Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Chambrun mss., ca. 1864-1901, consists of the papers of Charles-Adolphe de Pineton, Marquis de Chambrun (1831-1891). Chambrun was a French lawyer who became an unofficial representative of France in the United States during the Civil War. He was anti-slavery and a supporter of the Union despite the fact that most of France was pro-Confederate. Chambrun's father-in-law, Claude François de Corcelles, was friends with Charles Sumner, and their friendship gave Chambrun a link to Abraham Lincoln and the White House. Chambrun established a close relationship with Lincoln that began before the Civil War and lasted until Lincoln's assassination; he did so through Mary Todd Lincoln, who spoke French fluently.

The collection includes Chambrun's correspondence during his time in the United States and beyond. It is largely in French. A substantial portion of his correspondence is to his wife, Marthé he wrote to her once a week, sometimes more, updating her on his travels and life in Washington D.C. Chambrun's letters to his wife have been bound and comprise two volumes. The collection also includes newspaper clippings, a family tree, photographs, two letters written by Charles Sumner, insurance papers, mason's specifications for construction plans, drafts of a book --- both handwritten and typewritten, unbound pages of a book, and two books by or about Chambrun: Un Français Chez Les Lincoln by René de Chambrun, and Impressions of Lincoln and the Civil War: A Foreigner's Account by Marquis Adolphe de Chambrun.

Acquired: 2015

Collection size: 4,600 items

NOTE: Access to this collection requires advance notice. Please contact the Curator of Manuscripts for additional information.

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.