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Charles de Grandmaison
« I shall never forget your eagerness to be of use to me when I was staying near you. Without you and your archives, I would never have been able to write the book that I have just published. »
(Letter to Charles de Grandmaison,
August 9, 1856)

Pierre-Charles-Armand Loizeau de Grandmaison was born on May 29, 1824 in Poitiers, to a family originally from Vienne. He was a brilliant student, and was admitted to the Ecole des Chartes, from which he graduated on April 8, 1850, after defending a thesis entitled Des appellations en cour de Rome. Starting in December 1850, he took up his first post at the Bibliothèque nationale, where he began by working on the catalogue of manuscripts. He left this appointment on December 7, 1852, when he was named archivist for the department of Indre-et-Loire. From then on, with some regret at having to leave his Parisian studies, he dedicated himself to his new post. He developed a real attachment to his adopted region, and published a number of works on its history and heritage. He collaborated with André Salmon on Livre des serfs de Marmoutiers, and was the author of Documents inédits pour servir à l'histoire des arts en Touraine, and Gaignières, ses correspondants et ses collections de portraits, as well as many other works on the history of the area. Nor did he neglect the archives in Tours, which were in a lamentable state when he arrived, and he worked tirelessly to develop and reorganize them, as can been seen in the three-volume Inventory of the Indre-et-Loire archives, published in 1878, 1884, and 1891.
His career as an archivist and paleographer hit a high point in the summer of 1853. He was given by Alexis de Tocqueville the task of finding, in the administrative files for Touraine, archival documents that would serve as a foundation for The Old Regime and the Revolution. In his small volume entitled Alexis de Tocqueville in Touraine, Grandmaison recounts the daily visits by the academician to his office in the prefecture at Tours, the subject of their discussions - whether about the situation of France or the period of the Ancien Regime - as well as the several visits that he made to the Trésorières, and the two men's developing friendship. For his part, Tocqueville did not forget, in his preface, to pay homage to the profound influence that his conversations with Charles de Grandmaison had on his work, and that he considered them to be "the source of all the rest".

Portrait of Grandmaison © AD Indre-et-Loire

Portrait of Grandmaison
© AD Indre-et-Loire

Photograph of the Prefecture of Tours when it held the departmental archives

Photograph of the Prefecture of Tours when it held the departmental archives
© AD Indre-et-Loire

Archives

Correspondance between de Grandmaison and Tocqueville

Correspondance between de Grandmaison and Tocqueville
© AD Indre-et-Loire

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