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Michigan State University

Researching the French Revolution and Napoleonic Era in the M.S.U. Libraries: Free Web Sites

This is a guide to researching the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era.

Free Web Sites

Archives Portal Europe

Provides access to information on archival material from different European countries as well as information on archival institutions throughout the continent.  It searches archival finding aids available online and then users must go to the home page of the institution holding the material sought.  For European cultural and political history.

British Newspaper Coverage of the French Revolution

Links to a few newspaper articles from English newspapers on the English reception of the events.  Also links to some parts of Carlyle's work and a poem by Wordsworth.

Catalogue Collectif de la France

The French collective catalog (CCFr) is a tool for querying several catalogs of French libraries, some of which are located abroad. It is supplemented by a national directory of libraries and documentary funds (RNBFD).  Since February 2001, it has been entrusted to the National Library of France (department of cooperation).

France During the French Revolution and Under Napoleon Bonaparte, an Annotated Chronology of Civil and Military Events

By Richard Orsinger.

French Revolution Authors and Texts

Has copies of significant documents.

French Revolution Digital Archive

The French Revolution Digital Archive (FRDA) is a collaboration of the Stanford University Libraries and the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) to produce a digital version of the key research sources of the French Revolution. The archive is based around two main resources, the Archives parlementaires and a vast corpus of images first brought together in 1989 and known as the Images de la Revolution française.

French Revolution Images: Iconography from the Collections of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France

Provides access to the most complete searchable digital archive of French Revolution images available. It is based on a benchmark image-base, Images de la Révolution Française developed by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France at the Revolution’s bicentennial in 1989. The Images were originally offered in analog format on laserdisc.  The BnF rescanned at high resolution 5,126 of the images on the laserdisc from the original materials. All 5,126 images are now available online. They  were selected from across the BnF’s departments, and include thousands of images from important 19th and early 20th century collections. All images are from the period from 1787 through 1799. Only visual materials directly tied to the Revolution itself are included. Search by artist, subject, genre, and place; browse within various themes.  A spreadsheet of the full metadata can also be accessed via the The Standford Digital Repository.

French Revolution Resources, Steven Kreis

Select bibliography of secondary works and some recommended free websites.

French Studies

This guide is a list of scholarly resources in French Studies. Intended primarily for librarians; it may be useful to scholars in this field.  It is curated and managed by members of the European Studies Section (ESS) of the Association of College & Research Libraries. Users are free to copy and edit content from this guide for their own purposes.

ICON International Coalition on Newspapers

From the Center for Research Libraries.  "Comprehensive source of information about significant newspaper collections in print, digital and micro formats."  Use the Advanced Search.  Put in your country, language, and range of dates desired.  Various news titles will be retrieved, with dates of coverage.

Internet Modern History Sourcebook French Revolution

Internet Modern History Sourcebook is from Fordham University.

Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution

This accessible and lively introduction to the French Revolution presents an extraordinary archive of some of the most important documentary evidence from the Revolution, including 338 texts, 245 images, and a number of maps and songs. Lynn Hunt of UCLA and Jack Censer of George Mason University—both internationally renowned scholars of the Revolution—served as principal authors and editors. The site is a collaboration of CHNM and American Social History Project (City University of New York).

This is the public face of the Fondation Napoleon, a charitable organization in Paris devoted to preservation and study of the first and second Napoleonic empires. Access in French and English to primary, secondary, and tertiary source material, including some digitized texts, images, and teaching tools.

Newberry French Revolutionary Collection Pamphlets

The Chicago, Illinois Newberry Library's French Revolution Collection consists of more than 30,000 pamphlets and more than 23,000 issues of 180 periodicals published between 1780 and 1810. The collection was acquired by the Newberry between 1957 and 1961 from Michel Bernstein, a book dealer in Paris. There are complete runs of well-known journals, as well as many rare and unknown publications. The collection represents the opinions of all the factions that opposed and defended the monarchy during the turbulent period between 1789-1799 and also contains innumerable ephemeral publications of the early Republic. While the majority of the pamphlets were printed in Paris by the Imprimerie nationale, there are also significant numbers of provincial publishers and fictitious imprints.

Paris: Life and Luxury

Paris: Life and Luxury allows one to travel to 18th-century Paris via this Getty Museum exhibit. Contains material culture objects from the upper classes at this time.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks.  Here you can download Thomas Carlyle's The French Revolution, a History and read it. This was one of the earliest interpretations of it. We now have a copy in Murray and Hong Special Collections Rare Books DC 161 .C3 1837 v. 1-3.

Robert Darnton a Literary Tour de France

Covers publishing and the book trade in France and Francophone Europe, 1769-1789, to explore the world of books on the eve of the French Revolution.  It brings together material from the vast archives of the Société typographique de Neuchâtel, a publisher and wholesaler who provided all kinds of books to all parts of France from 1769 to 1789. Follow the play of supply and demand in literature, town by town and bookseller by bookseller.  Study publishing strategies, pirating, smuggling, shipping, the role of booksellers as cultural intermediaries, and the pattern of best-sellers on a national scale. Offers a great deal of information about writers and writing.

Super-Enlightenment, a Digital Collection of the Stanford University Libraries

The Super-Enlightenment database contains thirty-six texts, written in French between 1716 and 1835 (for a full list, click on texts in any menu). Some of these were widely read in their time; others are more emblematic of the shadowy demi-monde of eighteenth-century intellectual intrigue. Taken as a corpus, they offer a fair representation of the disparate and unorthodox interests of the age.

Tennessee Bob's Famous French Links

Very broad site.  Sections offer links to: Francophonie. Books and Literature.  Art, Music, Film, Culture.  History of France and the Francophone-Speaking World.  Virtual Francophone Tourism.  French Language.  Press, Radio, TV, Telephone.  Education in French-Speaking Schools.  French Across the Curriculum and in Everyday Life.  See in the the History of France section: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution.

VERSPERA Research Project, Digitisation and Modelling of the Plans Relating to Versailles Under the Ancien Regime

The VERSPERA research project, Digitisation and modelling of the plans relating to Versailles under the Ancien Régime, aims to make the plans of the Versailles Estate under the Ancien Régime available to the public and to restore some of the missing parts through 3D modelling.  Read about it; see images.


Visitors to Versailles Database

The purpose of this tool is to draw up a list of the personal accounts of foreign visitors to the domain, palace and court of Versailles, in order to examine how the “Versailles myth” was disseminated throughout Europe. The period in question will extend from the reign of Louis XIV to the end of the 19th century, in order to establish how opinions about this place evolved, from the moment it established itself as the centre of royal power to when it became a testimony to a monarchical past. The corpus brings together a variety of texts: memoires, travel accounts, letters and even diaries, written by authors of diverse social and geographical origins. From the Centre de recherche du château de Versailles, directed by Gérard Sabatier.


Voice of the Shuttle


Voice of the Shuttle created by Alan Liu, an English Prof. at U. C. Santa Barbara.  The French section contains links to resources that are general, about the medieval period, about the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, about the French Revolution, and about a few, noted, French academic departments at universities.




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