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The Bibliothèque Mazarine was initially the personal library of Cardinal Mazarin (1602–1661), who was a great bibliophile. His first library, arranged by his librarian, Gabriel Naudé, was dispersed when he had to flee Paris during the Fronde.
He then began a second library with what was left of the first, assisted by the successor to Naudé, François de La Poterie. At his death he bequeathed his library, which he had opened to scholars since 1643, to the Collège des Quatre-Nations which he had founded in 1661. Reopened in 1682, the Mazarin library has occupied the eastern wing of the Bâtiments du Collège since its inception. The Collège des Quatre-Nations became in 1805 the Palais de l’Institut de France.
By the time of the French Revolution, the Bibliothèque Mazarine sheltered more than 60,000 volumes. The library became public and received a considerable number of books seized from the nobles or from religious congregations. Among its collection of 2,370 incunabula is a specimen of the Gutenberg Bible known as the Bible Mazarine.
M. Piquard, « La bibliothèque de Mazarin et la Bibliothèque Mazarine, 1643–1804 », in: Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. Compte-rendus des séances de l’année 1975, janvier-mars, 1975, p. 129–30.
P. Gasnault, « De la bibliothèque de Mazarin à la Bibliothèque Mazarine », in: Histoire des bibliothèques françaises. Les bibliothèques sous l’Ancien Régime, 1530–1789, 1988
La Bibliothèque Mazarine, no 222 (déc. 2000-janv./fév. 2001) of Arts et métier du livre