Focusing on four collections of French pamphlets recently cataloged through a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources, this exhibition displays pamphlets published from about 1600 to the French Revolution. These pamphlets served as modes of dissemination and diversion and as teaching tools and educational models. Centuries after their publication, they form the foundation for current and future scholarly projects.
While this exhibition focuses on just two hundred years of French history, the four collections featured here are comprised of pamphlets from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. The French Revolution Collection includes more than thirty thousand items published around the time of the Revolution. Carefully conserved since the time of their publication, the pamphlets in the Louis XVI Trial and Execution Collection chronicle one of the most significant events of the Revolution: the trial of the ousted king. The Saint-Sulpice Collection spans several centuries and includes funeral orations, commemorative poetry, and other biographical pamphlets that the Sulpician priests of Paris collected to teach their seminarians rhetorical writing skills. Finally, the Newberry’s collection of publishers’ prospectuses, catalogs, and other materials is a unique assemblage of ephemeral documents that illuminates the history of the French book trade.