The Politics of Memory: Lafayette in American Collections
The first persons concerned with the preservation of a (reconstituted) "Lafayette Archive" were General Lafayette, his son George Washington Lafayette, and other family members. Throughout the 19th century, however, the quest for letters and portraits of Lafayette on both sides of the Atlantic came as a result of the romantic cult of the great “citizens of the world.” The lecture will examine how Lafayette's figure has been used not only by political and military historians and art curators, but also by diplomats and statesmen. Particular attention will be paid to the transfer of the Fabius Collection to Ithaca, New York, in 1963.
Laurent Ferri currently serves as Curator of the pre-1800 Collections in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC) at the Carl A. Kroch Library at Cornell University. Before joining Cornell as a Visiting Assistant Professor in 2006, he was “conservateur du patrimoine” at the French National Archives. At Cornell, he is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and a Member of the Graduate Field in Medieval Studies.
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