Missing! Princeton’s copy of rare 1790 Frankenstein story

Sad news just in from the Princeton University library: their copy of François-Félix Nogaret, Le Miroir des événemens actuels is gone. A thorough search was made throughout the stacks, according to Firestone Librarian AnnaLee Pauls, and it remains missing. Stolen or lost. The loss of this rare volume, which relates the tale of the “French Frankenstein,” is terrible. It reminds us of the fragility of books as a medium and the fragility of revolutionary history today, when so many precious resources exist only in one copy, one library, under more or less secure conditions. Fortunately, there remain three copies of the book, all in France: at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris, and the Bibliothèque de Versailles. I used to (and sometimes still do) grouse about the BNF’s microfilm-only policy, but now I’m grateful that someone is protecting such treasures for future generations.


5 thoughts on “Missing! Princeton’s copy of rare 1790 Frankenstein story

      1. How interesting! Great to know it is still there, and safely ensconced in the Rare Books Room. I wonder why I was told that it was lost?

  1. Hi! This response may be a few years late, but the Princeton copy of Le Miroir des événemens actuels is not missing. It is safe and sound, and can be viewed in the Firestone Rare Books and Special Collections reading room. Please check http://blogs.princeton.edu/rarebooks/ for an entry on the book, which should be going up in the near future.

  2. Dear Stephen Ferguson,
    I just discovered the Rare Book Collections blog and your article of September 2013. I tried to post this comment on the blog but it seemed to be refused. so here it is
    Thank you for this extremely useful article and the pdf of _Le Miroir des evenemens actuels_ which is a treasure. I will announce this great news shortly on “A Revolution in Fiction.” (Once my series of Thermidor Fun Facts comes to an end on 7/28).
    Stephen, I want you to know that the announcement of Le Miroir’s absence from Firestone Library was not a lark. Far from it; I esteem Princeton’s library immensely and enjoyed the hospitality of the Rare Books room frequently during my years there. Rather, it was the sad lament that resulted from months of correspondence with your colleagues, who could not and did not locate the book. I had requested for a photograph of two pages for inclusion in my “The Frankenstein of 1790” book (UChicago 2012).
    Sorry for any misunderstanding.
    And again, thank you so much for scanning Le Miroir and making it available to the public here. This is big news for revolutionary studies and history of the book!
    Julia Douthwaite *90

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