18th-19th centuries, from confusion to the beginnings of organisation*
A collection of administrative archives of the Ponts et Chaussées has existed since the beginning of the 18th century, subsequently merging with the Draughtsman's Office, then the School.The boundary between private collections, School collections and the Ponts et Chaussées administrative archives was therefore very fine.In addition, as part of their education, students would carry out assignments in the provinces which included map surveying and production, so their work is present in the collection along with documents relating to their studies.
In 1804, a Decree specified that the Director of the School was responsible for preserving documents and objects needed for student education (Library) and in parallel created a specific archives Department for the bridges and roads administration (future Ministry).After this, the confusion between the archives gradually faded, but there is no information on the division between the two services.In addition, the premises and staff were shared until 1866.
* Content taken from an unpublished article by LATTS researcher Nathalie Montel, with her kind agreement
20th century, the Archives section is born
These facts explain why the School’s oldest archives, whether public or private, are physically included in the library’s collections.The Archives section was set up in 1995, within the Documentary Department, to maintain the link with the 18th-century archives, which are part of the department’s historical collections.
Its roles cover:
archives that have never been processed, i.e. essentially administrative archives from the first quarter of the 19th century
trying to make the previous archives more accessible, in other words to reconstitute, at least virtually through information technology, the structural and classificatory principles of the collections