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Series 1:

This series includes letters and correspondence from the Poirrier family and associates and spans three generations and much of the nineteenth century. These documents were the first to be scanned and include detailed metadata. Each of these documents include scanned originals and in many cases typed transcripts in French. In addition, some sections of this set include typed English translations. It allows for a faceted search (delimited by keyword, date, sender, receiver, topic, etc.). (Users are invited to submit additional transcriptions or translations of texts.)

Begin your search within Series 1

Series 2:

Administrative papers. This series consists of 50 folders of administrative documents and correspondence related to the notarial business run by successive generations of the Poirrier family. These folders contain letters to and from the Poirrier men regarding diverse forms of official correspondence. Although these documents are separate from the familial correspondence in Set One, there are linkages between people, events, and issues that appear in both Set One and Set Two. Documents in this series contain only scanned images, not translations or transcriptions.

Consult Series 2 documents by scanning the summary information below and clicking on links to relevant folder. Contents are not rigorously catalogued.

Folders 1-12: Administrative business of the communes and cantons around Esternay.

Correspondence in these dossiers documents the role Louis Alfred Poirrier (generally referred to as Alfred) played in dispensing or recommending people for patronage appointments or favors. Topics include affairs related to the agents voyers charged with construction and maintenance of the department’s roads and agricultural infrastructure, affairs related to tax collection, appointments to serve as sapeur-pompier (volunteer firefighter), and Legion of Honor requests and recommendations. This correspondence includes complaints and requests of a political nature that Alfred Poirrier received regarding these matters as well as critiques of the conduct of the region’s notaries.

Notes – Folders 1-12

  1. Admin – Esternay. Includes list of municipal electors. Request from sous-préfet to Alfred regarding political affiliation of electors.
  2. Admin – Vitry. Includes Vitry-le-François (canton), Vitry-la-Ville (commune) and Vitry-en-Perthois (canton)
  3. Admin – Bouchy, Reveillon.
  4. Admin – Meix, Joiselle.
  5. Admin – Bethon. Commune in the canton of Sézanne.
  6. Admin – Potangis. (commune)
  7. Admin – Villeneuve.
  8. Admin – Montmirail (canton), St. Menehould (commune), La Forestière (commune).
  9. Admin – Fere, St Bon.
  10. Admin – La Noue.
  11. Admin – Les Essarts.
  12. Admin – Épernay (canton & commune).

Folders 13-15:

These folders contain Alfred Poirrier’s topical administrative correspondence on the Chambre d’Agriculture, miscellaneous subjects, his time as Justice of the Peace, and as Mayor.

  1. Admin – Lettres divers, Chambre d’Agriculture. Context Note: Chambres d’agricultures were societies of local notables interested in improving agriculture. Alfred is elected to the chambre d’agriculture and delivers numerous speeches, very much speaking for la France Profonde, or rural France.
  2. Admin – Justice de Paix. Documents concerning Alfred Poirrier’s time as Justice of the Peace.
  3. Admin – Mayor. Documents related to Alfred Poirrier’s time as mayor. Files include criminal cases, many issues related to hunting, and cases involving forest management. Context Note: These issues highlight the changing “ownership” of these rich lands: these noble estates were confiscated during the Revolution, turned into National forest preserves, then returned to noble families during the Restoration. Documents give insight into local notables’ interest in the details of these lands.

Folders 16-18

These folders document Alfred Poirrier’s correspondence with his law firm in Épernay, first run by Pieton, then by his political mentor and lawyer (Blandin) and finally by Blandin’s successor Fleuricourt.

  1. Political. Blandin, Fleuricourt.
  2. Political. Elections, 1870s. Blandin in Épernay, having first served as Alfred’s lawyer in the 1860s, becomes Alfred’s political mentor when he goes into politics. In the 1870s Blandin becomes a député, passes his legal affairs to Fleuricourt, and then becomes instrumental in orchestration Alfred’s campaigns. Complementary series: Alfred Poirrier [Set One] and 43, Vallerand de la Fosse.
  3. Political. 1879-98. Very complete series, itemized. Context Note: Discussion with CW indicates that some items from this folder have been pulled and may be in Set 1.

Partial Inventory:

  • 00001: M. Poirrier Maire. Conseiller municipal délégués sénatorial. Possibly lists of municipal council members voting for the Sénat?
  • 00006: Letter of 3 February 1879 to Sous-préfet
  • 00012: news clipping, “Enseignants Religieux”
  • 00014: mayor of Esternay is president of the Société de Secours Mutuel {correspondence to this effect?}
  • 00058: news clipping Alfred uses in a speech about a Russian squadron that arrived in Toulon. Describes Marins Russes. Preface to speech to the Conseil Municipal d’Esternay regarding a gift to the Paris committee to celebrate (honor?) the Russian squadron.
  • 00060: death of Macmahon. Same period as Franco-Russian festivities listed in 00058.
  • 00064-00074: Syndicat d’agriculture et viticulture. Part of Alfred’s senatorial campaign; letter of endorsement for senate campaign.
  • 00084: Candidacy of Ernest Vallé, député; also member of Conseil Général de la Marne. Note by Carl Weiner (hereafter “CW”): Vallé eventually ends up Alred’s political rival and when Alfred dies in 1894 Vallé takes his senate seat.
  • 00086: Recommendation for Dr. Masson, 12 December 1894. CW note: There was a Masson who married one of Jean-François Poirrier’s sisters. Set Three contains other letters from Masson. Sometimes Masson is referred to as a cousin.
  • 00106: envelope with title, Poirrier Senateur President de’Honneur du Comice Agricole.
  • 00200: Alfred Poirrier, member of Association Nationale Républicaine. CW note: Middle-right conservative republican group.
  • 00201: Brochure of Association Nationale Républicaine. CW note: Anti-socialist, collectivism is the enemy. Against Léon Barthou. Opposed to 8-hour day; Annard [?]
  • 00203: Meeting 2 April 1898 to opposed to candidacy of the Radical M. Vallé, signed by Poirrier
  • 00212: List of members of Conseil Général de la Marne; Poirrier listed as Senateur
  • 00213: List of members of the Grand Cercle Républicain; Poirrier listed as member
  • 00214-00216: By-laws of the Grand Cercle Républicain

Folders 19-22: Correspondence sent to Alfred Poirrier after his election as senator.

Continuous requests for his interference, influence and favors. Example: Widow needs support, asks Poirrier for help to become a tabac holder. Innumerable letters from women and sons of mothers, looking for patronage.

  1. Sénat 1894-1895
  2. Sénat 1896
  3. Sénat 1897
  4. Sénat 1898

Folders 23-29: Patronage requests, 1866-1898.

Context note: As prominent men, particularly after Alfred Poirrier became a senator, the Poirriers wielded (or were believed to wield) some power over appointments, charity, government recognition, etc. The letters in these folders involve a variety of requests for help from the Poirriers. These include innumerable letters from teachers that illustrate anti-clericalism and the tensions it brought between mayors and town officials in the new republican schools after the 1880s. Teachers request intervention because they’re in trouble with the Mayor or town council or because they want to teach in the same town as husband/wife. These files also include transfer and posting letters for the Poste et Télégraphe (later known as Poste, Télégraphe et Téléphone, or PTT). Mothers write to request sons be assigned to particular army units. Legion of Honor requests. Alfred Poirrier receives LH for his work on getting the railroad extended to Esternay. Alfred’s grandfather was also a recipient, but not his father.

Between the first generation and the third generation of Poirriers (the first generation makes the transition from the French Revolution to the nineteenth century) this family of notaries manages the business of all the noble families area. For example, Jean-François Poirrier safeguarded the Baronness d’Aurillac’s interest by keeping track of who took what during the sacking of her chateau. He also helped her in wielding her power to rebuild her estates and the local church during the nineteenth century. The Baroness worked to put estates back together during the nineteenth century and becomes regionally powerful herself, promising to set up a school.

  1. Patronage, Sénat 1894-95
  2. Patronage, Sénat 1896-98
  3. Patronage, Sénat 1890-94
  4. Patronage, Sénat 1866-89
  5. Patronage, Sénat “Transcribed” 00001-00179 [scans of original documents – location of transcriptions?]
  6. Patronage, Railroad 1884
  7. Patronage, Railroad 1896-98

Folders 30-33: Documents related to the Notarial practice run by the Poirrier family.

Includes the region around Esternay and various business and family contracts. Notarial correspondence reveals extensive social networks and personal connections, all managed by the Notary. Additional documents of this type can be found in Set Three and complement those found in folders 30-33. Similar, too to the correspondence of Louis-François Poirrier. Additional material also exists in the unscanned documents in Set Four.

Context Note:In generation one and generation two Jean François and Louis François [although Louis François is an agent national] are making the transformation from the Napoleonic era to the Restoration. Jean François is really a scalawag. He was an agent of the revolution. Witnesses show the power lines of a community by who shows up to witness for whom. Cuts corners every which way. By Alfred’s time what Alfred does is what the nobles did in the first two thirds of the century. As a notary he frequently got requests from a family saying they’re in serious negotiations with a young man whose family comes from Esternay: “Can you tell us what their moral standing is in the community; what their wealth really is?” Once he becomes conseiller and senator people still write to him to find out about the marriage potential of young bachelors. As notary he served as a power broker. Alfred was shrewd enough to translate this power into public office in the first two decades of the Third Republic.

  1. Notarial 1791-1860s
  2. Notarial 1863-65
  3. Notarial 1860-62
  4. Notarial 1850-59

Folders 34-36:

  1. Pieton correspondence (part 1)
  2. Pieton correspondence (part 2)
  3. Oudet correspondence

Folders 37-39: Correspondence to Louis Alfred Poirrier:

  1. 1851-1868 (1 of 3)
  2. 1851-1868 (2 of 3)
  3. 1849-1863 (3 of 3)

Folders 40-44: Various correspondence:

  1. Boulanger Poirrier client, lives in Le Havre
  2. Van Remoortere Woman who owns land in Esternay; lives in Belgium; client.
  3. Meaulle – Remoortere
  4. Vallerande de la Fosse {vallerande_de_la_fosse}

Context Note: The Vallerande de la Fosse family were also clients, a mother, Mathilde, and her son. Their lands were in the town of Bricot, likely in the canton of Esternay. E. Vallerande de la Fosse himself had been a high functionary and obtained a position without any university degree undera recommendation from M. Magne, the former minister under Napoleon. This relationship starts in the 1860s when she is looking for a man of business; ends up as a very disruptive relationship where she and her son have a real falling out with Alfred and as a matter of fact in that wonderful letter which he sends to the sous-prefect in 1878, describes the son as “intrigant, méchant, violent dénonciateur, sans conviction, sans moralité,sans probité – Rejeté par les nobles; très dangereux, bonapartiste militant.” [see also complementary material in Set Two Folder 17 and Set One Document 670]

  1. Discontigny 1870s Itemized list of Discontigny

Folders 45-49: Herbelin correspondence:

Context Note: One of the notariat’s oldest clients was Mme Herbelin. She was known in France as one of the most important miniaturists. There are a number of ways that women with wealth can go; one of the ways is to make the notary not simply their man of business but also their confidant; Mme Herbelin and Alfred had a fairly close, continuous relationship; way after Alfred had given up the notariat, he was still her man of business.

  1. Herbelin 1840s *** digital file name spelled with an extra r
  2. Herbelin 1852-1869
  3. Herbelin 1870s
  4. Herbelin 1880s
  5. Herbelin 1890s

Folder 50:

  1. Context Miscellaneous scanned documents
    • 00004-00016 École Sainte-Barbe Prospectus
    • 00017-00020 1735 Contract
    • 00021-00028 Réflexions pour Le Sieur Poirrier, Ancien Notaire “… se trouve soumis à une instruction criminelle, comme accusé d’avoir faussement énoncé, dans un testament, la présence des quatre témoins exigés par la loi.”
    • 00029 Death announcement Paul-Louis-Constant Poirrier, 1869
    • 00030 Death announcement Madame Hélène Joséphine Laurence Marie de la Rochelambert-Montfort, Vicomtesse de Rugy, 1876
    • 00032-00034 Baronne d’Aurillac – notes
    • 00037-00043 Testament: heir is Madame de la Rochelambert
    • 00044-00050 Déclaration de la succession de Mme la baronne d’Aurillac et fixation des droits à payer
    • 00051-00056 M. Maury
    • 00057 Military service record for 1791, prepared 1720
    • 00058-00062 Contract, 6 January 1789
    • 00064-00065 Military service record, Joseph François Danton
    • 00066-00073 Contract
    • 00075-00077 Revolutionary contract
    • 00078-00082 Various 18th century documents

Set Three [basic categories only for these documents/images; not currently available on the site]

M. de La Rochelambert{usmncac-esternay-a.delaroch-lambert}00001-00188
Madame d’Aurillac{usmncac-esternay-set-3-titres} 00001-00103