Special Issue/Édition spéciale : Fall/automne 2007
Special Issue - Articles

Signer sous l'Ancien Régime colonial français : polysémie d'une pratique d'écriture ordinaire

François Melançon
Published January 19, 2008
  • Culture écrite en Nouvelle-France
How to Cite
Melançon, François. 2008. “Signer Sous l’Ancien Régime Colonial français : Polysémie d’une Pratique d’écriture Ordinaire”. Historical Studies in Education / Revue d’histoire De l’éducation 19 (2), 83-100. https://historicalstudiesineducation.ca/hse/index.php/edu_hse-rhe/article/view/363.


During the twenty-first century, the signature has been raised as an archetypical unit of account for the literacy of a group in a particular place, at a particular time. It also has been used as an index of the impact of the school network on the transmission of basic literacy skills. Nevertheless, a signature is everything but an historical invariant. To sign is a polysemical act with a history. It is a common practice that is tied to the juridical discourse and is socially connoted. This article intends to present some thoughts, from the New France history, upon contexts that can add value to the signature and have contributed to the infiltration of the written culture into the North American French colonial society before 1760.