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Collection Overview

Le Gonidec, J.-F.-M.-M.-A. (Jean-François-Marie-Maurice-Agatha), 1775-1838
Notebooks of Jean-François-Marie-Maurice-Agatha Le Gonidec
Manuscripts Division
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1 box and 0.25 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 1


Consists of 11 notebooks (circa 1802-1814) of the Breton grammarian J.-F.-M.-M.-A. Le Gondidec.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists of 5 small notebooks and 6 larger notebooks. These notebooks are not signed, but the meticulous scholarly notes, the mentioning of the death of his mother and his niece in the UK, plus the dates, suggests we are dealing with Jean-Francoise-Marie-Maurice-Agathe Le Gonidee (as is mentioned in the notebooks, although online the name Gonidec is more frequent), who was in his time a celebrated scholar of the Breton language. In his first notebook he narrates in details his travels to London and the rest of the UK. He also comments on the times and the politics of his days. As such these notebooks are really "A Tale of Two Cities," shedding light on Revolutionary politics and the failure of the Royal government from a very personal perspective.

Smaller notebooks (more personal in tone): 1. Je consigne ici le memoire du Voyage de angleterre (1802?), 92 pp. Lists of expenses, visits, a narration of his travels, observations sur le martyr de chateabraint, notes on l armorique de Bretagne, speeches made at Versailles, discourse du conceil general 1814, a rapport du ministerie de l interieur du december 1809, on the condition of mines, commerce, agriculture, finances, guerre. 2. Recueil d'adresses, 88 pp. List of wines, products and suppliers. List of Inns (in the UK and France). But also a list of comrades from his college, new inventions, appointments. 3. Chansons, pieces de vers et autres ecrits depuis le commencement de la Revolution et Sur la Revolution, 92 pp. 4. Suite des Chansons, pieces de vert , etc., 84 pp. 5. [numbered 6, suggesting a notebook is missing] Chanson pour fetes de mes danes de villeroy et de caumont an 1809, 90 pp. Larger notebooks (more of the nature of common place books): 1. Chansons et paroles, 55 pp. 2. Judgements surl les auteur anciens, emperors, portraits grand homes, 119 pp. 3. Petit Comedie pour la fete ma grand mere de morant, epigrams, etc., 59 pp. 4. Chans de societe, noels contre la cour, 133 pp. 5. Recueil de extrait d'histoire universelle, 133 pp. 6. Remedes procedee economiques en ménage, 23 pp.


Arranged by notebook number in two groups: small notebooks, large notebooks.

Collection Creator Biography:

Le Gonidec, J.-F.-M.-M.-A. (Jean-François-Marie-Maurice-Agatha), 1775-1838

French grammarian Le Gonidec's labors to renew, purify, and systematize the Breton language were very successful: his work formed the basis of the later Breton literary revival. He codified the rules of grammar in his "Grammmaire celto-bretonne" in 1807 and rationalized the orthography and purged the vocabulary of French borrowings in his "Dictionnaire breton-français de Le Gonidec : précédé de sa grammaire bretonne" (1821). In 1827 he translated the gospel of St Luke in Breton and posthumously the entire Bible was published in 1866. But these notebooks, although full of observations, on language, songs, new inventions, are also interesting because they narrate a turbulent life. Gonidee came from an ancient catholic family in Britanny. As a catholic royalist, he made a hairbreadth escape from being executed, but was later pardoned and worked as an officer held in high esteem under Napoleon.

Collection History


Purchased, 2014 .


Nothing was discarded or transferred in the processing of this collection.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by John Delaney in 2014. Finding aid written by John Delaney in 2014 from dealer-supplied information.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Notebooks of Jean-François-Marie-Maurice-Agatha Le Gonidec; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
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