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Recent transnational scholarship on archives has alerted us to the ways in which archives are not neutral sites but places where knowledge is constructed and negotiated. Historians of France and the French empire now use a wider range of public and private holdings beyond national, departmental, defense, and colonial archives. These archives often require different strategies for entry and use: for example, finding aids have not always been compiled by trained archivists; classificatory schemes vary considerably; and access to outsiders and the communication of documents may be limited. The articles in this issue situate these concerns in the context of French history and historiography. More than just tales from the archives, the articles reflect authors’ experiences in archives that illuminate both archival practice and ways of doing French history.
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