Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal


The Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Library of the Arsenal, founded 1757) in Paris has been part of the Bibliothèque nationale de France since 1934.

Contents

History


The collections of the library originated with the private library of Marc-René, 3rd marquis d'Argenson (1722–1787), installed in 1757 in the residence of the Grand Master of the Artillery, at the heart of the ancient Arsenal of Paris. The Arsenal itself was founded by King François I in the 16th century, later rebuilt by Sully, and expanded by the architect Germain Boffrand in the 18th century. Paulmy had assembled a magnificent collection, particularly rich in medieval manuscripts and prints. In 1786 he also acquired the collection of the duc de la Vallière, but then sold the entire library to the comte d'Artois.

The library was sequestered by the state during the French Revolution, and was greatly expanded by many valuable items seized from the abbeys of Paris and also by the archives of the Bastille. On 28 April 1797 it was declared a public library.

In 1824, the writer Charles Nodier became librarian and held in the Arsenal some the most reputable literary salons of the day. In the 19th century the collections became increasingly focused towards literature, especially drama. Between 1880 and 1914 the library acquired a copy of every periodical published in Paris. In 1934 it became a department of the Bibliothèque nationale.

The library was once known as the Library of Monsieur and Balzac was once a reader there; in the early 20th century it was still accommodated in the former residence of the Grand Master.[1]

The library today


The library today holds approximately one million volumes (including 150,000 pre-1880 volumes), just over 12,000 manuscripts, 100,000 prints, and 3,000 charts and plans. Its collecting policy concentrates on French literature from the 16th century to the 19th century, publications connected with the archives and manuscript collections (fonds) already held, bibliophilia, the history of the book and bookbinding, and the history of the Arsenal itself and its occupants.

Major collections


The library is also rich in occult documents. These include the original manuscripts of The Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin, Book of the Penitence of Adam and the Grimoire of Armadel.

References


  1. ^ Cain, Georges (1928) Nooks & Corners of Old Paris. London: Richards Press; p.119

Further reading


External links









Categories: National libraries | Libraries in Paris | Buildings and structures in the 4th arrondissement of Paris




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