The École des Ponts ParisTech Library was created at the end of the 18th century from donations by the School’s first directors or inspectors.
A library named after Pierre Charles Lesage
Pierre Charles LESAGE came to study at the École nationale des ponts et chaussées when he was around 30 years old.
Qualifying as a Ponts et Chaussées engineer in 1776, he remained at the School and pursued his whole career there until his death in 1810.
He supported deputy director Chézy in all educational matters and was also responsible for the “precious deposit of books, essays, machine drawings, and models”, before becoming inspector of the School.
In this role, he looked after the management and classification of the School’s collections, as well as making them available to students as learning materials.
On his death, like Jean-Rodolphe Perronet, the School’s first director, he left the School all his archives, his library, and the objects kept in his office.
It is in memory of his contributions and in honor of this valuable legacy, that the School chose to name the library after him.
Most of Lesage’s books and papers are labeled “Sapiens”, an appropriate pun for a place of learning and scholarship.
Portrait of P.-C. Lesage
Portrait taken from “Recueil de divers mémoires, extraits de la Bibliothèque des Ponts et Chaussées, à l’usage des élèves ingénieurs” published by P.C. Lesage, 1806. Cote 4°1913
Ex Libris Sapiens
Figure on the volume “Les amusements du coeur et de l’esprit pour l’année 1748”. Fonds Lesage
Letter signed by Lesage
It is addressed to Citizen Cretet, Councillor of State. Archives Lesage
From Rue des Saints-Pères…
Located at the heart of the historic site on rue des Saints-Pères from 1845 to 1997, it adapted to the School’s pedagogical changes over time: originally called the “Library”, in the 1980s it became the “Pedagogical documentation and communication center”, then the “Center for Contemporary and Historical Documentation” until 2003, and finally the Documentation, Archives, and Legacy Department.
Source : Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Estampes et photographie, EI-13 (1103) . En ligne sur Gallica
…to the Cité Descartes campus
In the 1990s, with the emergence of large scientific and technical databases, the Cistre (Scientific and Technical Research Information Centre) was created specifically for the laboratories.
In 1997, the School moved to Cité Descartes, and the Library acquired facilities more appropriate to its functions. In 2001, it became an affiliate of the National Library of France (BnF) for civil engineering: 5,000 old photographs digitized with the assistance of the BnF formed the foundation for its future digital library. In 2002, the library catalogue became accessible online. In 2003, a single documentary service was created through the merging of the Contemporary and Historical Document Center and the Scientific and Technical Research Information Center. By Decision 2012-04 of June 11, 2012 on the organization of the School’s services, the documentary service became the Documentation, Archives, and Legacy Department.
... to Université Paris-Est
In 2007, the Université Paris-Est community of universities and institutions was founded, with the Department becoming an active partner.
Source : Photothèque de l'École des Ponts ParisTech, cop. David Delaporte