SUBALBUM:  Madame Campan

Madame Campan was a member of Marie Antoinette's court. Lady Reading has this biography of her:  "She was carefully educated under the direction of her father, a head-clerk in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the age of fifteen she spoke English and Italian, and read so well that she was appointed reader to the young princesses, Victoire, Sophie, and Louise, the daughters of Louis XV. Soon afterwards she married M. Campan, whose father was secretary to the queen's cabinet. She then entered the service of Marie Antoinette, as first lady of the bed-chamber (1770), and retained that position till 20 June, 1792. When the unfortunate queen was sent to prison, Mme Campan courageously asked to be allowed to share her sad lot. Her request was denied, and she retired to Coubertin, a small village in the Chevreuse valley. She found herself in straitened circumstances, having to provide for her young son and for her husband who was heavily in debt and in poor health. With a nun as associate, she established a boarding-school for girls at Saint-Germain, which soon achieved success and counted among its pupils Hortense de Beauharnais, the daughter of Joséphine. Napoleon was so much pleased with the order, elegance, and distinction of the school that he appointed Mme Campan superintendent of the Imperial Academy of Ecouen, founded for the education of the daughters of members of the Legion of Honour (1807). She adopted the programme of the old Saint-Cyr house, modifying it to suit the new conditions. Her chief aim was to train girls to be useful women and good mothers. In 1814 the school was abolished and Mme Campan bitterly denounced as a traitor by the Royalists, because she accepted the favours of the 'usurper.' She retired to Mantes and spent her time in writing didactic and historical essays."

Her school was attended by, among others, Hortense Beauharnais, the daughter of one Joséphine Beauharnais, and Letizia Ramolino-Bonaparte's daughter Caroline.

According to her Wikipedia article, Madame Campan may qualify for the title of Mother of Home Economics classes. American history buffs probably recognize the Genet name. Citizen Genet was her younger brother. Citizen Genet threatened American neutrality during the Napoléonic wars - back then the USA wasn't as belligerent as it is now.

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