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Finding Aid for the Harry Pilcer papers, 1911-1940s
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID

  • Title: Harry Pilcer papers
    Collection number: 1941
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 1.0 linear ft. (2 boxes and 1 flat box)
    Date (inclusive): 1911-1940s
    Abstract: Harry Pilcer was an American dancer and entertainer. The collection consists of papers and photographs pertaining to his life and career, particularly the time he spent partnering with Gaby Deslys, the French dancer and actress.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.
    Creator: Pilcer, Harry, 1885-1961

    Restrictions on Access

    Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Harry Pilcer papers (Collection 1941). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.


    Harry Pilcer was born in 1885 in New York and debuted on Broadway when he was 14 years old. He was an American dancer and entertainer who spent a good deal of time in France. He was known through his partnership with Gaby Deslys, who was a well-known French actress and dancer in the early 1900s. Together, they popularized a dance named after Deslys, called The Gaby Glide. Pilcer's stage credits include Vera Violetta (1911), Stop! Look! Listen! (1915), Laissez-Les Tomber (1917) and Pins and Needles (1922). He also appeared in the films Her Triumph (1915) and Infatuation (1918). After Deslys's death in 1920, Pilcer partnered with the French dancer Mistinguett for ten years. In 1930, he began working as master of ceremonies and entertainer at French casinos owned by Francois Andre and remained a popular entertainer in France throughout the 1930s. He was a choreographer for and appeared in the film The Razor's Edge (1946). Pilcer continued to work as an entertainer until his death in 1961.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of photographs, correspondence, writings, and ephemera related to the career of entertainer and dancer Harry Pilcer. The bulk of the material represents Pilcer's partnership with French dancer and actress Gaby Deslys. The photographs include images of Deslys and Pilcer alone and together as well as what appear to be personal photographs of Pilcer and others. The correspondence is primarily letters, notes and telegrams to Pilcer; a number of the telegrams and notes are from Deslys. The writings include typescript and holograph versions of a story that appears to be about Pilcer and to some degree his association with Deslys. The small amount of ephemera includes invoices billed to Pilcer, music and other miscellany. Additionally there are two employment contracts. A small portion of the collection is in French.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Photographs
    2. Contracts
    3. Correspondence
    4. Writings
    5. Ephemera

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6982571 

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Deslys, Gaby, 1881-1920.
    Pilcer, Harry, 1885-1961 --Archives.