Entrepreneurs before their time
Patrons in the 18th century
by Camille Dejardin
Ed. New World, 192 p. ; €20.90
Contrary to popular belief, women, more numerous than one would have thought, have held the reins of important companies. The young historian Camille Dejardin thus paints us the portraits of several of them who made their fortune – and sometimes bankruptcy – during the Age of Enlightenment. Except perhaps the milliner Rose Bertin or the Veuve Cliquot, we discover them! The most touching is undoubtedly Marguerite Blakey, a prosperous Parisian merchant who had to fight to avoid bankruptcy. From her correspondence, the author, throughout the work written in the first person singular, shares her approach and her questions as a historian and as a woman about these modern “boss women” with varied profiles. However, they all have to trick patriarchal codes to obtain delegations from their husbands, join corporations, enter into contracts. We discover in passing that the notary is more their ally than the judge. A refreshing economic history essay both for the originality of the subject and for its personal and lucid style.
Our opinion: PPP