The Library holds a variety of materials on French history and culture, all of which can be located through the Library of Congress Online Catalog or the Library of Congress Digital Collections. In addition to using the vast French collections at the Library of Congress, consider using the French National Library, the Bibliothèque national de France External which has a digital collection, Gallica External. You can contact the Bibliothèque nationale de France directly with your question using SINDBAD External (Service d’INformation Des Bibliothécaires À Distance). You may also wish to reference the LibGuides from the BnF External which are in French but have detailed information about locating research materials.
The Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room (LM-133) provides access to French newspapers, current French periodicals and current government documents.
Consult the online LC catalog for printed indexes of select individual newspaper titles (e.g. search for "Monde" and "index" using the online catalog's guided search form to find historical print indexes for Le Monde) or an individual newspaper's website for indexed archives (see Online Newspapers: France External for a comprehensive list of French newspapers)
Search Google using the specific newspaper title and the word "index."
Periodicals, or Serials:
For titles and select holdings, consult the LC online catalog.
Periodical Indexes and Bibliographic Databases:
Consult the websites of individual French archives and libraries for online full-text guides to their collections. Links to select archives and libraries available at the France Portal. The BnF's archive and manuscript catalog describes some of the manuscripts and archives held in their Manuscripts Department and Department of Performing Arts (Arts du Spectacle) and all the manuscripts preserved in the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal External Consult holding institutions or LC online catalog for printed guides.
The subject range of rare French material reflects that of the general collections, from the arts to the sciences and technology. The Library's Rare Book & Special Collections Reading Room also holds a significant collection of French incunabula and rare editions dating from the fifteenth through the twentieth century.
The Library's Manuscript Division focuses primarily on American history and culture. French holdings are strongest for topics or periods where the histories of France and America overlap. The Library's Foreign Copying Program, begun in 1914, reproduced material from French archives and libraries dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries related primarily to French exploration of the New World to French participation in the American Revolution.
The Library's Geography & Map Division holds a significant collection of French cartographic material, including maps, atlases, reference works, globes and globe gores, raised relief models, and CDs/DVDs. Highlights include important French sixteenth- and seventeenth-century atlases and printed maps, a notably strong collection of eighteenth-century French materials, and a major collection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century French hydrographic charts.
Photographs; Fine and Popular Prints and Drawings; Posters:
The Library's Prints & Photographs Division holds collections that include numerous items produced by French artists in all formats as well as by Americans featuring French subjects or working in Europe. The Prints & Photographs online catalog locates a significant percentage of the holdings and links to many digital images.
The Library's Moving Image Research Center has several hundred French films. These range from the early silent films by Lumières and Pathé frères to theatrical features of the sound era, including works by directors such as Renoir, Chabrol, Truffaut, and Alain Renais. The Moving Images Research Guide has information about general research in this area. For more information on French Film see the research guide, French & Francophone Film.
The Music Division holds a notable number of French music typographic manuals, published music and books, manuscript letters and scores, as well as French musical instruments. More information can be found in the guide to the Performing Arts Reading Room. Catalogs, bibliographies and finding aids, as well as the materials themselves, may be consulted in there.
The Library of Congress Online Catalog is a great place to begin your research since it provides bibliographic descriptions for the vast majority of collection items available at the Library.
All searches can be narrowed down by adding filters to your search using the "Add Limits" button. Limit searches with the following options:
The Library of Congress Online Catalog represents a collection of over 18 million catalog records for books, serials, manuscripts, maps, music, recordings, images, and electronic resources in the Library of Congress collections. The vastness of the French collections makes it imperative to use limits and more refined searches to wade through the volume of material. In some cases—where a title or author is known in advance—it is easy to do a title or author search. However, when looking for material on a given topic (Browse Search using "Subject Containing") it will help to use the assigned Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). It is essential to determine the LCSH that was used to group subject material and this is not always intuitive. There are printed volumes that provide alphabetized lists of the LCSH.
Relevant LCSHs on Women in the French Revolution are as follows:
It is important to conduct many searches. For example, Women revolutionaries--France--Biography will not bring you every biography on revolutionary women in France. You will find additional works under Women intellectuals--France--Biography.
When searching for individuals, it is recommended that you locate the authoritative name used by the Library's catalogers. For example, to find all forms of the names Sophie de Grouchy, browse "AUTHORS/CREATORS (Containing)":
Another way to determine a LCSH is to locate a relevant book by title, and note the LCSHs that have been assigned. There will be some overlap, and these subject headings are not always entirely comprehensive. For example, conducting a title search for "French Resistance" will bring you to a book with that title, and scrolling down you will see the LC Subject headings providing the following terms which are linked to thousands of relevant titles as well as narrower terms related to the subject: