Nicolas Fouquet, superintendent of finance for Louis XIV, created in the 1650s a library second only to Cardinal Mazarin's in its size, scope, and scholarly content. Inherited from his father in 1640 and built at first around Fouquet' s personal interests in history and belles-lettres, it was greatly expanded in the late 1650s to accommodate the needs of the scholars and men of letters attached to Fouquet and to add luster to his political career as the successor to Mazarin. Fouquet, however, never succeeded Mazarin as first minister but was imprisoned by Louis XIV as a result of a power struggle with Jean-Baptiste Colbert. The College Royal petitioned Colbert, the new finance minister for Louis XIV, to give them Fouquet's library, but Colbert for political reasons ignored their request. He chose instead to add the important titles of Fouquet's library to the Royal Library, where they served the more exclusive needs of the scholars attached to him.


Library, Nicolas Fouquet, France

Published in:

Journal of Library History, 20(winter 1985):1-24.

Date of this Version

January 1985