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Valentine de Lamartine Letter

Identifier: MSS 0182

Scope and Contents

The letter in this collection is written in French by Lamartine's niece, Valentine, to an unknown "Monsieur et cher ami". Dated "1 Avril 1870" (April 1, 1870), it appears to be a lament about the sale of her uncle's property and perhaps the settlement of his estate. She is entreating the unknown recipient to help her with pricing certain articles, and signs the letter "Valentine de Lamartine, 135 avenue de L'empereur".


  • 1870


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Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

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Biographical or Historical Information

Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869) was a French Romantic poet. He was born in Macon, a Burgundian town north of Lyon.When he was seven, his family moved to Milly, where he grew up a frail and sickly child. He was educated by former Jesuits at the College des Peres de la Foi from the ages 11 to 17, and came to love language and literature.

After leaving the College des Peres in 1808, Lamartine incurred serious gambling debts and fathered several illegitimate children. In and out of public service and the military because of his poor health, Lamartine went to Aix-les-Bains in Savoy in October 1816 to "take a cure." There he met Julie Charles, the wife of a prominent physicist. The two began an affair that continued in Paris, until Charles' sudden death in December 1817.

After Charles' death, Lamartine began to think about marriage in order to establish some order in his life, and his friends introduced him to various young women, but their families demurred because of his financial difficulties. He finally married Marianne Eliza Birch, an Englishwoman from a wealthy family, in June 1820.

A prolific and popular poet, Lamartine also pursued a political career that culminated in his fall from power after Napoleon Bonaparte's coup d'etat in 1851. Debt continued to burden Lamartine in spite of his prolific writing; in March 1860 he had to sell much of his property and move into a modest apartment in a less fashionable quarter of Paris.

After the death of his wife in 1863, Lamartine continued to write, and grudgingly accepted a pension proposed by Louis Napoleon. Lamartine died a sick and bitter man, in the company of a few friends and his niece, Valentine de Cessiat, whom he may have secretly married in September 1867.


0.01 Linear Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869) was a French Romantic poet. The letter in this collection is written in French by Lamartine's niece, Valentine, and appears to be a lament about the sale of her uncle's property and perhaps the settlement of his estate.

Method of Acquisition

Removed from Correspondence de Lamartine (Paris: Hachette, 1881-1882, 2nd ed., PQ2326.A13 1881).

Related Materials

See Harvard University for more Valentine de Lamartine Papers.

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Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US