Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The international news agency Agence Havas, ancestor of Agence France-Presse (AFP) Reuters, was founded in 1832 by Charles-Louis Havas (1783-1858), who translated reports from foreign papers and distributed them to Paris and provincial newspapers. Havas spent the first decade of the 19th century as a trader and supplier of colonial materials (wheat, cotton, sugar and cocoa) to the various Napoleonic armies, a profession that generated significant wealth for him. During this period Havas was also exposed to news reporting for the first time.
By the 1920s, after a difficult stint as a banker and experiencing financial troubles, Havas returned to the reporting business. Through the influence of a long-time mentor, Gabriel-Julien Ouvrard, Havas was hired to work for Ouvrard's trading company and headed a reporting operation focused on economic and financial news exclusively for Ouvrard's benefit.
Eventually Havas launched himself fully into his own news translation service, first named the Bureau Havas and culminated in the creation of Agence Havas in 1835. Havas also wrote for various French papers including the Constitutionnel. The business grew through acquisition of other reporting agencies which provided Havas with a strong and broad network of reporting infrastructure. Havas obtained the state's support of his agency in providing news to state administrative offices throughout the country. Havas began recruiting foreign reporters in Holland, Belgium, Germany and Great-Britain.
By 1840, Havas and his business partner Delaire, produced four news sheets: one of a political nature for the provincial administration, one for the regional papers, one for elected officials summarizing the prior evening's news, and lastly, one for bankers and businessmen which listed stock prices as well as summaries and excerpts of other papers.
Havas's significant network of papers and reporting earned him the reputation of heading a monopoly, a charge directly made by Balzac in 1840. Growth of the business continued, and by 1845, Havas had correspondents as far as St. Petersburg. The strength of his reputation enabled him to recruit some of the best reporters of his time, including Bernhard Wolff, the eventual founder of the Berlin-based agency Wolff; and Paul Julius Reuter, founder of Reuters.
Havas was considered a pioneer in innovation in the rapid transmission of the news. Homing pigeons played a significant role delivering stock quotes and war news updates daily from England and Belgium. Havas is believed to have had about 25,000 pigeons. Havas' news was also transmitted through the telegraph and by trains and couriers from all over France to Paris and other European countries. The year Havas retired is also the year he integrated the management of selling ad space into the management of the paper itself; an idea that his two sons would build upon and convert into an advertising monopoly in less than a decade.
"La presse au 19ème siècle : un précurseur, Charles Louis Havas," Bernard Vassor http://www.paperblog.fr/1304831/la-presse-au-19-siecle-un-precurseur-charles-louis-havas/
This collection consists of 101 lithographed news reports from 1845 to 1848, though most of the reports are from 1847. The reports focus primarily on economic and political news of the time, specific to the country in question. Some additional information about cultural and special events is also present, especially in the Paris news series.
The collection is composed of three series, News from Spain (October 24, 1846 to April 28, 1848), News from Italy (September 8, 1848 and August 23 1848) and Paris news (February 18, 1845 to March 5, 1848). The News from Spain and News from Italy series are both uniquely focused on economic and political news of their respective countries. While some ancillary information about other current events appears, it is minor. The Paris news series is broader. In addition to the political and financial reports covering the capital as well as various French regions, there are transcripts of political speeches, short reports on foreign countries (like Spain, Germany, England, Algeria and the United States), reporting of specific industries such as agriculture, and reporting of cultural events such as exhibits at the Louvre.
The Agency Havas became the world's first true news agency by translating foreign news reports and aggregating them into one publication. Papers cited for the reports on Spain include El Tiempo, Eco del Comercio, La Gazetta de Madrid, Heraldo, El Clamor Publico, Fomento de Barcelona, and L'Español. Papers cited for the reports on Italy include Patria, Concordia, Gazette de Milan and Il Constitutionale. French papers include National, Le Commerce, L'Epoque, Le Siècle, L'Esprit Publique, La Presse, Le Journal du Départ, L'Echo Agricole, Le Courrier Français, and Le Constitutionel.
Most of the collection covers 1847, a year of historical significance in and of itself, and leading up to the revolution of 1848. In France, there is coverage of the Chambre des Pairs one of the chambers of government reinstated about twenty-five years after its abolition in 1789, but which was about to be abolished again in 1848. Spain was also undergoing political turmoil at the time and the News from Spain reports provide many mentions of the events related to the Spanish Carlist Wars.
Purchase from Susanne Schulz-Falster Rare Books, 2015
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Clémence Scouten
- Finding Aid Date
- 2015 October 7
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.