Jean-Noël, known as Natalis de Wailly

Natalis de Wailly, a historian, archivist and librarian, was appointed to the Commission de Topographie des Gaules in 1858.

© Bibliothèque de l'École des Chartes

Natalis de Wailly, a historian, archivist and librarian, was appointed to the Commission de Topographie des Gaules in 1858.

A palaeographic archivist committed to the conservation of historical sources

A palaeographic archivist, Natalis de Wailly was appointed to the Archives du Royaume under the Restoration, before becoming curator of the Cabinet des manuscrits at the Bibliothèque impériale in 1854. He is considered as one of the founding fathers of the major principles of archiving thanks to his role in the organisation of the departmental archives, his influence on rules for classifying and cataloguing and his launch of the policy for published inventories.

A scholar respected by his peers

He was elected a member of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres in 1841, became head of the École des Chartes in 1854, and played an active role in the work of the Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques.