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Rare Books

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
609-258-3184
Curator of Rare Books
609-258-9942

The Pierre Le Brun collection of Montaigne was received in 1925 shortly after Le Brun's death. The acquistion was announced in the New York Times on April 5, 1925 as being the gift Mme Pierre Le Brun. Her husband (1846-1924) was an architect in New York, with his father's firm, Napoleon Le Brun & Sons.

The collection contains copies of all of the extremely rare editions of the Essays which appeared during Montaigne's lifetime. The earliest is 1580, the first edition, published at Bordeaux. Besides Montaigne's works, there are also critical secondary works.

For particulars refer to: Imbrie Buffum, "Special Collections at Princeton; II. The Le Brun Collection of Montaigne" in the Princeton University Library Chronicle I, 2 (February, 1940) pp. 11-16 [full text] .

Also consult the following bibliography: Sayce, R. A. and David Maskell. A Descriptive Bibliography of Montaigne's Essais 1580-1700. London: The Bibliographical Society [and] the Modern Humanities Research Association, 1983 [(ExB) Z8589 .S29 1983]. The bibliography lists 37 editions (including variants within that count.) Of the 37, Princeton has 24, evidently the second largest such number for the United States.