Napoleon I Exhibit Postponed Till April

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 17, 2008 — The opening of an exhibit of artifacts and documents related to the life of Napoleon I of France (1769-1821) from the collection of Don and Rubye Kraft has been postponed until April.

A rescheduled opening date for the exhibit will be announced at a later date. The exhibit previously was scheduled to open March 26 in Kent Library at Southeast Missouri State University.

The exhibit will honor a lifetime of collecting Napoleon artifacts by Mr. Kraft, who first developed an interest in the self-proclaimed French Emperor as a high school student. The exhibit will focus on the military conquests and defeats of Napoleon, and the financial strain his campaigns levied on the French Empire. 

The financial hardships generated by Napoleon’s wars ultimately forced France to sell to the United States in 1803 the territory known as the “Louisiana Purchase.”   At the centerpiece of the exhibit are a collection of 18th and 19th century autograph French letters written by Napoleon’s Marshals.  These letters were donated by the Krafts to the Southeast Missouri University Foundation in 2006, and are now being made available for public viewing following their translation into English by Dr. Alice Strange, professor of French at Southeast Missouri State University. 

Following the exhibit, the letters will be available for research in the library’s Special Collections.  The exhibit also will feature artifacts on loan from the Krafts, including an oil portrait of Napoleon, an original First Empire Legion of Honor medal, and statuary.  Additionally, the exhibit will feature small portraiture of various members of the Bonaparte family. 

For additional information on the exhibit, please contact Special Collections and Archives, Kent Library, at (573) 651-2245.