The value of series

Case FRC 13528-13539

There have been a couple of times where I’ve come across a series of pamphlets in the collection that, for one reason or another, have been especially interesting. One of the first such sequences that I found was a collection of 21 pamphlets by Pierre-Antoine Antonelle (call numbers: Case FRC 13528-13539) This series was more interesting because of what I learned outside of the pamphlets. Antonelle was a mayor of Arles who was influential in the reunion of Avignon and what eventually became the department of Vaucluse with the rest of France. He was best known for writing the Catéchisme du Tiers-état, (which he may not have even written, at least according to some of the pamphlets in the collection), but very little academic research has focused on his contribution to the French Revolution. To me, coming across this and discovering that we were the only library (at least in WorldCat) to have most of these pamphlets was not only exciting from an academic standpoint, but also because it represents the value of this project and the work that we are doing here.  It really underscores the importance of cataloging, in that it makes available previously undiscovered sources. Many times it feels like the collection is primarily of interest to legal historians interested in looking at the development of the civil law system (which is a topic very well represented in this collection; there are a great many pamphlets dealing with drafts and proposed amendments, additions, and revisions of what eventually became Napoleon’s Code civil) and isn’t particularly exciting for anyone else, but every so often there comes a chunk of previously undiscovered material that renews my enthusiasm for the project.

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