FYI France

File 3: Ejournal and archive

by Jack Kessler,

October 15, 2012 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on October 15, 2012 -- and, a little later, on, and at Facebook-Jack Kessler's Notes

From this point you can link / jump up to the main page for,

3.00 FYI France: Ejournal and archive

or to,

The FYI France Home Page

Versions of the following have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Ejournal subscriptions may be obtained via email request to:

Here this file is one of a number made available -- hopefully attractively, all in one place, and relevant to libraries and online digital information work in France and Europe -- as part of FYI France (sm)(tm), an online service to which anyone can subscribe for 12 months by postal mailing a check for US $45, payable to Jack Kessler, to PO Box 460668, San Francisco, California, USA 94146 (site licenses also are available): please write your email address on the front of your check. And you can pay via PayPal, on the FYI France homepage:

Please email suggestions for improvements to me at




FYI France : Voltaire & Du Châtelet,
4 Sale? a digital appeal...


One of the greatest opportunities provided by digital libraries is preservation -- of digital versions of printed and manuscript works, and of the originals themselves.

Herewith, then, a last-minute appeal for saving an extraordinary collection of originals, one going on-sale the week after next: a collection well-worth protecting from commercial dispersal... in proper archival-order... with finding-aids... and global public access via online digitized copies... and meticulous HVAC etc. preservation of the originals for careful scholarship... we don't want to find these framed as individual "collectibles" sheets of old paper on the scattered walls of some global "Voltaire-Châtelet Hotels" chain, someday...




The appeal itself appears below: shortcut --

First here, though, a description: of Voltaire and Du Châtelet and their life together at Cirey, an era productive of so many topics of interest -- from The Enlightenment to The French Revolution to The Industrial Revolution, The Role of Women, and the private lives of this remarkable pair -- all described in invaluable detail by these documents now being put up for sale -- the following translated by me from,


> Among the lieux de mémoires embodying the Enlightenment, few names resonate more than does the Château de Cirey in Champagne, where for fifteen years Voltaire lived with Émilie Du Châtelet, after the publication and the censorship of his, Lettres philosophiques.

> The site still evokes the legendary couple, a rare combination of heart and soul, the intellectual intensity of an exceptional encounter.

> It was at Cirey that Voltaire wrote his, Éléments de la philosophie de Newton, his, Traité de métaphysique, his, Discours en vers sur l'homme. Other works which would distinguish his career were begun here, as well : le Siècle de Louis XIV, l'Essai sur les mœurs, La Pucelle, among others.

> Émilie studied, at Cirey, the sciences, math and physics above all, with the passion she devoted to everything she undertook, producing for example the first annotated French translation of the famous Principia mathematica of Newton, which she finished a few days before her death in 1749.

> In 1765 ownership of the château passed to the son of Émilie, Louis-Marie-Florent, who in 1789, just before the taking of the Bastille, gave it to his niece, Diane-Adélaïde de Damas, Mme de Simiane. After this Cirey would remain in the Damas family until the end of the 19th century.

> The chateau was emptied during the Revolution: when Mme de Dimiane re-took possession of it she was unable to find a single chair. One would think the archives of the Du Châtelets and the library of Cirey would have been dispersed or destroyed, but this was not the case, and in 2010 we found that the library and archives from the château still existed, having survived the Revolution.

> In 1892 the library was installed in the new house of the Damas family, built for them in the countryside north of Cirey, and the archives were stored in the attic in ten large wooden cases. They may be found there today, a century later...

> The actual archives of the family, a vast collection dating from the 13th c. to the Revolution, were deposited in August 2012 with the Archives départementales de la Haute-Marne at Chaumont.

> The scientific and personal manuscripts of Émilie Du Châtelet and Voltaire, however, will be sold at auction at Paris on October 29, 2012.

> Among these are many documents of exceptional interest:

>The national government authorities, Archives Nationales, and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, all immediately were advised of these discoveries, and all are doing their best. Pre-emptive interventions are being studied -- but it is clear that the safeguarding of this exceptional patrimonial collection will depend in great part on the welcome which you accord to this public appeal by the Fonds De Dotation Voltaire.

> It is urgent to move on this, to alert others whom you know, and to donate, even modestly...

> To contribute to the safeguarding of the manuscripts of Émilie Du Châtelet, please follow this link --


> This appeal for donations has been launched by the Fonds De Dotation Voltaire with the approval of the Archives de France and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

> All contributions received will be turned over to the public organizations which acquire the manuscripts of the October 29 sale. The donations turned over will not be cashed until after the sale has been held.




The appeal itself --


> From: Andrew Brown
> To:
> Sent: Sun, 30 Sep 2012 05:02:17 -0700 (PDT)
> Subject: ["EXLIBRIS-L"] Du Châtelet manuscripts -- appeal for donations

> May I encourage members of the list to drawn the attention of their contacts to the appeal for donations that has been launched to help the French State acquire the manuscripts of Émilie Du Châtelet and Voltaire that will be sold at auction in Paris by Christie's on 29 October?

> The appeal, undertaken with the approval of the Archives de France and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, aims to assist public libraries and archives in France to preempt at the sale. All contributions received will be made over to the public bodies able to make purchases on 29 October. Payments made will not be banked until after the sale.

> Substantial tax credits are available to those paying tax in France and all donors may appear, if they wish, on the published list of donors.

> Donations play a double role, financial and moral. All contributions, at whatever level, support the decisions that must soon be taken by those who will determine the public funding available.

> Donations can be made by French cheque, Visa or Mastercard, bank transfer (all charges at the expense of the donor, please) and by Pay Pal.

> These links may be useful:

> With thanks for all that you can do to pass the word.


> Andrew Brown, Président
> Fonds de dotation Voltaire
> 26 Grand'rue
> F-01210 Ferney-Voltaire

> Téléphone: 04 50 28 06 08
> Fax: 09 59 34 42 11
> Courriel:
> W3:




Note [by JK]:

One of the greatest opportunities provided by digital libraries is preservation, as I said initially here. Sometimes, amid the sound & fury of our daily lives... -- personal & professional &, this Fall in the US anyway, political -- it's an inundation, I know -- but unique opportunities still do arise to Make A Difference.

Saving this collection and archiving it is one-such, I suggest... So much the better, then, if the online digital and preservation and scholarly skills particularly-represented among readers here are particularly-relevant to the tasks needed for this.

I earnestly hope a Mæcenas or 3 might emerge -- see the links and other contacts information shown above, and please use them.

In addition, there is vindication available here for so much that so many of us have worked so hard on: let's conserve and preserve and make accessible these fascinating things -- that is what we are good at, and it's what "digital libraries" are all about.


Jack Kessler,






From this point you can link / jump up to,

The FYI France Home Page ,

or you can link / jump over to:

1.00 FYI France: Print Libraries in France
2.00 FYI France: Digital Libraries in France
3.00 FYI France: E-Journal and Archive
4.00 FYI France: Publishers in France
5.00 FYI France: Book-Dealers in France
6.00 FYI France: Calendar
7.00 FYI France: Discussion and Debate
8.00 FYI France: La Francophonie
9.00 FYI France: Internet Training & Consulting
10.00 FYI France: Essai
11.00 FYI France: Translation Services
12.00 FYI France: Bibliographies / Resource Lists
or you can,
Return to the top of this page .

M. Eiffel

Copyright © 1992- by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved.
W3 site maintained at
Document maintained by: Jack Kessler,
Last update: November 17, 2012