Here’s a real treasure trove. The Fondation Jérôme Seydoux Pathé is an organisation deciated to collecting documents and artefacts (everything, in effect, except the films) relating to Pathé. Their collection, based in Paris, comprises photographs, posters, business documents, cinematograph machinery, books, periodicals, scripts, brochures, designs… seemingly everything connected with the business empire created by Charles Pathé.
Examples of these can be found on their stylish, Flash-driven website, which has background information on each type of collection, and a useful historical timeline from the 1890s to the present day. There is also information on a Pathé filmography which they are producing, building on the herculean work undertaken by Henri Bousquet (who has produced several volumes documenting the output of Pathé in the silent era) and others. The site is, please note, all in French.
Sample search results from the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux Pathé database
The Fondation has now produced a database of its holdings (accessible from this link or via the Collections section of the site – click on Base de données). The database provides preliminary information on over 25,000 artefacts, designed to assist any researcher prior to their visiting the Fondation in person. It’s easy to use (again, all in French), and a sample search under Ferdinand Zecca (Charles Pathé’s right-hand man in the early days) yields 219 results. Many of the search results come with an associated image, creating a marvellously rich gallery of Pathé history (just look at all the extraordinary posters for the first Pathé productions if you search under Zecca).
Jérôme Seydoux is head of the Pathé and his brother Nicolas Seydoux head of the Gaumont group. Gaumont and Pathé cinemas are now merged (as EuroPalaces), as are the Gaumont-Pathé Archives. You can find the whole complex history the Ketupa site (a useful resource in itself for media ownership history).
My thanks to Mariann Sträuli for alerting to me to this site.
Update (June 2009): The filmography is now available (1896-1913).