Entrepreneurs ahead of time
Bosses 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 portraits of several of them who made a fortune – and sometimes went bankrupt – during the Age of Enlightenment. Apart from 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 book written in the first person singular, shares her approach and her questions as a historian and a woman on these modern “bosses” with varied profiles. All of them, however, have to trick patriarchal codes to obtain delegations from their husbands, join corporations, make contracts. We discover in passing that the notary is more their ally than the judge. A refreshing essay on economic history both for the originality of the subject and for its personal and clear style.
Our opinion: PPP