Bibliothèque universelle de Genève

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The Bibliothèque universelle was an academic journal published by a group of Genevan scholars first centred on Marc-Auguste Pictet (1752–1825), later around Auguste Arthur de la Rive (1801–1873) and other scholars. It enjoyed a wide audience in the various French-speaking countries of Europe during the 19th century.

The initial form of the journal was the Bibliothèque Britannique, which began publication in 1796, and focused on British science, techniques, literature and agriculture. Its founders and editors were Marc-Auguste Pictet ("Sciences & Arts"), Charles Pictet de Rochemont ("Literature") and Frédéric-Guillaume Maurice ("Agriculture").[1] This journal was succeeded in 1816 by the Bibliothèque universelle des sciences, belles-lettres, et arts, which kept the same editors until 1824–25 and was also published in three series, one focusing on science and techniques, another on literature and a third one on agriculture.[2]

After Pictet's death (1825), the periodical was taken over by Georges Maurice (1799–1839) and Pictet de Rochemont's two sons, soon joined by a group of Genevan scholars including Etienne Dumont, Pellegrino Rossi, Jacob Frederic Lullin de Châteauvieux, as well as Augustin Pyramus de Candolle and Auguste De la Rive for the scientific part.

In 1836, the two main series, science and literature, were merged for a period of ten years under the leadership of Auguste De la Rive and given the name of Bibliothèque universelle de Genève. In 1846, the periodical was divided again between a series on literature, which kept the name of "Bibliothèque Universelle" and a series on science, which took the name of "Archives des Sciences Physiques et Naturelles".

The "Bibliothèque Universelle" went through many changes, which did not prevent its encyclopedic formula to become gradually obsolete. It disappeared in 1924.[3]

The "Archives des Sciences Physiques et Naturelles" were edited until the first World War by Genevan men of science such as Auguste De la Rive, François-Jules Pictet-De la Rive (1809–1872), Casimir Pyrame de Candolle (1836–1918) and Edouard Sarasin (1843–1917). Renamed "Archives des Sciences" in 1947, this periodical maintained its three issues a year until 2004. It still exists today as a local and non-specialized periodical of natural history and history of science.[4]


  1. ^ Dictionnaire historique suisse, notice Bibliothèque universelle, par Doris Jakubec, 30 septembre 2004 [1]
  2. ^ David M. Bickerton, Marc-Auguste and Charles Pictet, the "Bibliothèque britannique" (1796–1815) and the dissemination of British literature and science on the Continent, Genève, Slatkine, 1986.
  3. ^ Daniel Maggetti, Yves Bridel, Roger Francillon, La Bibliothèque universelle, 1815-1924: miroir de la sensibilité romande au XIXe siècle, Lausanne, Payot, 1998.
  4. ^ "Bibliothèque universelle des sciences, belles-lettres, et arts (1816)". Internet Archive. Retrieved 10 December 2012.