Frances de Chollet Collection
Held at: Princeton University Library: Public Policy Papers [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Public Policy Papers. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Frances de Chollet (1900-1994) was an American citizen who assisted Allen Dulles with obtaining the diaries of Galeazzo Ciano, the Foreign Minister of Italy from 1936-1943 who was killed by order of his father-in-law, Benito Mussolini. During World War II, de Chollet was married to a Swiss banker and lived in Switzerland. Dulles, who was then head of the Office of Strategic Services network in Switzerland, enlisted the help of de Chollet and several others to locate Edda Ciano, Galeazzo Ciano's widow and the daughter of Mussolini, who had fled to Switzerland with five booklets of her husband's diaries.
In addition to traveling to meet with Edda Ciano and reporting back to Dulles, de Chollet served as an intermediary to allow Ciano and Dulles to communicate with each other through correspondence. Ciano wrote letters addressed to de Chollet that included messages for Dulles, often referring to Dulles as de Chollet's "important friend." After the diaries were reproduced by the United States government, De Chollet essentially took on the role as Ciano's agent, as Ciano entrusted de Chollet with negotiating for a French edition of the diaries to be published in Switzerland and France.
Frances de Chollet died in 1994. Her name was styled as Frances Winslow Kemble at the time of her death.
The collection documents the attainment of Galeazzo Ciano's diaries by the United States government and Frances de Chollet's role in the process, mostly in the form of correspondence. The majority of the letters were written to de Chollet by Edda Ciano in de Chollet's capacity as a messenger between Ciano and Allen Dulles, though the collection also consists of correspondence to de Chollet from Dulles and an unidentified correspondent. (A letter from Chicago Daily News correspondent Paul Ghali, who also assisted in obtaining the diaries, postdates the war.) Additionally, the collection contains a small amount of de Chollet's notes documenting her face-to-face meetings with Edda Ciano.
The collection also includes biographical materials in the form of photographs that Frances de Chollet took during her trip to Germany at the end of the war, as well as some portraits of her and her passport. Additionally, the collection contains a letter written by de Chollet to her daughter Roseline that describes Roseline's birth in Paris in 1940 and their family's subsequent escape from the city.
The order in which these materials came to Princeton has been maintained.
This collection was donated by Jacqueline de Chollet, Frances de Chollet's daughter, in May 2017. The accession number associated with this donation is ML.2017.014.
This collection was processed by Rachel Van Unen in May 2017 at the time of accessioning. Materials were rehoused in archival folders and all materials were described in a collection-level finding aid.
A folder title list was added in December 2019 by Will Clements
A copy of The Ciano Diaries signed by Edda Ciano to Frances de Chollet was separated to Princeton University Library's Rare Books Division.
- Ciano, Edda Mussolini, Contessa
- Ciano, Galeazzo, conte, 1903-1944
- Dulles, Allen, 1893-1969
- Mussolini, Benito, 1883-1945.
- Public Policy Papers
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
Collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from the Mudd Library to move forward with their use.