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Dreyfus Affair photograph album

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS-0870

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of a photograph album containing photographs related to the Dreyfus Affair, a political scandal that divided France at the beginning of the twentieth century. The album includes labelled photographs of persons of interest related to the affair, scenes outside the courthouse, and public gatherings apparently related to the affair, as well as unlabelled photographs of the ocean and various buildings which may or may not be related to the affair. A list of persons of interest appearing in the photo album is typed, laminated, and included in the album; examples include M. Demange (Dreyfus's lawyer), Jean Juares (a socialist leader and defender of Dreyfus), Bernard Lazare (a writer and defender of Dreyfus), various Ministers of War, and various legal- and military-affiliated figures who were involved in the case.


  • Creation: approximately 1899

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Alfred Dreyfus was a French army officer who was accused of selling military secrets to the Germans. He was arrested on October 15, 1894, convicted on December 15, and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil's Island. The legal proceedings were based on insufficient evidence, but public opinion, and the French press, largely anti-Semitic at the time, regarded the verdict as an example of the supposed disloyalty of French Jews.

The Dreyfus affair split France in two between conservative and progressive forces. On January 13, 1898, the novelist Émile Zola wrote an open letter published on the front page of Aurore under the headline "J'Accuse," in which he accused the army of covering up its mistaken conviction of Dreyfus. Nationalists pressed to have Zola arrested; he was found guilty of libel and sentenced to a year's imprisonment and fined 3,000 francs. Zola fled to London and returned when Dreyfus's conviction was overturned.

More trials followed, but it was not until 1899--and the fall of the government--that Alfred Dreyfus was finally declared completely innocent of all charges. He rejoined the French Army in 1906, and was recalled to active service during World War I as a lieutenant colonel. He died on July 12, 1935, in Paris.

Source: "Dreyfus, Alfred" Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica Online. [Accessed May 13, 2003].

Biographical / Historical

There is currently no information available on the creator of the album.


0.23 Cubic Feet (1 flat box)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of an album of photographs relating to the Dreyfus Affair. The Dreyfus Affair was a political scandal that divided France at the turn of the twentieth century, wherein Alfred Dreyfus, a French army officer of Jewish descent, was convicted for treason on uncertain grounds.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Jay Snider, in August 2018.

Related Materials

Additional materials related to the Dreyfus Affair, including press coverage, artifacts, and caricatures, can be found in the Jean-Marie Goulemot Dreyfus affair collection, MS.0422, Special Collections.

A collection of postcards related to the Dreyfus Affair can be found in the G. Sternfeld Affaire Dreyfus postcards, MS.0976, Special Collections.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in October 2019 by Austyn Wohlers.

Guide to the Dreyfus Affair photograph album
Austyn Wohlers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA