A Guide to the Claudius Crozet Papers 1792-1832 Crozet, Claudius, papers MS 0059

A Guide to the Claudius Crozet Papers 1792-1832

A Collection in
Special Collections and Archives
Accession Number MS 0059


Virginia Military Institute Archives

Virginia Military Institute Archives
Preston Library
Virginia Military Institute
Lexington, Virginia 24450-0304
Phone: (540) 464-7566
Fax: (540) 464-7279
Email: archives@vmi.edu
URL: http://www.vmi.edu/archives

© 2001 By Virginia Military Institute

Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Diane B. Jacob

Archives, Preston Library, Virginia Military Institute
Collection number
MS 0059
Claudius Crozet Papers 1792-1832
Physical Characteristics
The collection consists of approximately 30 items filed in one manuscript box.
French English

Administrative Information


There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Claudius Crozet Papers, MS 0059, Virginia Military Institute Archives, Lexington, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

The bulk of the collection was donated by Knox Wilson in 1932. The two Thomas Jefferson letters were purchased from the Lee-Jackson Foundation in 1972.

Alternative Form

Portions of this collection have been digitized. The Thomas Jefferson letters and selected other documents are available on the VMI Archives website at http://digitalcollections.vmi.edu/ .

Biographical/Historical Information

Claudius Crozet, engineer and educator, was born in Villefranche, France on December 31, 1789. Following his graduation from the Ecole Polytechnique, he entered the French Army as an artilleryman, and served until 1816. He was a prisoner of war in Russia from 1814-1816. In 1816 he married Agathe DeCamp, and the couple immigrated to the United States. Crozet accepted an appointment as a professor of engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he taught until 1823 and published A Treatise of Descriptive Geometry for the Use of the Cadets of the United States Military Academy.

Subsequent to his career at West Point, he served as the State Engineer of Virginia (1823-1832), State Engineer of Louisiana (1832-1834), President of Jefferson College, Louisiana (1834-1836), President of the Virginia Military Institute Board of Visitors (1837-1845), Principal Engineer of Virginia (1837-1843), and as Principal of the Richmond Academy (1845-1849). In 1849 he was appointed Chief Engineer on a project to build a tunnel through the Blue Ridge, and from 1857-1859 he worked on consturcting an aqueduct for Washington, DC. Crozet died in Richmond, Virginia on January 29, 1864.

Scope and Content Information

The bulk of the material is in French and chronicles Crozet's early years in France prior to his move to the United States in 1816. Included are letters and military orders; discourses on linguistics and grammar; papers pertaining to his marriage and family, and mementos relating to his daughter, Adele, who died in 1830.

In addition, the collection contains two letters from Thomas Jefferson to Crozet, both dated 1821. The letter of March 31 is Jefferson's reply to Crozet's inquiry about a teaching position at the University of Virginia; the letter of November 23 acknowledges the receipt of Crozet's book and includes comments on scientific advancements.

Contents List

Correspondence and Orders 1812-1821. 1:1, Box-folder


  • Letter 1812 July 31.

    To Crozet from Evans
    A statement of Crozet's promotion to Second Captain

  • Letter with enclosure 1814 October 24.

    To DeCamp family from (signature illegible)
    A letter enclosing the certificate of death for Pierre DeCamp, brother of Crozet's wife, Agathe.

  • Letter 1814 October 29.

    To Crozet from Evans.
    Honors Crozet for his service.

  • Order 1815 March 10.

    To Crozet from Baron De [Maller?]
    Crozet is asked to supervise construction of a bridge

  • Letter 1815 March 19.

    To Crozet from Colonel Dessalles
    Bridge equipment to be sent to Paris; Crozet to proceed to St. Denis where officer's quarters were established; Crozet to inform General Neigre about disposition of troops.

  • Letter 1815 March 28.

    To Crozet from Evans
    Regarding army rank

  • Letter 1815 June 13.

    To Crozet from General B. Neigre
    Crozet to proceed to Vincennes and report to Col. Renaud.

  • Letter 1821 March 31.

    To Crozet from Thomas Jefferson
    Jefferson responds to Crozet's offer to teach at the University of Virginia; comments on the progress of the University and on the uncertainty of funding.

  • Letter 1821 November 23.

    To Crozet from Thomas Jefferson
    Jefferson thanks Crozet for sending him a copy of his new geometry textbook and for his contributions to teaching; comments on the advancement of science.

  • Miscellany of French discourse on verbs . 1:2, Box-folder

    A composition book which also includes several pages of analytic geometry proofs.

  • Des Mots Invariables . 1:3, Box-folder

    topics include formation of adverbs, prepositions, letters, vowels, etc.

  • Grammaire Russe . 1:4, Box-folder

    A manuscript of approximately 100 pages on the Russian language, written for French readers. This may have been written during the period 1814-1816, when Crozet was a prisoner of war in Russia.

  • Grammaire Allemande . 1:5, Box-folder

    A German grammar, probably written while Crozet was in Holland.

  • Second part: Syntax . 1:6, Box-folder

    Includes discussion of articles, etc; beginning of dative.

  • Des Consonnes . 1:7, Box-folder

    Discussion of consonants, their pronunciation

  • Histoire de France . 1:8, Box-folder

    Covers the period 420-843 AD

  • Continuation of Histoire de France. 1:9, Box-folder

    Covers the period 876-996 AD

  • Accord du Participe . 1:10, Box-folder

    Use of the participle

  • Untitled discourse. 1:11, Box-folder

    Probably a fragment of one of the above linguistic discourse; perhaps a part of Des Consonnes.

Legal Documents. 1:12, Box-folder


  • Certificate of Life Insurance.

    Indicates that M. DeCamp and her husband had life insurance for their daughter Agathe. Agathe's existence is verified each year from 1793 to 1808 by endorsements on the back of the document.

  • Testament or Codicil 1801.

    A statement that appears to document an agreement between Pierrette Varion (Crozet's mother) and a landlady regarding payment for living quarters.

  • Division of inheritance of M. DeCamp 1814 December 5.

    A document which indicates that Madame DeCamp's estate is to be divided by the daughters, the son having died in 1813

  • Marriage Contract 1816 June 5.

    Between Claud Crozet and Agathe DeCamp. Gives the names, ages, and addresses of the parties involved and their parents. At the time of the marriage the bride's parents were dead; Crozet's father was living but his mother was dead.

Ephemera. 1:13, Box-folder
  • Lithograph of Marshall Ney.
  • Sermon en proverbes 1790 .
Subject File: Adele.
  • Letter 1829 July 11. 1:14, Box-folder

    Crozet expresses his deep affection for his daughter

  • Keepsakes.

    Includes a clipping from an 1830 newspaper on keepsakes of deceased loved ones, which suggests a lock of hair is the best remembrance. The file includes a lock of Adele's hair, four baby teeth, and eyelashes.

  • Adele's script book. 1:16, Box-folder

    Adele's script book, published by W. Darton in 1815, and a page of her practice with script.

  • Remembrances. 1:17, Box-folder

    Memorial verses written by Crozet; receipt for painting an enclosure in graveyard, April 21, 1830

Miscellaneous. 1:18, Box-folder

Three calling cards bearing signature of Mrs. Crozet