Contemporary Accounts More Eyewitnesses
The Trial Early Historians
At the Fringe The Company She Keeps
The Model Child, The Model Woman Fêtes
The Call to Arms Joan in Politics
Biographies Sculpture
The Heroic Epic - and its Antidote On the Stage
On the Screen Selling It
Saint Joan Canonized At Last

Contemporary Accounts

Joan's career is surprisingly well documented, with several first person accounts of the war as well as the transcripts of the trials. There are two contemporary records of her success at the siege of Orléans. The notes from within Orléans describe Joan as "proven by her deeds to be a Virgin and sent from God, Our Lord," and call the lifting of the siege a miracle. The report from Paris, which belonged to the Burgundian faction, calls Joan only "une pucelle" - a maid - and says that she was reported to have held her banner between the forces.

Nine letters dictated by Joan still exist. They include "letters of defiance" demanding in standard chivalric terms the surrender of her opponents, and other communications about the war. The letter shown in facsimile was sent to the people of Riom; it asks for supplies to be sent promptly: "powder, sulfur, transport, strong arbalests, and other necessities of war." This is the earliest of three letters which Joan signed - she was apparently illiterate when she began her military career, but may have learned to read as well as write her name.

Account of the siege of Orléans. Register of Guillaume Giraud, notary of Orleans.
Account of the siege of Orléans. Register of the Parlement of Paris, May 10, 1429. Archives National, Xl.A 1482, folio 18.
Letter from Joan to the citizens of Riom, November 9, 1429. Archives Municipales de Riom.
All from facsimiles published in:
Daniel Jacomet. Jehanne d'Arc: Quarant-cinq Documents Originaux et Iconographiques. Paris: Librairie Floury, 1933.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


There were, of course, other accounts of the course of the war. A register of the events in the city of Orleans, kept as they occurred, was organized around 1468 into the Journal du Siège d'Orléans. This account portrays Joan as a miraculous figure, and gives a clear picture of the public veneration she received. The book shown is a very early edition of the archival manuscript. Cousinot's account of Joan was written around 1470, and is based on a group of earlier accounts, including the Rehabilitation hearings. It was a primary source for the more religious of the later historians, but is now considered unreliable.

L'Histoire et Discours au Vray du Siege qui Fut Mis Devant la Ville d'Orléans par les Anglois… Orléans: Pierre Bon, 1621.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

Guillaume de Montreuil Cousinot. Mémoires Concernant la Pucelle d'Orléans. In Claude B. Petitot, editor. Collection Complète des Mémoires Relatifs à l'Histoire de France. Reprinted from Godefroy's 1661 edition. Paris: Foucault, 1819.

H. Lemaire. Vie de Jeanne d'Arc. Surnommée La Pucelle d'Orléans. Paris : Le Prieur, 1818.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

More Eyewitnesses


Understandably, first person accounts of the Burgundian and English participants in the conflict are far less favorable. The Journal d'un Bourgeois was based on a diary kept by the author, a clerk of the University of Paris. It is an account of the war from inside the city. The 'Bourgeois', who hated Joan, says that she threatened to kill all the inhabitants if Paris did not surrender. He was stunned by her sacrilegious assault on Paris on the Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin, led by a "creature in the form of a woman whom they call the Maid. What it was, God knows."

Report of the "Bourgeois of Paris," In Procès de Condamnation et de Réhabilitation de Jeanne d'Arc, dite La Pucelle. Jules Quicherat, editor. Paris, J. Renouard et Cie, 1841-1849. IV.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


De Monstrelet is responsible for the most important Burgundian chronicle of the war, written around 1440. He witnessed the interview between Joan and the Duke of Burgundy after her capture - although he claims not to remember what they said. His account is far from nonpartisan; he says that Robert de Baudricourt had advised her how to act, and he attributes her military victories to the efforts of experienced and brave captains. At the same time, he refrains from criticizing her as violently as the Bourgeois, and he barely comments on her trial and execution, probably because his account was written after Burgundy and Charles VII had made peace.

Enguerrand De Monstrelet. Volvme Premier Des Chroniqves d'Engverran de Monstrelet Gentil-Homme iadis Demervrant a Cambry en Cambresis. Contenans les cruelles guerres ciuilles entre les maisons d'Orleans & de Bourgongne, l'occupation de Paris & Normandie par les Anglois, l'expulsion d'iceux, & autres choses memorables aduenues de son temps en ce Royaume, & paÿs estranges. Paris: Guillaume Chaudiere, 1572.
Gift of the Historical Library of the College of Physicians


The Chroniques de France, or Chronicles of St. Denis, were drawn up annually from 1122 to record the important events of the year. This is the earliest printed version of the chronicles and one of the first books printed in French. The English translation contains reproductions of the woodcuts from the next edition (1493). The chronicler, appointed by the king, was partial to Joan and the royal cause. Joan is portrayed as pious as well as brave and expert in war. The Chronicles include the story that the dauphin attempted to deceive Joan about his identity, as a test, but that she knew him at first sight.

Grandes Chroniques de France. Paris: Pasquier Bonhomme, 16 Jan. 1476/77.
Gift of Howard Lehman Goodhart.

Joan the Maid of Orleans, Being that Portion of the Chronicles of St. Denis which deals with Her Life and Times, from the Chroniques de France printed in Paris in 1493. Pauline B. Sowers, translator, with reproductions of woodcuts from original of Antoine Vérard. San Francisco: Roy V. Sowers, 1938.
Gift of Roy V. Sowers.


The Trial

After Joan was captured at Compiègne she was delivered to the English. At the formal demand of the Church, the English gave her to the Inquisition for a trial which lasted from February 21 through May 24, 1431. During the trial, three notaries took down the questions and Joan's answers. By comparing their notes, they produced minutes of the proceedings in French. After the trial, a Latin translation was made, of which several manuscripts exist. The facsimile here reproduces the manuscript used by Jules Quicherat to produce his edition of the trial transcripts, which has since been the standard reference. Barrett's translation into English retains the third-person reportage of the original. All three are open to the same passage, marked by a pointing finger in the Latin manuscript, where Joan was asked whether St. Margaret spoke English to her, and responded: "Why should she, since she is not on the side of the English?"

Le Procès de Condamnation de Jeanne d'Arc: Reproduction en Fac-similé du Manuscrit Authentique, sur Vélin, no. 1119 de la Bibliothèque de l'Assemblée Nationale. Paris: Plon, 1955.

Procès de Condamnation et de Réhabilitation de Jeanne d'Arc, dite La Pucelle. Jules Quicherat, editor. Paris, J. Renouard et Cie, 1841-1849. 5 v.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

The Trial of Jeanne d'Arc: A Complete Translation of the Text of the Original Documents. W. P. Barrett, translator. London: G. Routledge & Sons, Ltd., 1931.

Early Historians

Joan is so well known now that it is surprising to see how little interest she aroused between the end of her own century and the beginning of the nineteenth. She was never entirely ignored, though, as this series of histories show. Orléans has loved Joan nearly uninterruptedly since she led the Armagnac forces in lifting the siege of the town and Micqueau's book makes much of her role. Hordal is even more laudatory, and firmly establishes Joan as a national heroine and a supporter of the King.

Jean-Louis Micqueau. Aureliae Vrbis Memorabilis ab Anglis Obsidio, Anno 1428. Et Ionnae viraginis Lotharingae res gestae. Orléans: Pierre Treperel, 1560.
Howard Lehman Goodhart Fund.

Jean Hordal. Heroinae Nobilissimae Ioannae Darc Lotharingae vvlgo Avrelianensis pvellae historia, Ex variis grauissimae atque incorruptissimae fidei scriptoribus excerpta. Ponti-Mvssi: Melchior Bernard, 1612.

Lenglet Dufresnoy displays the rationalism of his time: he depends on original documents and says outright that he does not believe in Joan's voices as external, although he praises this "enthusiasm, this heroism, this burning spirit." Chaussard writes with an aggressively nationalistic and anti-clerical tone - in his annotated bibliography of original documents and early accounts related to Joan, he also raises a number of questions, including, "Was Joan a tool of the Church or of the court?" and "Is it true that this tragedy took place only as a prelude in France to the horrible inquisition, a path of fire and blood?"

Nicholas Lenglet Dufresnoy. Histoire de Jeanne d'Arc, Dite la Pucelle d'Orleans. 3 v. Amsterdam: Par la Compagnie, 1759.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

Pierre Jean-Baptiste Chaussard. Jeanne d'Arc: Recueil Historique et Complet. Orléans: Darnault-Maurant, 1806.

At the Fringe

The ability to review well-known facts and discern patterns others have not seen is fundamental to scholarship, but the urge to pioneer an interpretation sometimes overwhelms the weight of the evidence. The historical records surrounding Joan of Arc provide ample data to be shaped and re-shaped by enthusiasts and partisans, and there are plenty of questions which are essentially unanswerable except by faith: What were Joan's voices? How can you explain her military skill? Why did she succeed where experienced warriors had failed? It is no surprise, then, to find books and articles proposing explanations of Joan and her mission that most scholars find untenable.

The oldest argument which is in direct contradiction to the evidence suggests that Joan was the bastard of Isabeau of Bavaria and Louis, Duc d'Orleans - the half-sister of Charles VII. Charles favored her because of their kinship, and her ability to command armies was innate because of her heritage. First published by Pierre Caze at the beginning of the 19th century, the theory was promoted again in 1932. This explanation claims that Isabeau's child Joan, born in 1407, did not die immediately as reported, but was spirited away to be raised by Jacques Darc and Isabelle Romée. The idea has re-appeared as recently as 1961, in the publication of Operation Shepherdess: The Mystery of Joan of Arc (by André Guérin and Jack Palmer White).

Pierre Caze. La Vérité sur Jeanne d'Arc, ou Éclaircissemens sur son Origine. Paris: Migneret, 1819.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

J. Jacoby. Le Secret de Jeanne d'Arc, Pucelle d'Orléans. Paris: Mercure de France, 1932.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


Proponents of spiritualism have long suggested that Joan was a medium, able to hear messages from higher spheres. Léon Denis felt that he himself was sensitive to such communications, and that Joan had spoken directly to him several times during his investigation of her life. Joan was known to appear at séances in the nineteenth century - her appointment to meet a "French gentleman" was recorded in photo #35, taken by Frederick A. Hudson, England's most prominent spirit photographer. Joan's psychic ability is also discussed in the article in Fate magazine; the 10 proofs of the article's title are predictions Joan made which came true.

Léon Denis. The Mystery of Joan of Arc. Arthur Conan Doyle , translator. New York: E.P. Dutton and Co., 1925.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

Georgiana Houghton. Chronicles of the Photographs of Spiritual Beings and Phenomena Invisible to the Material Eye: Interblended with Personal Narratives.London: E. W. Allen, 1882.
Seymour Adelman Fund.

Peg Miller.'The 10 Proofs of Joan of Arc'. Fate v.5, no. 6. Sept. 1952. p. 14-24.
Seymour Adelman Fund.


Joan was accused at her trial of witchcraft. Murray agreed with this judgment and, mixing in conspiracy theory, argued that Joan was an active participant in a secret, lower class, "old" religion. In this worldview, both Joan and her followers consider her God incarnate, but the figures generally identified as St. Michael and St. Catherine are human co-religionists. Rouen was a suitable town for her execution, as it had a "living tradition of human sacrifice". Murray, a pioneering female archeologist, was a specialist in Egyptian hieroglyphics and Egyptology.

Margaret Alice Murray. The Witch-Cult in Western Europe; A Study in Anthropology. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1921.

The Company She Keeps

One of the best ways to see how a historical figure is understood is to find out who is spoken of in the same breath. Foresti's Concerning Many Famous and Select Women was inspired by Boccaccio's De claris mulieribus, but included many 15th century women. The woodcut is not a portrait as such, but must have been chosen because her name, Darc, was interpreted to mean "of the bow." The image is used for other women within the book as well. Like most of the illustrations for martial or powerful women, the picture draws attention to the breasts; the women who are famous for their religious achievements are much less likely to be depicted with this type of ornament, unless they were young virgin martyrs.

Jacopo Filippo Foresti da Bergamo.De plurimis claris sceletisque mulieribus. Ferrara: Laurentius de Rubeis de Valentia, 1497.
Gift of Howard Lehman Goodhart.


As in Foresti's work, the "splendid" women chosen for this book are distinguished by their historical prominence and their effect upon history. Although the various biographies are written by different authors, the women are routinely praised for their beauty - whenever the claim is not actually denied by reliable sources. And several of the heroines share the achievement named in Thomas de Quincey's biography of Joan: "I acknowledge that you can do one thing as well as the best of us men …you can die grandly, and as goddesses would die, were goddesses mortal."

Joseph Hamblen Sears. These Splendid Women, with Introduction and Notes. New York: J. H. Sears & Company, Inc. 1926.
Seymour Adelman Fund.

Cleopatra, by H. Houssaye. Zenobia, by E. Gibbon. Joan of Arc, by T. De Quincy. Vittoria Colonna, by T. A. Trollope. Catherine de' Medici, by Imbert de Saint-Amand. Mary, Queen of Scots: A Portrait Study, by A. Lang; The Execution, by A. de Lamartine. A Defense of Mary, Queen of Scots, by A. C. Swinburne. Maria Theresa, by Anna Jameson. Madame de Pompadour, by E. de Goncourt. Charlotte Corday, by T. Carlyle. Catherine the Great, by K. Walizewski. Florence Nightingale, by Elizabeth Aldridge.


The heroes of this book are a mixed group: Joan, two educators of the deaf, a general, the agriculturalist who introduced the potato to France, an Hugenot artist who developed distinctive types of pottery, a financier, etc. Their common characteristics are dedication to king or country, work that helped others, and (in many cases) arrest on either religious or political grounds.

Victor Charles Preseau. Les Grandes Figures Nationales et Les Heros du Peuple. Paris: Dider et Cie., 1872.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


These religious musings on the early life of Joan of Arc, designed for a juvenile audience, are illustrated by an extraordinary series of etchings. Many of the pictures appropriate familiar imagery to suggest parallels between Joan and Christ (at the Nativity, on the Virgin's knee, and among the doctors in the Temple), John the Baptist, Tobias with the angel, St. Francis, and the Blessed Virgin with St. Anne.

Marie Edmée Pau. Histoire de Notre Petite Soeur Jeanne d'Arc. 3rd edition. Paris: Plon, 1879.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

The Model Child, The Model Woman

When Joan is used as a model for children, those traits adults find attractive in children - obedience, courtesy, industry, concern for others - are usually emphasized. The Pèlerinage depicts Joan in a series of laudable rural, girlish activities: laundry, cooking, spinning, praying, herding cows. In this heavily illustrated book there are only three pictures illustrating events after she left the security of her family home. Sweetser spends more time on Joan's military exploits, but only after assuring the reader that she was a well-brought up child with a "habit of obedience." The photographic postcard showing a young girl dressed up in armor is a surprising departure from the ordinary.

Émile Hinzelin. Jeanne d'Arc; Pèlerinage au Pays de la Bonne Lorraine. Illustrated by G. Dutriac. Paris: Delagrave, 1922.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

Kate Dickinson Sweetser. Ten Girls From History. New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1912.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

Jeanne est nommée Chef de Guerre. Clayette Photographie, 1904.
Seymour Adelman Fund.


Books for an older audience tend to promote qualities which address the concerns of adolescent girls - and of their parents. Attachment to one's family comes to be a more important theme, probably in response to the natural inclination of teenagers to begin finding their own way. Other major themes for the maturing readers are friends outside the family, and a much greater emphasis on active religious devotion. Jeglot praises enthusiasm, hard work, usefulness, piety and - of course - virginity. Artaud, who deeply desired Joan's canonization, emphasized the religious aspect of her mission. The series of postcards which includes this depiction of Joan hearing her voices show her as the perfect teenager - neatly and modestly dressed, hard at work for her family's benefit, and raptly attentive to spiritual guidance.

C. Jeglot. La Jeune Fille et Jeanne d'Arc. Paris: Edition Spes, 1929.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

V. D. Artaud. Aux Amies de Jeanne d'Arc. 2nd edition. Paris: Gabriel Beauchese, 1914.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

À Domrey en 1425, Jeanne entend les voix. Paris: Dix.
Seymour Adelman Fund.


Joan is frequently used as a model for women - often by men. In a speech delivered at Notre-Dame on the occasion of the beatification, De Gibergues lauds the values which Joan symbolizes for him - and decries the numerous threats against them: atheism, rationalism, materialism, sensualism, and modernism. He criticizes his female audience as capricious, vain and useless, but encourages them to submit themselves as Joan did to God's will. Such sacrifice will be rewarded on Judgment Day, but more immediately, it will enable France to rise up to expel its enemies and embrace its true king, Jesus Christ.

Chanoine de Gibergues. Jehanne d'Arc et la Mission de La Femme Française. Paris: Librairie Vve. Ch. Poussielgue, 1909.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


Although Joan has long been a potent figure for France, other nations have adopted her as a more general symbol - of courage, patriotism, female valor, and religious inspiration. The Memoirs was actually published with the aim of strengthening the resolve of English women who might lose their husbands or sons in the war against Napoleon. The preface reads, in part:

"England… asks not the death of her daughters, yet to her belongs no inconsiderable share of their hearts and lives. If a woman be incapable of personal sacrifice, how she bear to offer up lives far dearer than her own?"

George Ann Grave. Memoirs of Joan D'Arc, or, Du Lys, Commonly Called the Maid of Orleans, Chiefly from the French of the Abbé Lenglet du Fresnoy. London: Printed by C.C. Wetton, for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1812.
Seymour Adelman Fund.


Orléans instituted an annual civic festival to celebrate its deliverance by Joan of Arc within a few years of the event. Many other cities began holding fêtes during the nineteenth century as Joan's cult grew. This Souvenir includes an itinerary of historical reenactments, church ceremonies, and processions. But the program is equally devoted to advertising for everything from corsets to shoe-polish. The festivals were tourist attractions, and although the events were planned around local sites which had figured in Joan's life, they also took place on commercial streets so shop owners could profit from the foot traffic.

Souvenir des Fêtes de Jeanne d'Arc, Orléans, 7 et 8 Mai 1924. Orléans, 1924.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


Joan was regarded as a role model for girls and young women on many levels, but it was an idea of female civic responsibility as much as Joan herself that the festivals celebrated. They were seen as opportunities for women's active, but directed, participation in the local community. As part of many festivals a young local woman was chosen to dress in armor and ride a horse through the streets of the city. An inscription on the back of this postcard states that the woman shown was a descendant of Joan of Arc's brother, an appropriate choice to personify the heroine.

Orléans. - Les Fêtes du 500e Anniversaire de Jeanne d'Arc, 1929. Jeanne d'Arc. Orléans: L. Lenormand, 1929.
Seymour Adelman Fund.


Many locales across France could claim some right to celebrate Joan's legacy, but as the birthplace of the famous maid, Domremy could boast a special relationship with her. The town preserved her home, erected new monuments, and established a school where young girls could receive moral instruction worthy of her. To celebrate the completion of the various building projects in 1820, a civic festival was inaugurated as another homage to the native heroine. Domremy played up the theme of Joan's pastoral origins by hosting their festival in a giant meadow near the Bois-Chenu. DeHaldat describes the idyllic setting in detail, stating that the site itself was suffused with the glory of Joan.

C. N. A. De Haldat. Relation de la Fête Inaugurale Célébrée a Domremy, Le 10 Septembre 1820 en l'Honneur de Jeanne d'Arc. Nancy: Cl.-J. Hissette, 1820.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis


Since the early 19th century there had been a bitter rivalry between the religious community and the municipal government of Rouen over which institution had the authority to properly celebrate Joan of Arc's cult. This was a ticklish question, since both church and city had participated in her execution. The festival of 1892 was a triumph for the church party with the consecration of a great monument to Joan next to the basilica. This pamphlet lauds the archbishop Monsignor Thomas effusively, and explains how all the events unfolded around him, from the morning mass, through the festival banquet, to the inauguration ceremony. Those opposed to the religious use of Joan's cult, however, noted with satisfaction that the sculpted Joan stands with her back to the basilica and faces in the direction of the city, thus symbolically dismissing the Church and turning her attention towards the civic life of Rouen.

Les Fêtes du 30 Juin 1892 à Rouen; Les Noces d'Argent Episcopales de Mgr. l'Archevêque; L'Inauguration du Monument de Jeanne d'Arc à Bonsecours. Rouen: E. Cagniard, 1892.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


Theatrical productions and poetry readings were often included in the festivals, and local musicians were commissioned to compose music for the ceremonies. These postcards show the sort of tableaux vivants that were performed at some festivals; often requiring elaborate sets and costumes, and calling on the participation of local schools or other groups, they were popular with the public.

St-Macaire-en-Mauges (M.-et-L.). Fête de Jeanne d'Arc, 6 Fèvrier 1910. Tableau Vivant: Jeanne d'Arc montant à l'assaut des Tourelles. 1910.
Seymour Adelman Fund.

Saint-Germaine-sur-Moine (M.-et-L.). - Fête de Jeanne d'Arc - Tableaux vivants - Jeanne glorieuse.
Seymour Adelman Fund.


Compiègne, where Joan was taken prisoner, mounted especially splendid fêtes. The city organized elaborate historical reenactments, paraded fifteenth century artillery through the streets, reconstructed medieval shop fronts, and hosted jousting. These postcards served a variety of functions - some advertised the event in advance, some served as souvenirs of either the festival or the town. The phenomenon of issuing small collectible poster stamps was just reaching its peak when the stamp was produced. Some graphic designers were particularly masterful at working within this small-scale and became known for the striking impact of their miniature advertisements.

Compiègne. Fêtes de Jeanne d'Arc 23 & 30 Mai 1909. M. le Comte de Meckenheim. Compiègne: Decelle, c.1909.
Seymour Adelman Fund.

Compiègne. Fêtes données en l'Honneur de Jeanne d'Arc (1911). Le Tournoi. - Chevalier prenant du champ pour le jeu de Quintaine. ND Photographie, c.1911.
Seymour Adelman Fund.

28 Mai - 5 Juin 1911. Fêtes de Compiègne en l'Honneur de Jeanne d'Arc. c.1911.
Seymour Adelman Fund.

Fêtes de Jeanne d'Arc, Compiègne. 8 & 15 Juin 1913. Compiègne: Decelle, c.1913.
Seymour Adelman Fund.

The Call to Arms

As a military figure, Joan is an obvious focus of devotion during warfare, and World War I created a vast outpouring of images and stories. The French were not her only devotees; the English and American governments used her to advertise war savings bonds. The female figure was designed to serve as an inspiration to men and an example to women.

Bert Thomas. Joan of Arc Saved France; Women of Britain, Save Your Country. War Savings certificate poster.


Joan was also featured in literature and music that addressed the issues of WW I. In Van Dyke's short story, she appears to a French soldier who has lost his courage and enables him to return to the front. The original illustrations for this story were painted by Frank Schoonover, a student of Howard Pyle's at Drexel University and, like Pyle, an illustrator who established the visual tastes of the American reading public.

Henry Van Dyke. "The Broken Soldier and the Maid of France". Harper's Magazine, Dec. 1918, v. 138, n. 823, p. 1-13.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


The French regularly invoked Joan's aid in the war effort. The Germans bombed Reims Cathedral, the traditional site of the coronation of French kings, in September 1914, and the offense promptly became an essential part of the visual vocabulary of anti-German propaganda. In these postcards Joan comes to the defense of her country. Kaiser Wilhelm is chained in one image, in the other he faces a torrent of abuse; in both he is described as King of the Vandals.

Jean d'Arc a Guillaume devant Reims. After Boulanger, c.1915
Seymour Adelman Fund.

Le Sacre. Paris: D. Michaud, c.1915.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


The Hommage a Jeanne-d'Arc offers thanks to Joan - called a saint though she had not yet been canonized - on the occasion of the signing of the Peace. The little flier was preserved in a folder decorated by hand with a collage made entirely of shapes cut from French postage stamps, and signed by Hélène Dinel. The figure is based on Ingres' painting of Joan at the coronation of Charles VII.

Lucy Garnier. Hommage a Jeanne d'Arc. Rouen, 1919.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

Joan in Politics

Joan's figure has been repeatedly exploited for political aims. She was adopted simultaneously by bitterly opposed factions in France; beginning with the Revolution, she served both anti-clerical republicans, who saw her as proto-revolutionary, and Catholic monarchists. In the hands of both parties she assumed a new importance, coming to symbolize the nation itself. The factions differed, though, in how that nation was conceived - and how it was to be governed.

In 1904 a furor broke out over a high school student's paper on Joan. Amadée Thalamas, a Jew teaching at the Lycée Condorcet, critiqued the essay for emphasizing Joan's religious merits, rather than her history. The Catholic press and the newly formed, ultra-nationalist Action Française burst out venomously, condemning the school system, the state, Jews, Protestants, and Freemasons. In response Thalamas published Jeanne d'Arc: L'Histoire et la Légend, in which he called on the "common sense and good faith" of the people of France, whom he compared to Joan. A further series of disturbances occurred four years later when Thalamas lectured at the Sorbonne; the Camelots du Roi (the student wing of the Action Française) rioted and repeatedly assaulted both Thalamas and other Jewish lecturers. The Alumnae Quarterly carried a first person account of the riots written by a Bryn Mawr graduate.

Amadée Thalamas. Jeanne d'Arc: L'Histoire et la Légend. Paris: P. Paclot et Cie., 1904.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

Elizabeth Seymour, Class of 1897. "Student Riots in Paris." Bryn Mawr Alumnae Quarterly. V. III, n. 1, April 1909.
Bryn Mawr College Archives


Joan's role as a political symbol continues; she has recently been claimed by both the National Front Party and its opponents, each enthroning her as a symbol of the true France. The National Front, led by Jean Marie LePen, is an extremist, right wing organization which blames immigrants, Jews, and women working outside the home for France's problems. Its annual Paris May Day parade ends at Fremiet's statue in the Place des Pyramides, where LePen lays a wreath on the monument to Joan, whom he describes as his "favorite statesman."

"Le Pen's heroine S. Joan." BBC News website. May 1, 2002.

Renaud Dely. "Jeanne d'Arc, symbole dérouté." website.April 30, 2002.


Political movements of all sorts have called on Joan, especially when the causes were feminist or led by women. Thomas Nast showed his sympathy for the temperance movement by depicting the more violent activists in her guise. The women's suffrage movement consciously adopted Joan as a symbol of their struggle. She was especially appropriate for the militant wing of the movement - ready to fight, prepared for imprisonment, sacrificed for a higher goal - but the mainstream suffragists also made use of the noble figure riding forth proudly with her banner.

Thomas Nast. "The Good and Bad Spirits at War." Harper's Weekly. V. XVIII, n. 897, March 7, 1874.

"Miss Evans as Joan of Arc in a suffrage Demonstration at Palm Beach, Florida". Carrie Chapman Catt Collection, Bryn Mawr College Library.
Gift of the estate of Carrie Chapman Catt.

Evans, Marion. "Mrs. Pankhurst - The Modern Joan of Arc." Searchlight Magazine. Vol. 2, n.7, December 1909.
M. Carey Thomas Papers, Bryn Mawr College Archives.


Lemaire purposely wrote his biography of Joan for a popular audience, rather than a scholarly one. It is among the first of the vast flood of biographies and histories produced in the nineteenth century as Joan became increasingly the focus of attention and adoration. The real credit for popularizing Joan, though, goes to Michelet's monumental history of France, published in the middle of the 19th century. He is the first writer to emphasize her as a symbol of France, and his Joan fulfills both republican and religious ideals.

Jules Michelet. Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans. From Mitchelet's History of France. Henry Ketcham, editor.
New York, A.L. Burt, 1900.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


Anatole France's rationalist and violently anti-clerical Life of Joan depicts her as the dupe of some unknown churchman and the pawn of political factions. Its publication in 1908, just at the time of the Thalamas affair, led to further protests within France and abroad. The best known response is Lang's biography, which attacks France point by point as the story proceeds. Even more favorable to Joan are Mark Twain's works, a fictional first person account (Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc) and Saint Joan of Arc, both of which assume that Joan was right, whatever the circumstances.

Anatole France. Vie de Jeanne d'Arc. Paris: Calmann-Lévy,1924.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

Andrew Lang. The Maid of France: Being the Story of the Life and Death of Jeanne d'Arc. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1924.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

Mark Twain. Saint Joan of Arc. Howard Pyle, illustrator. New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1919.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


Interest in Joan of Arc burgeoned in the late nineteenth century as she came to be seen as a symbol of the strength and determination of the French people. At the Paris Salon of 1889 Paul Dubois exhibited a plaster version of the equestrian bronze he had executed for Reims Cathedral. There is a full size replica of the statue in front of Saint-Augustin in Paris, and another one stands in Meridian Hill Park in Washington, D.C.

Paul Dubois. Jeanne d'Arc.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


Fremiet initially specialized as an animalier, producing highly naturalistic bronze sculptures and statuettes of animals, but he is best known for his equestrian monuments, and especially the one depicting Joan of Arc riding into battle. He was commissioned to make a monument in 1872 for the Place des Pyramides in Paris where Joan was wounded. In 1899, he replaced the statue with a revised version. There are eight large statues besides the one in Paris: four in France, one in Melbourne, Australia, one in Portland, Oregon, and one in New Orleans. Fairmount Park in Philadelphia also has a Fremiet Joan of Arc. It may be an eighth copy, but a New York Times story of July 5, 1925 reported that it is the original statue from Paris, which Fremiet sent secretly to America, rather than melting down and recasting as he claimed. Numerous bronze statuettes, like the one in the Bryn Mawr collection, were made after the full-size statue to meet the demand of private art collectors.

Emmanuel Fremiet. Jeanne d'Arc.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


Gaudez, who made his Salon debut in 1864, was a student of the sculptor François Jouffroy, who also trained Augustus Saint-Gaudens. His works varied in subject, from a bust of Pasteur, through classical figures, and patriotic groups. In this sculpture of Joan of Arc, the banner reads, "Dieu Patrie" - suggesting that his market for the sculpture was nationalist.

Adrien Etienne Gaudez (1845-1902). Jeanne d'Arc.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

The Heroic Epic - and its Antidote

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the epic poem flourished as a medium to display patriotism, religious conviction, and classical scholarship. Among other admirers of Joan, the French scholar Jean Chapelain published a monumental biography in verse. It is generally accounted mediocre, but it inspired a far more masterful work. When Voltaire read this poem he declared that the French language was not suitable for the heroic epic - and began work on his mock heroic Pucelle.

M. Chapelain. La Pvcelle, ov La France Deliverée: Poëme Heroïque. Third edition, revised. Paris: Augustin Courbé, 1657.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

Père Le Jeune. L'Amazon Françoise, Poëme Nouveau. Revised and corrected. Rouen: Ph. Pierre Cabut, 1729.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

Jean de Roussy. Aurelia, ou Orléans Deliveré, Poeme Latin Traduit en François. Paris: Merigot, 1738.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


Voltaire takes the appellation 'the Maid' literally, and turns the historical contest between the French and the English into a battle for Joan of Arc's virginity, upon which the fate of the war depends. In a work which focuses on the sexual exploits and desires of the characters (ascribed without regard to historical fact) the Maid is the subject of a series of attempted rapes and seductions, and in fact becomes the lover of the Count Dunois. It is difficult not to see in the risqué engravings, attributed to Henri Gravelot, a reflection of the 'heroic' nudity in the edition of Chapelain. In the illustration shown, Joan has been defeated in battle by John Chandos; he intends to rape her, but he will be denied this 'victory' when St. Denis makes him impotent.

Francois Marie Arouet De Voltaire. La Pucelle D'Orleans: Poeme Divise en Vingt Chants, Avec des Notes. Geneva: Cramer, 1762.

Francois Marie Arouet De Voltaire. The Maid of Orleans, or La Pucelle. W.H. Ireland , translator.
London: J. Miller, 1822.

On the Stage

Joan's earliest appearance on stage was in the mystery play, The Siege of Orléans. It was first performed as part of Orléans' public festival of thanksgiving for their delivery from the English soon after the event - by 1435 at the latest. The people of Orléans were apparently not impressed by the heresy conviction: the play makes it clear that Joan's instructions come directly from God. It is an epic pageant - 20,529 lines long, with 146 speaking roles, and 201 scenes; it probably took at least two days to perform in full. The version of the text shown is the first printed edition, based on the sole manuscript, Vatican Library 1022.

Le Mistère du Siège d'Orléans. François Guessard and Eugène de Certain, editors. Paris: Imprimerie Impériale, 1862.

Saint Joan of Orleans: Scenes from the Fifteenth Century Mystère du Siège d'Orléans. Joan Evans, translator. Oxford: Clarendon, 1926.

Joan has graced the stage in at least a hundred published dramatic works. Some are deservedly forgotten; some are examples of a great playwright's ability to make something that lives on. This is the earliest edition of Schiller's soaring drama, printed soon after it was first performed in Leipzig in September 1801. The work achieved iconic status as poetry, but is far removed from the facts: Joan has an enchanted helmet and falls in love with an English soldier. Captured by the English, she rips off her chains by (miraculous) main force and dashes back into battle, only to be wounded. Her apparently lifeless body is brought before the king, where she revives long enough to rise, raise her banner, and see the Blessed Virgin welcoming her to heaven before she finally falls.

Friedrich Schiller. Die Jungfrau von Orleans. Ein romantische Tragödie. Berlin: Johann Friedrich Unger, 1801.
Seymour Adelman Fund.

D'Avrigni's tragedy, first performed at the Comedie Française in 1819, is only slightly more firmly bound to the historical facts. The Duke of Bedford tries to persuade Joan to go to England; the Duchess of Bedford and Talbot try to save her life. She is actually burned, although by mistake, but she manages several patriotic speeches while the confused arguments swirl around her. Bedford has the last word, bewailing the eternal blot on his honor.

C. J. L. D'Avrigni. Jeanne d'Arc à Rouen, Tragédie en Cinq Actes, en Vers. Paris: l'Advocat, 1819.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


Shaw's play is probably the best known work on Joan for the stage. In this extraordinary drama centering on "the most notable Warrior Saint in the Christian calendar, and the queerest fish among the eccentric worthies of the Middle Ages," Shaw created a group of thoroughly human characters. With dialog, especially in the trial scenes, based to a great extent on historical records, Joan emerges as a pious patriot, struggling against both church and state.

Bernard Shaw. Saint Joan, A Chronicle Play in Six Scenes and an Epilogue. Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1924.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


The Lark is the foremost drama about Joan since Shaw's. Her history is staged as a series of flashbacks out of sequence, to emphasize the message of her story, rather than its events. The execution is interrupted, for example, so the play can end with Charles' coronation, and Cauchon, the bishop who led the interrogation is given the last word, "Joan of Arc: a story which ends happily."

Jean Anouilh. The Lark. Christopher Fry, translator. New York: Oxford University Press, 1956.


As well as presentation on the legitimate stage, Joan has a long history of appearing in plays and pageants mounted by amateur theatrical troupes. Bryn Mawr College is no exception: Joan, described as "Saint" before she was beatified, was the subject of the 1905 Junior-Senior Supper Play.

Sainte Jeanne La Pucelle. Junior-Senior Supper Play, 1905.
Bryn Mawr College Archives

On the Screen

Joan of Arc's story has all the components needed for compelling cinema: enormous battle scenes, the spectacle of court and coronation, pastoral interludes, and a strong female character who can be heroic, feminist, tormented, or psychotic, as the scriptwriter and director see fit. As a result, the celluloid interpretations of her character are as varied as those in any other medium, and there has been a steady audience throughout the twentieth century for Joan on screen. Joan the Woman was Cecil B. DeMille's first historical film, and the first movie about Joan filmed as a spectacle. It was based on Schiller's Jungfrau but adheres more closely to historical fact; Joan is burned at the stake, for example. DeMille was inspired by events in Europe, and the film promoted the growing feeling that America should enter the war, coming to the aid of France and civilization.

"A Great Diva on the Films, In the Immortal Story of the Maid of Orleans." The Tatler, November 15, 1916, n. 803.
Joan the Woman, 1916. Director: Cecile B. DeMille. Joan played by Geraldine Farrar. Script by Jeannie MacPherson.


La Merveilleuse Vie de Jeanne d'Arc is a late silent film which was little known for decades. An enormous success when it was released, it emphasized Joan's role as a military leader. The film was strongly influenced by France's recent struggles; the subtitles stress patriotic themes, and the director had the cooperation of the government in the filming. French troops appeared as extras, which permitted the battle scenes, shot with the walls of Carcassone as a backdrop, to achieve epic proportions. The coronation scenes were filmed in Reims Cathedral, newly restored after its bombing in the First World War.

Sketch Book Magazine. May 1931, v. 8, n. 5; "French Number".
Illustrated with scenes from La Merveilleuse Vie de Jeanne d'Arc, 1928. Director: Marc de Gastyne. Jeanne played by Simone Genevoix.


Victor Fleming's Joan of Arc was filmed with all the splendor the director could muster - beautiful sets, spectacular costumes, a famous star - and cost five million dollars. Ingrid Bergman had starred in the stage production of Anderson's play, Joan of Lorraine, and vigorously pursued the possibility in playing Joan on film for years. The surprisingly narrow range of expressions displayed in the advertising is characteristic of the film; critics routinely describe Bergman's performance as "wooden."

Joan continues to fascinate film makers, movie goers, and television audiences. She has appeared in comedies (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, 1989), science fiction and horror stories (Forever Knight episode: "For I Have Sinned", 1995; Witchblade, 2000), and more or less historical recountings of her story (History Makers: Joan of Arc, 1996; Jeanne la Pucelle: The Battles/The Prisons, 1997; Joan of Arc, 1999). The lushest of the recent films is The Messenger, which combines spectacular and bloody battle scenes with a prolonged self-examination of Joan's psychological status during her captivity. The film was praised for cinematography and acting, but many critics found it inconsistent and self-indulgent.

"The Greatest Story of WOMAN… not one human emotion left untouched". Life Magazine, 1948.
Joan of Arc, 1948. Director: Victor Fleming. Joan played by Ingrid Bergman. Script by Maxwell Anderson and Andrew Solt from Anderson's play, Joan of Lorraine.

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, 1999. Director: Luc Besson. Joan played by Milla Jovovich. Script by Luc Besson and Andrew Birkin.

Selling It

Although Joan of Arc has broad appeal, advertisers often call on her particularly to sell products to the female consumer. The relationship between Joan and the target audience is often clearer than that between her and the product. In America, she has been used longest by Joan of Arc beans - the company's website proclaims: "Joan of Arc was an amazing woman…We, at Joan of Arc®, like to think that we're amazing too!" and describes their product as "divinely inspired." Swissrose International uses the figure of Joan to reinforce the French ambience of their Brie. Dr. Pierce, who ran a medical facility in Buffalo, N.Y., advertised patent remedies (most of them purgatives) in a booklet featuring Famous Women. Besides Joan, Cleopatra, Pocahontas, Molly Pitcher, Queen Victoria, and Florence Nightingale were called upon to promote Dr. Pierce's aids to beauty, health, and charm. And the Edison-Dick mimeograph could be used profitably by the woman who, like Joan of Arc, employed the materials at hand.

Items displayed:
Joan of Arc Beans:
Recipes from the Happy Home Show
Matchbook cover
Bean recipes
Chili beans
Web page printout
Brie box
Famous Women - Dr. Pierce's nostra
Mimeograph ad

Joan of Arc is so universally loved that she is a reliable tourist attraction, and many municipalities promote her association with their town or city. Although the French fêtes in honor of Joan of Arc only brought in tourists once a year, the creation of monuments assured a steady interest in a locale. Domremy, Orléans, and Paris all possess substantial numbers of sites interesting to the pilgrim. Towns in which Joan never set foot profit as well: New Orleans, founded in 1718, pictured an equestrian figure of Joan on its commemorative medallion for the 250th anniversary of the city. And Philadelphia has long been adorned by Fremiet's great statue, once in Fairmount Park, now on Kelly Drive next to the Museum of Art.

Items displayed:
Orléans postcard set
Postcards: Souvenir…; Modern Orléans; Fremiet in Fairmont Park
New Orlean's medal


Joan has been a useful adjunct to advertising for many years: La Lorraine beer was among the sponsors of de Gombervaux's 1893 Jeanne d'Arc, Sa Mission, son Culte. She was popular in the collectible cards issues by various advertisers: Bryn Mawr's collection of ephemera includes four of the six-card series on Joan issued by the Compagnie Liebig, manufacturers of OXO bouillon cubes. The college also has "Joan of Arc" from the series of Famous Minors, issued by Godfrey Phillips Ltd., a manufacturer of tobacco products - presumably the fact that both their goods and Joan were burned is coincidental. A consortium of electric companies punned on Joan's name and reputation to promote themselves as supporters of America's war effort. The Ringling Brothers circus drew on the vast popularity of Joan of Arc just before the outbreak of the First World War to promote their "newly added $500,000 spectacle": "The Most Sublimely Beautiful Story in all Modern History Expressed in that entirely New Form which is Just Now Amazing All Europe."

Items displayed:
OXO bouillon cube cards
Godfrey Phillips tobacco card
Pencil case
Ringling Bros courier
De Gombervaux. Jeanne d'Arc, 1893. Ad for beer

Saint Joan

Even before she was canonized, Joan was venerated, especially in France. The Church requires that no religious honor be paid to person who have not been officially beatified, and in fact such honor can interfere with the process of canonization. Public opinion is hard to contain, however, and in this stunning multicolor woodcut, the artist conflates the Savior of France with the Savior of the World in an unusually frank depiction of the enthusiasm for Joan of Arc in the decades around 1900.

Almanach National de Jeanne d'Arc 1891. Paris: Hachette & Cie., 1891.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.


Joan was also the subject of formal panegyrics in cathedrals throughout the nineteenth and century and into the twentieth. Coube's 1908 sermon speaks of the heart of the child, of the warrior, and of the martyr and ends, "Come again, oh, come again to your sweet France, immortal Dove!" Desgranges' panegyric, given under far more tragic circumstances, entrusts to the Venerable Jeanne the orphans, the widows, the injured, and the slain.

Stephen Coubé. Le Coeur de Jeanne d'Arc: Panégyrique Prononcé dans la Cathédrale d'Orléans, Le 8 Mai 1908. Paris: P. Lethielleux, 1908.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

Abbé Desgranges. Panégyrique de Jeanne d'Arc: Les Immolés de la Guerre. Prononcé à Notre-Dame le 4 Juin 1916. Paris: Bloud & Gay, 1916.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

Canonized at Last

Félix Dupanloup, Bishop of Orléans, began calling for Joan's canonization in 1855 in his sermon in her honor. In 1869 he submitted a formal request to Rome. A series of local inquisitions were held in Orléans between 1874 and 1888. The reports were favorable, and the cause was submitted to the Sacred Congregation of Rites. The course of canonization was closely followed by Joan's devotees, and books describing how the process was proceeding were popular. Many churches held yearly festivals in her honor; the stocklist of the Librairie Jeanne d'Arc shows printed pamphlets of the panegyrics delivered in Orléans.

Félix Dupanloup. Panégyrique de Jeanne d'Arc: Prononcé par Mgr. l'Évêque d'Orléans, Dans la cathédrale de Saint-Croix, le 8 mai 1855. Orléans: Gatineau; Paris: Lecoffre, 1855.
Gift of Abigail Brooks Baylis.

Théophile Cochard. La Cause de Jeanne d'Arc, Pucelle d'Orléans: Procedure, Introduction, Action de Graces. Orléans: H. Herluison, 1894.
Gift of Abigail Brooks Baylis.


After a long investigation, Joan was declared Venerable by Pope Pius X in January of 1904. Upon approval of three miracles attributed to her intercession, he declared her Blessed in 1909. Finally, in 1920 Pope Benedict XV declared Joan a saint and "a most brilliantly shining light of the Church Triumphant". The canonization ceremony took place on May 16 and Saint Peter's was thronged with French pilgrims who had come to see their Jeanne elevated. The outpouring of devotion continued for years, illustrated here by publications printed in connection with the first three years of fêtes and religious celebrations in Orléans, Paris, and Rouen.

Album Jeanne d'Arc. Paris: Orphelins-Apprentis d'Auteuil, c.1922.
Gift of Abigail Brooks Baylis.

La France Deliverée: Panegyrique de Sainte Jeanne d'Arc. Orléans: Librairie Jeanne d'Arc, 1921.
Gift of Abigail Brooks Baylis.

Fête de Sainte Jeanne d'Arc, Vierge. Paris: Paul Feron-Vrau, 1921.
Gift of Abigail Brooks Baylis.

Cathédrale de Rouen. Triduum Solennel et Fête Nationale de Sainte Jeanne d'Arc: Programme Musical. Rouen: Imprimerie de la Vicomte, 1923.
Gift of Abigail Brooks Baylis.


Once Joan was beatified, and then established as a saint, there was a flood of books and religious art to fulfill the desires of the faithful. The holy cards displayed date from c.1905 to 1937. In the catalog of religious statues, Marcel Marron's shop in Orleans offered five full-length statues of Joan, each in several sizes and three busts. The religious publication from 1931 contains a poem with a by now familiar comparison:

Voila l'humble hameau, Domrémy la Pucelle,
La Bethléem nouvelle…

Numerous books explicated Joan's life - and laid out how it could serve as a model for the faithful. The Blessed Joan of Arc praises her vitality and endurance, as well as her religious virtues, making her familiar and accessible to a young audience. Although Joan is no longer the center of a great ferment as she was between 1870 and 1930, her cult is still important in France, and observed throughout the world.

A. Maude Royden. Blessed Joan of Arc. London: Sidgewick and Jackson, Ltd., 1923.
Gift of Adelaide Brooks Baylis.

René Berthier and Marie-Hélène Sigault. Joan of Arc. Designed by Bruno Le Sourd. Marianne Lorraine Trouvé, translator.
Rome: Pauline Books & Media, 1995.
Seymour Adelman Fund.