The Lafayette Microfilm Collection at Cleveland State University Library depicts in detail the life of the Marquis and his times. The 6,400 feet of microfilm contain more than 25,000 documents found tucked away in Château LaGrange, one of the ancestral homes of Lafayette, owned most recently by the Count René de Chambrun, direct descendent of Lafayette, who organized the collection. The Count did not make the papers available, save to the author Francois Mauraux, until he authorized the Library of Congress to microfilm them in 1990s.

It was through the direct influence of John Horton, a true friend of Cleveland State University that the Library acquired the papers. John Horton, retired executive from Cleveland Cliffs Corporation, received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Cleveland State after his retirement. Through one of his courses, John traveled to France in 1982 where he met and befriended Count René de Chambrun, lawyer, chairman of the board of Baccarat Crystal, and also an American citizen, having been born to Clara Longworth from Cincinnati, Ohio and Count Aldebert de Chambrun. John is one of the very few individuals invited to Château LaGrange. It was a result of John’s tenacity that he was able to obtain the microfilm collection for Cleveland State. John called the Librarian of Congress, James Billington personally and asked for a copy of the collection. The Librarian of Congress said he would not be able to release of a copy of the collection unless its owner, the Count, authorized the request. Of course, John Horton knew that René de Chambrun would be in his corner, and indeed the Count said “oui.” John not only procured the collection, he also attended the gala reception in Washington celebrating the receipt of the collection by the Library of Congress

The tale of the count and the businessman comes to life in The Story Behind CSU'S Lafayette Collection; or: How a French aristocrat brought two "Ohio Sons" together, by Tama Lea Engelking, Associate Professor of French, Cleveland State University. Not to be missed.

  • Cleveland State University celebrates the acquisition of the collection

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