France

Thomas Paine and the trial of Louis XVI

While many Americans are familiar with Thomas Paine as the author of the 1776 political pamphlet Common Sense and as a Founding Father of the United States of America, fewer are familiar with Paine’s French political career.  In gratitude of…

Potato: friend of man and beast

I’m pretty fond of potato-based foods. However, if I’d been alive in late 18th century France, chances are good that I would have needed some coaxing to eat a potato. In fact, the Commission d’agriculture et des arts published a…

To reduce dependence on foreign (cooking) oil

De l’huile de faine (Case FRC 10929) was a pamphlet I cataloged early in the project, but it remains a memorable one because I have long been interested in matters culinary. The author, Jacques Antoine Boudin, was a député from…

Revolutionary Expense Reports

On 21 nivose an III (10 January 1795), not long after the end of the Reign of Terror, the Convention nationale passed a law dictating that all the représentants en mission furnish a report of their activities, appropriations and expenditures…

Heads will roll: the trial and execution of Louis XVI

For the past few months, I have shifted gears to work exclusively on cataloging the Louis XVI Trial and Execution Collection. The Louis collection overlaps with the French Revolutionary Collection (FRC) in that it contains pamphlets from the same time…

Dictionnaire de Trévoux

While many book prospectuses, considering their ephemeral nature, are little more than simply printed single-sheet advertisements, some are rather lushly printed to showcase the beauty and importance of the book they are advertising. One such example from the Newberry’s Collection…

Manuel de l’éducation des abeilles

One of the more interesting items I’ve come across lately is a beekeeping handbook from 1798 entitled Manuel de l’éducation des abeilles, ou, Manière sûre et facile de les conserver, de les multiplier et d’en tirer un grand profit (Case…

Notaries and the book trade

When 18th-century booksellers and publishers in France planned to publish a new title, it was not uncommon for them to request in prospectuses or advertisements for the proposed work that subscribers mail their subscription fee to a notary, who acted…

What is a book prospectus?

The Collection of publishers’ prospectuses, catalogs, and other materials at the Newberry Library contains, not unsurprisingly, a large number of book prospectuses.  A book prospectus is a description or advertisement with which a bookseller or publisher hopes to generate interest…

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