Finding Aid for the Harry Pilcer papers, 1911-1940s

Processed by Michele James with assistance from Julie Graham; machine-readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé after initial encoding by Julie Graham.
UCLA Library Special Collections
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1575
(310) 825-4988
spec-coll@library.ucla.edu
©2014 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.


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.

Biography

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.
Dancers--Archives.
Photographs.

Container List

 

Photographs.

Scope and Content

The bulk of the photographs are images of Gaby Deslys and Harry Pilcer, alone and together. Although the photographs are not dated, many appear to embody their professional partnership as dancers in the early 1900s. Additionally there are a small number of photographs with Pilcer and other unidentified individuals. There is no specific arrangement to the series.
Box 2, Folder 6

Photographs (16 items). no date.

Additional Note

Mostly of Gaby Deslys and Harry Pilcer.
Box 2, Folder 7

Photographs (24 items). no date.

Additional Note

Some of Gaby Deslys and Harry Pilcer.
Box 2, Folder 1

Photographs of Gaby Deslys (47 items). no date.

Additional Note

Some with Harry Pilcer.
Box 3, Folder 1

Photographs of Gaby Deslys and Harry Pilcer (11 items). no date.

Box 3, Folder 3

Photographs of Gaby Deslys and Harry Pilcer (15 items). no date.

Box 2, Folder 10

Photographs of Gaby Deslys and Harry Pilcer (16 items). no date.

Box 2, Folder 9

Photographs of Gaby Deslys and Harry Pilcer (17 items). no date.

Box 2, Folder 5

Photographs of Gaby Deslys and Harry Pilcer (18 items). no date.

Box 2, Folder 8

Photographs of Harry Pilcer and others (16 items). no date.

Box 2, Folder 2

Photographs of Harry Pilcer and others (35 items). 1947, no date.

Box 2, Folder 4

Photographs of Harry Pilcer and others (39 items). 1918, 1947, no date.

Box 2, Folder 3

Photographs of Harry Pilcer and others (92 items). no date.

Box 3, Folder 2

Photographs of others (8 items). no date.

Additional Note

Including autographed photographs from Olympe Bradna and [Glam] Pop Lee.
Box 1, Folder 13

Unidentified Photograph. no date.

 

Contracts.

Box 1, Folder 7

Deslys and Pilcer Agreements (2 items). 1915, 1919.

 

Correspondence.

Scope and Content

The correspondence is primarily telegrams, letters and notes to Pilcer. The bulk of the telegrams and notes are from Gaby Deslys. Some of the material is written in French. There is no specific arrangement to the series.
Box 1, Folder 6

Cards to Pilcer. 1948, no date.

Box 1, Folder 14

Letters to Harry Pilcer. 1916-1920, 1929, 1943-1949.

Additional Note

Many in French.
Box 1, Folder 15

Letters to Harry Pilcer. no date.

Additional Note

Many in French.
Box 1, Folder 4

Notes to Harry Pilcer. 1919, 1920, 1946, no date.

Additional Note

Some in French.
Box 1, Folder 5

Telegrams. 19-teens, 1948.

Additional Note

Many from Gaby Deslys. Some in French.
 

Writings.

Scope and Content

The writings include typescript and holograph versions of a story that appears to be about Pilcer and to some degree his association with Deslys. Additionally there is a multipage outline titled, Gaby and Harry. There is no specific arrangement to the series.
Box 1, Folder 1

Gaby and Harry Outline - typed manuscript. no date.

Additional Note

Appears to be biographical information.
Box 1, Folder 3

Holograph manuscript (no title). no date.

Additional Note

Appears to be biographical story about Pilcer. Possibly related to Typescript manuscript in box 1 folder 2.
Box 1, Folder 2

Typescript manuscript (no title). no date.

Additional Note

Appears to be biographical story about Pilcer. Possibly related to Holograph Manuscript in box 1 folder 3.
 

Ephemera.

Scope and Content

The Ephemera series contains clippings and sheet music representing select projects in which Pilcer was involved, a small amount of invoices billed to Pilcer, business cards, programs, and original and printed sketches. There is no specific arrangement to the series.
Box 1, Folder 12

Business Cards. no date.

Box 1, Folder 8

Clippings about Pilcer. 1945-1947, no date.

Additional Note

Some in French.
Box 1, Folder 16

Invoices billed to Harry Pilcer. 1940s, no date.

Additional Note

Appears related to living expenses; two billed to Fannie Brice.
Box 1, Folder 9

Programs. 1916, 1949, no date.

Box 1, Folder 11

Screen Actors Guild Membership and Receipts. 1943-1945.

Box 1, Folder 17

Sheet Music and lyrics. c. 1911, c.1920, c. 1947, no date.

Additional Note

The Gaby Glide, Mam'selle, J'aime Ta Pomme from The Razor's Edge, and Mon Homme.
Box 1, Folder 10

Sketches, drawings and printed art work. no date.