For one hundred years, a modest dynasty of imprimeur-libraires printed, published, and sold books in Paris with three generations of women at its core. The story of this family shows, first, how women often played hidden roles in the print and book trade, occasionally revealed when a widow inherited the firm, a son-in-law took over, or a woman ran the business herself from the start. Second, it shows that recognition of women’s contribution to science does not typically extend to women who disseminate science by printing or selling books. (This family carved a niche in veterinary and agricultural sciences over the decades through their publications of journals, books, and catalogues.) Third, it exemplifies how the frequent changing of women’s names through marriage tends to hide female dynasties from the record. This family is no exception, changing from Vallat-la-Chapelle to Huzard to Bouchard-Huzard, concealing the intergenerational continuity of their business in a reference work like Arbour’s Dictionnaire des Femmes Libraires en France (1470-1870). In the Grolier Club collection, this family line can be traced through the imprints of a few catalogues. From examples in our collection we can see these women sustaining the family business from 1787 to 1861.
Marie-Catherine Vallat-la-Chapelle (d. 179?), née Bardé, printed as Vve. Vallat-la-Chapelle after she inherited the business from her bookseller-printer husband, Pierre Vallat-la-Chapelle, upon his death in 1772. Madame Veuve Vallat-la-Chapelle is recorded in authority records as the daughter of a wood-seller, so she might have learned the trade from her husband, whom she married in 1763. The Grolier Club has the 1787 sale catalogue of the library of the Duke of Orléans with her name as a publisher alongside Leclerc & Baudouin. Her trade covered a range of general works, but, notably, she printed a couple of veterinarian works by Claude Bourgelat and Philibert Chabert. She also began publishing the Almanach vétérinaire in 1782, written by Philibert Chabert, Pierre Flandrin, and Jean-Baptiste Huzard (1755-1838). Perhaps not coincidentally, her daughter, Marie-Rosalie Vallat-la-Chapelle (1766-1842) married Jean-Baptiste Huzard in 1792 (a year after another edition of Almanach vétérinaire appeared under the new title Instructions et observations sur les maladies des animaux domestiques).
Marie-Rosalie and Jean-Baptiste seem to have had a reciprocal professional relationship. Huzard was a professor and inspector general at l’écoles vétérinaires de France. A writer and a collector of veterinarian science, he founded the Librairie et imprimerie vétérinaire in 1787 or soon after. Marie-Rosalie Huzard took over this imprimerie-librairie when she married Huzard in 1792, and by 1798 she was the printer for the écoles vétérinaires de France as well (a year after Jean-Baptiste was named the school’s inspector general). She maintained steady business also as the printer for the journals Annales de l’agriculture, Mémoires de la Société d’agriculture du département de la Seine, and Annales des mines. In addition to leveraging her husband’s academic connections, she tapped into her mother’s professional legacy, as exemplified by an auction catalogue which she issued in 1814 as “Imprimerie de Madame Huzard (née Vallat la Chapelle).” Her choice to use both her husband’s and her mother’s name demonstrates how she drew on both sets of connections to build a strong business and hints at her long involvement in the trade from before her marriage.
Madame Huzard also built a strong legacy through her children. Her son Démophile Huzard (known as “Huzard-Courcier”) (1794-1830), married Angélina-Félicité-Clémence Courcier (1802-1850) in 1820, and in the same year took over the printing house of his mother-in-law, Victoire-Félicité Lemaire (“Veuve Courcier”), naming it the Imprimerie Huzard-Courcier. Madame Courcier’s printing office was only a few doors down from Madame Huzard on the rue de l’Éperon, and she specialized in mathematics and physical sciences. Démophile Huzard, who had grown up surrounded by scientific printing in his mother’s shop, must have been a natural fit for the Courcier firm and family.
In 1824, Madame Huzard appointed her son-in-law Louis Bouchard (1784-1841), who had recently married her daughter Adèle-Joséphine (1796-1876), to manage the printing office, and he assumed leadership of the business in 1839. Like his brother-in-law, Démophile Huzard-Courcier, Louis adopted his wife’s name when he took on her family’s business, using the name Bouchard-Huzard to project professional continuity with his mother-in-law.
Louis Bouchard-Huzard only lived two more years, and in 1842, following the death of her mother, Adèle-Joséphine took up the business as Mme Veuve Bouchard-Huzard. She was the third generation of female proprietors and continued until 1876, specializing in works of agriculture and horticulture. In her first year as proprietor of the firm, she issued a catalogue of her father’s library (Catalogue des livres, dessins et estampes de la bibliothèque de feu M. J.-B. Huzard, pts 1-3, Paris, 1842), which nicely ties together all three generations of women. Adèle-Joséphine’s imprint appears on the title page, and her mother’s and grandmother’s imprints are represented among the contents of her father’s collection (e.g. pt. 3, nos. 2565, 2566, 2576, and 2938). The combination of Veuve Vallat-la-Chapelle, Madame Huzard, and Veuve Bouchard-Huzard within the same volume mark their sustained work and contributions to a veterinarian’s library.
These three women printed and sold books in Paris from 1772 to 1876, and their century of business demonstrates the role of family connections and reputations in the printing-bookselling trade. The full depth of their connections might someday come to light with full bibliographical studies. Did fonts of type pass from mother to daughter? Do the same titles recur through the generations? Do partnerships with other booksellers or printers outlast each individual? Their contributions combined over a century leaves a legacy worth studying, both for the history of the book trade and scientific printing.
This post was updated on May 29, 2019 to include more information about Jean-Baptiste Huzard’s professional relationships with Marie-Catherine Vallat-la-Chapelle and Marie-Rosalie Huzard, as well as corrected dates for Marie-Rosalie and Louis Bouchard. For these details, we thank Jean-Paul Fontaine for pointing us to his work Les Gardiens de Bibliopolis (citation below).
The post was updated again on June 12, 2019 to include more information for all of the printer-booksellers mentioned, following the publication of Jean-Paul Fontaine’s blog post: “Introduction à l’édition agricole: de Vallat-la-Chapelle à Tremblay (1759-1887).” Histoire de la Bibliophilie, 3 juin 2019.
1. For Pierre Vallat-la-Chapelle (1729-1772), see Jean-Paul Fontaine, “Introduction à l’édition agricole: de Vallat-la-Chapelle à Tremblay (1759-1887).” Histoire de la Bibliophilie, 3 juin 2019. Unless otherwise stated, biographical information throughout this article comes from Fontaine, “Introduction à l’édition agricole;” the Agence bibliographique de l’enseigement supérieur’s online resource IDRef; and the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s BnF Data.
2. Claude Bourgelat, Élémens de l’art vétérinaire traité de la conformation extérieure du cheval (Paris: Vve. Vallat-la-Chapelle, 1775); Philibert Chabert, Traité du charbon ou anthrax dans les animaux (Paris: Vve. Vallat-la-Chapelle, 1790). These and following bibliographical references come from Arbour, Dictionnaire, unless otherwise stated.
3. Fontaine, “Jean-Baptiste Huzard,” Les Gardiens de Bibliopolis (Paris: L’Hexaèdre, 2015) p. 319; and Grand-Carteret, “674. Almanach vétérinaire,” Les Almanachs Français 1600-1895 (Paris: L’Alisié et Cie., 1896) p. 174. I use the dates Fontaine gives for Marie-Rosalie Huzard, but the BnF gives 23 May 1767 to 31 January 1849.
4. Fontaine, “Jean-Baptiste Huzard,” 319.
6. Notice de livres provenant de la bibliothèque de M. ***, (Paris, chez Madame Huzard and Silvestre, librairie, 1814).
7. Arbour, Dictionnaire, 152.
8. Fontaine, “Jean-Baptiste Huzard,” 319.
Catalogue des livres de la bibliothèque de feu son altesse sérénissime monseigneur le duc d’Orléans … : dont la vente se fera le 3 mai 1787, & jours suivans … dans une des salles de l’Hôtel de Bullion, rue Plâtrière. Paris: Chez Leclerc & Baudouin, & la veuve Vallat la Chappelle, librairie, 1787.
Leblanc, P. ed. Catalogue des livres, dessins et estampes de la bibliothèque de feu M. J.-B. Huzard. Paris: Mme. ve. Bouchard-Huzard, 1842.
Notice de livres provenant de la bibliothèque de M. ***, contenant notamment l’indication d’une belle collection d’ouvrages rares et précieux d’histoire naturelle; don’t la vente se fera le lundi 5 décembre 1814, et jours suivans … dans la salle du premier, rue des Bons-Enfans, no. 30 [Silvestre]. Paris: chez Madame Huzard and Silvestre, librairie, 1814.
Arbour, Roméo. Dictionnaire des Femmes Libraires en France (1470-1870). Geneva: Librairie Droz, 2003. pp. 89-90, 152, 289, 509.
“BnF Data.” Bibliothèque nationale de France. Accessed May 17, 2019. https://data.bnf.fr/en/.
Fontaine, Jean-Paul. “Jean-Baptiste Huzard.” Les Gardiens de Bibliopolis: cent soixante portraits pour servir à l’histoire de la bibliophilie. Paris: L’Hexaèdre, 2015.
Fontaine, Jean-Paul. “Introduction à l’édition agricole: de Vallat-la-Chapelle à Tremblay (1759-1887).” Histoire de la Bibliophilie, 3 juin 2019.
Grand-Carteret, John. “674. Almanach vétérinaire.” Les Almanachs Français: Almanachs, Annuaires, Calendriers, Chansonniers, États, Étrennes, Publiés a Paris, 1600-1895. Paris: L’Alisié et Cie., 1896.
“IDRef: Identifiants et Référentiels pour l’enseignement supérieur et la recherche.” Agence bibliographique de l’enseigement supérieur. Accessed May 17, 2019. https://www.idref.fr/autorites.jsp.