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The Collections: Special databases: French Revolution Documents

The most extensive research collection in the Lilly Library concerning the history of continental Europe centers on the French Revolution of 1789. This collection numbers approximately seven thousand pieces and includes all types of printed materials -- journals, polemical pamphlets, and many documents.

The Lilly Library French Revolution document collection indexed on this web site consists of 3362 legal publications and is only a small portion of the library's holdings related to the French Revolution. The documents are mostly royal and administrative acts published in pamphlet form between 1789 and 1799. There are royal edicts, arrets , adresses, declarations, reglements, lettres patentes, rapports, ordonnances, memoires, lois, and various other titled or untitled official documents.

Each document is represented in the file with a record which records the body responsible for issuing the document; the date of the act; the place, printer, and date of printing; the number of pages; French key words; relevant geographical names; and Library of Congress subject headings and assigns an item number.

Notes on searching the database

Choosing "date" in the search interface, selects a particular year. To search a specific date, choose a "keyword" search and enter the date in the form: DDMMYY, i.e. 010789 (1 July 1789). All dates are in the eighteenth century.

The "Keywords (French)" category allows for searching by selected French words which appear in the text of the documents. The words denote the type of document (i.e. arret, decret, loi) as well as indicate the subject matter of the document.

The Library of Congress subject headings (LCSH) used in the "Subjects (English)" category are not necessarily current. They are headings which were current at the time the database was created. Names which are subjects do not include the person's dates. The three most common phrases in the LCSH field are shortened to save space. They are:

Search by the shortened form in the "Subjects (English)" field.

Corporate names in the file do not include the word France, i.e. Conseil d'etat instead of France. Conseil d'etat. There are no diacritics in the entries. To enter the French vocabulary, type in the letters without the diacritics which would normally accompany them.

How to request documents

The complete call number for a document in the database consists of the classification number for the collection, followed by the item number.


no. 01.007

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Last updated: 29 November 2011

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