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Paris Between the Wars: Possible Personages to Write On

This is a guide to researching Paris between World Wars I and II, particularly from historical and literary perspectives.

Possible Personages to Write On

This is just to get you started; it is by no means an exhaustive list. Using the online catalog, search for works by a person (author search) or about a person (subject search.) Pay attention to sub-headings: archives, correspondence, diaries, pamphlets, periodicals, personal narratives, personal observations, pictorial works, or sources, as these indicate primary source. Various (French) words in the titles of the works, such as letters, sound recording(s), voice(s), interviews, correspondence, diaries, photographs, works, memories, memoires, lettre(s), journals, correspondance, entrevue(s), oeuvre(s), ecrits, for example, also indicate primary sources. Pay attention to the title words, because the L.C. subject headings are not always employed.

For more ideas for people to research in other fields of endeavor see appendix I in Historical Dictionary of the Third French Republic, 1870-1940 Main DC 337 .H57 1986 v. 2

Literary Authors, Intellectuals (Philosophers, Thinkers), Critics, Essayists, etc.

Alain, pseudo. Of Émile-Auguste Chartier, thought, essayist, critic
Aragon, Louis, thought (Communist), poet, novelist, journalist
Artaud, Antonin, poet, playwright, essayist
Barres, Maurice, thought, novelist, journalist, politician (right)
Beach, Sylvia, bookseller (Shakespeare and Co., Paris)
Benda, Julien, essayist, critic
Bergson, Henri, thought
Bernanos, Georges, R.C., thought, novelist (Roman Catholic)
Berr, Henri, French editor, philosopher of history
Bloch, Marc, thought, historian (co-founder of Annales school)
Braudel, Fernand, historian of the Mediterranean world
Breton, André, thought, poet, a founder of the Surrealist movement
Bréhier, Louis, historian of Byzantium
Breuil, Abbé, historian of prehistory
Brunhoff, Jean de, or Brunhoff, Laurent de, writer for children (Babar)
Carco, Francis, pseudo. of Francois Caropino-Tusoli, poet, dramatist, art critic, biographer, novelist
Celine, Louis Ferdinand, pseudo. Of Louis-Ferdinand Destouches
Cendrars, Blaise, pseudo. of Frédéric Sauser, poet, novelist
Claudel, Paul, poet, dramatist (Roman Catholic)
Cocteau, Jean, poet, dramatist, librettist, ballet writer, film writer
Colette pseudo. of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, novelist, journalist, etc.
Delarue-Mardrus, Lucie, novelist, poet, essayist, playwright, biographer, short story writer
Diehl, Charles, historian of Byzantium
Duhamel, Georges, doctor and novelist
Dumézil, Georges, mythologist, linguist, a father of Structuralism
Èluard, Paul, pseud. of Eugène Grindel, poet
Febvre, Lucien, thought, historian (co-founder of Annales school of history writing)
Fitzgerald, F. Scott, American, novelist, short story writer
Flanner, Janet, American, autobiographer, journalist
Gide, André, thought, novelist
Giono, Jean, novelist
Giraudoux, Jean, diplomat, novelist, playwright, critic
Grousset, René, historian (classical history), cultural history of the Far East, philosophical thought about history’s changing humanity
Guilloux, Louis, novelist
Hemingway, Ernest, American, novelist, short story writer
Jacob, Max, poet, novelist, mystic
Jouve, Pierre-Jean, poet, novelist, critic
Joyce, James, Irish, poet, novelist, composer, critic
La Rochelle, Pierre Drieu, thought, poet, novelist, essayist
Leiris, Michel, poet, autobiographer, essayist
Liebling, A.J., American, journalist
Malraux, André, novelist, politician, art critic
Martin du Gard, Roger, novelist, playwright, diarist
Matiez, Albert, historian of the French Revolution
Maurras, Charles, thought, poet, essayist, journalist, activist
Mauriac, François, thought (right, Roman Catholic), political journalist
Mauss, Marcel, thought, ethnographer, anthropologist
Maritain, Jacques, thought (Roman Catholic)
Michaux, Henri, thought, traveler, writer, explorer of his “inner space”
Miller, Henry, American, autobiographer, short story writer
Montherlant, Henry de, novelist, dramatist
Mounier, Emmanuel, thought (leading progressive Roman Catholic)
Noailles, Anna Elisabeth de, poet, novelist
Nizan, Paul, thought (Communist), journalist, novelist, essayist)
Orwell, George, pen name of Eric Blair, English, novelist, essayist, critic, socialist
Pagnol, Marcel, dramatist, novelist, film maker
Pound, Ezra, American, poet, novelist, non-fiction writer
Proust, Marcel, novelist
Queneau, Raymond, poet, novelist, essayist
Rachilde, pseudo. Of Marguerite Eymery Vallette, novelist, journalist, critic, short story writer, biographer, autobiographer, poet
Ramuz, Charles Ferdinand, novelist, poet
Renoir, Jean, film director
Renouvin, Pierre, historian, esp. of WWI
Reverdy, Pierre, poet
Rolland, Romain, novelist, playwright, biographer, musicologist
Romaines, Jules, novelist, poet, dramatist, essayist
Roussel, Raymond, novelist, poet
Saint Exupéry, Antoine de, novelist
Sartre, Jean Paul, thought, novelist, dramatist, critic, biographer
Seignobos, Charles, historian
Sevareid, Eric, American, journalist
Shirer, William L., American, journalist
Simiand, François, sociologist, economist, historian
Simenon, Georges, novelist, short story writer, autobiographer, journalist
Stein, Gertrude, American, poet, novelist, critic, art critic, art patron
Suarès, André, pseudo. Of Félix-André-Yves Scantrel, thought, poet, novelist, essayist, critic
Supervielle, Jules, poet, novelist
Toklas, Alice B., American, secretary to Gertrude Stein, writer
Valery, Paul, thought, poet, essayist
Vitrac, Roger, playwright
Weil, Simone, thought (Socialist), mystic (Jewish convert to Christianity)
Wharton, Edith, American, novelist, short story writer, diarist, correspondent, also non-fiction

For more names of American writers, etc. see Americans in Paris, 1900-1930… in the Bibliography section of this research guide

Artists, Architects, Photographers

Atget, Eugène, photographer
Brassaï, Gyula, photographer
Chagall, Marc, painter
Dali, Salvador, painter
Delaunay, Robert, painter
Duchamp, Marcel, painter
Ernst, Barlach Haus, artist
Kertesz, Andre, photographer
Lartigue, Jacques Henri, photographer
Le Corbusier, pseud. of Charles-Edouard Jenneret, architect, painter, writer on architecture
Man Ray, photographer, filmmaker
Miro, Joan, painter
Modigliani, Amedeo, painter
Perret, Auguste, architect
Picasso, Pablo, painter, sculptor
Soutine, Chaim, painter
Dada artists
Surrealist artists

If you want to do an art topic or work on an artist, consider meeting with the art librarian, Terrie Wilson, because art history has its own research methods.


Auric, Georges, composer
Baker, Josephine, African-American, singer, dancer
Bernhardt, Sarah, singer, actress, novelist, autobiographer
Boulanger, Nadia, pianist, conductor, singer, music teacher, composer
Cocteau, Jean, promoter of Les Six, a musical group, poet, novelist, dramatist, essayist, film writer, film director
Cortot, Alfred, pianist, music teacher, music bibliographer, music interpreter, music critic
Dupre, Marcel, organist, composer
Durey, Lo, composer
Honegger, Arthur, composer
Ibert, Jacques, composer
Messiaen, Olivier, organist, composer
Milhaud, Darius, composer
Piaf, Edith, singer
Poulenc, Francis, composer
Reinhardt, Django, guitar player, jazz
Satie, Eric, composer
Auric,Honegger, Tailleferre, Milhaud, Durey, and Poulenc are called “Les Six.”
Tailleferre, Germaine, composer

New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians Fine Arts-Music, ML 100 .G885 2001, v.l-20 has a chapter on Paris from 1918-1945.

See also New Grove Twentieth Century French Masters, Fine Arts-Music ML 390 .N53 1986.

If you want to work on a musician or a music topic, consider meeting with the music librarian, Mary Black Junttonen


Blum, Leon, socialist leader, Prime Minister, literary critic, lawyer
Briand, Aristide, 11 times Prime Minister in 26 cabinets from 1906-32
Brunschvicg, Leon, thought
Chautemps, Camille, four-time Radical-Socialist premier and minister in 11 interwar cabinets
Clemençeau, Georges, politician, Prime Minister, journalist
Daladier, Edouard, Prime Minister who led France into WWII, major French political leader of the 1930s, protégé of Edouard Herriot
Deat, Marcel, Socialist, a leading anti-militarist of the 1930s
Deschanel, Paul-Eugène-Louis, President 1920
Doumer, Paul, President, 1924-31
Doumergue, Gaston, lawyer, deputy, minister, senator, Prime Minister, President
Herriot, Edouard, radical, mayor of Lyon, Prime Minister
Lebrun, Albert, President, 1932-40
Paul-Boncour, Joseph, Socialist, lawyer, Prime Minister various years in the 1930s
Petain, Philippe, general, leader of Vichy gov’t during WWII
Poincaré, Raymond, President, 1913-20
Rochefoucauld, Edmee de, Roman Catholic feminist, leading advocate for women’s suffrage
Sarraut, Albert, politician, colonial administrator, Prime Minister in the 1930s
Stavisky, Serge Alexandre, shady financier
Thorez, Maurice, leader of French Communist Party, 1934-64
Zyrominski, Jean, writer and leader of Socialist Party’s left wing in 1920s and 30s


Curie, Marie, physicist, chemist

Fashion Designers

Chanel, Coco
Schiaparelli, Elsa

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