Benoist La Forte was a high-level government official in France's newly nationalized gunpowder industry during the volatile early years of the French Revolution, which were also years of war with Prussia. He was appointed Inspector of gunpowder for Vaucluse just as the revolutionary government launched its bold and authoritarian program of enlisting the aid of every French citizen in the production of gunpowder (a good citizen dug up his barnyard to procure saltpetre).
The La Forte collection at Cornell were drawn from the archives of La Forte. They provide a detailed and vivid record of the science and technology of powder manufacture at this period, and insight into how the new government effected its policies and established its power at the local level. A wide range of voices can be heard in the collected correspondence -- from hectoring government officials to frustrated workers.
This Web site offers a comprehensive finding aid to the manuscripts, letters and other documents in the La Forte Collection, as well as a slection of digitized facsimiles from the collection.
Link to RMC's French Revolution web page for other related collections.
© 2002 Division of Rare & Manuscript
For information about copyright issues and securing permission to publish digital reproductions of images from the La Forte collection, please consult our Copyright & Permissions Page.