The General Correspondence of Napoleon Bonaparte: all the letters are now available on Napoleonica® les archives !

The General Correspondence of Napoleon Bonaparte: all the letters are now available on Napoleonica® les archives !

All of Napoleon Bonaparte’s General Correspondence is now online at Napoleonica® les archives, from his first letter to Joseph Fesch on 5 July 1784 to his last letter dated 5 May 1821, in which he dictated to Montholon the announcement of his own death to Governor Sir Hudson Lowe. There are now more than 40,500 letters that have been identified as of yet, because new letters are still being discovered: indeed, since the paper edition of this publication, more than 10,000 previously unpublished letters have been put online, exclusively on Napoleonica® archives.

From his youth to his last exile on St Helena, Napoleon maintained a rich correspondence: in 2002, the Fondation Napoléon decided to produce a scientific edition in 15 volumes published between 2004 and 2018 by the publisher Fayard.

A large number of letters were discovered during the course of this editorial project: 23,775 had not been included in the edition of the Correspondence published during the Second Empire (57.8% of the total). 11,970 were completely unpublished or only partially cited in other collections or monographs (29% of the total).

The publication of this correspondence was the fruit of a considerable amount of work: nearly 200 institutions (national and local archive centres, museums, associations), as well as private collectors, were contacted, and more than 450 volunteers took part in this editorial adventure.

The annotations were drawn up by recognised historians, Fondation Napoléon research fellows, students and enthusiasts, under the supervision of Fondation Napoléon staff. The editors of each volume were responsible for finalising the annotations and writing the indexes. The project was coordinated by François Houdecek, who is now in charge of special projects at the Fondation Napoléon.

The digital tool makes it possible to carry out a wide range of searches, allowing almost endless browsing through Napoleon’s correspondence: by addressee, by place, by date, by keyword.

To complete Napoleon Bonaparte’s General Correspondence, a time-line of each volume is available on (in French).

Announced : 3 January 2024