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Finding aid of the Oreste F. Pucciani Papers

Finding aid prepared by Michael P. Palmer, © 2008

Summary Information

Repository
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Creator
Pucciani, Oreste F., 1916-1999
Title
Oreste F. Pucciani papers
Collection no.
Coll2008.059
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1950-1985
Date [inclusive]
circa 1890-1998
Extent
4.3 linear feet.
General Physical Description note
10 archive cartons + 1 archive half-carton.
Language
English
Abstract
This collection contains materials relating primarily to the private life of Oreste Pucciani (1916-1999), UCLA Professor of French and Sartre scholar, documenting in particular his relationship with his long-time lover, Rudi Gernreich, and his close friends, art director Jacques Faure (1926-1986), poet Stanley Kuniholm (1912-1984), and Lionel Mailles (born 1951). The bulk of Pucciani's personal writings consists of erotic short stories written most probably between 1975 and 1980. The bulk of the materials relating to Rudi Gernreich consists of condolence letters to Pucciani after Gernreich's death, together with a small number of cards and letters addressed to Gernreich, letters to Pucciani from Gernreich's mother, and a videocassette recording of a talk given by Pucciani on his late partner in 1993. The bulk of the materials relating to Faure, Kuniholm, and Mailles consists of letters received by Pucciani; however, the Mailles files include copies of letters, poems, and essays addressed by Pucciani to Mailles. The materials received from Kuniholm include a large number of poems, short stories, and essays documenting the poet's creative processes. The collection also contains a small number of subject files, publications, and miscellaneous memorabilia and ephemera.

Preferred Citation

Oreste F. Pucciani papers, Coll2008-059, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

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Biography

Oreste Francesco Pucciani was born in Cleveland on April 7, 1916, the son of a candy manufacturer. He attended the Cleveland public schools and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Adelbert College, Western Reserve University (now Case Western University) in 1939. He took his doctorate in Romance languages from Harvard in 1943. In 1946-47, Pucciani studied in France and Italy on a Sheldon Traveling Fellowship, meeting Sartre and his companion Simone de Beauvoir. Returning to the United States in 1947, Pucciani lectured at Harvard, before joining the faculty of the University of California Los Angeles as an Assistant Professor of French in 1948. He was became an Associate Professor in 1954, and a full Professor in 1960. He was chairman of the French department from 1961 to 1966, and became emeritus in 1979.

Pucciani's scholarly interests were diverse. His doctoral dissertation was devoted to the reception of Walt Whitman in France. The French Theater since 1930 (1954) remains a useful anthology of French theater in the years between the world wars. He also published a well regarded translation of Racine's masterpiece  Phédre in 1961. But Pucciani is best known as an interpreter of the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre, and pioneered in teaching courses on Sartre at UCLA before the philosopher's works were translated into English.

In addition to his work on Sartre, Pucciani was well known as a theorist on methods of language acquisition. He had studied with Emile B. de Sauzé at Western Reserve in the 1930s, and was an ardent champion of Sauzé's "direct method" of language teaching, in which all instruction, including explanations of grammar and vocabulary, is given in the target language. In the late 1950s, Pucciani pioneered in adapting the direct method (still little known outside the Cleveland public schools) to the UCLA French Department's language program. The highly successful and influential textbook, Langue et Langage, published by Pucciani and Jacqueline Hamel in 1967, described the department's experience with the direct method, and revealed the advantages of immediate and total immersion in a foreign tongue.

For his services to French language and culture, Pucciani was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Legion of Honor by the French government in 1965.

Pucciani was the long-time lover of fashion designer Rudi Gernreich. In 1988, after Gernreich's death, he established the ACLU Rudi Gernreich-Oreste Pucciani Endowment Fund to support the fight for GLBT rights.

He died in Los Angeles on April 28, 1999.

Source:

1999, University of California: In Memoriam, http://content.cdlib.org/xtf/view?docId=hb267nb0r3&brand=calisphere (accessed November 2, 2008).

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Scope and Content of Collection

This collection contains materials relating primarily to the private life of UCLA Professor of French and Sartre scholar Oreste Pucciani, documenting in particular his relationship with his long-time lover, Rudi Gernreich, and several of his close friends. The collection is arranged in the following series: 1. Oreste Pucciani; 2. Rudi Gernreich; 3. Friends; 4. Subject Files; 5. Publications; 6 Audio Visual; and 7. Miscellanea. The bulk of Pucciani's writings consists of erotic short stories written most probably between 1975 and 1980. The writings also include a number of poems, possibly translations of works by Stanley Kuniholm. The bulk of the materials relating to Rudi Gernreich consists of condolence letters to Pucciani after Gernreich's death. Other materials include a small number of cards and letters addressed to Gernreich, and letters to Pucciani from Gernreich's mother. The Friends Series documents in particular Pucciani's relationship with three men, Jacques Faure, Stanley Kuniholm, and Lionel Mailles. The bulk of the materials consists of letters received by Pucciani; however, the Mailles files include copies of letters, poems, and essays addressed by Pucciani to Mailles. The materials received from Kuniholm include a large number of poems, short stories, and essays. The collection also contains a small number of subject files, publications, a videocassette recording of a talk given by Pucciani on Rudi Gernreich in 1993, and miscellaneous memorabilia and ephemera.

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Arrangement

  1. Series 1. Oreste Pucciani
  2. Series 2. Rudi Gernreich
  3. Series 3. Friends
    • Subseries 3.1. Jacques Faure
    • Subseries 3.2. Stanley Kuniholm
    • Subseries 3.3. Lionel Mailles
    • Subseries 3.4. Other Correspondents

  4. Series 4. Subject Files
  5. Series 5. Publications
  6. Series 6. Audio Visual
  7. Series 7. Miscellanea

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
© 2008
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California, 90007
(213) 821-2771
askone@usc.edu

Access

The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

Publication Rights

Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner. Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).

Acquisition Information

Circumstances of acquisition unknown.

Processing Information

Formerly boxes 103-338, 103-339, 103-345, and 103-349. Collection processed by Michael P. Palmer, November 4, 2008.

Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

Additional papers of Oreste Pucciani constitute the Oreste Pucciani Papers (Collection 585), Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

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Controlled Access Headings

Genre(s)

  • Designers
  • Gay erotic literature
  • Poetry
  • Short stories

Personal Name(s)

  • Faure, Jacques, 1926-1986
  • Gernreich, Rudi, 1922-1985
  • Kuniholm, Stanley, 1912-1984
  • Mailles, Lionel, 1951-
  • Pucciani, Oreste F., 1916-1999

Subject(s)

  • Fashion designers
  • Gay men's writings, American
  • Gay men's writings, French
  • Gays' writings, American
  • Gays' writings, French
  • Poets, American--20th century
  • Poets, French--20th century

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Collection Inventory

Series 1:  Series 1. Oreste Pucciani circa 1947-1990   0.6 linear foot.

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains writings by Pucciani, including his curriculum vitae, a 1970 appreciation of the photographer George Hoyningen-Huene, a 1990 article on Jean Genet and Sartre, and a number of poems, probably translation of works by Stanley Kuniholm (see below, Series 3, Subseries 2), published in the French periodical La Nef in 1947 and 1949. The majority of the writings are erotic, undated, but most probably written between 1975 and 1980; two of the stories are in French, the remainder in English.

 Biographical Information circa 1987 

Box Folder

 Curriculum Vitae circa 1987 

1 1

 Academic Writings circa 1947-1990 

Box Folder

 The 'Infernal Dialogue' of Jean Genet and Sartre 1990 

1 2

 George Hoyningen-Huene, 1900-1968 1970 

1 3

 Poems no date 

Scope and Contents note

Probably translations of Stanley Kuniholm poems published in La Nef, nos. 29 and 57 (1947, 1949)

1 4

 Notes no date 

1 5

 Erotic Writings no date 

Box Folder

 Bien no date   Manuscript.

1 6

 Daddy's Boy no date   Manuscript.

1 7

 Dear Jim no date   Manuscript.

1 8

 Dressing Room no date   Corrected typescript.

1 9

 A Drink of Water no date   Manuscript.

1 10

 Encounter no date   Manuscript.

1 11

 Feel It Up, Charlie! no date   Manuscript.

1 12

 Fraternity no date   Manuscript.

1 13

 High Fashion 1978   Manuscript.

1 14

 Honey Ass no date   Manuscript/typescript.

1 15

 Hospital 1977   Manuscript/typescript.

1 16

 Housemen no date   Manuscript.

1 17

 Initiatique no date   French; manuscript.

1 18

 Jeff & Yuki no date   Manuscript.

1 19

 Jock no date   Manuscript.

1 20

 Law and Order I no date   Edited typescript.

1 21

 Mike I, II, III no date   Edited typescript.

1 22

 Next Door no date   Manuscript.

2 1

 Night Shift (1) no date   Manuscript.

2 2

 Night Shift (2) no date   Manuscript.

2 3

 The Old, Old South no date   Manuscript.

2 4

 Old South no date   Manuscript.

2 5

 One Night Stand no date   Manuscript.

2 6

 Par Pitié! no date   French; manuscript.

2 7

 Paul--Lance no date   Manuscript.

2 8

 The Rig no date   Manuscript.

2 9

 Romance no date   Corrected typescript.

2 10

 Telefonata no date   Manuscript.

2 11

 Trucking no date   Manuscript.

2 12

 Untitled no date   4 items, manuscript/typescript, found loose, possibly incomplete.

2 13

 Utopia no date   Manuscript.

2 14

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Series 2:  Series 2. Rudi Gernreich 1959-1986   0.5 linear foot

Series Scope and Content Summary

Rudi Gernreich (1922-1985), Pucciani's long-time lover, was born in Vienna, and fled Austria at age 16, settling in Los Angeles. His first career was as a dancer; he later became a fabric designer, before moving into fashion design. He was known for pushing the boundaries of the "futuristic look" in clothing in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and is most notorious for inventing the first topless women's swimsuit. However, most of Gernreich's creations created a brief stir, and then quietly disappeared. Gernreich was also a gay activist and a founder of the Mattachine Society. The small group of papers in this series consists primarily of condolence letters sent to Pucciani after Gernreich's death in April 1985. The series also contains a small number of cards and letters addressed to Gernreich, papers relating to Pucciani's efforts to obtain a parking variance for Gernreich's design studio, a handwritten account by Gernreich of an injury to his hand, and a series of letters from Gernreich's mother, Elisabeth, to Pucciani during one of his sabbaticals in Europe.

Box Folder

 Acceptance speech by Oreste Pucciani for the "Special Tribute" award to Rudi Gernreich from the Council of Fashion Designers of America January 19, 1986 

2 15

 Condolence letters to Oreste Pucciani April-May 1985   5.0 folders.

2 16-19

 Condolence letters to Oreste Pucciani April-May 1985 

3 1

 Condolence letters to Oreste Pucciani 1986 

3 2

 Correspondence (letters to) 1982-1985 

3 3-4

 Design studio 1966 

3 5

 Injury to hand February 7, 1982 

3 6

 Gernreich, Elisabeth. Letters to Oreste Pucciani October 1959-June 1960 

3 7

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Series 3:  Series 3. Friends circa 1890-1998   2.25

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains papers relating to several of Pucciani's long-time friends, several of whom he supported financially in some degree.

 Subseries 3.1. Jacques Faure 1953-1986   0.3 linear foot

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Jacques Faure was born in Lyon, France, on May 22, 1926. His family later moved to Paris, where he appears to have met Pucciani in 1946, during the latter's year on the Sheldon Traveling Fellowship. The two began an affair, and Faure moved to California to be with Pucciani. When the affair ended in the early 1950s Pucciani remained a friend, both to Faure and to his mother. In 1959, Faure took the position of art director at French Vogue, published by Conde Nast, in Paris, marrying Patricia Enk a few days before returning to France. He and his wife remained in France 12 years; their daughter Zazu was born in 1965. Faure lost his position with Conde Nast and the family returned to California in 1970; Faure and Patricia were divorced shortly afterwards (Patricia later became a prominent Los Angeles art dealer). Faure spent the rest of his life working as a free-lance designer, living next door to Pucciani, who supported him during hard financial times. He died in hospital in Torrance, California, on August 1, 1986. The subseries includes letters to Pucciani from both Faure and his wife during their years in Paris, drawings by Faure separated from the letters in which they were originally sent, an account by Patricia Faure of the deterioration of their marriage, a 1984 book typescript by Faure, and papers relating to his last illness and estate, of which Pucciani served as executor.

Box Folder

 Letters to Oreste Pucciani Bulk, 1960-1968 1953-1975 (bulk 1960-1968)  (Bulk, 1960-1968)

3 8

 Diana Newman lawsuit 1986 

3 9

 Drawings circa 1960-1969 

3 10

 Estate 1986-1987 

3 11

 Last Illness 1986 

4 1

 Miscellaneous no date 

4 2

 The Red Star 1984 

4 3

 Taxes 1972-1983 

4 4

 Subseries 3.2. Stanley Kuniholm circa 1890-1984   0.75 linear foot

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Stanley Kuniholm was born in Massachusetts on June 9, 1912, of Scandinavian and New England ancestry. He graduated from Gardner High School in 1929, and appears then to have become a factory worker. He began writing poetry seriously in 1932. He later attended Tufts College, where he was associate editor of the college literary magazine, The Tuftonian, in 1938, and editor-in-chief in 1940. He later taught high school in North Brookfield and later at Manter Hall School, in Cambridge. He fell in his apartment, and was not discovered for several days, in July 1982; he never fully recovered, and died in Boston in February 1984. Kuniholm and Pucciani met in the 1930s, and remained close friends until Kuniholm's death; from at least the early 1950s Pucciani also provided Kuniholm with financial assistance. The papers in this subseries consist primarily of Kuniholm's letters to Pucciani from December 1951 to January 1953, and copies of Kuniholm's poems, short stories and essays written between 1932 and 1954. Kuniholm's letters and essays give considerable insight into his creative processes.

 Correspondence 1950-1984 

Box Folder

 Letters to Oreste Pucciani September 1950-January 1954 

Scope and Contents note

All but two letters date from December 1951 to January 1953.

4 5

 Letters to Oreste Pucciani. Poems & essays September 1950-January 1954 

4 6

 Letters to Oreste Pucciani 1960-1982 

4 7

 Last illness 1983-1984 

4 8

 Poems 1936-1954 

Box Folder

 Amanda 1939   Manuscript, composition book.

4 9

 The Failure no date   Typescript.

4 10

 The Great Cave 1953-1954   Typescript.

4 11

 The Living Mask no date   Typescript.

4 12

 The Murderer 1949   Typescript.

5 1

 Romantic Landscape 1950   Typescript.

5 2

 Uncollected Poems and Papers no date   Typescript.

5 3

 The Unfinished God no date   Typescript; 2 copies.

5 4

 The Warlock 1948   Typescript; with other poems and correspondence.

5 5

 Untitled Collection no date   Typescript.

Scope and Contents note

First poem: Hyla.

5 6

 Untitled Collection Sunday, October 4, 1953 - Monday, October 4, 1954   Typescript. 2 folders.

Scope and Contents note

One poem for each day of the year.

5 7-8

 Miscellaneous Poems no date   Typescript.

Scope and Contents note

Found loose.

5 9

 Essays & Short Stories no date 

Box Folder

 The Classic Americans no date   Typescript.

Scope and Contents note

Found loose.

5 10

 The Divine Ship 1936   Typescript. 2 copies.

5 11

 Jenny the Hawk 1953   Typescript.

5 12

 Short Stories no date   Typescript.

Scope and Contents note

  1. The Funeral
  2. The Bachelor
  3. The Saint
  4. The Man of Decision

5 13

 Through a Glass no date   Typescript.

5 14

 Untitled Essay 1953   Typescript.

5 15

 Publications 1938-1940 

Box Folder

 Tuftonian 1938, 1940 

6 1
Box Folder

 Photograph circa 1890 

6 2

 Subseries 3.3. Lionel Mailles 1975-1998   0.86 linear foot

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Lionel Mailles was born on November 19, 1951, and lives in 32170 Laas, France; he also maintains a website, telepathes.org, possibly using the name "Lionel Oreste". He and Pucciani had an intense affair in the mid-1970s, often writing to each another several times a day. Pucciani also provided extensive financial support for Mailles between from 1975 through 1977. The papers in this subseries, all written in French, consist of Mailles' letters to Pucciani from 1976 through 1979, with a few letters through the 1980s, and a single letter from 1998; and of Pucciani's letters and other writings addressed to Mailles from 1975 through 1977. The first three folders of Mailles' letters to Pucciani and all folders of Pucciani's letters to Mailles retain the titles given them by Pucciani. The majority of folders also retain Pucciani's original reverse chronological order.

 Mailles to Pucciani 1976-1989, 1998 

Box Folder

 1976 Depuis Laas April-June 1976 

Scope and Contents note

Found loose at front of binder.

6 3

 1976 Depuis Laas August 1976-March 1977   Binder.

Scope and Contents note

Arranged in reverse chronological order.

6 4

 1976 Depuis Laas March 1977 

Scope and Contents note

Found loose in binder.

6 5

  September-November 1976 

6 6

  February-May 1977 

6 7

  June-December 1977 

6 8

  January-March 1978 

6 9

  May-July 1978 

6 10

  August-September 1978 

7 1

  October-December 1978 

7 2

  1979 

7 3

 Philippe Fabrique 1982 

7 4

  1983-1989, 1998 

7 5

 Pucciani to Mailles 1975-1977 

Box Folder

 Veilleur. Texte. 1 May 12-25, 1975 

Scope and Contents note

Arranged in reverse order.

7 6

 Veilleur. Texte. 2 May 26-27, 1975 

Scope and Contents note

Arranged in reverse order.

7 7

 Lionel June 1975-April 1976 

7 8

 Poême pour Lionel June 1976 

7 9

 Paris 22.vi.76 au 4 aôut 1976 June 22-August 4, 1976 

7 10

 Journal pour Lionel August 10-25, 1976 

7 11

 Deuxième journal pour Lionel September 1976-February 1977 

Scope and Contents note

Arranged in reverse order.

8 1

 L[ionel] depuis Paris 1977 July-November 1977 

8 2

 Chronologie pour le 3 aôut '77 August 3, 1977 

8 3

 Subseries 3.4. Other Correspondents 1970-1991   0.3 linear foot

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

This subseries contains letters and other materials from other friends of Oreste Pucciani. The correspondents include graphic artist and designer Paul Batoon, born in Texas of Filipino parents, who studied at UCLA and became a protégé‚ of Rudi Gernreich; Viennese-born abstract expressionist painter and graphic artist Lilly Fenichel; E. Dale Saunders (1919-1995), professor of Japanese at the University of Pennsylvania, whose friendship with Pucciani dated from their undergraduate days at Western Reserve; and French artist Raymond Voinquel (1912-1994). The letters from Batoon to Pucciani are in French.

 Batoon, Paul 1997-1990 

Box Folder

 Letters to Oreste Pucciani 1977-1979 

8 4

 Letters to Oreste Pucciani 1980-1990 

8 5

 Fashion pictorials 1984 

8 6

 Photographs 1977-1980 

8 7
Box Folder

 Bauer, George, Jr 1987-1988 

8 8

 Fenichel, Lilly 1980-1985 

8 9

 Rezu, Luc-Olivier 1977-1978 

8 10

 Saunders, Dale 1970-1991 

8 11

 Voinquel, Raymond 1989-1990 

8 12

 Miscellaneous correspondence 1977-1990 

8 13

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Series 4:  Series 4. Subject Files circa 1971-1991   5.0 folders.

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains a small number of subject files formed from miscellaneous materials found loose among Pucciani's papers.

Box Folder

 ACLU Rudi Gernreich-Oreste Pucciani Endowment Fund 1988 

9 1

 AIDS 1986-1988 

9 2

 DeBrier, Sampson 1987 

9 3

 Foucault, Michel 1977-1991 

9 4

 Gay literature 1988 

9 5

 Genet, Jean. Le Balcon post 1971 

9 6

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Series 5:  Series 5. Publications 1937-circa 1971   0.6 linear foot

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series includes several publications found among Pucciani's papers. These include four yearbooks from Pucciani's alma mater, Adelbert College, Western Reserve University; a copy of Whit and Hallie Burnett's Things With Claws (1961), containing a short story by Pucciani; uncorrected galley proofs of Gene Horowitz's  Mr. Jack and the Greenstalks sent to Rudi Gernreich; and a typescript work on homosexuality and the church, title and author unknown, possibly written in conjunction with the work of the Metropolitan Community Church, with annotations possibly by Pucciani.

Box Folder

 Burnett, Whit & Hallie, ed. Things With Claws 1961 

Scope and Contents note

Contains short story Butch by Pucciani.

9 7

 Homosexuality and the Church circa 1971 

Scope and Contents note

No title page, author unknown. Typescript with manuscript notes, possibly by Pucciani.

9 8

 Horowitz, Gene. Mr. Jack and the Greenstalks 1969 

Scope and Contents note

Uncorrected galley proof sent to Rudi Gernreich.

9 9

 Nihon (Adelbert, Western Reserve University yearbook) 1937-1939 

Box Folder

  1937 

10 1

  1938 

Scope and Contents note

Junior class.

10 2

  1938 

Scope and Contents note

Upperclassmen.

10 3

  1939 

10 4

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Series 6:  Series 6. Audio Visual November 7, 1993   1 videocassette ; 8 mm.

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains a single videocassette recording of a talk Pucciani gave on Rudi Gernreich at ONE, Inc., on November 7, 1993.

Box Folder

 Oreste Pucciani on Rudi Gernreich. ONE, Inc. 8mm videocassette November 7, 1993   1 videocassette ; 8 mm.

11 1

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Series 7:  Series 7. Miscellanea circa 1946-1990   0.2 linear foot.

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains miscellaneous memorabilia and ephemera found among Pucciani's papers. These include an address book from 1958; four passports for Pucciani; a Christmas stocking designed by Paul Batoon; a "Hello" card with a racy pickup line; a 1974 map of Paris and environs; and a notepad itemizing Pucciani's financial support for Lionel Mailles from 1975 through 1977. Pucciani's relationship with Catherine and Joseph Icide may derive ultimately from Patricia (Enk) Faure, whose father was also a drop forger.

Box Folder

 Address book 1958 

11 2

 Batoon, Paul. Christmas stocking circa 1977-1990 

11 3

 "Hello" card no date 

11 4

 Icide, Catherine. Account book of Oreste Pucciani with financial accounts for July 1988-May 1990 

11 5

 Icide, Joseph. Identification card from International Brotherhood of Blacksmiths, Drop Forgers & Helpers circa 1946 

11 6

 Mailles, Lionel. Memo notepad of Oreste Pucciani with notes on his financial support for 1975-1977 

11 7

 Paris. Michelin map of the environs of 1974   Scale 1 : 100 000.

11 8

 Passports for Oreste Pucciani 1951, 1970, 1975, 1988 

11 9-12

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