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Welcome to the Fiduciae Circulars Database website

** Merchant Relationships in Practice: From the Personal to the Impersonal? (18th–19th centuries)

(Version française de cette page :

The website Circular Letters Fiduciae Database provides access to data produced under the Fiduciae program (Merchant Relationships in Practice: From the Personal to the Impersonal? (18th–19th centuries), funded by the French National Agency for Research for the 2014–2017 period and led by Arnaud Bartolomei, University of Côte d’Azur. For more information on the Fiduciae Program, its goals and its scientific findings, visit:

The website offers a synthesis of the main descriptive elements of the database of printed commercial circulars, one of the three databases used in the Fiduciae program:

Nota bene: The “printed commercial circulars” are printed letters used by trading companies to inform their correspondents of diverse events (formation and  dissolution of a firm, recruitment of a new associate or partner, opening of a new trading post) starting in the middle of the 18th century. In addition, circular letters usually provided additional information about the company and its internal organization (e.g., names and signatures of the partners). The letters also had a prospective nature and served as commercial offers, as they were often complemented by a list of their companies’ activities, services, and prices. As well as carrying information on the identity of trading houses and a more or less explicit offer of service, the circular letters display a “language of commerce” in which merchants claimed to be “zealous,” worthy of their correspondents’ “trust,” and committed to furthering their correspondents’ “interests.”  

The quality of the digital reproduction of the circulars may vary, as different team members worked over several rounds to collect data.