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Watts de Peyster Collection: Napoleon Buonaparte

Napoleon Crossing the Bridge at Arcole

Napoleon Crossing the Bridge at Arcole, 1796 by Antoine-Jean Gros (1771-1835)

One of the largest and most distinct rare book collections held by Franklin and Marshall is the 1,890 volume Watts de Peyster: Napoleon Buonapartecollection assembled by General John Watts de Peyster (1821-1907). De Peyster developed this collection of monographs about Napoleon Bonaparte and the Napoleonic era from his interest in European military history. The collection consists primarily of 19th-century imprints concerning Napoleon and his nephew Napoleon III, the Napoleonic Wars and the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War.

Originally gifted to the Smithsonian Institution, the collection was transferred to Franklin and Marshall College in 1957 in recognition of de Peyster's historical relationship as a benefactor to the College Library. Consisting of 1,890 individual volumes (or 1250 titles), the collection was part of 4,000 books donated by John Watts de Peyster to the Smithsonian between 1901 and 1904. The collection consists of books, pamphlets and maps focusing on the Napoleonic era in Europe from the French Revolution of 1789 until the death of Napoleon in 1821. John Watts de Peyster collected many of the items while traveling in Europe conducting research for his own biography of Napoleon, entitled Napoleone di Buonaparte(1896).

The collection is especially strong in the military history of the Napoleonic Wars from 1799-1815 and includes memoirs and biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) and military commanders on both sides as well as treatises on military strategy and campaign and battle histories . Also included in the collection are works concerning Napoleon III, the Second Empire and the Franco-Prussian War. The collection ranges from contemporary, primary and secondary accounts to later 19th-century histories of Napoleonic France, many published in Europe and several in French. As de Peyster was a detractor of Napoleon, the collection is rich in anti-Bonapartist writings as well.

Highlights of the collection include:


Jomini, Antoine Henri, 1779-1869. Life of Napoleon. By Baron Jomini ... Translated from the French. With notes, by H. W. Halleck. New York, D. Van Nostrand; London, Truebner & co., 1864. 
DC 203 J65E 1864 

Scott, Walter, 1771-1832. The life of Napoleon Buonaparte, emperor of the French. With a preliminary view of the French revolution. By the author of "Waverley," etc. New York, J.& J Harper, 1828. 
DC203 .S433 1828 

Van-Ess, Willem Lodewyk. The life of Napoleon Buonaparte ... with a concise history of the events, that have occasioned his unparalleled elevation, and a philosophical review of his manners and policy as a soldier, a statesman, and a sovereign: including memoirs and original anecdotes of the imperial family, and the most celebrated characters that have appeared in France during the revolution. By Willem Lodewyk Van-Ess. Illustrated with numerous portraits.London, M. Jones [n.d.] 
DC203 .V248 6v. 

Ober, Frederick A. 1849-1913. Josephine, empress of the French, by Frederick A. Ober. Publisher : New York, The Merriam company [1895] 
DC216.1 .O12 

Stocqueler, Jocquim. Hayward. 1800-1885. The life of Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington. By J.H. Stocqueler [pseud.] ... London, Ingram, Cooke, and Co., 1852-53. 
DA 68.12 W4 S568 

Published Letters

Wellesley, Arthur. Duke of Wellington, 1769-1852. The dispatches of Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington, K. G. during his various campaigns in India, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, the Low Countries, and France. From 1799 to 1818. Compiled from official and authentic documents, by Lieut. Colonel Gurwood. London, J. Murray, 1834-39. 
DA 68.12 W4.A2 

Napoleon's letters to Josephine, 1796-1812; for the first time collected and translated, with notes social, historical, and chronological, from contemporary sources, by Henry Foljambe Hall. London, J.M. Dent & co.; New York, E.P. Dutton & co., 1901. 
DC213 .H17 

Copies of the original letters and despatches of the generals, ministers, grand officers of state, &c., at Paris, to the Emperor Napoleon, at Dresden; intercepted by the advanced troops of the Allies in the north of Germany. London, J. Murray, 1814.
DC 197.5 C783 

Talleyrand-Perigord, Charles Maurice de, 1754-1838. The correspondence of Prince Talleyrand and King Louis XVIII during the congress of Vienna (hitherto unpublished) From the manuscripts preserved in the archives of the Ministry of foreign affairs at Paris. With a preface, observations and notes by M.G. Pallain. New York, C. Scribner's Sons; Paris, E. Plon et cie.; [etc., etc.] 1881. 
DC 249 T148 

Personal Memoirs

Gourgaud, Gaspard and Comte de Charles-Tristan Monotholon Memoirs of the history of France during the reign of Napoleon, dictated by the emperor at Saint Helena to the generals who shared his captivity; and published from the original manuscripts corrected by himself. London: H. Colburn and Co. [etc.] 1823-24. 
DC 213.2 N216m 

Walsh, Thomas, fl. 1801. Journal of the late campaign in Egypt: including descriptions of that country, and of Gibraltar, Minorca, Malta, Marmorice, and Macri; with an appendix; containing official papers and documents: by Thomas Walsh ... Illustrated by numerous engravings of antiquities, views, costumes, plans, positions, &c. London, T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1803. 
DC 225 W227 1803 

Barras, Paul, 1755-1829. Memoirs of Barras, member of the Directorate / ed., with a general introduction, prefaces and appendices, by George Duruy, tr. by Charles E. Roche. With seven portraits in heliogravure, two facsimiles, and two plans... London : Osgood, McIlvaine & co., 1895-96. 
DC 146.B2 B269E 

Thibault, Paul Charles Francois Adrien Henri Dieudonne, 1769-1846. The memoirs of Baron Thibault (late lieutenant-general in the French army) Tr. and condensed by Arthur John Butler. New York, The Macmillan Co., 1896. 
DC 146.T4 T425E 

French Revolution

Thiers, Adolphe, 1797-1877. Histoire de la Revolution Francaise. Bruxelles, Meline, 1838. 
DC 148 T438 

Carlyle, Thomas, 1795-1881. The French revolution, a history. London, Chapman [n.d.] 
DC 148 C286 

Napoleon's exile 

Montholon, Charles-Tristan, Comte de, 1783-1853. History of the captivity of Napoleon at St. Helena / by General Count Montholon. Philadelphia : Carey and Hart, 1847. 
DC 211 M789E 

Campaigns and Battles

Napier, William Francis Patrick, 1785-1860. History of the war in the Peninsula and in the south of France, from the year 1807 to the year 1814. London, Thomas & William Boone, 1833-1840. 
DC 231 N224 1833 

Rouillion-Petit, F. Campagnes memorables des Francais : en egypte, en Italie, en Hollande, en Allemagne, en Prusse, en Pologne, en Espagne, en Russie, en Saxe, etc. : ou Histoire complete de toutes les operations militaires de la France depuis l'epoque de l'expedition d'Egypte jusqu'' celle du traite de paix du 20 novembre 1815 ... / par F. Rouillion-Petit. Paris : Bance aine, 1817. 
DC 151 R859 

Siborne, H. T. Waterloo letters; a selection from original and hitherto unpublished letters bearing on the operations of the 16th, 17th, and 18th June, 1815, by officers who served in the campaign. Edited, with explanatory notes, by H.T. Siborne. London, Cassell, 1891. 
DC 241 S564 

Booth, John. The battle of Waterloo, also of Ligny and Quatre-Bras, described by the series of accounts published by authority, with circumstantial details. By a near observer. Also important particulars, communicated by staff, and regimental officers, serving in different parts of the field, with every connected official document; forming an historical record of the campaign in the Netherlands, 1815. To which is added a register of the names of the officers. Illustrated with portraits, maps and enlarged plans and thirty-four etchings from sketches by George Jones. London, J. Booth [etc] 1817. 
DC 242 B719 

Boyce, Edmund. The second usurpation of Buonaparte; or, A history of the causes, progress and termination of the revolution in France in 1815: particularly comprising a minute and circumstantial account of the ever-memorable victory of Wateloo. To which are added appendices, containing the official bulletins of this glorious and decisive battle ... by Edmund Boyce ... Assisted by original and important communications from British and Prussian officers. With accurate maps, plans, &c. London, S. Leigh, 1816. 
DC 242 B789 

The Consular and Imperial Governments

Thiers, Adolphe, 1797-1877. Histoire du consulat et de l'empire, faisant suite l'Histoire de la revolution francaise par M.A. Thiers ... Paris: Paulin, 1845-62. 
DC 201 T438h 

Military strategy

Clausewitz, Carl von, 1780-1831. On war; by General Carl von Clausewitz, tr. by Colonel J.J. Graham, from the 3d German ed. ... London, N. Truebner & Co., 1873. 
U 102 C616E 

Bardin, Etienne Alexandre, 1774-1840. Dictionnaire de l'armee de terre ; ou, Recherches historiques sur l'art et les usages militaires des anciens et des modernes. Ouvrage termine sous la direction du genral Oudinot de Reggio. Paris : Perrotin [18--?]. 
U 24 B246 8 v. 

The Second Empire

Abbott, John S. C. 1805-1877. The history of Napoleon III, emperor of the French. Including a brief narrative of all the most important events which have occurred in Europe since the fall of Napoleon I until the present time. Boston, B. B. Russell; [etc., etc.] 1868.
DC 280 A132 

Pflugk-Harttung, Julius von, 1848-1919. The Franco-German war, 1870-71, by generals and other officers who took part in the campaign, translated and edited by Major-General J. F. Maurice, Wilfred J. Long, & A. Sonnenschein. London , S. Sonnenschein and Co., 1900. 
DC 289 M455 

Specific titles are available for searching via the Library Catalog. See also C. Edward Gibson's The Watts-De Peyster Napoleonana Collection.(Philadelphia: Drexel Institute of Technology, Graduate School of Library Science, 1966. DC 141 G5) for a bibliographical study of the collection.