We present you a list of well-known members of the Academy, whose place in the different departments of the Academy of Caen will be (precised).
In the appendix, accessible by links, you will find information regarding those members of the Academy who did not, at least in France, attain the fame they deserved : some of them simply faded into oblivion; others, oddly enough, were forgotten because they spent a great part of their life in foreign countries, sometimes as much-honoured ambassadors of France.
Such is the case of
St John de Crévecoeur, a very well-known character in the USA (there is a town named after him in the state of Vermont), yet almost completely forgotten by the French public.

Arcisse de Caumont
of the French Society
of Archaeology.
A perfect case of
local and
national renown.

[ Les personnages illustres | Notable Academicians from the Orne ]
[ Notable Academicians of the Manche | Les académiciens à l'étranger ]

Notable Academicians from the Orne

Since its foundation in 1652, the Academy of Caen has attracted to its ranks many Men of Letters and personalities originating from, or connected with, the Orne département. This tendency went on and became even more pronounced during the following periods, so that the Academy can really be referred to as a Lower Normandy Academy. (  "Lower Normandy", being the name of the westernmost part of Normandy, as opposed to Upper-Normandy)

Before the Revolution

-Louis (or Pierre) du PERRON (1603-1680), Councillor and Crown Prosecutor for the Bailiwick of Alençon, translator of Spanish books and the author of religious but also erotic poems, as well as the tragi-comedy "Les heureuses aventures". 

-Hercules VAUQUELIN des YVETEAUX (1636-1716), descendant of the famous Bourgueville de Bras, and member of the Yveteaux branch of the Vauquelin family, the other branch being the Vauquelin de la Fresnay (proving the ornaise origin of the family). Hercules will become Intendant  of Languedoc and Roussillon, then, Marquess of Hermanville. He was Chairman of the Academy in 1705. 

-The Abbè Pierre CALLY (1630-1709), born in the diocese of Sées, will become a Professor in Caen, and the priest of the Saint Martin parish. He tries unsuccessfully to bring together Protestants and Catholics ; his lectures are great successes. He belongs to Daniel Huet 's Academy of Physics and later to Segrais' Academy.  

-Claude-Adrien HELVETIUS (1715-1771), Farmer General and friend of the Encyclopaedists, first non-permanent Academician, admitted in 1737, he sends his main work "De l'esprit" to the Academy in 1758 ; he owned the Château of Voré, where he usually stayed, as well as the neighbouring Château of Feillet and Vaujours. 

-M. ROUSSEL DE LA BERARDIERE , admitted in 1760, a Royal Advocate for the Bailiwick of Caen as well as a Professor of Law. Since the fourteenth century, his family has owned the Château of the Bérardière at Saint-Bomer-lès-Forges in the Domfrontais countryside, as well as the mansions of Montpatry and la Maigrère.  

-In 1765, M. de SAINT-AIGNAN, nephew of the Bishop of Sées is admitted as a Member; he is only 20 years old ! BERNIERES, General Controller of Roads and Bridges (traditional French term for Civil Engineering) is admitted in 1772 ; his family owned at that time the Château of Boêle at Glos-la-Ferrière. 

-Another member of the Roussel family, M. Henri-François-Anne de ROUSSEL, a physician, born at Domfront, is admitted in 1778. He belongs to the great tradition of Caennais physicians. He recovered his seat at the Academy when it was restored after the French Revolution.  

-That same year 1778, the Academy also admits M. Pierre-Joseph ODOLAND-ROUSSEL, a physician in Alençon, as well as an historian, already associated with the Academy of Rouen.

-A M. du PERRON, Civil Engineer, was admitted as an Associate member in 1760 : he may have been related to M.Le Hayer du Perron, one of the first Academicians.

After the Revolution

This period brings a number of other characters, including :

-René-Louis PRUDHOMME (1748-1840), born at Bellême,a Mining Engineer; as a Professor in Caen, he was made a Permanent Member until he retired at the age of 86!

-M.LAUTOUR -DUCHASTEL, former Imperial Prosecutor in Caen (1811), died at Argentan (Permanent member, then Associate-correspondent).

-M. DUBOIS (1773-1855), born at Lisieux, a librarian in Alençon.

-M. BOUFFAY (1748-1820), a physician, born at Villers-Bocage, died in Alençon.

-The politician ROEDERER (1754-1835) : though he was born in Metz, he died in the Orne département, after having been General Prosecutor and Syndic for the Seine département, member of the member of the Institute, Senator, Imperial Count and Peer of France.

-The famous physician DESGENETTES (1762-1837), born in Alençon, a physician at the Val-De-Grâce hospital, then at the Invalides Hospital, Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Paris.

-M. GOUPIL de PREFELN (who died in 1831), was the son of a judge at the Court of Alençon. He was himself a Commissionner at the Court of Argentan, Deputy for the Orne departement in 1799 then Prosecutor in Caen.

-The Viscount Le PREVOST d'IRAY (1768-1849), born at Iray near Mortagne, member of the Institute.

-M. MANOURY d'ECTOT, in Argentan.

-The physician Isidore BOURDON (1796-1861), born at Merry in the Orne département; member of the Academy of Medicine.

-M. Cyprien BRARD, born at L'Aigle, author of studies in geology and mineralogy.

-M.ODOLANT-DESNOS, Man of Letters in Paris, mentioned in the years 1830-1850, probably related to the eighteenth century historian (his son ?).
-M. Jean- Frédéric GALERON (1794-1838) who was born at L'Aigle and died in Falaise. He was a member of the Antiquarian Society of Normandy.

Closer to our time, we can also mention :

M. de la SICOTIERE, lawyer in Alençon, senator in 1875
M. CHARPENTIER, director of the Ecole Normale of Alençon
M. DUPRAY la MAHERIE,deputy public prosecutor in Argentan
M. le TOUZE, Examining Magistrate at Domfront
M. LAURENT, professor of rhetorics
M. CLOGENSON, former prefect of the Orne département
M. DUPONT, Imperial Prosecutor at Mortagne
M. LEVAVASSEUR, man of letters in Argentan and the Lande-de-Lougé (elected in 1855 and still a member in 1890)
M.VIMONT, a professor in Argentan
M. LEMAITRE, President of the Court in Argentan
M. VAUGEOIS, at L'Aigle, Honorary Elder of the Faculty of Law (Caen)
M. Joseph GERMAIN-LACOUR at Cuigny (Orne), elected in 1887 and still a member in 1918
M. GOSSEY, from the University of Lille, director of the Ecole Supérieure d'Argentan

This list (which is in no way exhaustive) clearly illustrates the vocation and the will of the Academy of Caen to promote Basse-Normandie as a whole; it also shows the enthusiasm this cultural society aroused in the entire region - and above all in the present Orne département.


Notable Academicians of the Manche

Since its foundation in 1652, the Academy of Caen has attracted to its ranks many Men of Letters and personalities originating from, or connected with, the Manche département. This tendenty went on and became even more pronounced during the following  periods, so that the Academy can really be referred to as a "bas-normande" Academy.

Before the Revolution

-Jacques de CAILLIERES (or CHALLIERES) born at Torigny; Governor of Cherbourg from 1644, and founding member of the Academy. He had married Madeleine Potier de Courcy. Their son, François, a diplomat and member of the French Academy, will be one of the negociators of the Ryswich peace treaty. Their other son Hector will die a Viceroy of New-France. Chapelain admired his main work, "L'Histoire du maréchal Jacques II de Matignon et de tout ce qui s'est passé depuis 1547 jusqu'en 1597" (published in 1661) praising his style as "neat, effective, easy-going"

-Also from Torigny,  GOYON-MATIGNON briefly took  charge of  the Academy, after the death of its founder in 1674 : François, Lieutenant Général in the King's army (1607-1675), and especially his son and assistant Henri (1630-1682).

-Pierre-Daniel HUET, a famous member of the Academy of Caen since its beginning, he appears regularly in its history. (1630-1721)

-Antoine de GARABY de la LUZERNE ESTIENVILLE, another founding member who was born and died in the Manche département. He studied in Caen under the direction of Antoine Halley and composed poetic essays and satirical verse. He is the author of the famous sonnet for the house of Moisant at Bernièress-sur-mer, La Luzerne :

... Brieux's house, lonely in the distance
Exposing to the winds this side and the other
Of parks, of galleries and hillsides devoid
Rules over Bernières with liberty.

To which Moisant answers, wittily :

... my home rises in the clouds
and freely shows itself...
...Here I dream, here I see the sun
Rise again and set in its glorious trappings
Here naked Nature is offered to me;
Lastly, here, which elsewhere is not allowed to me,
I boast about one thing : with an open house
And with an open heart, I welcome my friends.

Garaby de la Luzerne Estienville  a generous and good-natured man, was a kind of Norman Montaigne, who displayed a total liberty of speech and a deep contempt of plots and politics.

-Daniel le SENS de MONS (1662-1741), a singular and likeable character, first chosen as Secretary of the Academy under the direction of Regnault de Segrais, later becoming the Colonel of a regiment bearing his name. This regiment fought the English in 1703; later on, Le Sens de Mons became mayor of Caen. Born as a Protestant, he died  a Catholic. This elegant hedonist also founded the so-called "Thélémite" society (in favour of "honest pleasures)

-de Guillaume PYRON (1637-1684),a friend of P.D. Huet, born in the Manche département; there is a great deal of doubt regarding his actual membership of the Academy; if he was indeed a member, his membership was extremely brief.

-In the eigtheenth century : in 1740, M. HUE de CALIGNY de CRONINGUE, from a family of engineers who contributed to the fortifications of northern and western France, himself a Royal Engineer  , is a Commander-in-chief at La Hougue. Another member of his family will also belong to the Academy of Caen in the nineteenth century.

-In 1754, the knight Charles de BRUCOURT (1712-1755), born near Valognes, lieutenant in the French guard, knight of the order of St Louis, and M. de la SOUDEXTRIE, Councillor in the Cour des Monnaies of St-Lô.

In 1759, M. le MENUET, parish priest of the Moon-sur-elle , near Cerisy la Forêt,winner of the Academy Prize (attributed for the first time by the intendant Fontette) on the following subject : "In Normandy, is it harmful or advantageous to plant apple trees destined for the production of cider on good, ploughable soil ?"

-In 1762, Elie de BEAUMONT, famous for his support of Callas and Sirven, is admitted as an associate; he was born in Carentan.

-In 1774, l'abbé Jacques-François DICQUEMARE, naturalist and professor in Le Havre, said to be a "member of the Academic Society of Cherbourg".

-In 1776, M. GROULT, Crown Prosecutor in Cherbourg, who later bequeathed his library, his plans and his maps to the Academic Society of Cherbourg.

-In 1777, Charles-Gaspard-Toustain de RICHEBOURG, Cavalry Major of Cherbourg and Gilles-Pierre AVOYNE de CHANTEREINE, one of the founders of the Academic Society of Cherbourg.

-In 1778, M. BEGUIER, Engineer-in-chief in Cherbourg.

-In 1785, Sébastien HUET GUERVILLE, great-nephew of the Bishop of  Avranches, member of the Literary Society of Cherbourg.

After the Revolution

-From St-Lô : M. HOUEL (former Inspector of the Stud Farms), M. CASTEL (Borough Surveyor in chief), M. BLAISOT (civil judge), M. GUILLOT (curator of the Museum), M. DERIES (Inspector of schools).

-From Cherbourg : the famous mayor LIAIS, DELACHAPELLE (secretary of the Academic Society of Cherbourg) and others, such as LE CHANTEUR de PONTAUMONT.

-From Avranches : M. Le HERICHER, president of the Archaeological Society of Avranches, M. LAISNE and M. de BEAUREPAIRE.

-From Coutances : M. Paul BLIER, M. METERTRE et M. QUENAULT.

-From Valognes : the abbés TOLLEMER and LECACHEUX, and M. DELALANDE.

-From elsewhere in the Manche département : M. César de PONTGIBAULT, M. ESMIEU, M. DAMECOUR ou M. SAUVAGE.

-All these names, and others, illustrate the interest aroused in the Manche département by the Academy of Caen


Les étrangers membres de l'Académie

Personnalités anglophones:
Grande - Bretagne.

Sydney SMITH - Amiral des guerres napoléonniennes.
Spencer SMITH ( son frère ).
Edouard Herbert SMITH - fils de Spencer.
GURNEY - Norfolk.
Mme CAREY - poète anglais.
Pierre BURKE - avocat de la Reine d'Angleterre pour le Duché de Lancastre.
Bernard BURKE - roi d'armes en Irlande.
Thomas WRIGHT - Londres.

Oscar BROWING - Professeur à Cambridge.
John BILSON - Architecte des York.

ACKERMANN - Antiquaire - Londres.
MAYER - Liverpool.
ROACH SMITH - Londres.

Etats Unis d'Amérique. -

Persifor FRASER - Géologue et chimiste - Philadelphie.

Charles HASKINS - Doyen de Harvard.

Personnalités anglophones :

HOLLAND - Tübingen.
GISTEL - Professeur - Munich.
MITTERMAIER - Heidelberg.
WOLF Ferdinand - Vienne.

CHAMISSO - Poète allemand né en France d'une famille française.

[ Les personnages illustres | Notable Academicians from the Orne ]
[ Notable Academicians of the Manche | Les académiciens à l'étranger ]