Girardin. I. Emile de, a French journalist, born in Paris, June 22, 1806. The natural son of Count Alexandre de Girardin and Mrae. Dupuy, wife of a counsellor, and registered at his birth under the name of Emile de Lamothe, he struggled for years before he gained his right name, and it was not till 1837 that his filiation was definitely established by his parents' public avowal. After being inspector of the fine arts under the Martignac ministry, he established two periodicals: Le Voleur, which pilfered from all the other journals, and La Mode, a journal of fashion, which enjoyed the patronage of the duchess of Berry. After the revolution of 1830 he established the monthly Journal des Gonnaissances utiles, the price of which was only four francs (less than 80 cents) a year, which soon obtained 120,000 subscribers. Through the agency of this paper he organized a subscription for the establishment of a model farm, known as the institut agricole de Co'etbo, and greatly contributed to increase the number of savings banks through the country. He issued other cheap publications in connection with his monthly, as the Journal des Instituteurs, at 30 cents a year; a geographical atlas at one cent a map; and the Almanack de France, at 10 cents a copy.
All these publications were issued as emanating from a societe nationale pour Vemanci-pation intellectuelle. He also published the Journal des Gardes Nationales, and the Gastronome, a culinary paper which was found in every eating house. He was one of the founders of the illustrated weekly Musee des Families. In 1835 he projected the Pantheon Litteraire, a series of 100 large vols. 8vo, which were to embrace a mass of letterpress equal to 1,000 ordinary volumes, and to present in a cheap form the standard works of every country. In 1836 he established the Presse, a political daily paper, at a yearly subscription of 40 francs, half the price before paid for such journals. This attempt brought upon him the wrath of nearly all the contemporary journalists of Paris. Both his public and private life were assailed; he was charged with claiming a name which was denied him, with dishonesty in some of his numerous business transactions, and with unscrupulous ambition in his political course. He challenged Armand Carrel, and killed him in the duel, when the clamor against him increased on all sides.
But he was undaunted, and secured the full possession of his name and a seat in the chamber of deputies, which was long contested on the ground that he was not a Frenchman, but, as was falsely reported, a native of Switzerland, while he extended the circulation of the Presse so as to place it beyond rivalry. He supported the Mole ministry against the coalition in 1839, and the ministry of Guizot during most of its duration. On Feb. 24, 1848, he presented himself at the Tuileries and persuaded Louis Philippe to an abdication in favor of his grandson, the count de Paris; but it was too late to save the dynasty. He vigorously supported the new order of things, tried to inspire the French people with confidence in it, and became for a while the most popular journalist in Paris. During a few weeks nearly 150,000 copies of the Presse were disposed of daily. His independent politics were deemed dangerous by Gen. Cavaignac, who ordered his arrest after the insurrection of June, and kept him 11 days in strict confinement.
On resuming the charge of his journal, Girardin vehemently attacked the rule of the general, and greatly contributed to the election of Louis Napoleon to the presidency, but soon became his opponent, gave his journal a more and more radical and socialistic turn, and after the coup d'etat of Dec. 2, 1851, was ordered out of France. He afterward returned, but, unable to submit to the restrictions on journalism, sold his share in the Presse in 1856 for 800,000 francs. In December, 1862, he again became its chief editor, but he finally abandoned it in 1866, and established La Liberie. He attacked the administration vigorously, and in March, 1867, was fined 5,000 francs, and a month later the sale of his journal on the street was prohibited. He still continued to attack the administration, subjecting himself to further prosecution, and he also severely criticised the course of many of the opposition journals. After the formation of the Ollivier ministry (Jan. 2, 1870) he accepted several government commissions. After the proclamation of the republic (Sept. 4) an unpublished decree, bearing date July 27 and countersigned by Emile Ollivier, was found among the papers of the Tuileries, conferring upon Girardin the rank of senator.
About the same time he sold La Liberte for 1,000,000 francs, and for a time withdrew from journalism. But he soon resumed his pen, and became a vehement supporter of the war against Prussia. During the siege of Paris La Liberte was transferred to the country, and he followed it, and on Dec. 24 purchased Les Cents Jours, in which he severely criticised the dictatorship of M. Gambetta. During the insurrection of the communists he published a journal called V Union Francaise, in which he advocated the adoption of a federal system of government. In May, 1872, he purchased the Journal Officiel, whose management, however, was retained by its former conductor. The catalogue of his political pamphlets would till columns. His contributions to the Presse from 1836 to 1856 were published in 1858 (12 vols. 8vo), under the title of Questions de mon temps. In 1859 he furnished a preface to a work entitled Les batards celebres, by A. Chargueraud. His I)u droit de punir (Paris, 1871), on which he was engaged for ten years, is mainly a supplement to Beccaria's De' delitti e delle pene.
In opposition to L' Homme-femme, by Alexandre Dumas fils, he published in 1872 L'Homme et la femme,l'homme suzerain, la femme vassale. After the death of his first wife he married (November, 1856) Countess Mina de Tieffenbach, daughter of a former Viennese postmaster, and widow, by morganatic marriage, of Prince Frederick of Nassau. He obtained a divorce from her in 1872.
II. Delphine Gay, a French authoress, wife of the preceding, born in Aix-la-Chapelle, Jan. 2G, 1804, died in Paris, June 20, 1855. She was the daughter of Mme. Sophie Gay, and a poem written by her when scarcely 18 years old gained an extraordinary prize of the French academy. In 1824 she published a collection of Essais pottiques. She was accustomed to recite her verses in society, and having extemporized some beautiful lines on the premature death of Gen. Foy in 1825, she was hailed as la muse de la patrie, and received from Charles X. a pension of 1,500 francs. On a visit to Italy in 1827 she was elected by acclamation a member of the Tiber academy at Rome, and carried in triumph to the capitol. She married Emile de Girardin in 1831, and produced in 1833 Napoline, one of her most charming poems. She had already begun to write novels. Le lorgnon appeared in 1831, and was succeeded by M. le marquis de Pontanges in 1835, and La canne de M. de Balzac in 1836. From 1836 to 1848 she furnished to the Presse, under the nom de plume of Vicomte Delaunay, 57 Lettres parisiennes on literature, art, and fashion.
The only complete edition of these letters was brought out in 1858, with an introduction by Theophile Gautier. In 1839 she wrote a comedy, L' Ecole des journalistes, but its representation was prohibited by the government. In 1843 her tragedy Judith, designed for Rachel, was performed at the Theatre Francais. Another tragedy, Cleopatre (1847), and the comedy of Lady Tartufe (1853), were also written for that actress. Her comedies, C'est la faute du mari, oil Les bons maris font les tonnes femmes (1851), and La joie fait peur (1854), and her vaudeville Le chapeau d'un horloger (1854), were highly successful. Her last novels, Marguerite, ou Deux amours, and Il ne faut pas jouer avec la douleur, appeared in 1853, and a new edition of the former in 1858. An English translation of The Cross of Berny," the joint production of Mme, de Girardin, Gautier, Sandeau, and Mery, was published in New York in 1873. A complete edition of her works has been published (6 vols. 8vo, Paris, 1860-'61). She was celebrated for beauty and wit.