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Napoleon and the French Revolution

A place to begin research on the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era.

French Revolution & Napoleon @ FSU

FSU Special Collections & Archives houses one of the largest research collections in the world on Napoleonic studies and the French Revolution. Letters, journals, memoirs, newspapers, pamphlets and over 10,000 published books provide insight into the social, political, and military history of the times.

FSU is also home to the Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution, a unique institution of graduate education in the History Department in the College of Arts and Sciences.It hosts an annual Weider History Conference bringing together early-career scholars from Europe and North America to present their cutting-edge research in the field of French Revolutionary historical study, organizes international conferences, publishes new research, sponsors a Distinguished Lecture Series at Florida State University, and is a founding member of the Consortium on the Revolutionary Era.

Tips for Finding Primary Sources

Primary sources are typically organized according to who created them.

When looking for primary sources, think about who would have documented the people, places, and events that interest you, keeping in mind that those documents might be written by participants, outside observers, or even opponents of your subject matter. This guide presents just a selection of possible primary source materials organized by war or conflict. Each will include a variety of source types such as personal papers, newspapers, or documents created by government agencies. When using a source, consider how its author and intended audience influences the perspective on historical events.

With primary sources, the possibilities are endless.

This research guide is not a comprehensive list of primary source collections that might be relevant to your topic. Historians are constantly innovating in the way they use traditional sources and finding creative ways to work with new ones.

You are not alone. Ask an expert!

Research with primary sources is a collaborative effort. Experts in your field will know how resources have been used by other historians, and can help you to think creatively about what types of sources to use. Librarians and archivists are skilled at talking through your research project and connecting you to materials in their collections and beyond. And don't forget to consult the bibliographies and citations of other historians to get ideas on what sources to use (and where to find them).

Key Resources

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is an excellent resource for books, periodicals, manuscripts, newspapers, and archival materials in print, microfilm, and digital formats. FSU belongs to this international consortium of university, college, and independent research libraries, which allows FSU patrons to borrow CRL materials via interlibrary loan for extended periods.

One way to identify key collections is through CRL Topic Guides.  See, for example, the Topic Guide for France, which highlights a number of Early Modern resources, and resources on the Revolutionary Period.

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