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Finding Aid to the Samson DeBrier Papers, 1948-1995 Coll2014.005
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biography
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Acquisition
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Separated Materials note
  • Related Materials

  • Title: Samson DeBrier papers
    Identifier/Call Number: Coll2014.005
    Contributing Institution: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 1.2 linear feet. 1 archive box + 1 archive carton.
    Date (inclusive): 1948-1995
    Abstract: Correspondence, notes, photographs, clippings, biographical material, and other personal papers, 1948-1995, from actor, artist, and raconteur Samson DeBrier. After working as an actor in the 1910s and 1920s, most notably in the film Salome, the eccentric DeBrier remained in Hollywood and literati circles throughout his life and was known for hosting salons with creative locals in his Hollywood home. The bulk of the collection is correspondence sent to de Brier from 1954 to 1995.
    creator: DeBrier, Samson, -1995


    Samson DeBrier was born on March 18, 1909 and grew up in New Jersey. He moved to Hollywood, where he worked as a silent film actor, most notably in Alla Nazimova's Salome (1923). During this time, he also lived in Paris and fell in with the literati circles after befriending Andre Gide. Being independently wealthy from a real estate investment, DeBrier eventually settled in a Hollywood bungalow in the 1950s where he remained for the rest of his life. He was known for hosting art salons at his home, attracting the likes of Jack Nicholson, Anais Nin, Steve McQueen, Paul Mazursky, and Dorothy Parker, among others. In 1954, both DeBrier and his Hollywood bungalow were featured in Kenneth Anger's Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. Samson DeBrier died on April 1, 1995.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.


    The correspondence files in this collection were donated by Jean Ferro, September 13, 2006. The photograph file was donated by Kenneth Anger, May 10, 1995. Donor and date of the remaining papers are unknown.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder #, or item name] Samson DeBrier Papers, Coll2014-005, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Loni Shibuyama with assistance from Sean Wejebe, February 2014.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection comprises correspondence, notes, photographs, clippings, biographical material, and other personal papers, 1948-1995, of actor and artist Samson DeBrier. The bulk of the collection is correspondence, mostly Christmas cards, sent to DeBrier from 1954 to 1995. Also included is one biographical file of photocopied articles and photographs documenting de Brier throughout his life.


    Correspondence is listed first. The remaining folders are arranged alphabetically.

    Separated Materials note

    Separated to the ONE periodicals collection:
    Spartacus Magazine, No. 5 (November 1982).

    Related Materials

    Allan R. Ellenberger collection on Ramon Novarro, Coll2008-050, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Gay actors
    Gay artists