The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

New on our Bookshelves

Another of the new publications featuring an MHS collection is Castorland Journal: An Account of the Exploration and Settlement of Northern New York State by French Émigrés in the Years 1793 to 1797, by Simon Desjardins and Pierre Pharoux. This edition, just published by Cornell University Press, was edited by John A Gallucci, Assistant Professor of French at Colgate University, and contains a very useful introduction, footnotes, and appendices.

Desjardins and Pharoux were agents of the French Compagnie de New York, sent to manage the company's Castorland tract in what are today Lewis and Jefferson Counties. The journal recounts their travels, business meetings (with the likes of Philip Schuyler, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and Aaron Burr) and the many obstacles they faced.

The original Castorland journal was given to the Historical Society in September 1863 by William Appleton, after having been found and purchased in a Paris bookstall. Our Proceedings (Vol. VII, p. 145) record "The President [Robert C. Winthrop] presented, on behalf of William Appleton, Esq., a volume, chiefly in manuscript, entitled 'Journal de Castorland, - Relation du Voyage et des Etablissements des Emigrés Français dans l'Amérique Septentrionale,' &c., 1793-1796. Voted, That the thanks of the Society be presented to Mr. Appleton for this acceptable donation."

Gallucci's edition of Castorland Journal is currently on our display shelves in the library for easy access, and the original journal (catalog record) is here and available for use on microfilm.

permalink | Published: Thursday, 23 September, 2010, 2:19 PM


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