Friday, July 30, 2010

U.S. College Returns Stolen Renée Descartes Letter to Institut de France

Haverford College President Emerson returns Descartes letter to Institut de France Chancellor Gabriel de Broglie (Studio Reporter)
On June 8, a rare four-page letter, written by the French philosopher René Descartes and stolen from the Institut de France in the 19th century, was returned to the Institut from the U.S. by the President of Haverford College, Steven G. Emerson.

The letter had been donated to Haverford College’s library in 1902, by the widow of a collector who had not known its history. When it was discovered to be stolen earlier this year, President Emerson immediately contacted Institut de France Chancellor Gabriel de Broglie, who gladly accepted his offer to return the letter, describing it as “a wonderful discovery for science.”

The United States is currently a member of UNESCO’s “Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation” and works closely with UNESCO on the preservation of cultural property.

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