Website Review

Newberry Library French Pamphlet Collection

The Newberry Library

The 1789 French Revolution has remained a pivotal point for studies of monarchy, despotism, democratic rule, and nation-state formation on a global scale. The Newberry Library in Chicago houses key sources related to this period, and its online repository is helping to increase the accessibility of these documents. Its extensive French Pamphlet Collection (FPC) contains 38,000 items.

Although the FPC has expanded its thematic contents over the years, the Newberry Library originally aimed to collect documents related to the revolution. Most of its contents originate from the period between 1780 and 1810 and represent “the opinions of all the factions that opposed and defended the monarchy.” Published online beginning in 2014, the number of visitors to the virtual FPC has steadily grown over time, with 60,000 page views in October 2020.

The site offers a streamlined user experience with multiple search options. Visitors can peruse documents via keyword search, or within any of the following categories: year, topics and subjects, creator, and publication language. Another option is filtering the search results based on views, the number of people who have clicked on that particular source in the past.

Once the user selects a specific document, the site navigates to a page designed for easy reading. Visitors to the site can read through page by page, with the option of zooming in and out on the images. They can also download the work for later viewing. Each work also displays a list of related items below the reader view.

One interesting feature that the FPC site offers is the creation of sub-collections. By selecting and saving a group of documents, any user can create and name that collection. The groupings created by private users can contain hundreds of items, or a small amount, based on the user’s preference. This allows individual scholars to save works relevant to their own research, or it could provide the opportunity for teachers to prepare a selection of documents for a course or project.

The overall ease of access of the online French Pamphlet Collection of the Newberry Library makes it a rich resource. Its thousands of documents provide users the opportunity to explore a critical period of French history and its global implications in high resolution.

Reviewed by Brittany Erwin, The University of Texas at Austin

How to Cite This Source

"Newberry Library French Pamphlet Collection," in in World History Commons, https://worldhistorycommons.org/newberry-library-french-pamphlet-collection [accessed January 18, 2022]
Title page of a French pamphlet
“Its thousands of documents provide users the opportunity to explore a critical period of French history and its global implications in high resolution. ”