Collection inventory

Special Collections home page
printer friendly version

Victor Hugo Collection

An inventory of his collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Hugo, Victor, 1802-1885.
Title: Victor Hugo Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1839-1878
Quantity: 57 items (SC)
Abstract: Papers of the French author, novelist. Forty-six letters from actress Juliette Drouet to Victor Hugo (1839-1878) and 1 to another correspondent; and 6 outgoing letters of Hugo.
Language: French
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Victor-Marie Hugo (1802-1885) was a French novelist, poet, and dramatist best known for his works the Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame) (1831) and Les Misérables (1862).

Hugo was born February 26, 1802 in Besançon, France to Léopold and Sophie Hugo. His father was a high-ranking officer in Napoleon's army while his mother held strong royalist views. The result was a disjointed marriage. Hugo's father was sent to Spain in 1809, where he was named governor of two Spanish provinces, Ernani and Torquemada. His mother moved Hugo and his two brothers to his father's estate, but returned the family to Paris by 1812.

Hugo wrote his first play in 1816. By 1819, Hugo and his two brothers, Abel and Eugène, began production of a royalist review titled Conservateur littéraire. In 1822 Hugo married Adèle Foucher with whom he had five children. Shortly after, Foucher began an affair with Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve while Hugo started a relationship with actress Juliette Drouet.

Around mid-century Hugo became involved in politics. He was elected to the National Assembly in 1848 and to the Legislative Assembly in 1849. After his son, Charles, was imprisoned, Hugo opposed Napoleon III openly. As a result, when Napoleon III came to power in 1851 Hugo was forced to flee to Brussels. His family eventually settled on the island of Guernsey, with Drouet living next door. Hugo returned to France in 1870 where he continued his political involvement. He was elected to the National Assembly in 1870 and to the Senate in 1876.

Hugo had a successful literary career, serving as a central figure in French romanticism. Hugo died on May 22, 1885. His body lay in state under the Arc de Triomphe and the government ordered a period of national morning.

Selected Literary Works

1823 Odes
Han d'Islande ( Han of Iceland)
1826 Bug-Jargal ( The Slave-King)
Odes et Ballades
1827 Cromwell
1830 Hernani, ou l'Honneur castillan ( Hernani; or, The Honour of a Castilian)
1831 Les Feuilles d'automne
Notre-Dame de Paris ( The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Marion Delorme
1832 Le Roi s'amuse ( The King's Fool)
1833 Lucrèce Borgia ( Lucretia Borgia, a Dramatic Tale)
Marie Tudor
1835 Angelo, Tyran de Padoue ( Angelo)
Les Chants du crépuscle ( Songs of Twilight)
1837 Les Voix intérieures
1838 Ruy Blas ( Ruy Blas: A Romantic Drama)
1842 Les Rayons et les ombres
1853 Les Châtiments
1856 Les Contemplations
1859 La Légende des siècles ( The Legend of the Centuries)
1862 Les Misérables
1866 Les Travailleurs de la mer ( The Toilers of the Sea)
1872 L'Année terrible
1878 Le Pape
1881 Les Quatre Vents de l'esprit
1882 Torquemada

Return to top

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Victor Hugo Collection contains Biographical material, Correspondence, and Memorabilia from the French author. The Correspondence is divided into two subseries. Letters from Victor Hugo includes 7 pieces of correspondence from Hugo to various individuals. Meanwhile, Letters from Juliette Drouet contains letters from Juliette Drouet, Hugo's mistress, to Victor Hugo (1839-1878), with the exception of a single letter from Drouet to an unidentified individual (26 Mar 1846). Memorabilia consists of two ballot tickets as well as wedding invitations to Hugo's son's wedding.

Return to top

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is divided into three series: Biographical material, Correspondence, and Memorabilia. The Correspondence is divided into two subseries, Letters from Victor Hugo and Letters from Juliette Drouet, which are arranged alphabetically by recipient.

Return to top


Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Return to top

Subject Headings


Drouet, Juliette, 1806-1883 -- Correspondence.
Hugo, Victor, 1802-1885 -- Correspondence.


Actors -- France.
Authors, French.
French literature -- 19th century.
Novelists, French.

Genres and Forms

Letters (correspondence)



Return to top


Biographical material
SC 258, Folder 1 Biographical material
Letters from Victor Hugo
SC 258, Folder 2 Buloz, commissaire du roi près le Theâtre-Français (1 letter)
SC 258, Folder 2 Danton, Monsieur, au ministère de l'instruction publique (1 letter)
SC 258, Folder 2 Unidentified 1842, 1863, undated - 2 of the letters include a transcription (4 letters)
Letters from Juliette Drouet
SC 258, Folder 3 Hugo, Victor 1839-1878, undated - translation included for all 46 letters (46 letters)
SC 258, Folder 3 Unidentified 26 Mar 1846 - translation included (1 letter)
This letter is the only letter from Juliette Drouet that is not to Victor Hugo, however, the letter does mention Hugo.
SC 258, Folder 4 Ballots (2 items)
SC 258, Folder 4 Wedding invitations 1877 (2 items)

Return to top