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Collection of Bouasse-Lebel and Bouasse-Jeune holy cards

Identifier: CSC-029

Scope and Contents

This collection contains holy cards printed by the Bouasse-Lebel and Bouasse-Jeune companies. Subjects depicted on the cards include Jesus, the Sacred Heart, the Passion and Nativity of Christ, and other religious images. Some of the cards have handwritten and typed inscriptions on the versos.


  • 1900-1960
  • Majority of material found within 1900 - 1920


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open and available to the public for research in the U.S. Catholic Special Collections reading room. The materials are non-circulating.

Copyright Notice

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

History of Bouasse-Lebel and Bouasse-Jeune

Eulalie Lebel was born in Paris in 1809, the only daughter of the printer Jacques-Auguste Lebel. In 1827 she married Francois-Marie Bouasse, a foreman at a printing house. Facing destitution when her husband abandoned her and her two children, she founded a printing house in 1845 under the name "Madame Bouasse, nee Lebel." In 1847, Maison Bouasse-Lebel moved to the Saint-Sulpice neighborhood of Paris, the center of the religious printing industry in post-revolutionary France. Eulalie Bouasse sold the now-successful company to her eldest son, Henri, in 1852. Her other surviving son, Emile, continued to work at the company. During these early years, the company produced books, maps, and other items in addition to religious images. The company received significant praise for their religious products, including a papal commendation in 1871.

In 1867 Emile left the company, and began his own printing house under the name Bouasse-Jeune. This company was also located in the Saint-Sulpice neighborhood of Paris, and a hostile relationship existed between the two brothers and their companies. The introduction of chromolithography in the 1870s was embraced by both Bouasse-Lebel and Bouasse-Jeune, and continued their competition. The two companies became known for their intricate designs, highly symbolic and detailed artwork, and innovative use of printing technologies.

Emile Bouasse passed away in 1881 at the age of 49, and his wife and children took over the company. Eulalie Bouasse-Lebel passed away in 1898. Henri Bouasse-Lebel passed away in 1912, and his company was taken over by his son Albert. Bouasse-Jeune discontinued production sometime in the beginning of the twentieth century.

Following World War II, interest in religious images began to decline, and the innovative artwork and technology pursued by the Bouasse firms slowed as well. Holy cards from this era depict less intricate artwork, or use photographic images. Albert Bouasse-Lebel passed away in 1955, and the Maison Bouasse-Lebel stopped production in the 1960s.


0.125 Linear Feet (2 folders in Small Collections box 4)

Language of Materials



A collection of holy cards and other devotional materials printed by Bouasse-Lebel and Bouasse-Jeune, French publishers of religious images.

Statement of Arrangement

Holy cards in this collection have been arranged in approximate chronological order.


U.S. Catholic Special Collections, 302 Roesch Library

Separated Material

The Commemorative Holy Cards Collection (CSC9) contains seven holy cards printed by Bouasse-Lebel. It also contains two holy cards printed by Bouasse-Jeune. The Collection of Canonization and Beatification Cards contains one Bouasse-Lebel produced holy card, promoting the cause of Henri Planchat.

General Physical Description note

0.1 linear feet

Guide to the Bouasse-Lebel and Bouasse-Jeune holy cards collection
Colleen Mahoney
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University Libraries Repository

300 College Park Dr.
Dayton Ohio 45469-1360