Facets of French History: Resources for Research in the Stanford University Libraries

Exhibition Highlights French History Collections

The Stanford University Libraries, Department of Special Collections, held an exhibition called Facets of French History: Resources for Research in the Stanford University Libraries. This exhibition highlighted the French history collections at the Stanford University Libraries and the Hoover Institution Archives. These collections include a broad spectrum of primary source and rare materials that span several centuries. Facets of French History was on view at Stanford University’s Cecil H. Green Library, Peterson Gallery, second floor of the Bing Wing from March 17 through June 12, 2005. The exhibition was free and open to the public.

Organized by Sarah Sussman, Curator of French and Italian Collections at the Stanford University Libraries, Facets of French History showcased primary source materials that narrate the French past through their textual contents, the images that they contain, and their very essence as artifacts of a specific time, place, and purpose. Some of the materials displayed were classics – the necessary tools of historians working in a specific period or on a particular topic. Other items were more obscure yet provided equally relevant views on the past.

The exhibition was arranged around four main themes chosen as examples of both current and enduring interest among historians of France: War and RevolutionRecording the French,Discovery, and Society and EconomyWar and Revolution began with the Revolution in 1789 and ended with the World War II. Recording the French showed different ways that French society came to be represented, through personal narratives and the spectacle of Fairs and Expositions. Discovery included documents about scientific discovery, travel, colonialism, and French intellectualism with an emphasis on the Age of Enlightenment. The materials included in Society and Economy illustrated ways that the French sought to regulate and attain political, economic, and social harmony in the public and private spheres.

Facets of French History was presented in conjunction with the 51st Annual Meeting of the Society of French Historical Studies, hosted at Stanford. The conference provided the initial impetus for the exhibition. 

The exhibition inspired visitors to question their understanding of France, learn more about a specific topic, and to think about the various genres and formats of historical sources awaiting discovery in the Stanford University Libraries and Hoover Institution collections.

LOCATION: Peterson Gallery, Green Library
Bing Wing, Second Floor
Stanford University, Stanford, CA

HOURS: Exhibit cases are illuminated Monday-Friday from 10 am to 6 pm; Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday 1 to 6 pm. The gallery is accessible whenever Green Library is open and hours vary with the academic schedule. For library hours, call 650-723-0931.