French Friends

French Friends

When the Haverford College International Council met in Paris last week, among the special guests at the opening dinner were four members of the Institut de France, and the chancellor of the Institut, Gabriel de Broglie. They were there to recognize the warm relationship Haverford forged with the organization in 2010, after the College returned a valuable letter written by 17th-century French philosopher René Descartes that had once belonged to the Institut.

Long thought lost, the letter had been stolen by a notorious document thief in the early 1800s and eventually ended up in the autograph collection of Charles Roberts, Haverford Class of 1864. Roberts’ widow bequeathed the enormous collection to the College more than 100 years ago, but until a Dutch researcher doing a late-night Google search turned it up in Special Collections—and the letter became the subject of an international news story—the rightful provenance of the Descartes letter had been unknown.

Then-President Stephen G. Emerson returned the letter to the Institut—a gesture that de Broglie said at the time, “exemplifies the depth of moral values that you instill in your students.”

At the recent dinner in Paris, which was hosted by Edouard and Eve Mercier P ’15 at the Automobile Club de France, de Broglie reaffirmed those fond feelings for Haverford.

Read more about the Descartes affair here.

Institut de France Chancellor Gabriel de Broglie speaks at the Haverford College International Council dinner in Paris.

Institut de France Chancellor Gabriel de Broglie spoke warmly about the return of the Descartes letter at the Haverford College International Council dinner in Paris.

 

President Dan Weiss at the International Council meeting.

President Dan Weiss at the International Council dinner.

Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement Ann West Figueredo '84 and Shruti Shibulal '06, a young alumni associate member of the Board of Managers.

Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement Ann West Figueredo ’84 (left) and Shruti Shibulal ’06, a young alumni associate member of the Board of Managers.

 

(from left) Jean-Luc Marion, one of the world’s foremost Descartes scholars (and recipient of a  Haverford College honorary degree); Dean Kelly Cleary, director of Haverford's Center for Career and Professional Advising; and International Council President Henry J. Ritchotte '85.

(from left) Jean-Luc Marion, one of the world’s foremost Descartes scholars (and recipient of a Haverford College honorary degree); Dean Kelly Cleary, director of Haverford’s Center for Career and Professional Advising; and International Council President Henry J. Ritchotte ’85.

 

Photos by Peet Simard.

 

 

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>