Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America

Archives related to: Garbo, Greta, 1905-1990

titleMercedes de Acosta Papers, (bulk 1920-1962).
repositoryRosenbach Museum & Library
collection titleCorrespondence, manuscripts, clippings, photographs, and memorabilia from Acosta's many years as a writer and socialite. The bulk of the material is correspondence with friends, literary and theatrical associates, and other celebrities. Also present are typescripts and reviews of most of Acosta's writings, including her autobiography Here lies the heart, and various plays and poems; approximately 600 photographs, including snapshots and studio portraits of friends and celebrities, movie stills, photos of stage productions of her works, and a few fragments of motion picture film; and a large number of clippings and other ephemera, the largest group being about Garbo. Manuscripts of several works by other persons are included in the correspondence: three chapters of Isadora Duncan's My life; a revision of Tamara Karsavina's autobiography Theatre Street; an essay on Diaghilev by Stravinsky, translated from French by Acosta; and an autograph page of the score of Stravinsky's Sacre du printemps. Persons represented include Maude Adams; Eva Bartok; Cecil Beaton; Nadia Boulanger; Marie Doro; Isadora Duncan; Eleanora Duse; Claire, Marquise de Forbin; Greta Garbo; Mary Garden; Malvina Hoffman; Isabel Jeans; Tamara Karsavina; Maria Annunziata "Poppy" Kirk; Marie Laurencin; Eva Le Gallienne; Mercedes's sister Rita de Acosta Lydig; Loren MacIver; Sorella Maria; Ona Munson; Irene Rice Pereira; Acosta's husband Abram Poole; Ram Gopal; Natacha Rambova; Igor Stravinsky; Alice B. Toklas; Hope Williams; Stark Young; and Ignacio Zuloaga.

Mercedes de Acosta (1893-1968) was born into an aristocratic Spanish family, and grew up in the world of New York high society. She married the painter Abram Poole in 1921, but they came to lead separate lives and were divorced in 1935. At various times during her life she was a novelist, a playwright, a poet, and a Hollywood scriptwriter. The critics were not impressed with her artistic talents, and today her published work is almost forgotten. The chief interest of her papers lies in her role as a "confidante to the stars": during the years between the World Wars she was on intimate terms with a number of talented and influential women (most notably Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, and Eva Le Galliene), and the collection provides insight into the artistic and theatrical circles in which she moved.

Portions of Alice B. Toklas correspondence/ published in Staying on alone: letters of Alice B. Toklas, ed. Edward Burns (New York: Liveright, 1973).

English; Several plays are present in both English and French versions; some correspondence in French and Italian; some ephemera in French, German, Italian, and Swedish.

Works by Acosta alphabetically by title. Reviews of works by Acosta/ alphabetically by title of work. Correspondence alphabetically by correspondent, thereunder chronologically; restricted and formerly restricted correspondence in separate sequence. Photographs alphabetically by subject. Ephemera are filed in some cases with related correspondence; large groups are filed separately under the relevant name. Computer-generated folder-level guide and index/ available in library.

Occupation: Actors./ Authors./ Dancers./ Painters./ Sculptors.
extentca. 5000 items (22 boxes)
formatsCorrespondence Manuscript Clippings Photographs Ephemera
accessContact repository for restrictions and policies.
record source
updated02/07/2020 18:20:21