The Paulus Archive was founded in 1985 by Maarten J. de Meulder (born 1949) and has been established in Assen since August 1990. The archive grew from De Meulders interest in the world of cartoons. In the early 1970s, his enormous collection of cartoons and cartoon documentation forced him to specialise. Growing contacts with the Van Oort family enabled him to concentrate on 'the oeuvre of Jan Dulieu'.
None of this would have come about if De Meulder's parents hadn't frequently treated him to instalments of the woodgnome. The 1950's and '60's saw a great surge in Jean Dulieu's creativity and many editions of Paulus were published during this period. His adventures appeared in newspapers and magazines, in book series, as children's toys and nursery accessories, on radio and on records. Though small, the woodgnome was hard to miss in these years.
On 4 October 1972 De Meulder (who was married a year earlier) received his first original Paulus-illustration from the author himself and soon a warm friendship arose between the two families. Now he had access not only to spoken information about the life and work of Jean Dulieu, but also interesting memorabilia like sketches, dolls and marionettes, which, without doubt, would otherwise have been lost. During this time De Meulder had to work to convince Van Oort that conserving this memorabilia was important in order to prevent its loss or destruction.
Having begun as a wide and unstructured cartoon collection, within a couple of years, De Meulder's hobby turned into a library of Jean Dulieu's work. In 1985 De Meulder decided to name his collection, and also to give it an objective: the Paulus Archive was born. Besides drawings and watercolours from every important period of Dulieu's creative life, the Paulus Archive also owns much background material and objects dating from the early Van Oort: childhood work, drawings made during the Second World War, puppets from his puppet theatre with which he travelled throughout the country in the late 1940s, and also puppets from his first children's television series (Koning Noppie, 1957). Research in the archives also turned up interesting correspondence from that era.
Also owned by the Paulus Archive, but originally from the last part of Dulieu's career are remnants of the Paulus television cartoons which Dulieu produced in the early 1970s. It is of great importance that this material is being conserved well, but also to use it in an effective way to improve public awareness and knowledge of Holland's most famous gnome.
Questions about Jean Dulieu and Paulus the woodgnome can been mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more background information about all the publications of Paulus the woodgnome, we would refer you to the website of De Meulder Publishing, www.demeulder.nl.