Historic Manuscripts in France
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Oct 12, 2012 5:09 PM Last Post By: Kerouac2
Oct 2, 2012 5:48 AM
Historic Manuscripts in FranceI live in Veracruz, Mexico and soon it looks like I'll be transferred to work in Paris for several months. On the weekends in my free time I enjoy doing historical research and exploring.
Rather than reading history books written by someone else, I am interested in researching the archives for the original historical documents, log books, letters, old photographs, etc., related to the French occupations of Mexico in the 19th Century, but I don't know where to start looking.
I have been to Spain and have researched the archives at the Archivo Historico Nacional in Madrid, Simancas, near Valladolid, and the Archivo de las Indias in Sevilla, and my question is where can I find the same kind of repository for documents in Paris or the rest of France where there is some evidence of Mexico?
Some of the original photos taken of Veracruz in the 1850's were taken by Frenchmen, and I understand they are in the Musee des les Invalides, but don't know, or maybe in the Biblioteque Nacional Francais.
I will appreciate any help in pointing me in the right direction.
Oct 2, 2012 6:24 AM
1Made for the public you can have at first a look here: http://www.bnf.fr/fr/acc/x.accueil.html
Oct 2, 2012 6:52 AM
2Thanks for the link! I have looked at some of bnf's web site, but didn't find as much regarding copies of original documents as you find with the archives in Spain as well as in Mexico. I think I will probably have to personally visit the people at the bnf to find out what they have. But, at least you have gotten me started!
I am looking for military records from 1860 to 1867 regarding Mexico. This is when the French occupied Mexico. I would be interested in any first hand accounts of the area around Veracruz. Or the French Foreign Legion in Veracruz.
Thank you again for your help.
Oct 2, 2012 9:01 AM
3This site shows the opening times of the Paris archive sites:
Oct 3, 2012 4:13 AM
4The military museum in Paris seems to have a library and archives, about the history of military units and campaigns. This page has some contact details:
Their collection of objects, weapons etc will probably imclude the occupation in Mexico too.
http://www.invalides.org/pages/anglais/program_a.html. There also is a picture library.
Oct 3, 2012 5:05 AM
5Thank you for the additional information. Now I've found something called the Archives nationales and I think maybe that's what I'm looking for. Has anyone actually been in contact with people here?
Oct 7, 2012 10:37 PM
Oct 8, 2012 11:21 AM
7Thank you! I'd never heard of the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts in Paris. I'll add it to my list of places to visit and people to talk to.
Oct 8, 2012 12:17 PM
Oct 8, 2012 2:18 PM
Oct 8, 2012 9:56 PM
10just some words of caution: if I recall correctly, just showing up at an archive or the bnf requesting to be shown historical documents might not always work. most of these institutes are geared towards scientific research and don't bother with 'passers-by'. someone I know did research for her dissertation in Paris about a decade ago and getting at the relevant stuff involved some paperwork, e.g. papers from her home university etc.
I'd be glad to be proven wrong, yet just for the ease of mind I'd get in touch with archives you intend visiting and check whether any requirements apply.
p.s. e.g. BNF: http://www.bnf.fr/en/bnf/admission_and_rates/s.admission_to_reading_rooms_research_library.html?first_Art=non - so seems that individuals may have access, too, however looks to me as if this is somewhat at the discretion of the bib. perhaps you can get hold of any paper supporting your interest, and be it from your local historical society?
Oct 9, 2012 11:27 AM
11Indeed, one should make an appointment to see manuscripts for research. I'm not sure how long in advance, though. If you know what you want to see, I would send a message well ahead of time, which would give a chance for a dialogue about suggestions that they may have about similar items.
Believe me, they are very proud to show these things to the right people, because it validates their reason for existence. If they were just keeping things that nobody wants to see, what would be the point?
Here's a photo of "On the Road" -- http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq228/kerouac2/Art/005-6.jpg
Oct 12, 2012 12:37 PM
Oct 12, 2012 5:09 PM
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