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Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

Henri Pierre Roché:

An Inventory of His Papers in the Carlton Lake Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Roché, Henri Pierre, 1879-1959
Title: Carlton Lake Collection of Henri Pierre Roché Papers
Dates: circa 1886-1971
Extent: 47 boxes, 2 oversize folders (19.74 linear feet)
Abstract: The Roché papers consist of manuscripts of published and unpublished works, diaries (carnets), correspondence, and family papers.
Language: Some correspondence and journal entries in English; small amount of material in German; all other material in French.
Note: We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which provided funds for the processing and cataloging of this collection.
Access: Open for research; curatorial permission required for access to original carnets for which transcriptions exist. Permission from copyright holders must accompany photoduplication requests for Jean Cocteau, Marcel Duchamp, Helen Hessel, Henri Pierre Roché, and Erik Satie materials.

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Gifts of Carlton Lake and purchase, 1981, 1995, 1996 (G10713, R13533)
Processed by: Diane Goldenberg-Hart and Rebecca Altermatt, 1995; Monique Daviau, Richard Workman, Catherine Stollar, 2004

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center

Biographical Sketch 1 match

Henri Pierre Roché was born in Paris on May 28, 1879. His father died when he was an infant, and, as an only child, Roché had a close relationship with his mother, Clara. Her influence in his personal life is evidenced by his delayed marriages, first to Germaine Bonnard and then Denise Roché, and in his relationships with other women, such as Margaret Hart. She seems to have had an ideal woman in mind for her son, and he appears to have followed this philosophy, waiting for the perfect woman to be the mother of his child. He met many women along the way. He also used a pseudonym for Don Juan et... because of his mother's disapproval of the work.
Many of his relationships Roché later depicted in his novels, namely Jules et Jim (Franz and Helen Hessel) and Deux anglaises and et le continent (Violet and Margaret Hart). A prolific writer, Roché kept journals, and the collection includes these in original form starting in 1901, as well as transcriptions beginning in 1904. These writings were to become his autobiography, but although he did begin such a work, it was not finished before his death at age eighty. He received an award for Jules et Jim at the age of seventy-four, the Prix Claire Belon, or "basket of clams," and both this novel and Deux anglaises et le continent were made into films by François Truffaut.
Roché led a rich life, personally as well as professionally. He was a journalist; an art collector, advisor, and dealer; a writer; a guide for the American Industry Mission when it visited France; as well as a diarist and "ladies man." Roché had many lovers, oftentimes simultaneously, and often in a triangle with one of his male friends, such as Franz Hessel or Marcel Duchamp. Roché's ulterior motive in his relationships with women seems to have been a desire to study women. In some ways this seems devious; in others, a psychological aspiration, or perhaps a reflection of his mother's dominance and his attempt to break free from it through understanding. At any rate, Roché was a prolific writer, in volume as well as content. He was a man of many interests and talents, and lived a very full and fulfilling life, as this collection well documents.

Scope and Contents 6 matches

The Henri Pierre Roché Papers, ca. 1886-1971, consist of manuscripts, typescripts, notebooks, notes, clippings, correspondence, printed material, diaries, and financial and legal documentation. The papers were originally acquired from Henri Pierre Roché's widow, Denise Roché, who had begun to organize and arrange the papers herself, placing groups of materials into paper folders or cardboard carriers and annotating the containers as to title, date, or correspondent. Although the containers she provided are housed with the collection, Denise Roché's overall structure of the material was not preserved. The material is now arranged in five series: I. Works, II. Correspondence, III. Carnets, IV. Personal and Legal Papers, and V. Roché Family.
Roché's works, both published and unpublished, are well represented in this group of papers, and they include novels, plays, short stories, poetry, translations, and articles. Much of this material appears to be the beginning stages of works that were never completed or published, and most titles consist of a few pages of handwritten narrative, although the evolution of many works, particularly those that were eventually published, is documented extensively. For example, material relating to the novels Jules et Jim and Deux anglaises et le continent includes the correspondence and diaries of some of the individuals who later appeared as characters in the novels. This series also contains printed material relating to the works, such as reviews and advertisements, as well as additional correspondence regarding the work. Other creative works about art are located in the Art subseries of Series IV.
Although correspondence can be found throughout the collection, the Correspondence series is reserved for those letters not explicitly related to Roché's writing projects. For the most part, the correspondence in Series II is between Henri Pierre Roché and his two wives, Germaine Bonnard and Denise (Renard) Roché; however, other correspondents are also represented, such as Georges Braque, Jean Cocteau, Marcel Duchamp, Marie Laurencin, Pablo Picasso, Erik Satie, and Gertrude Stein.
Series III contains Roché's daily agendas and diaries (referred to herein as "carnets"), which begin in 1901 and end in 1959, and document various aspects of his personal and professional life. Transcriptions of several carnets, through 1945, commissioned by film director François Truffaut, as well as a photocopy of one carnet, accompany the collection. This series is arranged chronologically, thereby integrating agendas, original carnets, and transcriptions of the same year with each other. Unless authorized, only the transcriptions are available for use.
Roché's interests in art, real estate, and his autobiography are well documented in the Personal and Legal Papers series. This series is arranged into four subseries: Art, Autobiography, Usha Villas, and Personal Documents. The Art subseries includes drafts and notes for articles about art and artists, in addition to inventories and financial documentation for Roché's personal art collection. Material relating to the art collection that was generated after Henri Pierre Roché's death by his widow and son, Denise and Jean-Claude Roché, is also located in this subseries. Notes, early journals, and essays concerning the afterlife make up the Autobiography subseries. The subseries Usha Villas relates to real estate transactions. A final subseries contains his personal documents, such as his address books, birth certificate, and obituaries.
The last series contains materials relating to Roché's family. Journals, correspondence, works, financial, legal, and medical records, and printed material document the lives of Roché's mother Clara, his second wife, Denise, and his son Jean-Claude. The Roché Family series is divided into subseries corresponding to each family member: Clara Roché, Denise Roché, and Jean-Claude Roché.

Series Descriptions 2 matches

Related Material 1 match

A catalog of the Ransom Center's 1991 exhibit, Henri Pierre Roché: An Introduction, provides additional information on Roché materials housed at the Ransom Center. The Center's Carlton Lake Collection also houses a considerable cache of letters to Roché from Marcel Duchamp, his longtime friend and collaborator.

Index Terms 1 match


Arensberg, Louise.
Auric, Georges, 1899- .
Bayle, Germaine.
Bonnard, Germaine.
Braque, Georges, 1882-1963.
Chalupt, René.
Cocteau, Jean, 1889-1963.
Copeau, Jacques, 1879-1949.
Doucet, Jacques, 1853-1929.
Dubuffet, Jean, 1901- .
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968.
Dunsany, Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, Baron, 1878-1957.
Ebihara, Kinosuke, 1904-1970.
Fassbinder, Johanna.
Foster, Jeanne Robert, 1879-1970.
Frueh, Alfred Joseph, 1880-1968.
George, Olga.
Giraud, Henri, 1879-1949.
Groult, Nicole, 1887-1967.
Hart, Margaret Barratt, d.1926.
Hart, Violet.
Hessel, Franz, 1880-1941.
Hessel, Helen, 1886-1982.
Hug, Charles, 1899- .
Lamb, Euphemia.
Laurencin, Marie, 1883-1956.
Man Ray, 1890-1976.
Marembert, Jean.
Migraine, Michel.
Nazzi, Louis, 1885-1913.
Nicholson, Ben, 1894- .
Orgeix, Anne Marie Lucas d'.
Orgeix, Christian d', 1927- .
Paulhan, Jean, 1884-1968.
Perdriat, Hélène.
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973.
Quinn, John, 1870-1924.
Roché, Clara.
Roché, Denise.
Roché, Jean-Claude.
Roussel, Albert, 1869-1937.
Salmon, André, 1881- .
Satie, Erik, 1866-1925.
Stein, Gertrude, 1874-1946.
Stein, Leo, 1872-1947.
Tella, Garcia.
Uhde, Wilhelm, 1874-1947.
Wiesel, Louise.
Wols, 1913-1951.
Wood, Beatrice.
Zanon, Carlo.


Jules et Jim (Motion picture).
Authors, French--20th century.
Art--Collectors and collecting.

Document Types

Love letters.

Henri Pierre Roché Papers—Folder List 7 matching container list entries

Series I. Works, ca. 1900-1955

Photographs that were acquired with other Roché materials have been removed from the Papers and transferred to the Photography Collection.