Personal journal of a Parisian scrivener manuscript
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
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Overview and metadata sections
This journal documents the life and intimate thoughts of a Parisian middle class tradesmen at the beginning of the first French empire. André [identified as the author], writes about the various details of his daily life from poor meals to his constant search for employment. When employed, he worked as a scrivener, a clerk or notary. André lived in the sixth arrondissement, near the Luxembourg and the Boulevard Saint Germain.
This journal documents the life and intimate thoughts of a Parisian middle class tradesmen at the beginning of the first French empire. He records his expenditures and meals, and lists people he visited in search of work. Entries begin on September 1, 1805 (p.1). Recurring figures present in the diary include: M. Vuillemin [his employer] and his wife and teenage daughter; various tradesmen such as the blanchisseur (launderer), cordonnier (shoemaker), milk-woman, his landlady, the perruquier (wig-maker), pawnbrokers, and a ravaudeuse (mender). Of note is his ongoing love affair with a woman of a higher social status often referred to as tu, identified in a later entry as Mad. Charles. André recounts his sexual escapades and encounters, and his frustrated desires to see more of her. Their relationship was strained due to her overprotective brother, and André's estranged wife from whom he separated. Under Napoleon, divorce became much more difficult to obtain and in 1803, as part of the establishment of the Civil Code, the law was made more restrictive. Though he barely mentioned current affairs, André's brief vignettes of people depicts everyday life in 19th-century Paris, the experiences of the working class, of attitudes towards women, sanitation, health and illness, as well as the streets, places and neighborhoods of Paris. This highly emotional and intimate personal manuscript features frequent marginal additions, and several lacunae. The final entry dates to September 4, 1807 (p.700). Modern pagination appears in upper right corner: [i-vi, 1-708]; a previous owner added collational signatures in pencil as well as the dates in the Gregorian calendar converted from the French Republican calendar.
Sold by Musinsky Rare Books (New York), 2022.
Accessioned as 2022.000144. Samantha Dodd processed, wrote and encoded the finding aid, 2023.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Samantha Dodd
- Finding Aid Date
- 2023 May 16
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
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