Grant Harris, chief of the Library’s European Division (left), discusses a rare book from the Library’s collections with President Emmanuel Macron of France. His wife, Brigitte Macron, stands on his right. Photo by Shawn Miller.
President Emmanuel Macron of France and his wife, Brigitte Macron, viewed a display of Library treasures in the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building on Wednesday; some of the materials they saw will be incorporated into a new bilingual website about French-American history. The Macrons’ visit coincided with an announcement by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and Laurence Engel of the Bibliothèque nationale de France about a collaboration between the Library and the Bibliothèque nationale to provide digital content for the website.
It will build on an earlier online collaboration, “France in America,” launched in 2005, and will highlight historical connections between France and North America from the 16th through the 19th centuries through digital access to books, maps, prints and other documents. Other U.S. institutions, including the National Archives, will support the effort.
“The Library of Congress is thrilled to continue these mutual efforts with the National Library of France to collect, preserve and provide access to the rich cultural heritage of France and French-Americans,” Hayden said. “Together, we have a substantial collection of materials reflecting the deep historical and cultural connections between France and the United States, as well as materials documenting and celebrating French-American life.”
“Since the epic story of the New France, our two nations share also a common history,” said Engel, president of the Bibliothèque nationale. “The future website, a joint initiative of the Library of Congress and the National Library of France, will associate prestigious American institutions such as the National Archives to bring it to life for the benefit of all.”