On April 15th, 2019, Notre Dame de Paris, arguably the most famous of the Gothic Cathedrals of the Middle Ages, caught fire. Located on Île de la Cité, and a designated World Heritage Site, Notre Dame was built on the ruins of two earlier churches and suffered damage from wars and other serious effects through the centuries. The cathedral was saved during the French Revolution by Napoleon Bonapart who crowned himself emperor there in 1804. French architect Viollet-le-Duc undertook a massive renovation in the nineteenth century, possibly inspired by the publication in 1831 of Victor Hugo's historic novel, Notre Dame de Paris, also known as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a classic of French literature set in 1492 during the reign of King Louis XI. Hugo's work illuminated themes of architecture, passion, and religion -- values that bespoke the significant preservation of culture during a period of tumultuous change.
During another restoration two centuries later, flames accidentally and uncontrollably spread through the Notre Dame's attic, nineteenth century spire, and stone vaulted ceiling -- causing catastrophic destruction and mourning worldwide for the magnificent cathedral which to many symbolized the heart and soul of France. Amazingly, the cathedral's altar, two pipe organs, and three 13th-century rose windows survived with little or no damage. Having launched a major fundraising campaign, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged restoration by 2024.
The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning. Included are selections that illustrate the context of technology and then current affairs.
- A Daily Lesson In History April 24, 1845 --Viollet-Le-Duc Began the Restoration Of Notre Dame. (1903, Apr 24). Boston Daily Globe (1872-1922)
- Wright, C. (1944, Dec 10). Notre Dame De Paris: The Biography Of a Cathedral. New York Times (1923-)
- Ehrlich, B. (1963, May 05). Notre Dame: A Pageant Of 800 Years: Symbolic Heart Of France, the Cathedral Embodies the History and Devotion Of Its People. Notre Dame. New York Times (1923-)
- August, M. (1991, Apr 07). Notre Dame Church Will Get Face Lift: Gothic Cathedral: France Allocates $19 Million For Major Refurbishing Of 823-Year-Old Structure. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995)
- Pike, H. (1993, Jan 14). Restoring a Cherished Part Of Notre Dame: The Cathedral's 19th-Century Organ Comes Into the 20th With a High-Tech Upgrade. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-)
- Marlowe, L. (2019, Apr 16). Notre Dame, Symbol Of Paris, Destroyed. The Irish Times (1921-)
- Macron Pledges To Rebuild Cathedral: Notre Dame Fire To Many Parisians, the 850-Year-Old Landmark Is the Heart Of Their City. (2019, Apr 16). The Irish Times (1921-)
- Marlowe, L. (2019, Apr 17). Notre Dame's Incalculable Damage Brings With It An Infinite Sadness: Notre Dame Fire Aftermath Some Turned To History and Culture In An Attempt To Fathom Catastrophe. The Irish Times (1921-)
- O'Loughlin, M. (2019, Apr 17). Grief For Notre Dame Casts Light On European Identity: Opinion European Union Has Looked To the Past For Shared Iconography To Forge Loyalty In Its Citizens. The Irish Times (1921-)
- Marlowe, L. (2020, Dec 05). Notre Dame Out Of the Ashes: Mass Will Be Said In Notre-Dame On April 16th, 2024-- Five Years After a Mysterious Fire All But Destroyed the Cathedral. The Irish Times (1921-)
- Pernoud, Régine. Notre-Dame de Paris, 1163-1963. Paris: The Archives, 1963. NA5550.N7 F7 1963
- Temko, Allan. Notre-Dame of Paris. New York: Viking Press, 1955. NA5550.N7 T4
- Notre Dame, Paris, France. Rothman Lantern Slide Collection, Courtesy of Teachers College, Columbia University
- Special News Slide, Courtesy of the Gottesman Libraries
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