Chocolates, cravats and horses: the Bouhéreau diary

Two excellent research associates have been working on the diary of our first Keeper, Élie Bouhéreau.

The diary of our first Keeper, Élie Bouhéreau, is a rip-roaring read. Not what you might expect from the pen of a librarian, but then Bouhéreau led an eventful life as a refugee from France and served on diplomatic missions across Europe before settling in Ireland.

The diary covers the period from 1689 to 1719 and two excellent research associates have been working at Marsh’s for the past eight months on a project to transcribe and translate the manuscript from French into English.

Dr Amy Prendergast is pictured here on the left, and Dr Marie Léoutre is on the right.

Dr Amy Prendergast and Dr Marie Léoutre
Dr Amy Prendergast and Dr Marie Léoutre

The manuscript is over three hundred years old, and the ink has faded in parts, necessitating the use of a magnifying glass to ensure the accuracy of the transcription. This is particularly important when dealing with Bouhéreau’s account book, making sure the correct amount was recorded for payments for items such as chocolate, cravats, and a dictionary for his grandson, for example.

The researchers were particularly puzzled by a five-shilling price tag for a horse, given that he spent just over a pound on a hat in its box!

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