As early as 1850, Thomas Dobrée had a passion for hand-written documents and he started collecting all sorts, including letters, treaties, receipts, papal bulls etc.
He would buy them directly or through public sales. His collection is made of more than 3,000 hand-written documents printed on vellum or on paper, dating from the Middle-Ages all the way to the 19th century, with a particularly large number from the 17th century.
On these documents, we can find signatures from many French historical figures such as Napoleon, Moliere, Louis XIV, Anne of Brittany, Catherine de’ Medici, La Fontaine and Richelieu among others.
The Dobrée museum also holds archives relating to the institution’s donors or collectors as well as the history of the departmental museum. These collections give precious information on the artifacts endowed to the museum or acquired by it, including the collections of Octave de Rochebrune, Thomas Dobrée, Paul Thoby, Jean L'Helgouac'h, Fortuné Parenteau and more.