Tuesday, November 18, 2008

French Revolution Pamphlets Available in the Digital Media Repository for Teaching, Learning, and Research

A collection of rare pamphlets from the French Revolution period is now available in digital format. Students, faculty, staff, and researchers globally may access these documents anytime from anywhere, 24/7/365. The French Revolution Pamphlet Collection can be found in the Ball State University Digital Media Repository, a project of the University Libraries, at http://libx.bsu.edu.

The collection contains pamphlets published from 1779 through 1815. Although the French Revolution occurred from 1789 to 1799, this collection documents the time leading up to the revolution through the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815). Often privately printed due to newspaper censure by the French monarchy, the pamphlets were used to disseminate information and ideas concerning nationalism, citizenship, personal freedom, and social injustice.

The French Revolution Pamphlet Collection, which is housed in the Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections, was originally purchased from Mrs. Frances Reynolds in 1973. The University acquired it to assist an increasing number of history and French students in their research and studies. While it has served that purpose on several occasions since, the digital version will now make the collection available to a world-wide audience of students and researchers, anytime, anywhere. The collection will have new life for Ball State students and faculty who probably were not aware of this potentially research-rich resource.

The effects of the French Revolution were far-reaching and global. The resulting wars propelled Britain to global dominance. Many historians consider the French Revolution as the beginning of modern Europe. Much like the American Revolution, it was a movement of the masses. Since newspapers were heavily censored, the French revolutionaries turned to pamphlets to disseminate political discourse. Pamphlets became the most important tool for propaganda and political discourse.

The collection contains 544 pamphlets. Digitizing is continuing and the entire collection will ultimately be available in the Digital Media Repository. While the pamphlets are in French, an English title is provided as well as the French one. A link to a finding aid in English for the entire collection is available on the splash page. Our objective is to eventually provide a translation of each document.

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