Digitalized Version of Jaques Fontaine’s Memoirs Now Available!

In collaboration with the Special Collections of the University of Virginia, the Fontaine Maury Society sponsored the digitization of Jaques Fontaine’s (1658-1728) handwritten copy of his memoirs made for his children living in Virginia. In November 2015 the University added photos of each page of the digitized memoirs to its on-line library catalog. Please take a look at the 229 photos of the document.

Jaques made two handwritten copies, the other for his children living in Britain which is believed to be lost. It is believed that this copy was in the possession of Jaques’ son, the Reverend Peter Fontaine (1691-1759), Rector of Westover Parish in Virginia, who passed it to his descendants. Generations later, it was in the possession of descendant James Fontaine who lived at “Rock Castle” in Hanover County, Virginia, at the time of the American Civil War. Fontaine and his family were driven from their home by Union troops, returning to find everything scattered and destroyed. However, a Union officer saved the manuscript and provided it to the Fontaines’ neighbor, Mr. Quarle, for safe-keeping and for return to James Fontaine.

The document is badly damaged, with 69 pages missing (a sword having gone through it). It was translated into English by Jaques’ descendant, Ann Maury, who published the first English edition in 1838. The document descended from James Fontaine to James Fontaine Minor; it was from his library that the document was placed in the University of Virginia’s collection for preservation by Mr. and Mrs. George Madison Maverick.

The document is available for review in the Special Collections, University of Virginia, Minor Family Papers, call numbers MSS 6769, 6769-a.

Society member Dianne W. Ressinger prepared an edited and annotated version, Memoirs of the Reverend Jaques Fontaine 1658-1728, that was published in 1992 by the Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland, in New Series No. 2. The Huguenot Society has copies available on CD for purchase.

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