Friday, September 19, 2014

American Library in Paris

Thursday, September 18, found us two blocks from the Eiffel Tower at the American Library of Paris, where the students became members, benefited from an expert orientation session, and began working on their research projects.  The American Library has a rich and storied history in keeping with the theme of one of our courses, that on Franco-American relations.  From its origins in 1920, when the American Library Association collected books mailed to American soldiers during World War I, through the dark days of Nazi occupation, when the Library staff maintained clandestine lending services to Jews, through today, when the American Library in Paris "remains the largest English-language lending library on the European continent," the Library has served as a European center for authors and readers of all ages and nationalities.  Among others, Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, André Gide, André Maurois, Colette, Thornton Wilder, Archibald MacLeish, Mary McCarthy, Richard Wright, Samuel Beckett, and Adam Gopnik have all played a role in the Library's past.  (For the basis of this summary and for more information, see https://www.americanlibraryinparis.org/about-the-library/history-of-the-library.html.)  Here the F&M students gathered with External Relations Manager Pauline Lemasson and Reference Librarian Abigail Altman:


After working in the Library, we repaired to a nearby restaurant for our weekly Thursday night dinner.


On Friday, Meredith met with Professor Mitchell in the Café Mollien of the Louvre Museum to prepare for leading Tuesday's class on World War I.  Our table overlooked the Jardin des Tuileries, which provided an excellent opportunity to review the history of the violent destruction of the Tuileries palace in 1871 at the hands of the revolutionary Communards, about which we just learned in class.






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