Bibliographies, by their very nature, should, and do evolve, as scholars delve deeper and deeper into their areas of research, and the bibliography to be found on this page is no exception to the rule. It is the product of many collaborations, old and new, and it will be continually expanded and updated as investigations into the documentation on the Baudin expedition are pursued further and further afield.
This is a particularly relevant point here. When it comes to unearthing primary sources of documentation on Baudin’s life and voyages we are dealing with archival material that is scattered throughout the world. Whilst the Baudin Legacy team is itself pursuing these investigations and will regularly update the primary sources section of the bibliography, which is still a pale reflection of all that is available, we are naturally most grateful to receive contributions from fellow researchers, given the magnitude of the task. We are, of course, well aware of sources in the United Kingdom, Germany, South Africa, the United States, to name just a few, and will fill in these important gaps over time as our work continues. Nonetheless, we are somewhat resigned to the idea that exhaustivity, like any form of perfection, is impossible to achieve. With this in mind, we have thus drawn boundaries around our topic. We have determined, for example, that the bibliography shall be devoted to matters more immediately relevant to the Baudin expedition, its actors, its context and its aftermath. This has meant that the primary sources relating to the American period of the life and work of Charles-Alexandre Lesueur have not yet been listed, even though they are of great interest in terms of the artist’s biography and development as a naturalist. Another issue relates to the needs of some of our partner institutions in France to establish and publish their own digital inventories of their collections, which would rapidly render our own bibliography obsolete should we attempt a detailed listing at this time. This being the case with the Lesueur Collection of the Muséum d’Histoire naturelle du Havre, we have, for the moment, given only a cursory description of the most relevant files and documents, with the longer term aim of including a link to the Muséum’s own site and extensive descriptions of their holdings.
Other complexities arise with documents held in different archival collections in Australia, many of which are duplicates, in varying forms, extracted from collections held in France and the United Kingdom, and which were acquired in the course of the major archival copying projects of the twentieth century. While their status as copies may disqualify as primary sources many of the documents thus acquired, we are conscious of the need to list them, for the benefit of researchers working in Australia and for whom they are a precious, reliable and convenient resource. In order to overcome confusion about their status, we have determined that these duplicate documents will be listed separately, on a different page on this site, devoted to Resources in Australian Libraries.
In spite of these factors, we hope that the bibliography, as it stands, will be of immediate use to fellow scholars, whose comments and contributions we welcome as our bibliography continues to develop, and as the contribution made by the Baudin expedition to the history of science and exploration continues to receive wider recognition.
Comments or suggestions regarding the bibliography are welcome. They should be addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org