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Paris Commune Collection

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Collection Description

The Paris Commune Collection is rich in primary material, with long runs of an enormous number of newspapers and other publications issued during the Commune's life, and a sizeable collection of cartoons and caricatures by contemporaneous artists. Secondary material is not neglected, and the Collection contains catalogues of commemorative exhibitions (many held in 1971 to mark the Commune’s centenary) and scholarly works. For researchers of French history or international politics the value of the Collection is self-evident. Given the abundance of visual material, however, it may prove equally significant to students of art history and illustration. The lurid, usually hand-coloured and sometimes obscene cartoons ensure even the researcher who does not speak French will have little difficulty understanding their anti-monarchist, anti-clerical agenda. Some date from the Second Empire and the early years of the Third Republic. Artists particularly well represented include Moloch, Faustin Betbeder, Napoléon Charles Louis de Frondas and Paid Klenck.

Written primary source material strikes a balance between reportage and analysis and includes politically charged writings from anarcho-communist Mikhail Bakunin and two works by the Commune’s president and ‘professional revolutionary’ Auguste Blanqui (both 1871). There are also responses from English writers. Secondary material is strongly represented and there are different editions of reflections by Thiers and Marx on the events.

Archival history

The Collection was acquired through the efforts and enthusiasm of Dr Eugene Schulkind of the School of European Studies, University of Sussex. It was bought in 1968 and Schulkind undertook its development, seeking out and making copies of material in other collections to increase its comprehensiveness. The Collection was renamed in his honour on his death in 1990.


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