, presumably for sale after her death in 1923]; cigarette or trade card of Bernhardt as Queen Elizabeth, 1914; three b/w photographs of Bernhardt as 'L' Aiglon' , n.d., 'La Voyante',1923, and in an unidentified role, n.d.; silk-covered programme for 'Good Samaritan' performance arranged by Bernhardt in aid of the French hospital of London, London Coliseum, containing photographs of royalty, notable personages and actors, 11 October 1913; song-cover for 'Quand-meme' (polka brillante, watlz, march etc.), dedicated to Bernhardt, n.d.; file of French, Australian and English theatre programmes, 1891-1914.

Papers post-dating Bernhardt's death:

Intermede, no. 1, spring 1946, containing article on Bernhardt by Jean-Louis Vaudoyer; Drama: the quarterly theatre review, summer 1959, containing article on Bernhardt by Gordon Craig; Sarah Bernhardt exhibition catalogue, Ferrers Gallery, London, 1973; paper bag featuring reproduction poster for campaign 'Save the Gaumont [Theatre]' and including bill for Bernhardt performances, n.d. [late 20th c.]; envelope of assorted newscuttings, articles, notes and extracts relating to the life of Bernhardt, 1950s-1960s; bill for 'La Samaritaine', Theatre de la Renaissance, Paris, n.d. [colour reproduction]; file of newscuttings relating to Bernhardt, 1893-1971.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) was born in Paris. She was educated at the Institution Fressard in Auteuil, and at Grandchamp, a convent near to Versailles. In 1860 she entered the Paris Conservatoire, where she took second-prize in the final competition. She then established her reputation as a tragdienne actress at the Comedie Franaise, the Theatre du Gymnase and Theatre de l'Odeon. She subsequently toured Europe and the USA in the 1880s where she also won international fame. She managed the Theatre de la Renaissance from 1893-1899, and subsequently founded the Theatre Sarah Bernhardt (originally Theatre des Nations) in Paris in 1899. She was created a chevalier of the Legion d'honneur in 1914. She died in Paris in 1923 and is buried in the cemetery at Pre Lachaise.


Retained in the file order as imposed by the creator of the collection.

Access Information

Usual EUL arrangements apply.

Other Finding Aids

Not currently listed.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 5 April 2005, and encoded into EAD 2 June 2005.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.

Custodial History

Transferred from the Reserve Collection in 2003. This collection appears to have been accumulated by Paul Sheren (? bookseller) of Romsey, Hampshire, but it is unknown precisely how the collection came to the University Library.

Related Material

Other collections relating to Bernhardt are held at the following repositories: University of Bristol Theatre Collection (Percy Burton Collection, Theatre Programmes Collection and Artwork Collection); National Film and Television Archive (British Film Institute); and the Bodleian Library (John Johnson Collection), University of Oxford.


It is not known whether this collection has been used as a basis for publication.