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1/ An archival puzzle (always look at the back page): Accounting for foundlings, "debauched girls" & Colbert's projects for Louis XIV's gloire. Or how little details speak to metanarratives. I see a note in my book mss cites a 1660-1671 register for 1650s material. Hhm
2/ The source is a Hôtel-Dieu register & the catalogue description is "Registre de remises des enfants exposés et abandonès à la Charité 1660-1671." This document is on line w/ a lot of other great material about e-mod foundlings digitized by @ArchivesdeLyon.
3/ I looked at the document and noticed "register" seems a bit formal for a sheaf of paper tied with string and the first page includes only a brief note. Frustrated! Then I looked at the last page ...
4/ The last page has a formal opening, "Acte et l'estat Des enfants de l'hostel dieu Remises a rvrd (?) dame de la charité Le Dimanche XIe jour d'apuril 1660 34 e Carré Transferré à la Charité. And the entries start at the back and go forward. And the first entry is 1652. Bingo!
5/ That pattern of entries starting at the back was common in 17-c account books and other kinds of life writing. A similar title is on the first page dated 1671 although the last entry is 1668.
6/ So rather than a register, it was an effort to create a statement of what we know now (about which children were transferred) as part of an effort to create more systematic record keeping. In fact each entry records where the original information came from (see first photo)
7/The process of copying as it happened records into an overall document is exactly like the accounting ideal of using day book transactions entries into a ledger, a systematization people were also experimenting with. The term "Estat" was often used for financial statements.
8/ This accounting for foundlings frame is especially notable as Colbert & other in the 1660s-70s saw children, especially foundlings & explicitly the Lyon HD children, as ideal workers who could be assigned to new royal manufacturing initiatives.
9/ That is as I (and others) have argued, early modern record keeping with all its consequences, economic, political and other, became an art form experimentally, incrementally and sometimes haphazardly
10/ The mother of the first baby entered, Jeanne, was described as a "debauched girl", that is one forcibly admitted to the HD for promiscuity, only a fraction of the mothers were so designated so out-of-wedlock births were not usually associated with debauchery. See the book:-)
11/ So what metanarratives are embedded in this "Etat"? The record keeping pushes & practices associated w/ state formation & economic revolution; attitudes to female sexuality; children as subjects & agents of the state; mercantilism & the Colbertian econ initiatives.
12/ And intersections of all of those! @jmgossard made a database for me as my summer RA years ago and my thanks to her. Source AML HD_G075
#c17 #stateformation #economichistory #histchild #histsex #earlymodern #foundlings #archives #accountinghistory #Frenchhistory
13/ I love my job. Can't you tell:-)
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