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Auguste Molinier

August Molinier (September 30, 1851 - May 19, 1904), French historian, was born at Toulouse.

He was a pupil at the École des Chartes, which he left in 1873, and also at the École des Hautes Etudes; and he obtained appointments in the public libraries at the Mazarine (1878), at Fontainebleau (1884), and at St Genevieve, of which he was nominated librarian in 1885. He was a good palaeographer[?] and had a thorough knowledge of archives and manuscripts; and he soon won a first place among scholars of the history of medieval France. His thesis on leaving the École des Chartes was his Catalogue des actes de Simon et d'Amauri de Montfort (inserted in vol. xxxiv. of the Bibliothèque de l'école, an important contribution to the history of the Albigenses. This marked him out as a capable editor for the new edition of L'histoire générale de Languedoc by Dom Vaissète: he superintended the reprinting of the text, adding notes on the feudal administration of this province from 900 to 1250, on the government of Alphonso of Poitiers[?], brother of St Louis from 1226 to 1271, and on the historical geography of the province of Languedoc in the middle ages.

He also wrote a Bibliographie du Languedoc, which was awarded a prize by the Académie des inscriptions et belles lettres, but remained in manuscript. He also published several documents for the Société de l'Orient Latin (Itinera hierosolymitana, in collaboration with Ch. Kohler, 1885); for the Société de l'Histoire de France (Chronique normande du XIVI' siècle, assisted by his brother Emile, 1883); for the Collection de testes relatifs a l'enseignement de l'histoire (Vie de Louis le Gros, by Suger, 1887); for the Collection des documents inédits (Correspondance administrative d'Alfonse de Poitiers, 1894-1900); for the Recueil des historiens de la France (Obituaires de la province de Sens 1904, 1906), etc., and several volumes in the Recueil des catalogues des bibliothèques publiques de France.

Applying to the French classics the rigorous method used with regard to the texts of the middle ages, he published the Pensées of Pascal, revised with the original manuscript (1887-1889), and the Provinciales (1891), edited with notes. In 1893 he was nominated professor at the École des Chartes, and gave a successful series of lectures which he published (Manuel des sources de l'histoire de France au moyen âge, 1902-1906). He also taught at the École des Hautes Etudes. He died after a short illness, leaving in manuscript a criticism on the sources of the Speculum historiale of Vincent de Beauvais[?].

His elder brother, Charles (b. 1843), is also of some importance as an historian, particularly on the history of art and on the heresies of the middle ages. He was appointed professor of history at the university of Toulouse[?] in I886.

A younger brother, Emile (1857-1906), became an assistant in the print-room at the Bibliothéque Nationale, and afterwards joined the staff at the Musée du Louvre, of which he eventually became keeper, retiring in 1902. He was a well-known connoisseur of art. He organized the famous Exposition Rétrospective held at the Petit Palais in 1900, and published a number of expert volumes on enamels[?], ceramics and furniture.


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