Paris Music Hall collection

Paris Music Hall collection

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Weldy, Max
Title: Paris Music Hall collection
Dates: circa 1920-1939
Quantity: 264.4 Linear feet (6833 items, 133 boxes and 8 oversize folders)
Coll. Number: ms714

Scope and Content Note

The Paris Music Hall Collection comprises over 6,000 original renderings of costume designs and 1,000 original renderings of curtain designs for the music halls of Paris from 1920 to 1938. The collection, acquired in 1968 by the Library, was originally the property of Max Weldy who provided the elaborate costumes and curtains to the Folies Bergere, Moulin Rouge and other popular cabarets and music halls. Weldy maintained a stable of young, extraordinarily imaginative designers who flocked to Paris from all over Europe to establish a name for themselves. Among the first of Weldy's artists was Romain de Tirtoff, a fledgling designer from Russia, who would later be internationally renowned as Erté.

After the owners and artistic directors of the music halls determined the annual theme for the shows, various tableaux were created to fill an evening's entertainment. Most of these were simply spectacles serving as vehicles for the star artists such as Mistinguett, Maurice Chevalier, Josephine Baker, and the Dolly Sisters. The tableaux varied widely to include comic, dramatic and historic subjects, but musical entertainment was always the focal point. The costumes reflected the themes such as "the French Revolution", "Jewels", "The Garden of Metal", "The Seven Deadly Sins", "Flowers", as well as various animals, food, and sports. Most of the sketches are in color, done on tracing paper or watercolor paper. A few have fabric swatches attached. The collection includes designers such as Erté, Serge Kojan, Alex Shanks, Freddy Wittop, José Zamora, and Zig.


The collection is arranged into four series: costume designs, set designs, Erte, and photographs.

Index Terms

Costume designers--France--Paris.
Kojan, Serge
Music-halls (Variety-theaters, cabarets, etc.)--France--Paris.
Paris (France)
Set designers--France--Paris.
Shanks, Alec
Theaters--France--Paris--Stage-setting and scenery.
Wittop, Freddy
Zamora, José

General Notes

Cataloged as part of the Georgia Archives and Manuscripts Automated Access Project: A Special Collections Gateway Program of the University Center in Georgia.

A selection of images from the Paris Musci Hall colleciton is available through Hargrett's digital collections,

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Paris Music Hall collection, ms 714. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing


1. Costume Designs

1PMH 101-151 Zig (B)
OS Folder
1BPMH 106 Zig (B) no. 11
2PMH 152-212 Zig (B)
3PMH 213-270 Zig (B)