French physician and historical writer; born at Metz April 24, 1802 (according to some sources, April 23, 1803); died in Paris May 31, 1888. Meeting with difficulties in his preparation for the polytechnic school, he turned to medicine. Bégin served in the army, and was, during the Spanish war, attached to the hospital of Barcelona. Upon his return to France in 1828 he received the doctor's degree upon contributing the thesis "Influence des Travaux Intellectuels sur le Système Physique et Moral de l'Homme," Strasburg. He then settled in his native city, where in 1830 he founded a weekly journal, called "L'Indicateur de l'Est," which was, however, discontinued on Jan. 1, 1832. In 1850 Bégin removed to Paris and engaged in literary and archeological pursuits. Among other activities he participated in the works of the commission charged with the collection and publication of the correspondence of Napoleon I. In 1869 Bégin was appointed librarian of the Louvre, and in 1874, of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, serving at the same time as physician at this institution. Besides being a member of many academies and societies, he was also attached to the Commission of Historical Monuments of the Moselle department.

In the field of medicine he published, in addition to his doctorate dissertation: "Connaissance Physique et Morale de l'Homme," Nancy, 1837; "Lettres sur l'Histoire Médicale du Nord-Est de la France," Metz, 1840; "Le Buchan Français: Nouveau Traité Complet de Médecine Usuelle," 2 vols., Paris, 1836; "Lettres à M. Littré sur Quelques Phlegmasies Muqueuses Epidémiques Qui Ont Regné Depuis Deux Siècles dans le Nord-Est de la France," Metz, 1842; and others. In literary and historical fields he displayed a still greater productivity, the chief works of which are: "Histoire de Napoléon, de Sa Famille et de Son Epoque au Point de Vue de l'Influence Napoléonienne sur le Monde," 6 vols., Paris, 1853-54; "Biographie de la Moselle," 4 vols., Paris, 1832; "Mélanges d'Archéologie et d'Histoire," Metz, 1840; "Dithyrambe Composé pour Honorer la Mémoire du Général Foy," in "Couronne Poétique du Général Foy," by Magalon, Paris, 1826; "Guide de l'Etranger à Metz et dans le Département de la Moselle," Metz, 1834; "Education Lorraine Elémentaire," 3 vols., Metz, 1835-36; "Guide de l'Etranger à Nancy," Nancy, 1837; "La Moselle d'Ausone," translated into prose, Nancy, 1839; "Metz Depuis Dix-Huit Siècles," 3 vols., Metz, 1846; "Voyage Pittoresque en Espagne et en Portugal," Paris, 1852; "Voyage Pittoresque en Savoie et sur les Alpes," Paris, 1852; "Musée Médiomatricien," Metz; "Eloges"; "Histoire des Sciences, des Lettres, des Arts et de la Civilisation dans le Pays Messin Depuis les Gaulois Jusqu'à Nos Jours," Metz, 1829; "Histoire des Duchés de Lorraine, de Bar, et des Trois Evêchés: Meurthe, Meuse, Moselle, et Vosges," 2 vols., Nancy, 1833; and a large number of articles and treatises in periodical publications, especially in "Austrasia," of which, he was one of the founders. Of particular interest to Judaism are his researches on the history of the Jews in France, "Recherches pour Servir à l'Histoire des Juifs dans le Nord-Est de la France," published in "Revue Orientale," Brussels, vols. i. and ii.; and on Jewish physicians in Alsace and some other provinces, published in the form of letters to E. Carmoly, editor of the "Revue Orientale" ("Lettres Messines," ib. ii.).

  • Julius Fürst, Bibliotheca Judaica, Leipsic, 1863, i.;
  • Gubernatis, Dictionnaire International des Ecrivains du Jour, Florence, 1888;
  • La Grande Encyclopédie;
  • Vapereau, Dictionnaire Universel des Contemporains, Paris.
S. B. B.
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