Confiscated during the French Revolution, the manuscripts of Montmorency and Bourbon-Condé were returned in 1815 to the last Duke of Bourbon who handed them down to the Duke of Aumale.
A great number of manuscripts and printed books were acquired from 1850 to 1897 by the Duke of Aumale. As one of the most important French book collectors of the nineteenth century, he was a passionate, wealthy and highly-educated bibliophile.
The Duke of Aumale donated the entirety of these books to the French Institute, along with the Chantilly Estate itself.
A few numbers pertaining to the library and the archives of the Château of Chantilly: 44,000 ancient books among which 700 early printed books; 1500 manuscripts, among which 500 illuminated volumes.
The Duke of Aumale inherited, from the princes of Bourbon-Conde, approximately 900 manuscripts and acquired 600, among which the famous Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry.
The Château of Chantilly archives are of inestimable value and act as a counterpart of the great national archive collections. Among several ensembles, including the Title Cabinet (comprised of titles and charters of the Montmorency and Bourbon-Condé families across eight centuries, from the eleventh to the nineteenth century), the Map Cabinet (with handwritten or printed topographic maps and architectural maps of the Estate), the archives left by the last Princes of Condé and the Duke of Aumale, the 80,000 letters of the Letter Cabinet constitute the core of this invaluable collection. These letters bear the memory, across time, not only of the Chateau’s life and organization over the years, but also of the active involvement of its many owners, in the History of France.