Madeleine Laurain-Portemer (1917-1996) devoted a large part of her career as a historian to Mazarin. An archivist-palaeographer (she defended her thesis on "The Great Days of the Paris Parlement from the Accession of Francis I to the death of Henry III" in 1940), first a librarian and then a curator in the manuscripts department of the National Library (1941-1964), she was a research director and then head of research at the C.N.R.S. (1964-1982), a position which enabled her to carry out extensive research abroad and collect substantial documentation on Mazarin. Many of the articles she wrote about him were published in the first volume of Études mazarines (Paris, De Boccard, 1981); the second (Une tête à gouverner quatre empires, 1996), published posthumously, contains unpublished studies.
All her research papers were given to the Mazarine in 1998 by her husband, Jean Portemer, PhD in law, professor (1945) and dean (1955-1961) of the law and economics faculty of Dijon, and then counsellor to the Court of Cassation (1961-1979).
The collection contains the extensive documentation accumulated by Madeleine Laurain-Portemer in institutions all over Europe (reading notes, transcripts of archival documents, photographs, microfilms), her own work (articles, lectures), and part of her academic correspondence. It is also described in Calames.